Laurentian University files for creditor protection; former Queen’s Provost appointed as special advisor

Sources familiar with the matter are now saying that the University faces up to $200 Million in debt. The Government of Ontario calls this situation "unprecedented" and could cause new legislation to be passed that increases financial oversight of Universities in Ontario.

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The Government of Ontario has confirmed that Laurentian University has filed for court protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), in order to address “significant financial challenges” that the institution has been facing. Former Queen’s University Provost and Vice-Principal Dr. Alan Harrison has now been asked to be a special advisor to the university. 

“It is deeply concerning that Laurentian University has found itself in a situation where such drastic and immediate action is needed to ensure its long-term sustainability,” Ross Romano wrote in a statement. 

The Government of Ontario hopes the appointment of Dr. Alan Harrison will provide the Minister of Colleges and Universities on options that will return Laurentian University to a path of financial sustainability. 

“Laurentian University students remain the government’s priority and we are focused on ensuring they can continue their studies without interruption,” Romano said. The minister calls this situation “unprecedented.” 

The minister also says that the province is evaluating a range of options, including introducing legislation that will ensure greater oversight of university finances and better protect the interest of the students and taxpayers. 

Harrison completed a five-year term as Provost and Vice-Principal ( Academic) at Queen’s University on July 31, 2016. Since then, the former Provost has been a educational consultant for institutions nationally. 

In a December  board meeting,Laurentian University announced it was predicting a $10.6-million deficit for 2020-2021. The university’s president is now seeking to take drastic action, including taking a “hard look at what the institution offers and why.”

However, sources familiar with the matter are now saying that the University faces up to $200 Million dollars in debt. In comparison, an April 2020 financial review state that Laurentian’s University’s endowment fund is approximately $52 million, with their annual revenues sitting at $198 million and their expenses at $201 million.

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