Commitment To Higher Education Sector
Harris was admitted to practice law in Ontario in 1994. Since then, he has headed up a regulatory department in a public company, engaged in private practice, and raised venture capital in his own business. Harris has had considerable experience in administrative law, regulatory, and corporate matters. His clients have included large Fortune 100 Companies, as well as a diverse number of small and medium-sized businesses. On May 1, 2018, Harris established his own professional corporation after working as a partner in a mid-sized Toronto law firm for many years.
Harris represents private colleges across the country, with an emphasis on regulatory compliance and government accountability. He routinely advises colleges on IP matters, labour and employment matters, and education-specific litigation.
He acts on student discipline issues for both institutions and students. He routinely drafts student enrolment contracts to comply with the enabling legislation.
Broad Spectrum Of Clients
Since his return to private practice in 2002, Harris has acted almost exclusively for private post-secondary institutions, including private career colleges, private career training institutions, language (ESL) schools, corporate training institutions, and private degree granting institutions.
Private Equity Groups
More recently, Harris has acted for some of Canada’s largest private equity groups and law firms (as regulatory counsel to transaction counsel), securing regulatory approvals on some of the most significant asset and share transactions within the higher education sector.
Distance Education Issues
Distance Education is currently the life-blood of many schools. There are stringent rules relating to Distance Education in the provinces across Canada. Well before COVID19 tragically kept students outside of the physical classroom, Harris developed expertise in the regulation of synchronous and asynchronous learning—and distance education more broadly. Distance learning, despite the likelihood of price commoditization and its limited suitability for certain types of programs, has been vital to the survival of many institutions during COVID19. The near future of international student enrolment is uncertain not just in Canada, but around the world.
Corporate Trainers And Other Exempt Institutions
Harris is also retained routinely by a significant number of organizations who wish to seek exempt status and avoid being subject to the rules and regulations governing registered private post-secondary institutions.
Harris has advised private institutions who are partnered with public institutions, and he has also been retained on RFP’s for public-private partnerships within Canada’s borders.
Private High Schools
Harris was legal counsel to an association of private high schools and still acts as counsel to a number of private high schools, advising on non-disparagement and anti-bullying issues, and Ministry of Education audits.