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The Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies condemns Ontario’s Ford government and Laurentian University’s decision to layoff 110 faculty and 41 staff and close 69 programs, including the Workplace and Labour Studies program.

The crisis at Laurentian is a symptom of the chronic underfunding of Canada’s post-secondary education system. This situation has been made worse by the Ontario’s government refusal to provide emergency funding relief for Laurentian as well as its unprecedented decision to force the university into creditor protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Laurentian University’s value as an institution is how it has served its community whether English, French, or Indigenous, and how it has educated students from all backgrounds. The loss of Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour studies program will only hurt working families in Sudbury but it will also damage the wider community’s ability to help workers on and off the job.

CAWLS calls on the federal and provincial governments to immediately provide emergency funding for the university. It also calls on both levels of government to enact a new Federal Post-Secondary act that provides post-secondary education for all Canadians as a public good – like health care – with the eventual elimination of tuition fees for students attending university, college and apprenticeship programs. Only transformative policy changes such as these will prevent a similar situation from occurring again and further threatening post-secondary education across Canada.

The Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies is an academic association for scholars interested in work, workers, and labour. It brings together scholars, students, and practitioners to foster labour scholarship and promote labour studies programs across Canada.

You can join the Ontario Federation of Labour’s campaign to save Laurentian here.

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