Laurentian University President Robert Haché came to Parliamentary committee today to defend the massive cuts undertaken at the university this past spring. Charlie Angus says Haché’s testimony raises more questions than it answers. In particular, he wants clarification over the nature of discussions with the Provincial and Federal government in the months leading up to the decision to go into bankruptcy protection.
“What we learned from today’s testimony is that the provincial and federal governments abandoned Laurentian in their time of need. Mr. Haché admitted he met with the province and the feds in the lead up to the devastating cuts at the university. How is it possible that an institution built up over 60 years was not given the support to restructure its loans? It looks like both the feds and province walked away on the students of Northern Ontario.”
Last fall, the university claimed they had gone from a nearly balanced budget to a $10 million hit from the COVID crisis. And yet, every university and college was facing a COVID hit. So what happened in the discussions that forced the university into either shutting its doors permanently or undertaking a massive series of cuts that have damaged the vitality of the institution.
“These cuts have been devastating for staff and students from across the country. It is not good enough for the President of the university to pretend this was just a business decision. Clearly, there is more going on here, and we need some answers. Who told Laurentian to file under the CCAA, and why did the Trudeau and Ford governments turn their backs and walk away when Laurentian came to them for help, in the middle of a pandemic?”
Laurentian filed for protection from their creditors under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act on February 1, 2021, and shortly after fired 187 staff, including 100 teachers, while eliminating 69 programs.