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Province will ensure there is a Northern Ontario bilingual midwifery program, Romano says

The Laurentian program is the only bilingual midwifery program in the country
A vehicle driven by a Laurentian University midwifery student was among a few dozen that participated in the Rally on Wheels to protest the losses and the use of the CCAA to address the university’s financial problems.

The province is making it a priority to maintain a Northern and bilingual midwifery program option, Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano said Friday.

Romano said in a statement the province is working with its Northern and Francophone partners to help ensure that the current and the next cohort of midwifery students can train to become  midwives without leaving Northern Ontario.

The bilingual midwifery program was part of the 69 programs cut at Laurentian as the university deals with its financial situation.

Romano said the Ontario government has been carefully monitoring Laurentian University during its CCAA proceedings.

“An area of concern for me, and all of Northern Ontario, is the university’s decision to end the midwifery program,” Romano said in the statement. “This program is the only bilingual midwifery program in Canada. It is crucial that we have the necessary health human resources to provide high-quality health and wellness care in Northern Ontario. 

“That is why the government provided Laurentian University $1 million annually to offer the program. I want to be clear; the government’s priority is to maintain a Northern and bilingual midwifery program option.”

The creation of a new midwifery program is not a quick process, Romano said. To that end, while the government continues to work on longer-term solutions, it is also working on immediate pathways for students impacted through the only two other universities that offer midwifery programs, Ryerson and McMaster. 

“We have committed to monitor the situation and to ensure that we protect Laurentian students’ continuity of education, and we will continue to do so going forward,” said Romano.