Nova Scotia

Cape Breton University profs say there's no financial crisis

The president of the Cape Breton University Faculty Association says the university is not in financial difficulty, and there's no need for managers to invoke the layoff clause in the collective agreement.

Cape Breton University Faculty Association hires accountants in face of layoff fears

Cape Breton University is preparing for a potential deficit tied to falling enrolment. (

The president of the Cape Breton University Faculty Association says the university is not in financial difficulty, and there's no need for managers to invoke the layoff clause in the collective agreement.

The clause was invoked last month and the faculty association, which represents professors, instructors, librarians and other teaching staff, has said it could mean layoff notices as early as April.

The association recently hired two accountants with the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba to analyze Cape Breton University's finances.

Scott Stewart, the association's president, said the report shows "CBU is in good financial standing" and was "financially stable and healthy over the last number of years."

He said the operational budget showed annual surpluses.

Projected deficit

But the university's vice-president of finance, Gordon MacInnis, said CBU is projecting a $5-million deficit and must prepare. 

"Layoffs are something that we will try to avoid if we can," he said. 

Salary and wages, however, make up 75 per cent of the university's operating budget. 

"If it proves that we can't avoid layoffs, then of course, we will have to take that road," warned MacInnis.

Enrolment is down at CBU due to the loss of a large cohort of students from Saudi Arabia and the decline in the number of local high school graduates.

MacInnis said CBU has to adjust for that so it doesn't end up in financial trouble.

Stewart, however, said a cut in faculty will result in reduced programs, which in turn will hurt recruiting and enrolment even more. 

"What the university is doing is considering layoffs for a projected deficit in the future," he said. "We think that puts the cart before the horse."


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