First time ever: A humanitarian initiative by an Agent, to mitigate suffering of students affected by closure of 3 DLI licensed Canadian colleges
First time ever: A humanitarian initiative through Financial Assistance by an Agent, to mitigate the suffering of students affected by closure of 3 DLI licensed colleges in Canada
Background: Students from India had applied and paid a full year's tuition fee to study in three DLI licensed colleges: M College Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke and CCSQ College in Longueuil, Canada. Also, students from India were regularly being issued a Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) and study permit from the Canadian immigration authorities to pursue their higher education at the above three colleges. There was no information to the public at large or to stakeholders such as international students, authorised agents etc that there was anything amiss with their audit reports or they were impending closure.
Tragic consequence for students and their families: Hundreds of students whose applications were withdrawn/refused visas for these three colleges and who, as per the Canadian law, are authorized. to be refunded their tuition fees paid for services not rendered, were left high and dry over the past two years of endless waiting:
- with their further education having been affected due to the sudden closure of these institutions
- anxiety & depression shattering their dreams , aspirations and confidence.
- their parents being mentally and financially harassed
Most of these students, from a middle class financial background, were seeking skill based Canadian education in the hope of better employability in the future and did not expect to be thrown into such a financial crisis and for such a long period.
Canam too was a victim: Canam Consultants Limited has not received any financial benefit from the said colleges for the fees paid by these students and with the added misery of no clarity on the fee refund dates, having to console students and their aggreived parents with nothing concrete for almost 2 years was sheer torture.
Top Management at Canam reached out to various organisations about this unfortunate unique situation at the said DLI licensed institutions (alongwith the complete lists of our students who were sadly affected financially and emotionally) seeking their help to expedite the reimbursement of the tuition fees paid by our students:
His Excellency Mr. Ajay Bisaria, High Commissioner of India to Canada
Ministry of External affairs- commerce section, India
His Excellency, Mr Shuban Krishen, Consul (Com/Pol) & CSO Consulate General of India,Toronto
Mr.Rohit Uppal, Vice President, Bestway Education Group, Canada
Member of Parliament, Canada - Mr.Sukh Dhaliwal
RPI Group Richter - Court appointed Monitor
Owners AND Management of the Three Quebec Colleges
McCarthy - Student Representative Counsel
Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Quebec
High Commission of Canada in India
Most of them wrote back to us that they were fully apprised of the situation and were trying to resolve the situation in their own domains. But it had been almost two years and it was becoming impossible to deal with the plight of the students and their parents any more.
Canam, being an Indian company, could empathise with Indian students and parents who were suffering financially and emotionally. We could not ONLY keep giving words of sympathy but had to take the first BOLD step:
So, first time within the International Education industry across the globe, we as an agent, set aside a substantial equivalent fund of more than 1 million CAD in INR for humanitarian aid to these affected students via financial assistance of the amount they had paid as tuition fees to the three Canadian Colleges, which they have agreed to return to us once they get their refunds.
Also, a BIG thank you to a few of the colleges who approached us with offers of free first year of tuition for any of our students who were interested to take it up if they were to reinvest and reapply for a visa. All the students however chose to take up the interim financial assistance that Canam offered as they had borne the brunt of this situation for too long and they wanted a closure to their nightmare.
It is important to note here that Canam was certainly not under any form of liability with respect to any financial refunds as the monetary transaction was only between the students and the DLI licensed Canadian colleges.
Our objective was purely three fold:
1. To alleviate the suffering of the students and their parents atleast financially
2. To preserve Brand 'Study in Canada' that we have been upholding since 1996 as pioneers of promoting Canadian Education in India
3. To mitigate the bad press that the international education industry was getting within India and globally, due to the closure of these colleges .
The Goodwill that this act has brought us with every stakeholder- the students, parents, local administration , and Canadian institutions, has been phenomenal.
All of Team Canam are so proud of the Management for having taken this stance towards the beleaguered students while most other agencies gave verbal assurances and many left it to their individual employees to deal with agitated students, be it international organisations headquartered outside India or smaller subagents who had no say in any matter.
Mr Sukhmeet Grewal, President Canam Consultants Ltd, responded to the senior staff who expressed gratefulness at the gesture at the meeting, "Even though we were not liable for the fee refunds , we felt that it was our social responsibility to offer interim financial assistance to students and families for whom the amounts often were their life savings or loans . The board took this decision keeping student welfare and brand Canada in mind"
The matter is currently subjudice and we are sure that Canada will finally ensure that their International students will get justice.
Meanwhile, Canam created history and we are the proud Team Canam!
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