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Disaster at Laurentian: questionable selections based on the Auditor Normal | Disaster at Laurentian College

Plunged into an unprecedented financial crisis for a public education institution in Canada, Laurentian University, which had been sheltering from its creditors, canceled 69 programs in April 2021, including 28 in French.

Seven other programs had been scrapped by the university’s Senate the previous month, but disregarding the related procedures Law on the regulation of corporate creditors (CCAA).

In her research report released Tuesday, Bonnie Lysyk revealed that 932 students at the institution – 7.5% of undergraduates and 3.7% of graduate students – were affected by these cuts.

However, his research enabled him to learn that to determine which programs should be removed, The institution’s administrators did not employ a rigorous process that documented an assessment of costs, revenues, projections, or other considerations such as the university’s core values ​​and future viability.

A billboard with the Laurentian University logo.

According to the report, the primary cause of Laurentian’s financial decline between 2010 and 2020 was “the poorly planned and costly expansion and modernization of its capital facilities.”

Photo: Radio Canada / Yvon Theriault

Guided by outside consultants, Laurentian instead used raw financial data to create and apply a universal threshold. Programs below the threshold were deemed unprofitable for the university and eliminatedread the final report.

Ms. Lysyk points out that her office did not have enough information to interpret the method used to reach this threshold.

The information obtained allows them to conclude that the considerations were used were based on very narrow criteria and may have been incorrect.

Removed flagship or profitable programs

For example, cuts did not take into account a program’s ability to secure future research funding, recruit students, meet community needs, or provincial priorities.writes the Auditor General in her report.

She clarified her position by pointing to the Environmental Sciences degree, which has been scrapped despite the Institute’s two recent strategic plans highlighting it as a strong point.

The midwifery program, the only French-language program outside of Quebec, was also cut, making it impossible for many students to do so [poursuivre] their education when they could not learn English or moved to southern Ontario to study at McMaster University in Hamilton or Metropolitan University in Torontosays the report.

And yet, according to data from Laurentian University to the government, the program has been in good financial shape, posting surpluses of between $126,000 and $531,000 between 2009 and 2021.

When the cuts were announced, Laurentian University said it wanted them Concentrate most on the programs [populaires] further align its financial resources to ensure that the remaining programs are adequately funded.

Ms. Lysyk also reiterated in her final report that Laurentian did not need to place herself under federal protection CCAAas she mentioned in her preliminary report last April.

Salary as a manager

According to the report, Laurentian would have done so violated the province’s wage cap laws for more general public sector employees, compensating senior executives $389,000 more than the law allowed.

Ms. Lysyk also notes that the Executive recruitment was neither fair nor justified.

She also found that the university had paid special counsel for a total of $2.4 million without justification.

Laurentian is willing to work together for the future

In response, shortly after the Auditor General’s report was released, Laurentian University released a statement stating this accepted the findings of the report.

We are determined to embark on the university’s next chapter on a solid financial footing and enter a new era of accountability.said Board of Governors Chairman Jeff Bangs.

Mr. Bangs hinted at that The university now has a solid foundation to make the major changes needed and ensure that past mistakes are not repeated.

During the press conference following the publication of the report, Ms. Lysyk stressed the cooperation of Mr Bangs in the preparation of the report.

More details to come

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