Cosmetology school blames government for abrupt closure

A Halifax college that educated hairstylists and estheticians has closed, leaving 69 students with half-completed licences.

Department of advanced education rejects claim

Concepts School of Cosmetology received almost no notice when the school shut down on Friday. (CBC)

A Halifax cosmetology school that abruptly closed last week is blaming the provincial government for going out of business. 

The Concepts School of Cosmetology educated hairstylists and estheticians. Its sudden closure Friday left 69 students with half-completed licences. 

On Monday, Concepts said the college has been struggling for some time with demands made by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

It says at one point, the department froze the college's payments of student loans and called in a bond from its bank. 

Concepts said the department decided not to proceed with arrangements to complete the students' training.

"This left the college with no option but to cease operations immediately," Concepts said in a statement.

Chrissy Matheson, spokeswoman for the department, rejected that argument. She said it was the decision of the owner-operator to close the school.

Tim Hill is listed as its recognized agent on the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks. 

"The province's intent in meeting with the students and the instructors on Friday was to ensure that they felt supported and informed during this abrupt and sudden closure," said Matheson.

The students and 15 staff members who worked at Concepts received little notice when the school shut down. 

Some students were just three weeks away from graduating. 

The Department of Labour and Advanced Education said it spent the weekend contacting all the students.

Chrissy Matheson of the department of education said the province wants students and instructors to feel supported and informed. (CBC)

"Right now, we're working with some training providers in the local community to ensure that the students have options for training out," said Matheson.

She said students can either continue their training at an another college or choose to get their tuition back from an insurance fund all private colleges contribute to.

At the Interlude Spa in Dartmouth, owner Brent Kraushar said he has hired many Concepts graduates over the years.

"Moving forward it could make it difficult to find new recruits," he said.

Kraushar employs a student due to graduate in August.

"She's working with us part time now in guest services until she graduates, so I have yet to talk to her about how she's going to get her certificate," he said.

CBC News was also contacted by some people who held gift certificates to the school worth hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, for either training or spa services.

It will be up to the owner of the school whether those will be honoured.

CBC news left multiple messages for Concepts' owner, Sheena Butler, but they were not returned.