A group of students brought a class action against George Brown College in Ontario. They complained that the course description in the College’s calendar negligently misrepresented the benefits of its graduate international business management program in violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The students were successful at trial, but the College appealed. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled “…it is reasonable for students to rely on statements contained in course calendars, because these calendars are published with the intention that students read them and rely on the information contained therein in order to decide which academic program to pursue”. It also rejected the College’s argument that the Consumer Protection Act did not apply in this situation because the Act defines a consumer as “an individual acting for personal, family or household purposes and does not include a person who is acting for business purposes.” The College alleged that postgraduate students seeking to obtain a business certificate were acting for a business purpose. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge who had carefully reviewed the Act and concluded that the plaintiffs were “typical students who obviously hoped that their education would one day lead to employment.” The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s finding that the College was liable in damages to the students for misleading them.
Ramdath v. George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology, 2013 ONCA 468 (CanlII)