Algonquin College set to cancel 7 programs

Algonquin College says it's cancelling seven programs offered at its Ottawa, Pembroke and Perth campuses due to low enrolment.

7 programs in total will be cancelled for the following academic year, mostly in Perth

At its Perth campus, Algonquin College is cancelling the general and executive office administration program, the social service work program, the heritage and traditional masonry program, and the carpentry and renovation program. As well, the motive power technician program in Pembroke and the kitchen and bath design program in Ottawa will be cancelled. (CBC News)

Algonquin College says it's cancelling seven programs offered at its Ottawa, Pembroke and Perth campuses due to low enrolment.

Most of the programs will be cancelled at the Perth campus, including:  

  • General and executive office administration.
  • Social service work.
  • Heritage and traditional masonry.
  • Carpentry and renovation.

The motive power technician program at the Pembroke campus and the kitchen and bath design program offered at the Ottawa campus will also be cancelled.

The 200 students currently enrolled in the programs will not be affected. Most will wrap up their studies this fall or next winter.

People won't be able to sign up for the programs in the coming academic year.

The program cancellations mainly affect the college's Perth campus. (Aislinn May/ CBC News)

Claude Brulé, the college's senior vice-president of academics, said the programs are being suspended because not enough students are signing up, making the programs a financial burden on the college.

Each year Algonquin reviews the enrolment and financial standing of all its programs, he said. One other program was cancelled in the previous two academic years.

Departments with struggling programs are also notified three years ahead of official cancellations, he added.

'It's really, really sad'

Some students at the Perth campus said they're worried about how it will affect future students, as well as the future of the campus as a whole.

"I am really happy I decided to take this step and enrol in this program this semester, and I really feel bad for the other students who live in the area and who were planning to come to this program," said Asmaa Addi, a social work student at the college's Perth campus. 

Algonquin College says it's cancelling seven programs offered at its Ottawa, Pembroke and Perth campuses due to low enrolment. 0:23

"It's sad. It's really, really sad. It's a great program that everyone should have the opportunity to take."

Leah Young, another student in the social service program, said she decided to attend classes in Perth because the smaller campus helps her concentrate with her anxiety.

"It's an awesome program, so I decided to take the program out here because I have heard so many good things," she said.

'Concerning for the future' 

"I think [the cancellation] is ridiculous, honestly," said Matthew Williams, a student in the masonry program, which is only offered at the Perth campus. "I think it's a great program and it shouldn't be happening."

He thinks the college should put more thought into cancelling a program that's hard to find anywhere else. 

"The people that come out here are really passionate about [masonry] because they know there is a demand for it, like at the Parliament buildings and other historical sites," Williams said.

Matthew Williams, a heritage and traditional masonry student at the Perth campus, said he thinks it's 'ridiculous' his program is being cancelled. (CBC News)

"I find it kind of scary for the future. There is going to be a lot of buildings that are going to require work, and if there are people who are not willing to do the job, or who aren't trained enough for the job, [these buildings] are going to be left unattended."

Brulé said Algonquin will work "diligently" to find other opportunities for affected faculty, and that teachers will have the opportunity to be retrained to teach other courses. 

Currently three faculty members will be affected this fall when their programs wrap up, but more could be affected down the line, he said.