08/25/2016 12:44 EDT | Updated 08/26/2017 01:12 EDT

McDonald's, college partnership sets chilling precedent, says union

TORONTO — The Ontario Public Service Employees Union opposes the recent partnership between McDonald's Canada and Ontario's colleges to offer advance placement to the chain's managers who complete some internal training.

OPSEU president Warren Thomas said in a statement that students are the biggest losers of this arrangement, which allows them to bypass the first year of a business or business administration diploma at Ontario's 24 public colleges.

He said employers will value those diplomas less and the students will lose out on high-quality education.

OPSEU called it a chilling precedent of outsourcing the responsibility of public education to private corporations, like McDonald's.

Colleges Ontario president and CEO Linda Franklin said in a statement that the current economy calls for innovative new approaches to strengthen the training of the workforce.

Franklin said a great deal of due diligence was done to ensure that quality standards would be maintained and students were set up for success.

She called the training program comprehensive and consistent and said this will give the company's employees a chance to further their education and training.

McDonald's Canada had no comment but Sharon Ramalho, its so-called chief people officer, previously said its managers receive high-quality training that covers many of the same skills students would learn in the first year of a business program.

OPSEU represents about 130,000 workers in Ontario, including community college employees.