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NACC Letter to ACCC

To see the original signed letter, please click here.

July 7, 2014

Ms. Denise Amyot, President
Association of Community Colleges of Canada
1 Rideau Street, Suite 701
Ottawa, ON     K1N 8S7

Dear Ms. Amyot,

We met recently at a meeting organized by Employment and Social Development Canada in Toronto.  You informed me at that time that your organization was changing its name and would now become the “Colleges and Institutes of Canada.”

As the CEO of the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC), I asked whether members of our organization would be able to join, as your new name indicates that you represent “colleges.”  I assumed that career colleges (for-profit and not-for-profit institutions offering post-secondary education) would be able to join.  But I understand that is not the case.

It is clear that your organization represents “community colleges” or “publicly funded” colleges.  Your organization does not represent our members.

However, this new name is misleading and is a thinly veiled attempt to portray the members that you represent as the only “colleges” that exist in Canada, thereby ignoring the fact that NACC members provide education and training to over 160,000 students in Canada.

While the name that you have chosen and the inability for career colleges to join are disappointing, it is not surprising.  When you met with our Board of Directors in October 2013, you stated that the Board of Directors of ACCC and the organization itself was not interested in exploring possible avenues of cooperation.  That is something you repeated to me during a mission to Germany and the United Kingdom.

During your presentation to our Board of Directors you also noted that due to cuts in funding by provincial governments to community colleges, your members would increase their competitive actions against career colleges.

ACCC and NACC could have collaborated on finding ways to increase our offerings to students, develop new and innovative ways to benefit from the experience of both groups in order to help students and in general strive to better help Canadian employers.  But you chose competition over collaboration.

This, coupled with efforts by ACCC to stop us from participating in international marketing initiatives, indicates that your organization is more interested in trying to compete against our members than serving students.

Your decisions are not only disappointing, they are harmful.

The harm is worsened by the misrepresentation of the college sector by your name change.  Colleges include both public and private organizations.  Public colleges (usually referred to as “community colleges”) and private for-profit and not-for-profit colleges (usually referred to as “career colleges”) have existed in Canada for a long time.  We can trace the existence of private colleges as far back as the 18th century.

In addition, this name change will create confusion in the marketplace, and among students.  The National Association of Career Colleges prides itself on the awareness it has among the education community.  It relies on this name and in turn, the education community turns to the Association for service.  Your decision threatens to create unnecessary and harmful disruption.

Both public and private colleges have a role to play in Canada’s education system.

Your efforts to negate our existence by taking that name, as well as your other statements and actions, show a lack of innovative thinking.  Instead of reacting to the cuts in provincial government funding by developing new options, you have signalled that your leadership is limited to telling your members to try to take away students from career colleges (against students’ best interests), close your doors to our members and force career college employees out of work.

We cannot stand by under these circumstances.

This letter is to put you on notice that if by Thursday July 10th at 3pm ET you have not responded to our letter and indicated how you will remedy the situation (by adding the word “Community” in front of “Colleges and Institutes of Canada” for example), we will:

  • Take legal action against your organization,
  • Advise our members to take individual legal action against ACCC;
  • Seek our legal costs

We look forward to your response and hope that you will seriously reconsider your position.

 

Serge A. Buy
Chief Executive Officer