Sudbury·Audio

Laurentian University's restructuring trumps professors' collective agreement

Laurentian University professors who lost their jobs in restructuring are facing a future with few prospects and little support.

Professor says she will lose her salary, health benefits and won't get any severance after 15 years

Christine Sansolone is among the dozens of Laurentian University professors who lost their jobs as the school restructures to get out of its financially insolvent state. (Laurentian University)

Laurentian University professors who lost their jobs in restructuring are facing a future with few prospects and little support.

On April 12, roughly 100 faculty members lost their jobs and dozens of programs were axed.

As Laurentian manoeuvres the insolvency process, the job and program cuts were a stunning development — the result of an academic senate vote that aims to help the financially beleaguered university restructure operations.

Christine Sansolone is a professor in the department of Modern Languages until May 15 — when she loses her job and the department is discontinued.

Sansolone says she loses her salary, health benefits and won't get any severance after 15 years at Laurentian.

She'll be able to apply for Employment insurance, but notes that job prospects for professors are bleak.

"Right now the only ones I can find are in the States, so I would have to move to the States and apply and hopefully get the job and move to the States," she said.

"Or if we decide not to move, I'd have to completely change my career."

Laurentian University has been going though unprecedented restructuring in the wake of declaring financial insolvency on Feb. 1, 2021. The Sudbury, Ont. school is currently under creditor protection. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Collective agreement doesn't apply

Sansolone says professors spend 10 years on their education so start their careers later. The loss of income is usually offset by job security, but that's not in the case at Laurentian.

"A lot of people, I don't think, understand that usually professors start their careers a lot later in life and that's because it takes a very long time to obtain the qualifications to become a professor," she said.

Under the collective agreement, professors would have been provided severance of a minimum of a year's salary plus additional months based on years of service. But the collective agreement doesn't apply under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act process.

Laurentian's court proceeding under the CCAA process started Feb. 1, a tool that allows for creditor protection, so organizations can keep operating while undergoing changes to regain financial footing.

Turns out the safety net for professors laid off from Laurentian University has a huge hole. One professor gave us an update on what happened after the infamous zoom meetings in which they lost their jobs. 7:40

With files from Kate Rutherford

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