Decades of provincial and federal cuts to post-secondary education have resulted in a huge reduction in the programming provided by Laurentian University in Sudbury. This week’s announcement of the loss of hundreds of good jobs will be damaging for all involved, in Sudbury and beyond.
While these devastating cuts at Laurentian are the first in the country, inadequate funding models are putting strains on universities across the country. As a founding partner of the Education for All coalition, PSAC insists that the federal government take action to save Laurentian now.
Laurentian University, a fixture in Sudbury for 60 years and one of the largest employers in the city, offers programming in both English and French. The university has provided high-quality under-graduate, graduate and professional education for students from Northern Ontario,and from around the world. The school is home to an Indigenous studies program nearly as old as the university, the first midwifery education program in the country, a world-renowned labour studies program, Canada’s newest schools of Medicine and Architecture, providing Indigenous perspectives on health care and architecture. Laurentian was a place for Ontarians to be proud of and deserves government support in these trying times.
The cuts include the closing of 24 francophone programs leaving hundreds of francophone students without access to university-level education in their own language, at home. This is a direct disadvantage for all francophone communities in Northern Ontario where more than 27% of Northen Ontario residents speak French as their first language.
Cancellation of the only bilingual midwifery program in the country, plus to the francophone nursing and health promotion programs will mean a drastic reduction in health care services in the language of choice to francophones in Northern Ontario and beyond.
PSAC members in Sudbury, and across Ontario, stand in solidarity with these workers. The federal government has a role to play in this situation and needs to come to the table with a plan to support Laurentian University immediately.