In Feb. 1, 2021, Laurentian University became the first publicly funded university in Canada to file for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). The process lasted for 22 months and included mass layoffs, program cancellations, and severing ties with federated universities. The situation attracted national media attention and damaged Laurentian’s reputation, and its creditors will only receive a fraction of what they are owed over the next three years.
The university recently exited the CCAA, and is now led by its new interim president and provost. At a recent meeting, the interim president shared her to-do list, which includes hiring consultants and increasing faculty. The university's plan of arrangement is funded by the province's agreement to purchase its real estate worth up to $53.5 million, though the university has yet to reveal which properties it will be selling.
The Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk stated that Laurentian never needed to enter the CCAA in the first place, and the situation has raised questions about the future of public universities in Canada.
Sudbury.com's Heidi Ulrichsen recently went Behind the Scenes with Scott Sexsmith to provide her perspective after spending the last two years covering this story.