Nfld. & Labrador

Respiratory rescue: Calgary college to help students in suspended CNA program

The College of the North Atlantic says students who were enrolled in respiratory therapy will now have the opportunity to finish their program, thanks to a partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology faculty will deliver program in St. John's

The College of the North Atlantic said in a statement that, starting this week, faculty from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology will deliver its respiratory therapy program at the college's Prince Philip Drive campus. (Rob Antle/CBC)

The College of the North Atlantic says students who were enrolled in respiratory therapy will have the opportunity to finish their program, thanks to a partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

In a press release Tuesday, CNA said it has finalized a memorandum of understanding with the Calgary-based SAIT.

"Starting this week, SAIT will implement its respiratory therapy curriculum which will be delivered by SAIT faculty members," the news release said, with the college clarifying that would happen on site at the Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John's.

CNA said the partnership will enable students to complete their studies and graduate as SAIT students without any academic or financial impact.

Lost accreditation in June

CNA's respiratory therapy program lost its accreditation in June — an unprecedented move by the Council on Accreditation for Respiratory Therapy Education.

After that decision, the college suspended its first-year program admissions scheduled for September, as well as into "the foreseeable future."

About 40 students, who had already completed one or two years of the three-year program, were thrown into limbo by the decision.

The program had been on probation since mid-2016, after a number of issues were identified.

CBC News obtained documents citing concerns about the "emotional safety" of students, high attrition rates, quality management problems, and conflicts between instructors.

Former students from the program told CBC News they were belittled, yelled at, and often reduced to tears by clinical instructors. 

CNA previously confirmed that personnel involved with the program were no longer employed by the college.

About the Author

Jen White

CBC News

Jen White is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.

With files from Rob Antle