Faculty welcome Liberal government review of bankruptcy laws for public post-secondary institutions

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TORONTO, May 1, 2023 – Ontario faculty and academic librarians applauded today’s announcement from the federal government that consultations will begin soon to reform corporate restructuring legislation that caused massive devastation at Laurentian University in 2021.

Following through on a 2021 Liberal election platform commitment, the Trudeau Government announced that the consultations will be held over the next 30 days with universities, experts, lenders and other stakeholders. The move marks a critical step in the right direction towards protecting public institutions from inappropriate and destructive corporate restructuring processes.

“The government’s decision to consult with stakeholders on this issue is welcome news for all Canadians who cherish public universities in this country, and this announcement indicates a commitment to helping our post-secondary institutions thrive in the future,” said Sue Wurtele, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

“Since 2021, OCUFA and our allies have been fighting for changes to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), which are meant for private—not public—entities,” she added. “It’s time to move forward and prevent another disaster like the one Canadians saw at Laurentian University.”

Over the last two years, Canadians have expressed outrage over the devastating cuts at Laurentian University, and questioned the application of federal laws designed for corporations to a public university. OCUFA has worked closely with the Laurentian University Faculty Association and community allies to campaign for new legal protections for all public institutions. Since then, nearly 5,000 emails have been sent to federal legislators demanding action to reform the CCAA and BIA.

“Today’s announcement opens the door to remedy a shamefully misguided law. Now the hard work of collaborating with the government and these stakeholders begins,” said Wurtele. “We must ensure that these laws are changed—and soon—to properly safeguard the vital public universities that we, and all Canadians, rely on and value.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at www.ocufa.on.ca.


For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at media@ocufa.on.ca