About the class action

Commencing on October 16, 2017, all colleges in Ontario cancelled classes for approximately 500,000 students without any indication as to when the courses would resume.  The programs offered by the colleges are designed to provide vocational training to help students enter the workforce.

UPDATE: November 20, 2017: the representative plaintiffs have provided an open letter to all college students with respect to the recently passed back-to-class legislation and services available to students, which can be viewed here. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development issued a press release advising of a proposed tuition refund and student support fund. The press release can be read here.

CAUTION! Before you accept an offer from the Ontario government to compensate you for tuition fees or for up to $500 of incremental unexpected costs, please read the government’s documents carefully. Be advised that it is our understanding that the government is not refunding all fees, but only the tuition component. We are currently trying to determine whether the government will require you to sign a release of all claims before processing your request for a tuition refund or the incremental unexpected costs.

If the Ontario government requires you to sign a release of all claims, then you can no longer participate in the class action or make any additional claims for compensation besides the ones the government is already offering to pay.

Release of all claims is a document/agreement where, in exchange for some amount of money, you agree that you will not seek to recover any additional compensation from anyone. In effect, you are releasing any and all claims you may have with respect to the strike.

There have been a number of media reports concerning the impact the class cancellation has had on the students. You can see some of the media stories on the media page.

As of November 14, 2017, students have lost 5 weeks of classes in a curriculum which on average comes to a total of 14 weeks.

The colleges are in the business of providing vocational training to students in exchange for a prepaid fee. Students have paid the fees but the colleges have not provided the promised vocational training.

As matters stand, students may lose an entire semester without being refunded their tuition and fees, or students may be required to repeat courses or take extended programs into the new year. In order to address these issues as well as other expenses incurred by students that should be refunded, a class action has been commenced on November 14, 2017 in Toronto.

The class action seeks to recover damages on behalf of all students enrolled at the 24 colleges across Ontario which cancelled classes and services effective October 16, 2017.

The class action seeks damages for breach of contract and breach of the Ontario Consumer Protection Act. Each student entered into an agreement with their respective college, whereby, in exchange for a stipulated fee, the college agreed to provide:

  • services, including vocational training in finding and maintaining employment and meeting the needs of employers and the changing work environment;
  • a full term of regularly occurring courses/classes as set out in a calendar;
  • training of sufficient quality and scope to qualify the applicant for eligibility in his or her chosen vocation;
  • course credit if the applicant meets the requisite criteria of the course/class; and
  • a degree or diploma if the applicant meets the requisite criteria of the program.

Commencing on or about October 16, 2017, all colleges cancelled all training, classes, testing, and exams. To date, the colleges have not refunded fees paid to attend the colleges. As a result, the colleges  have breached the contracts with the students.

In each of the contracts between the colleges and students, the colleges represented to each student that they would receive the benefit of a specified number of classes over a specified number of weeks in a specific area of vocational training. These representations contained in the contracts are representations pursuant to ss. 14 and 15 of the Consumer Protection Act. All the colleges have breached ss. 14 and 15 because each of the representations is false, misleading, deceptive, and/or unconscionable, and constitutes an unfair practice, because the colleges did not provide the specified number of classes over a specified number of weeks in a specific area of vocational training, or any equivalent benefit.

As such, students are entitled to a refund.

Many students are also entitled to a refund for their meal plan program and expenses for campus residences they have paid for while there are no classes at the campus.


If you are a student enrolled at an Ontario college whose classes have been cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation, including a refund of tuition and fees. In order for us to determine the total number of people affected by the cancellation of classes and the total amount of refunds owing to college students, please fill out the registration form by clicking the link “Click here to register”, below.

There is no financial obligation to register. Once you register, we will notify you of all important developments via email. There is no fee unless we recover.

IMPORTANT: all personal information provided to Charney Lawyers throughout the registration form will be held strictly confidential.

Click here to register.