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A general view of the Canada Christian College, in Whitby, Ont. is shown on Oct. 22, 2020.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Key documents supporting a proposal to grant university status to a religious college run by prominent Doug Ford ally Charles McVety were removed from an Ontario government agency website and reposted with significant details missing, raising questions from opposition MPPs.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Premier has been accused of unfairly favouring Mr. McVety, one of Canada’s most prominent social conservatives, after his government tabled a bill in the legislature that would grant Mr. McVety’s Canada Christian College an expansion of its ability to offer university degrees – even though its formal application to do so has yet to be approved.

On Thursday, the Ontario NDP seized on details from the college’s application for university status, which was removed from the internet last week after the controversy first erupted.

The original documents disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans from Canada Christian College to Mr. McVety and his family. They also detail the academic qualifications of Mr. McVety and other faculty at the college, which is in Whitby, Ont., east of Toronto.

According to the initial application package, Mr. McVety received a loan of more than $500,000 from the college, of which he is also the president. His son, Ryan McVety, who is listed as chief executive officer, received loans of approximately $400,000, including a $280,000 relocation loan.

Those details were not included in the revised package that reappeared on the website of the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board, or PEQAB, this week after being removed last Thursday.

The first set of documents also contained curriculum vitae for key personnel at the college, including Mr. McVety’s wife, Jennifer McVety, who uses the title Dr. in several places in the documents. Her CV, however, shows a 2001 bachelor’s degree in Christian counselling from the Canada Christian College, but no doctorate.

In a statement Julian Porter, a lawyer for Mr. McVety, said the PEQAB had “leaked” private and proprietary information.

He said Mr. McVety and his son had both been paid a salary much lower than the amount set by the college in recent years.

He said Mr. McVety’s salary is set at $200,000 but he was only paid about $50,000 per year. Other compensation, such as housing and car allowances, were set up as loans with interest, he said.

Ryan McVety’s salary is set at $150,000 per year but he was paid about $60,000, he said.

“All other benefits, including housing and car allowances for him were set up as loans with interest as well,” Mr. Porter said, adding that the loans had been reviewed and audited each year.

In Question Period, PC MPP Gila Martow responded to questions about what happened to the documents by saying everyone has experienced technical mix-ups.

Speaking to reporters, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called that explanation “completely unbelievable.”

James Brown, chief executive officer of PEQAB, the board charged with evaluating applications from institutions like Canada Christian College to grant degrees, said the government had no role in removing the documents from public view.

He said the documents were removed at the request of Canada Christian College on Oct. 22 because they contained personal information in violation of privacy laws. The board reported the privacy breach to the Information and Privacy Commission on Oct. 26. But Mr. Brown said the reviewer looking into the application has had the full file on which his report will be based since Sept. 28.

Ms. Horwath has accused the government of trying to do a favour for Mr. McVety, in return for his vocal support for Mr. Ford. The Premier denies this. Mr. McVety, who has opposed same-sex marriage and whose television show was found to have violated broadcast standards for statements about Muslims and other groups, backed Mr. Ford in the Progressive Conservative leadership race in 2018.

“It is absolutely shameful and disgraceful that in 2020 in the province of Ontario the government is … actually breaking process rules around the designation of universities, for a college that is openly Islamophobic, openly homophobic, openly transphobic,” Ms. Horwath said.

Asked if he would approve the college’s new degree granting powers if it fails its review, Mr. Ford said the legislation would not be proclaimed or allowed to take effect until Mr. McVety’s application “goes through the proper processes.”

“We’re going to follow the procedures like we would do to anyone else. And that’s the only fair thing to do,” Mr. Ford said. “Let’s get through the PEQAB process. Let’s see what happens. Then we’ll make a decision.”

Deputy Premier Christine Elliott, who lost the PC leadership to Mr. Ford in 2018, disagreed that the affair suggests her government is homophobic or Islamophobic.

“I am not comfortable with people seeing our government in that light because that’s not what we stand for,” Ms. Elliott said.

She said the information about the loans to the McVety family does “raise questions.” But she said these and other “allegations” are for the PEQAB to assess as it determines whether the school should be allowed to expand its degree offerings.

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca called on Attorney-General Doug Downey to investigate the loans mentioned in the documents, calling it “astounding” that Mr. McVety and his son had borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars from their non-profit college.

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