Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ontario parents sue former church ‘academy’ after finding out son short years of school credits

The World of Life Church's Michael Welch
A Rockland couple is suing their former church in Ottawa, alleging that it falsely led them to believe an educational program in which they enrolled their children met Ontario educational standards and would prepare their two sons for college and university.

Yvon Largess and his wife, Louise Pronovost, allege they were later told the Word of Life Church’s “Dominion Christian Academy” was operating illegally and wasn’t recognized as a school under the provincial Education Act, forcing their eldest son to enroll in an adult high school to obtain three years of missing credits.

In their statement of defence, the church and co-defendant Michael Welch, the church’s pastor, deny that they ever represented the academy – which they describe as a “self-directed, home-schooling learning program” – as a private school or program registered with the Ontario Ministry of Education.

They say the church created a new ministry in 2001 for parishioners who wanted to home school their children but couldn’t afford to leave their jobs. Church members whose children participated were asked to pay “a modest amount” toward the cost of operating the academy, they say.

The church operated the academy at a loss for almost a decade before shutting it down in June 2011, the statement of defence says.

According to the Canada Revenue Agency’s website, the Word of Life Church became inactive in 2013, when its assets were transferred to the Capital City Church at 1123 Old Montreal Rd.

In their civil lawsuit, Largess, Pronovost and their sons name both the church and Welch individually as defendants. Welch and his wife, Lynda, co-founded the Capital City Church in 2012 and the two are now lead pastors there.

They allege negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and negligence on the part of Welch and the church.  (more...)

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