Ottawa Aviation Services (OAS) closed suddenly last month, leaving many students and staff members in a lurch. Flight instructors have gone unpaid and students have not received training they already paid for. About 125 students were enrolled in the school, with about 40 percent being foreign.

Transport Canada-Civil Aviation cancelled OAS’s operating certificate on December 17, citing its failure to appoint required senior safety personnel within its organization. This came only days after Ontario’s superintendent of Private Career Colleges pulled their accreditation on December 12 after an investigation.

One of OAS’s flight instructors, John Richardson, told the Ottawa Sun that he is owed between $25,000 and $30,000 in wages and expenses. He said he began to suspect something was wrong. “Not getting paid was a key indicator. The reason we stayed without being paid was to see how far we could advance the students and minimize the damage they had already incurred.” Many of the other instructors had already left the company.

Students had been promised they would be receiving five training flights a week, but some were receiving one or two lessons a week, despite being charged $5,300 per month.  Others only got to fly two or three times a month. Many foreign students, most of them Chinese, had prepaid U$120,000 for the training program that they ended up not receiving.

OAS is owned and operated by Cedric Paillard, who formerly worked in the tech sector in Ottawa. According to his LinkedIn profile, Paillard also worked for the Air Transport Association of Canada for a period of time in 2010 as their Vice-President for Communications and Marketing.

Paillard states that the closure is only temporary, and that he is restructuring the company. The OAS website and Facebook page are still up with no mention of any troubles.

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