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Province rejects University of Sudbury’s bid to become standalone French university

There isn’t enough demand to justify turning the University of Sudbury (U of S) into a standalone French-language university, the province announced Friday afternoon.

In a news release, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities said a number of factors played a role in their decision to turn down the funding request.

The request “does not reflect the current demand and enrolment trends, especially given the already existing capacity of postsecondary institutions to offer French-language programs in the Greater Sudbury area and across Ontario,” the ministry said.

“The ministry considered a number of factors to reach this decision and it is one that we have not made lightly.”

The U of S applied to become a standalone institution in March 2021, not long after Laurentian University (LU) filed for insolvency protection.

As part of that process, Laurentian cut ties with its federated universities – U of S, Thorneloe and Huntington.

While that saved LU about $7 million a year, the federated universities were no longer viable. The anger was obvious in a court hearing aimed at stopping the plan held in April 2021.

U of S lawyer Ronald Caza said the sole purpose of cancelling the agreement was to "choke them out," and eliminate a competitor for students.

"We are better off having Laurentian go bankrupt if the only thing preventing them from going bankrupt" is cancelling the agreement with the federated universities, Caza said.

The court ultimately rejected the appeal. U of S’s hopes then relied on its application to become a standalone institution, with separate financing.

The province said factors behind the decision to reject that application include the results of an organization review of the University of Sudbury, a review of local labour market data and strong demand for science, technology and trades programs.

“The ministry is committed to putting students first," the province said.

“We will continue to work with all of our Francophone education institutes to help deliver high-quality postsecondary education for northern and francophone communities.” Top Stories


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