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Alberta urged to reverse education cuts as COVID-19 crisis takes hold

(Ottawa — March 26, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is gravely concerned by the Government of Alberta’s refusal to reverse planned cuts to post-secondary education which will see over 600 workers laid off at the University of Alberta alone, most before March 31st.

Despite outcries from the scientific community, and a national call to support workers and families through the COVID-19 crisis, the provincial government is proceeding with massive funding cuts to post-secondary education.

The Kenney government announced earlier this year that funding would be reduced by up to 20% for some institutions. With universities and provinces now reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the funding reductions will be even more devastating for workers and families in Alberta and will have long-lasting impacts on the quality and viability of post-secondary education.

“In this unprecedented time, governments need to be investing in science, supporting workers, reducing anxieties, and ensuring that families can get through this crisis,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The post-secondary education and research community is stepping up to address the COVID-19 crisis. To cut funding to the institutions that provide needed evidence-based expertise to deal with this pandemic – from research in vaccinology and immunology, to policies needed to address the social and economic fallout – is short-sighted and harmful.”

Robinson adds that CAUT supports the calls of the joint letter sent to the University of Alberta to maintain employee benefits and payroll throughout the COVID-19 crisis.