Laurentian University applies for court protection amid financial challenges


SUDBURY, Ont. - A northern Ontario university is filing for creditor protection amid ``unprecedented'' financial challenges, as the province warned it may introduce legislation granting it greater oversight of every university's finances.

Laurentian University's president said Monday the Sudbury, Ont., school is insolvent after a decade of financial strain from issues that predate the pandemic, like population decline in the region.

Robert Hache said in a statement that Laurentian has started court proceedings under the federal Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, but the proceedings won't affect day-to-day operations at the school.

"We are facing unprecedented financial challenges and our financial health is currently amongst the weakest in the province compared to other universities,'' Hache said. ``We intend to change that.''

Hache said a number of factors led to the situation, including historical recurring deficits, declining northern Ontario demographics and the 2019 closure of the school's campus in Barrie, Ont.

He also said the Progressive Conservative government's decision to reduce and freeze tuition fees in 2019 and the costs and impacts of the global pandemic have played a role.