Michael Laycock
Question Staff Writer
Whistler Question (Whistler, BC)
June 1996

A provincial regulatory agency has suspended the registration of a local language- and computer-training firm.

Bandylan and Associates’ registration with the Private Post-Secondary Education Commission (PPSEC) was suspended June 12, according to PPSEC executive director Patrick Floyd.

Under provincial legislation, the commission regulates all academic and career-related educational programs provided to adults, and anyone offering such programs must be registered with the commission.

“I can confirm that we have suspended their (Bandylan’s) registration with the commission pending certain conditions that they have to meet,” Floyd said.

Floyd was unable to provide details as to the conditions or the exact reasons for the suspension. But he said the PPSEC launched an investigation of the company after allegations surfaced that a pair of Swiss students had not received a refund for English-language courses for which they had paid the Squamish-based Bandylan.

“That was the incident that caused us to investigate,” he said.

In April, the Question reported that the pair had paid about $6,000 each for accommodation and a 12-week language program at Bandylan’s Whistler location, but they did not receive the services paid for.

At the time, Bandylan owner Tim Agnew said the students had indeed received the services through an arrangement between his firm and another Whistler language school and had simply been caught in a procedural shuffle between the two schools, but were not entitled to a refund.

But in late April, the PPSEC ordered Bandylan to refund the students’ money by May 17. At deadline time Friday, Floyd could not release details as to whether that amount had been paid back or not.

Bandylan officials were unavailable for comment by deadline, but Floyd said they had indicated they would clear up the situation and meet the conditions.

“Until they do, the suspension remains in force,” he said.

Floyd said Bandylan is still permitted to provide company-to-company services (such as computer training for another firm), but is prohibited from providing academic or career-training programs to individual fee-paying students. The suspension also means student loans cannot be granted for Bandylan programs, and the firm cannot take on government contracts.

If the company fails to comply, its $650-per-year licence can be revoked, and it can be charged under the PPSEC Act and face fines up to $25,000, Floyd said.

Floyd said there was a social benefit in making the firm’s suspension public.

“It’s for public protection,” he explained. “The public should know that they are suspended.”

[*Note: Please see earlier story, “Language-school director, students fear they’ve been stiffed”]