University status denied to Doug Ford ally Canada Christian College

College operator has been accused of making Islamophobic and homophobic remarks

A Whitby-based Christian college has had its application to become a university turned down.

The Office of the Minister of Colleges and Universities confirmed the decision in a statement Friday afternoon.

The Postsecondary Education Quality Board (PEQB) which reviewed Canada Christian College’s application recommended the government not grant the college expanded degree-granting authority or a name change.

“The minister has reviewed and accepts their recommendation. Therefore, the government will not be proclaiming Schedule 2 of Bill 213 at this time,” the statement read.

“All institutions continue to have the right to apply for expanded degree-granting authority in Ontario, and the ministry is committed to ensuring that this is done fairly based on expert advice and is in the best interest of Ontario and Ontario students.”

The college is run by Charles McVety, a social conservative and staunch ally of Premier Doug Ford.

McVety has been accused of homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic comments. He has been a fierce critic of same-sex marriage and the province’s sex-education curriculum.

Tucked in Bill 213 – a piece of COVID-19 recovery legislation – last year was a provision to fast-track the college’s university application before an independent review of the school’s application was complete. The bill became law in December.

There was a huge backlash and the Ford government agreed the college would undergo an independent review before that portion of the bill could take effect.

Canada Christian College slammed the decision by the PEQB and said in a statement the board presented a “fraudulent misrepresentation” of the school to the ministry. They added the college “met or exceeded” the benchmarks set by the board.

“Unfortunately, political corruption was allowed to rule the day,” the statement read.

The New Democrats issued a statement on Friday that said they are relieved the college did not get university status.

“It is a massive relief that the Doug Ford government’s plan to give Charles McVety’s organization university and degree-granting status has been slapped down,” said Laura Mae Lindo, critic for Anti-Racism and Colleges and Universities.

“This can’t go ahead now, and we need a guarantee it won’t go ahead, ever. Ford was returning a favour to a friend, and Ontarians would have paid the price. Legitimizing hate and discrimination has seriously dangerous consequences for people.”

Canada Christian College was seeking permission to grant bachelor of science and arts degrees. The college can grant degrees in fields such as Christian counselling, religious education and theology.