Laurentian University hires external consultant to address financial woes

Laurentian University says a pre-existing $7million dollar deficit combined with what it's calling $5-10 million in COVID-19 impacts, has led the school to hire an external financial advisor.

'Faculty are saying basically, 'Enough is enough,' says secretary treasurer of faculty association

Laurentian University says it's brought on an external financial advisor to help sort out the school's financial concerns. (Erik White/CBC )

Laurentian University says a pre-existing $7 million dollar deficit combined with what it's calling $5-10 million in COVID-19 impacts, has led the school to hire an external financial advisor.

According to a news release, the firm, Ernst & Young, will help to address the financial situation. The firm will review the school's financial outcomes and budgets with the aim of coming up with potential solutions and opportunities.

Jean-Charles Cachon, the secretary treasurer of Laurentian University's Faculty Association, says the news doesn't come as a surprise to faculty. 

"Faculty are saying basically, 'Enough is enough,' we have had departments which have been understaffed for over 10 years, departments which don't have enough faculty hired to deliver quality programs," Cachon said. 

Jean-Charles Cachon is the secretary and treasurer of the Laurentian University Faculty Association. (Submitted by Jean-Charles Cachon)

He said that the university's financial concerns have been serious for years, predating the COVID-19 pandemic, which hasn't made matters any better.

Cachon said, he does not anticipate any further cuts at this time for faculty and programs.

He said while the school's administration bears responsibility, the government hasn't provided enough help to allow post-secondary institutions and students to survive the challenges the pandemic has brought. 

'Lack of understanding'

"There has been a [total] lack of understanding from the federal and provincial government regarding post-secondary education and vis-a-vis the COVID situation," Cachon said. 

"There is no relief for the insitituitions to help with the salaries or any type of special expenses that have been caused by the COVID situation. I think there has been a kind of disregard of post-secondary institutions, which is very sad when you consider that 70 to 80 per cent of jobs now require a post-secondary education." 

He said federal and provincial financial relief is especially needed in places like northern Ontario. 

In an emailed statement to the CBC, Laurentian says it's been transparent that it is facing some financial challenges, some historic and some brought on by COVID-19.

Institutions and businesses across the country have taken financial blows because of the pandemic. Universities are no exception. Laurentian University has hired a financial advisor to help with its financial problems. Jean-Charles Cachon, the secretary-treasurer for the Laurentian University Faculty Association, spoke about the financial issue with the CBC's Sam Juric. 8:27


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