Sudbury

Sudbury councillors vote to send letter to province about Laurentian funding

The City of Greater Sudbury is joining the growing call for the province of Ontario to provide additional funding to Laurentian University. 

'This school is part of our heart of Sudbury'

The City of Greater Sudbury will be sending a letter to Premier Doug Ford and Minister Romano, about the need for additional funding for Laurentian University, which is currently in creditor protection. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

The City of Greater Sudbury is joining the growing call for the province of Ontario to provide additional funding to Laurentian University. 

City councillors voted Wednesday evening to send a letter to Premier Doug Ford, and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano. The "letter of concern" would address the need for the province to "make funding available to stabilize Laurentian University's operations," as well as to review the funding model for Ontario universities, according to the motion put forward by Coun. René Lapierre, who put forward the motion.

Laurentian University has been in creditor protection since the start of the month, when it announced it was insolvent, and would be unable to make payroll without immediate intervention. 

"Part of our job is to also lobby the provincial and the federal government whenever it's appropriate to do that. I think this is one of those times," Lapierre said during Wednesday's finance committee meeting. 

"This school is part of our heart of Sudbury."

'Inadequate' post-secondary funding 

Lapierre's motion received unanimous support, though there were questions from some councillors about what the best timing would be for sending the letter. Coun. Bill Leduc, for example, wondering if the city should "hold off" on the letter until the court proceedings are complete.

Laurentian's court-monitored process is currently ongoing. The university must restructure its finances by the end of April. 

René Lapierre is the city councillor for Ward 6 in Greater Sudbury. (Submitted by The City of Greater Sudbury)

"Time-wise, I just wanted the letter to be in the government's hand and the premier's hand before the court proceedings were done, so that they realize that it is on our radar," Lapierre said. 

"It doesn't say that we want them to action this letter and give funding tomorrow, but we want them to look at this, and possibly give whatever they can to try to remedy this solution." 

Coun. Robert Kirwan said the letter speaks to an issue that is "much bigger" than Laurentian. 

"I think Laurentian University has brought to light the fact that the funding for our post-secondary institutions is inadequate," Kirwan said. 

"I just think this is demonstrating to the province that the City of Greater Sudbury feels that the minister has to take a look at post-secondary institution funding so that no other universities run into this type of problem."

Romano has said he is concerned about the situation at Laurentian, but so far he has not made any promises for additional funding. 

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