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Laurentian files plan of arrangement, announces Haché retiring

The university’s provost, Marie-Josée Berger, is also retiring

Laurentian University announced Thursday evening that it has filed a plan of arrangement before the courts, as well as the “pending retirements” of both LU president Robert Haché and provost and vice-president, academic Marie-Josée Berger.

A plan of arrangement is a plan put forward by an insolvent organization to pay out its creditors, and it must be approved by these creditors.

Laurentian continues to undergo court-supervised restructuring after declaring insolvency in February 2021, and filing for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (or CCAA).

The unions representing Laurentian faculty and staff have been calling for the resignation of LU’s senior leadership since last year, renewing their call as recently as earlier this week.

A press release from Laurentian said LU will be seeking a court order on July 28, authorizing it to call a meeting of creditors to be held on Sept. 14, in order to vote on the plan. 

Provided the plan is approved by creditors at the meeting, a further court order will be sought by Laurentian on Oct. 5, which allows the plan to be implemented following satisfaction of certain conditions. 

Once the plan is implemented, Laurentian will have successfully emerged from its CCAA restructuring as a more financially sustainable university with a solid path for future success, the press release stated. 

“We are pleased to confirm that the materials filed today provide Laurentian University with the opportunity to hit the reset button and emerge as a restructured university with a clear path for financial sustainability,” said Jeff Bangs, Chair of Laurentian University’s Board of Governors, in the press release.

“This is the result of 18 months of productive dialogue with our stakeholders, with the common goal of ensuring that Laurentian University continues to operate for years to come as a critical part of the fabric and economy of Northern Ontario.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and for the active participation of all of our partners throughout the restructuring.

“This milestone sends a strong message to current and future students, to our dedicated staff and faculty, to anyone within the Laurentian community and to people throughout the North. We’re confident we will be able to emerge from the restructuring much stronger than before and look to the future with renewed optimism.” 

As part of the Plan of Arrangement materials filed today with the Superior Court of Justice, Laurentian University announced the pending retirement of Robert Haché as President and Vice-Chancellor and Marie-Josée Berger as provost, to be effective prior to emergence from CCAA. An interim president and provost will be appointed, and the formal search process to identify a permanent president, in consultation with the Laurentian community, will be commenced. 

“We deeply appreciate President Haché’s and Provost Berger’s leadership and contributions to Laurentian,” said Bangs. “Their guidance and resolve have been indispensable during the most challenging period in our history.” 

“At this pivotal time for Laurentian University, I leave my leadership role with energy and optimism for the future,” said President Haché, in the Laurentian press release. 

“I’ve approached my role with clear priorities: to learn from the Laurentian community, to successfully complete the CCAA restructuring process, and to put our university on track for an academically rich, culturally diverse, and fiscally sound future. I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to serve this great university.” 

More to come on this story.


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