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No special treatment for fired Laurentian brass, documents show

Despite their positions, former president Dr. Robert Haché and former provost Dr. Marie-Josée Berger are being treated as creditors of the university like every other LU employee terminated during the CCAA
Laurentian University's former president, Dr. Robert Haché (left), and former provost, Dr. Marie-Josée Berger, were terminated on a "without cause" basis as part of the CCAA process. This means that while they are entitled to a severance, they must stand in line with other university creditors to receive payments of between 14 and 24 per cent of what they are owed.

Documents released by Laurentian University this week are shedding light on the circumstances under which two senior LU administrators departed the university earlier this fall.

The information in question is located in the minutes of in-camera meetings of Laurentian University’s board of governors held earlier this fall. The minutes have been published this week as part of the package for the Dec. 2 public Laurentian board of governors meeting.

Both Laurentian’s now former president, Dr. Robert Haché, and its former provost, Dr. Marie-Josée Berger, were terminated on a “without cause” basis, according to the minutes of these in-camera meetings.

Haché departed from the university on Oct. 31, and Berger on Nov. 18.

The two leaders parted ways with Laurentian as one of the terms of Laurentian University’s plan of arrangement, the roadmap to paying back its creditors after undergoing insolvency restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (or CCAA).

The province also tied financial help to Haché’s departure.

Laurentian finally exited the CCAA on Nov. 28, after 22 months under creditor protection.

The “without cause” terminations of Haché and Berger differs from the terminology used when their pending departures were announced this past summer. Laurentian said at that time that they were retiring. was provided with copies of both Haché and Berger’s employment contracts by the Laurentian University Staff Union (or LUSU), who obtained them through freedom of information requests.

Under the “without cause” clause in Haché’s contract, it says in the case of such a termination, he’s entitled to “continuation of his salary and applicable remuneration at the time of termination for a period that is the lesser of: (i) 24 months; or (ii) a period that is equal to the remaining term as president and vice-chancellor, provided that such a period shall never be less than 18 months.” ***

Haché began his term as Laurentian’s president July 1, 2019, which means he had roughly 20 months left in his five-year contract (which was supposed to end June 30, 2024) as of his termination earlier this fall.

His contract also said should the employment agreement be terminated by the university, Haché would be given “reasonable notice” to vacate the John Street residence occupied by LU’s president, and that notice “shall not be less than two months.”

Under the “without cause” clause in Berger’s contract, it says in the case of such a termination, she is entitled to “continuation of her base salary and applicable remuneration at the time of termination for a period of 12 months.”

Both Haché and Berger’s contracts also say they’re entitled to the continuation of their benefits and pension entitlements for the same periods set out above.

However, as both Haché and Berger were terminated while Laurentian was still under the CCAA, reached out to the university to see if they’d be treated in the same manner as other employees terminated during the proceedings.

Laurentian employees let go as part of LU’s restructuring in the spring of 2021 were forced to join the creditor pool to receive what they were entitled as of their termination, and will only receive a small percentage of that amount.

The plan of arrangement estimates Laurentian creditors will receive between 14 and 24 per cent of what they’re owed within the next three years.

When we reached out to LU on the matter, we were pointed to Laurentian’s plan of arrangement, specifically section 10.1, which is the “conditions precedent to plan implementation.”

The plan of arrangement does, indeed, say that Haché and Berger will be treated as creditors of the university following their terminations.

Subsection “f” of that part of the plan of arrangement said “the renewal of senior management of the applicant (Laurentian University) shall become effective no later than immediately prior to the effective time (meaning the plan of arrangement implementation has occurred).”

That subsection also said that “any such claims arising therefrom having been calculated in accordance with the Compensation Claims Process Order and constituting an Affected Claim hereunder.”

Other Laurentian administrators have stepped in to replace Haché and Berger until longer-term interim appointments, and eventually permanent replacements, can be found.

Haché has been replaced for now by Tammy Eger, and Berger by Céline Larivière. 

Eger is the university’s vice-president, research, and Larivière is LU’s dean of education and health. Interestingly, Larivière’s appointment is only until Dec. 31, 2022, according to the minutes published by the board of governors.

Laurentian’s board of governors approved Eger’s interim appointment on Oct. 21, at a base salary of $278,433, and Larivière’s interim appointment on Nov. 15, at a base salary of $214,301.

***Correction: There was a typo in an earlier version of this story which misstated how long Haché is entitled to have his salary continued under his contract. That has now been corrected.

Heidi Ulrichsen is’s associate content editor. She also covers education and the art scene.


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Heidi Ulrichsen

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