McVety family owes $860K to Canada Christian College unredacted application reveals

By Sabrina Nanji October 28, 2020

The McVety affair drags on. 

The NDP unearthed another tidbit on Thursday: that Charles McVety and his son Ryan allegedly owed more than $860,000 in loans to Canada Christian College in 2019. 

That includes a $555,000 balance on a loan advanced to McVety from the college (which is a registered non-profit charitable organization) and another $172,000 owed by Ryan, who is also college VP, for a loan the school granted him to relocate to Whitby, where the college is based. 

The revelations are in CCC’s original PEQAB application for arts and science degree-granting powers that was removed from the website last week. A redacted version was re-uploaded yesterday, scrubbed of information about the loans.

The application also details CCC’s $21 million in assets and financial projections that would see the college nearly double its revenues within five years (it ran a $825,000 deficit last year). 

Asked about the non-profit’s loans to the McVety family, Deputy Premier Christine Elliott said “there are questions that are raised, there’s no question about that.” But it’s up to PEQAB, the independent post-secondary assessment board, to decide what to do with that info, Elliott said.

Later on, Premier Doug Ford told reporters Bill 213 — the legislation enabling degree-granting powers and university status for McVety’s college — won’t be proclaimed “until everything goes through the proper processes.” 

PEQAB director James Brown says it’s standard practice for schools to submit two versions of an application, a full one and one that gets publicly posted online for comment. 

CCC’s full application was on PEQAB’s website for almost a month before the college asked to remove it last Thursday, saying it contained personal info and violated the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (That was the same day the CBC reported on it and Ford admitted it hadn’t been approved, even though Bill 213 had already been tabled.)

CCC submitted the redacted version on Wednesday, which Brown said is standard because it “removed the personal information and some proprietary financial information, which the Board would have allowed the applicant to remove from the original web version.” 

“The reviewer has the original full version, his review and the board’s consideration will be based on that version,” Brown added. 

McVety’s lawyer, Julian Porter, reportedly said the information was “leaked” by PEQAB. Porter did not respond to Queen’s Park Today’s request for comment. 

People have until November 2 to weigh in on CCC’s application for expanded degree-granting authority. Meanwhile, opposition critics are hoping to shed some light on the McVety affair. 

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca asked Attorney General Doug Downey to investigate the loans, saying, “if laws have been broken those responsible must face consequences.” 

NDP Anti-racism critic Laura Mae Lindo has asked Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake to determine whether he can investigate in light of revelations CCC appeared to know in July that the legislation to give it degree-granting powers was coming (via Bill 213, the Covid-era red-tape reduction legislation which hit the clerk’s table October 6). McVety and his college aren’t registered lobbyists, so Lindo is “concerned about how a new university designation and required legislation could be developed without extensive meetings with officials and politicians.”

The NDP has accused Ford of doing a favour for McVety, his political ally who helped him secure the PC leadership with support from the social conservative camp. Ford has denied any special treatment. 

In light of McVety’s past comments, Elliott (who lost her leadership bid to Ford) stressed that “our government does not stand for any racist or homophobic behaviour.” 

Faculty and staff from 10 post-secondary institutions also wrote to Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano last week urging the government not to expand degree-granting powers “to institutions that do not meet the anti-discriminatory and anti-hate speech principles outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code.”