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Sault unions call on Romano to secure long-term funding for Laurentian U (3 photos)

Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council president says there should be sustainable funding for all of Ontario's universities

A number of union representatives joined the Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council outside College and Universities Minister Ross Romano’s constituency office Thursday to demand a long-term funding solution for Laurentian University. 

The post-secondary institution is currently undergoing restructuring under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act (CCAA) after declaring itself insolvent Feb. 1. The university has until April 30 to come up with a restructuring plan.  

“We want to let Ross know that we need sustainable funding for all of the universities in northern Ontario,” said Sault Ste. Marie and District Labour Council President Michele McCleave-Kennedy.  

Tony Fabiano, vice-president of OPSEU Local 685 at Algoma University, says he’s supporting the Laurentian University community as they got through a difficult time.  

“The message to Minister Romano is to open up the conversation. If there’s a way we can have a productive conversation about how to help out, then Ross [Romano] can be part of the solution for Laurentian, as opposed to waiting,” said Fabiano. “For me, my personal opinion is that silence isn’t really representation, and coming out and opening up the floor of discussion is going to be an important piece to solving the problems that are at Laurentian.”

Fabiano says it’s a pivotal time for the university as it goes through the CCCA process with a lot of jobs at stake.  

“When we talk about education in the north, Laurentian is a big part of it, and there are people that are in a horrible situation there,” he said. 

Romano told reporters Wednesday that the province is “doing everything in our power to support our students.”  

“This is something that is in the courts, and unfortunately I can’t get into any details of what is happening in the court proceeding at this time,” Romano said.

- with files from Sudbury.com