Unions rally in the Sault for Laurentian University
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Education workers are calling on the provincial government to provide long-term, stable funding to secure the future of Laurentian University.
They said years of underfunding and “reckless” decisions by Laurentian’s administration are responsible for the position the university is in.
The Sault Ste Marie District Labour Council and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations gathered with other union reps in front of MPP Ross Romano’s Sault Ste Marie office on Thursday.
Romano is also the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Those attending the rally called on Romano to step up for the north.
“Laurentian University is in CCAA - which they shouldn’t be. That’s meant for businesses, that’s not meant for educational institutions,” said Michele McCleave-Kennedy, president of the Sault Ste Marie District Labour Council. “We’re here to get proper funding. We need to keep our kids in northern Ontario to be allowed to go to school in northern Ontario.”
McCleave-Kennedy said a one-size-fits-all funding model for post-secondary institutions across Ontario doesn’t work.
“We have a lot of different costs than they do in southern Ontario," she said. "And we don’t have the mass. So we need sustainable funding that’s going to help the programs here, that’s going to keep our students in the north so we can get good-paying jobs here in the north and have people who have skills that are going to stay in the north.”
Representatives from Algoma University are among those showing solidarity with their peers at Laurentian.
“Education in the north is important to every one of us, and I’m here to support those people in Sudbury and all of our northern communities,” said Tony Fabiano, vice-president of OPSEU Local 685.
CTV News did reach out to Ross Romano’s office for comment. We have not heard back.