NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) will introduce a bill today to prevent public institutions from seeking protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).
The move comes in response to the "damning report" from the Ontario Auditor General on the bankruptcy of Laurentian University says a party news release.
"Hundreds of Laurentian University workers and thousands of students lost their jobs and career plans due to financial mismanagement by the administration, and Angus' bill will prevent any other public sector institution from the same situation," the release continues.
“It is unconscionable that this institution's students, staff and world-class research programs were treated like discarded items at a garage sale,” said Angus. “The gutting of Laurentian was intentional and deliberate. We can’t let this happen anywhere else.”
Angus says Laurentian was a symbol of hope and progress for working-class, Indigenous and Franco-Ontarian families.
“Laurentian gave my 40-year-old father with four kids the chance to go to university. Laurentian wasn’t just a school. It was a ticket to the middle class,” said Angus.
"The auditor general found that Laurentian leadership ignored options that could have kept the university solvent," says the release. "They used the CCAA to arbitrarily fire staff, strip education programs and avoid their legal obligations for payouts and severance. Angus’s bill will ensure public institutions explore those alternatives, as using CCAA proceedings could make it more difficult for institutions to acquire debt or hire and retain staff."
"We have a chance, with this bill, to ensure that what happened at Laurentian never happens again," said Laurentian Faculty Association president Fabrice Colin. "I hope that, now that we clearly understand how the CCAA was misused at Laurentian, all parties and all members of parliament will support this bill."
"The use of corporate insolvency procedures at public universities and colleges is entirely inappropriate and unnecessary, and the CCAA should not let incompetent administrators skirt responsibility, misuse public funds, and deny employees fair treatment," said Canadian Association of University Teachers president Peter McInnis.