TORONTO, April 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As insolvency proceedings at Laurentian University continue, Ontario’s labour movement urges Premier Ford and Minister Ross Romano to step up and fix the crisis exacerbated by this government’s funding failures.
“Today’s news that Laurentian University is laying off over 80 faculty members, numerous staff, and cutting over 60 programs is devastating,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President. “This crisis was avoidable, and it is well past time for Ford and Romano to step up and provide the funding that Laurentian needs to save jobs, support learning, and fund research.”
The crisis at Laurentian is merely a symptom of the much larger problem of chronic underfunding of Ontario’s post-secondary education system. Years of diminishing funding for colleges and universities paired with the Ford government’s refusal to provide any short-term funding relief has resulted in Laurentian University’s use of the CCAA process – a process reserved for private institutions, until now.
“It is deeply concerning that Ford and Romano have not only refused to provide the long-term funding Ontario’s universities and colleges need, but they are also refusing to provide support when these public institutions are in crisis,” said Coates.
Workers are particularly concerned about the far-reaching impacts of the use of the CCAA process by a public institution. “Ontarians should be able to trust their government to fund the public services they rely on,” said Coates. “There should not be fear that a school or a hospital might go bankrupt – yet this is the reality that we are living in under Ford’s Conservative government.”
It is not too late for the Ontario government to step in, fix the crisis at Laurentian, and ensure that no other post-secondary institution or any other public institution faces the same fate. Ford and Romano must stop putting ideology over protecting the public institutions Ontarians rely on – especially in the midst of a pandemic.
The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.
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