British Columbia

Richmond college suspended for selling massage diploma

The B.C. government has suspended a Richmond massage college whose president admitted selling a diploma to a woman who hadn’t taken a single class.

Vancouver International College of Health and Wellness president can't advertise to or enrol new students

The Vancouver International College of Health and Wellness is based in Richmond, B.C. (WellnessCollege.ca)

The B.C. government has suspended a Richmond massage college whose president admitted selling a diploma to a woman who hadn't taken a single class.

The Vancouver International College of Health and Wellness is now banned for 30 days from advertising or enrolling new students in its acupressure and body massage and esthetician programs, following an enforcement action from the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB), which certifies private learning institutions.

The school was found to have violated the Private Training Act, which prohibits selling credentials.

College president Chun Wang told CBC he has no comment on the suspension, but the school is not currently accepting new students.

Wang's actions came to light last month, thanks to a small claims lawsuit from a woman who said she received her diploma in acupressure and body massage on the same day she paid her $5,000 tuition to the school. 

Zhen Qin received no training or work experience from the school. She claimed she sued when she discovered the school wasn't certified by the PTIB and her massage services would not be reimbursable through extended health insurance.

Wang admitted to selling the certificate, explaining that he was trying to help Qin qualify for a mortgage on a new condo, according to a decision from the Civil Resolution Tribunal. 

The tribunal rejected Qin's bid for a refund of her tuition, saying she should have known better than to trust this particular college.

The school was granted an interim designation with the PTIB in January, which meant it had applied for official certification but had not yet met all the requirements. That interim designation is still posted prominently on the college's website.
 

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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