Montreal | Ottawa, February 9, 2021
c/o Mr. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario,
Dear Prime Minister Ford,
The Canadian Historical Association and the Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique française are joining forces today to denounce the commercial logic put forward in the restructuring process at Laurentian University. By proposing to reduce the number of programs offered and the number of faculty positions based on student attendance in these programs, this restructuring threatens the very mission of Laurentian University, recognized as a driving force for regional development and the heart of the Franco-Ontarian community in Mid-Northern Ontario.
As a bilingual institution of higher learning in a regional setting, the cost-effectiveness of the programs offered at Laurentian University cannot be measured solely by the number of admissions. The teaching of Humanities and Social Studies programs, as well as French-language education, are essential components of the cultural and economic development of the Greater Sudbury area. As a place of research and teaching in French, Laurentian University is a pillar of the region's dynamism and of the vitality of the Franco-Ontarian community in a minority context.
It deserves to have the means to pursue this mission. However, it must be noted that for the past 15 years, the institution has been running a growing deficit, now approaching $25 million. A situation, one suspects, aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is essential that your government be committed to preserve access to post-secondary education in French in Ontario by improving university funding. In order to prevent the University from being faced with the financial obligation of cutting its programs based on student attendance, your government must do better in terms of public funding. With the lowest investment in post-secondary education per capita in the country, the Ontario government has helped create the financial crisis in which Laurentian University finds itself.
We therefore call on your government to respect the province's Francophones and Francophiles by adequately funding Laurentian University. To this end, we will engage the voice of our members and the general public by asking them to share this letter, which we will make public, and we will encourage them to communicate their concerns directly to your administration. We hope that you will reconsider your support for this important institution.
Penny Bryden Brigitte Caulier
Canadian Historical Association Institut d’histoire de l’Amérique française
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