Sudbury ON, April 22, 2022 – Last week, the Auditor General released her preliminary findings on her continuing value-for-money audit regarding the factors over the past 12 years that led Laurentian University into financial crisis.
“Laurentian, its management and renewed Board of Governors, fully recognize and accept that, as recipients of public funds, we are fully accountable for the stewardship and prudent management of the University”, said Jeff Bangs, Interim Chair of the Board. “We will continue to cooperate with the Auditor General and her team as they prepare their final report to ensure it is as accurate and complete as possible”.
Laurentian and its Board further commit to the following near-term action items:
- Full Disclosure: Next week, the University will complete the final transmission of all documents requested by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in respect of which disclosure is not prohibited by the ruling of Chief Justice Morawetz, the supervising Judge in the CCAA proceedings. Laurentian has worked cooperatively and openly with the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and its Standing Committee on Public Accounts to achieve this task within the parameters of the Orders made by Chief Justice Morawetz. Since January, Laurentian has produced over four million documents to the Standing Committee spanning the past 12 years for review by the Committee and the Auditor General.
- Engaging our Stakeholders: The Board of Governors and management will foster engagement with various stakeholders of the University, including Senate, students, faculty and staff, labour partners, creditors, the broader community and the Province to have ongoing dialogue about building a better future for Laurentian once the CCAA proceedings have concluded, including a new strategic plan. These will be opportunities for constructive discussions and relationship building from a position of mutual trust.
- Continuing Oversight and Restoring Confidence: The Board of Governors will continue to monitor costs related to the restructuring process as we work towards emergence from the CCAA proceeding.
The Auditor General’s preliminary report makes a number of observations and the University has already taken significant steps to address some of the issues. It is important for stakeholders to know, however, that the University took every possible step to avoid a CCAA filing, and only at the timing of the filing at the end of January 2021, when all other options had been explored and it was clear there was no alternative, did the Board of Governors make the difficult but necessary decision to bring the Court application to enter into CCAA protection. As the University works to emerge from the CCAA process, guidance from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, reviews of governance and operations, and recommendations in the Auditor General’s final report, will provide the Board of Governors and management with tools to assist it in charting a sound financial future.
“As unavoidable as the move to enter the insolvency process on February 1, 2021 was, it is more important than ever that Laurentian along with its key stakeholders and partners – including students, faculty, staff – successfully complete the CCAA restructuring process and turn its attention to building an academically rich, culturally diverse, and fiscally sound future”, said Bangs.