(Ottawa, April 13, 2022)—In the wake of today’s release of the Auditor General of Ontario’s report on Laurentian University, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)—the voice of academic and professional staff at 125 universities and colleges across Canada—is calling for the immediate resignation of Laurentian University President Robert Haché and all senior administrators.
“Today’s report is a damning indictment of Laurentian University’s administration,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The report shows that the administration intentionally delayed the disclosure of important financial information to the faculty association and ignored collective agreement provisions that would have avoided the costly legal proceedings over the past year.”
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s report concludes that the University did not have to file for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)—and should have instead relied upon financial exigency provisions in the collective agreement with the faculty association and the “normal broader public sector precedent by making comprehensive and clear efforts to seek financial assistance” from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
The Auditor General’s investigation lays the blame for Laurentian’s financial woes on the Administration’s “poorly considered capital investments”, poor financial management, weak governance oversight, and rising senior administration costs—not academic staff salary costs.
“It is absolutely scandalous that the University leadership used money intended for employee health benefits and academic research for its capital projects and other purposes,” Robinson notes. “It then diverted more than $24 million to high-priced consultants and lawyers handling the unnecessary insolvency proceedings, while at the same time demanding staff lay-offs and program cuts,” Robinson notes.
Robinson says the only path forward for the University to reclaim trust is for President Haché and other senior leaders to immediately step down.
“After reading today’s report, no one can reasonably have any confidence in Laurentian’s leadership. Students, staff, faculty, and the broader community deserve better.”
Laurentian University declared insolvency February 1, 2021. On December 8, the Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on Public Accounts voted to issue a speaker’s warrant compelling University President Robert Haché and Board Chair Mr. Claude Lacroix to release financial documents required by the province’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk by February 1, 2022.
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