By CAUT Staff
The Auditor General of Ontario says it was unnecessary, inappropriate, and ultimately destructive for the Laurentian University senior administration to deliberately pursue insolvency protection in the courts rather than accept government assistance
The Special Report on Laurentian University details years of financial mismanagement at Laurentian University which culminated in the unprecedented and unnecessary decision to file for insolvency protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) on February 1, 2021.
"The Auditor General is absolutely unequivocal in concluding that Laurentian University’s administration did not have to, and should not have, turned to the CCAA,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “There were other processes available, including government funding and the financial exigency provisions in its collective agreement with the academic staff association. Instead, a deliberate choice was made to pursue an expensive, court-driven, opaque process which bypassed collective agreement provisions and was not intended to nor should it ever apply to publicly funded institutions.”
The costs associated with pursuing protection under the CCAA have totaled $54.7 million at a time when Laurentian’s overall debt stood at about $107 million.
“You have to question why senior administrators felt it was more appropriate to spend scarce resources on legal and consultancy fees rather than on its core mission of teaching and research,” Robinson notes. “In the end, the CCAA process resulted in nearly 200 lost jobs, elimination of programs, and a significant impact on the community.”