By Rosalind Russell – Ontario’s auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s full report on Laurentian University finds that bankruptcy did not have to be filed by the institution in response to its financial woes.
Lysyk was tasked with a value-for-money audit of Laurentian University’s finances by the legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts last year, which was also released to the legislature yesterday.
She states although Laurentian’s operations were impacted by several factors, the main cause of its financial decline from 2010 to 2020 was its poorly planned and costly capital expansion and modernization amassing more than 87 million dollars in debt.
Besides an assessment of what caused Laurentian’s insolvency, the report also includes recommendations including establishing goals in a new strategic plan and preparing a new long-term capital plan.
In response, Jeff Bangs, Chair of the Laurentian University Board of Governors says it is hoped the valuable lessons learned from the review will benefit the higher education sector and other public sector institutions and ensure the same mistakes do not happen again.
The complete report is available at:
Here is the official university response to the report:
Laurentian Embraces Auditor General’s Recommendations
Today, Ontario’s Auditor General released her Special Report on Laurentian University, which examines the University’s operations since 2010. This includes a review of the circumstances that led to Laurentian’s insolvency and subsequent filing for CCAA protection.
“We respect the Auditor General’s mandate and the work she undertook at the request of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to investigate how Laurentian became insolvent,” said Jeff Bangs, Chair, Laurentian University Board of Governors. “It is now incumbent on us to learn from her advice and, most importantly, accept and implement each of her recommendations. When combined with the external operational and governance reports the University has already obtained – and the commitments made to its stakeholders through the Plan of Arrangement – the University has a strong foundation to make much-needed changes and ensure the mistakes of the past are never repeated.”
On October 5, 2022, Laurentian received final Court approval of the Plan of Arrangement, enabling it to begin implementing the Plan that was accepted by its creditors later this fall. Laurentian is committed to seeing this transformation to completion – and will do what is necessary to ensure that it has the skills, operational efficiencies, processes and transparency that are expected of it.
“We are committed to beginning the University’s next chapter on a solid financial footing and ushering in a new era of accountability,” Bangs added. “The students, staff and faculty of Laurentian deserve nothing less.”
About Laurentian University:
Laurentian University serves over 8,000 students on its campus in Sudbury, Ontario, and is one of two bilingual universities in the province of Ontario. Committed to its bilingual, tri-cultural mandate, Laurentian University offers an outstanding university experience in English and French with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education.
Photo: Laurentian University is coming out of bankruptcy on the heels of a scathing report by Ontario’s Auditor General who promises to keep a close eye on the institution over the next few years. Photo provided by Laurentian University and used with permission.