The University of Saskatchewan says it will be laying off 40 employees in the next three weeks.

The move comes just days after the head of the Saskatoon-based school announced the start of a review process aimed at wrestling down a $44.5 million funding deficit.

The layoffs were announced Monday as a way to address the university's operating deficit.

The 40 affected employees, in union and non-union positions, were just the beginning as the university said more job losses were in the works for April.

"The January layoffs are expected to save the organization $2.3 million per year," the university said in a news release.

The release also quoted a senior administrator as saying layoffs were necessary in order to deal with the ongoing funding shortfall, which was pegged at $44.5 million annually.

"It is unrealistic to think that we can address such a large deficit without making changes to our workforce," Barb Daigle, an associate vice-president at the U of S, said. "We are committed to making changes that are strategic, sustainable and will ensure all jobs on campus are aligned with the university’s teaching, research and outreach priorities."

The university added that they were not implementing a freeze on hiring, but any new positions would be "carefully considered and focused in priority areas".

The university has said it will look at all areas of the school, for cuts, as part of a strategic review announced Friday by president Ilene Busch-Vishniac.