University of Calgary to Slash 250 Jobs After Provincial Funding Cuts

Written by Sarah Rieger, CBC News

The University of Calgary says 250 jobs will be impacted by recent provincial funding cuts.

Of those, 100 jobs will be cut through closing vacancies, retirements and resignations — meaning there will be 150 layoffs.

“Of course, this is painful for all of us to talk about,” said U of C provost and vice-president Dru Marshal during a budget town hall meeting Monday on campus. 

She said there will be two rounds of layoffs, the first starting at the end of this month and the second in mid-January.

The United Conservative government’s 2019 budget provided $5.1 billion for advanced education operations, a five-per-cent cut over the previous year. 

“The University of Calgary faces significant budgetary challenges due to the cuts to post-secondary institutions announced by the provincial government on Oct. 24,” University of Calgary president Ed McCauley said in an emailed release. “We were required to make difficult decisions for this in-year budget.”

The university said no academic programs will be impacted this year, but strategic initiatives and projects have been slowed, deferred or cancelled, and other items like non-essential travel have been cut.

The province has also lifted a freeze on tuition. Increases will be capped at seven per cent at the institutional level, and at 10 per cent at the program level. Tuition and education tax credits have been cut, and the interest rate on student loans will be increased to prime plus one per cent. 

The University of Calgary plans to discuss any changes to tuition later this week during another town hall.

AUPE Local 52, which represents approximately 5,000 support staff who work at the university, plans to hold an information picket against the cuts in front of the MacEwan Student Centre on campus at noon on Thursday.

“The UCP was elected on a promise of creating jobs, but now we are losing hundreds of positions at just one university,” Bobby-Joe Borodey, vice-president of AUPE, said in an emailed release. “The government also said most of the jobs it wanted to axe in the public sector would be through attrition. That’s another broken promise.”

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