MP Charlie Angus introduces bill to protect public institutions from bankruptcy Pipa News

MP Charlie Angus introduces bill to protect public institutions from bankruptcy

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus introduced a private member’s bill on Thursday that would protect publicly funded institutions, such as hospitals and universities, from insolvency proceedings designed to be commercial enterprises.

The bill came in the wake of bankruptcy proceedings at Laurentian University, which falls under the Corporate Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

After the Sudbury, Ontario, university announced it was bankrupt in February 2021, Laurentian used the CCAA to cut 76 programs in April of that year. Additionally, approximately 200 staff and faculty members lost their jobs.

“The decision to use the CCAA in the Laurentians was without precedent and had disastrous consequences,” Angus said before introducing Bill C-309 in the House of Commons.

“It is essential that we have legislation that ensures that any entity that receives federal or provincial money cannot be subject to the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act, or CCAA, if they find themselves in financial difficulty. find.”

identical senate bill

Sen. Lucie Moncian, who graduated from Laurentian, introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

Bill S-215 had its first reading on November 24, 2021, and the second reading on May 17, 2022.

But Moncione’s bill would only apply to post-secondary institutions.

Angus said his bill takes things a step further by excluding all publicly funded institutions from the CCAA.

“Having a bill like this on the order in parliament allows us to start organizing to create political pressure, to keep the conversation going about what happened in the Laurentians across the country,” he said.

Laurentian University declared bankruptcy in February 2021 and cut 76 programs under the CCAA later that year. (Yvonne Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Fabrice Collin, president of the Laurentian University Faculty Association, said a recent report by the Auditor General of Ontario on Laurentian showed that the CCAA was not necessary to address Laurentian’s financial issues.

“After spending millions of dollars on buildings they could not afford, the administration spent millions of additional dollars on the CCAA to avoid accountability,” he said.

Collin agreed with the Auditor General’s conclusion that the CCAA was not appropriate for a publicly funded institution.

Peter McInnis, president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said it was important that the CCAA could not be used at other universities.

“We feel strongly that the CCAA process should never have been implemented in Laurentian and that Sudbury had more similar processes in place to deal with this situation,” he said.

“Recently, documents made clear that senior university administrators deliberately chose the CCAA to avoid paying severance and pensions, and to enable mass layoffs.”

The documents he referred to were two affidavits submitted to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on January 30, 2021, which included two letters, a timeline of events and a presentation on the possible consequences of the various courses of action that Laurentian was supposed to address his financial issues. ,

One of the letters from then-Laurentian President Robert Hatche to then-Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano confirmed that the university had outlined a plan for the CCAA months before it filed for bankruptcy.


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