On Feb. 1, 2021, Laurentian University in Sudbury filed for creditor protection. This month, they were unable to pay their faculty wages and had no choice but to take $12 million from the Ontario government just to meet their payroll obligations for February and March. It is likely that the cracks started to form in Laurentian’s financial foundation long before the start of the pandemic and strict lockdown protocols.
In a public statement, Robert Hache, President of the university, addressed the issue saying that there were “a number of developments over the past decade have put an increased strain on the operational and financial health. These strains include a combination of factors such as historical recurring deficits, declining demographics in northern Ontario, the closure of our Barrie campus in 2019 and the domestic tuition reduction and freeze that was implemented in 2019 and most recently various costs and revenue impacts due to the global pandemic.”
Perhaps this will lead to a larger investigation of postsecondary education institutions to promote greater transparency and prevent reckless investing. Some programs, such as entrepreneurship, have been indefinitely suspended, leaving Laurentian students out to dry.
Students at UW pay about the same amount of tuition on average as Laurentian Students for arts and science programs. However, UW is home to a significant amount of international students, and successful alumni who provide UW with the funds it needs to grow and give back to the Kitchener-Waterloo community.
Currently, Laurentian University is furiously searching for a way to get itself out of this mess by cutting costs and restructuring their finances. This may prove to be difficult without continued support from the local community, as well as the Ontario government