Calgary

Mount Royal University cuts 40 positions, warns more layoffs likely

Calgary's Mount Royal University has axed 40 positions, the school's president announced Thursday, citing ongoing budget reductions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MRU says it's working to lower costs over the next three years

Mount Royal University says it has laid off 23 staff members and eliminated 17 vacant positions amidst a budget crunch and the COVID-19 pandemic. (CBC)

Calgary's Mount Royal University has axed 40 positions, the school's president announced Thursday, citing ongoing budget reductions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The positions included a manager, three exempt employees and 19 staff, along with 17 vacant positions.

"Each of these employees contributed in many ways to the success of students, and it is difficult to see them go. The process was handled as compassionately as possible, given that people are working remotely," Timothy Rahilly wrote in a staff email Thursday. 

"They are receiving all of the supports offered to employees in these circumstances." 

Rahilly said MRU must lower its costs over the next three years to manage reduced funding, similar to what all publicly funded post-secondary institutions in the province are doing.

The situation has grown more dire, Rahilly said, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further compounded budget issues — and could lead to more layoffs later this year.

"Like I've said before, the best thing each of us can do at times like these is to focus on the work we are doing to deliver an education with academic rigour and an experience where students can thrive," Rahilly said.

MRU cut 10 positions in November 2019, warning at the time that more layoffs were to come. Seventy per cent of the school's operating costs come from salaries and benefits.

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