City council seeks to help displaced LU employees find local employment opportunities

The City of Greater Sudbury wants to find ways to keep displaced Laurentian University employees here in the community, with new opportunities During Tuesday's city council meeting, councillors asked staff in the Economic Development division to look for connections within their network of stakeholders who may be able to help.

"We want to reach out a helping hand to the people at Laurentian who've lost their jobs."

The City of Greater Sudbury wants to connect displaced employees recently laid off from Laurentian University with employment opportunities in the community. (Shutterstock)

The City of Greater Sudbury wants to help the employees who are losing their jobs at Laurentian University.

On Tuesday night, city council asked staff in the economic development division to find employment opportunities for the displaced staff or connect them with other agencies that can.

Councillor Geoff McCausland made the suggestion after hearing about a similar initiative in Peterborough.

That city worked with hundreds of employees who had been laid off from the G-E plant there in 2017. They connected them with other local employers who needed to fill vacancies.

Councillor Geoff McCausland suggested the city try to connect people who are losing their jobs at Laurentian with other employment opportunities in Greater Sudbury, so they don't move away. (Casey Stranges CBC)

"They offered retraining and the city worked with the company and other places to try and find other roles for those people in the community," McCausland told Sudbury city council during Tuesday's virtual meeting.

"Will we be reaching out, either through our contacts on the board of GSDC [Greater Sudbury Development Corporation] or just to the university, from our own economic development department to discuss how we can try to connect people who are losing their jobs with other opportunities in Greater Sudbury, so that we don't lose these individuals from our community?" he asked.

McCausland asked that the request to city staff be compiled into an official motion.

"I just feel like the community would benefit from seeing us making it official, that we want to reach out a helping hand to the people at Laurentian who've lost their jobs," he said.

Meredith Armstrong is the manager of Tourism and Culture and former acting manager of Economic Development at the City of Greater Sudbury. (Erik White/CBC)

The city's economic development division and the GSDC work with agencies that help connect workers with employers, like the Sudbury Vocational Resource Centre, Job Connect, YMCA Employment Services and the Workforce Planning Council.

"I think it's mostly about mustering the troops and making sure that we understand how we can play a role in the middle of connecting the dots, but yes, absolutely, we do have a network of of those associations," said Meredith Armstrong, the city's manager of tourism and culture, and former acting manager of economic development.

'See where we can match'

She says the department and the GSDC already know where there are vacancies in sectors like mining supply and other related industries.

"I think really what we would need to do is understand the skill sets that are coming out very specifically from Laurentian University, a group of very talented individuals," she said.

"And then we would work with our partners to see where we can match."

Armstrong told council it shouldn't be too difficult to connect displaced employees with agencies within their network which help connect employers who are trying to fill vacancies.

"I'm certain already that a number of our innovative companies are watching this closely. They know the people they're looking for and they're aware of some of the potential to pivot some of these folks," Armstrong said.

"In some cases  these are very specialized skill sets on the academic side that are coming out of here, but in other cases they may be more broad and they can be applied in various ways."

Staff in the city's Economic Development division will work in collaboration with the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation board and other community stakeholders to facilitate opportunities to support displaced Laurentian University employees in finding re-employment in the community.


Angela Gemmill


Angela Gemmill is a CBC journalist who covers news in Sudbury and northern Ontario. Connect with her on Twitter @AngelaGemmill. Send story ideas to


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