Layoffs of staff started this week at University of Regina

The University of Regina is currently carrying out layoffs, but the extent and quantity of these cuts have not yet been disclosed. According to an email statement from the university’s spokesperson, Paul Dederick, the job terminations have commenced this week. However, Dederick added that the university cannot currently provide details regarding the exact areas that will be affected by the cuts.

Prior to the release of the 2023-24 provincial budget last month, President and Vice-Chancellor Jeff Keshen had warned that the University of Regina would incur a deficit and that job cuts were on the horizon. The university did not specify the exact amount or target of these cuts.


During a budget forum with university staff on May 2, Keshen revealed that all departments would face difficulties due to the five percent reduction in base budgets that had already taken place that year. A powerpoint presentation from the forum indicated that all faculties and administrative units experienced a base budget reduction of five percent, except for UR International, new Nursing funding, and the Indigenous Office. This likely results in a reduction of $8.4 million for the upcoming year, with a $4.4 million cut to the salaries and benefits of permanent positions.

When questioned about the situation during the town hall, Keshen acknowledged that cuts had been made, but noted that no program cuts had been implemented. He further explained that if any cuts had occurred within faculties, they were made independently.

While early budget estimates in December 2022 had projected a deficit of around $19.6 million, the university has managed to close some of that gap, but a deficit still remains.

“Budget reductions are resulting in some workforce adjustments, including a small number of layoffs and non-renewals of short-term contracts,” Dederick said in his emailed statement.

“The university has made every effort to mitigate the impact of the reductions on faculty and staff by offering early retirement incentives and eliminating some vacant positions; however, despite these efforts, some encumbered positions are being affected.”

An email sent to members of the Department of Science, for example, indicates the department is expecting to cut one contract position and seemingly two full-time positions.

Shane Belter, president CUPE 5791, asked during the May 2 meeting if there would be some provisions to bring back workers or reinvest in the university as employees are laid off.

Keshen said the university needs to consider how it reinvests in order to effectively respond to what the post-COVID-19 pandemic world looks like, given on-campus student demands will look different than the pre-pandemic world.

Students at the university will also be facing a four per cent tuition hike in the coming semester, according to budget documents.

“We may have 16,000 students. I don’t think we’re going to have exactly the same number on our campus every day,” Keshen said.

Belter, in response, said his “biggest concern is people doing a job and a half or two jobs right now. It’s unsustainable moving forward, something has to be addressed.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Advanced Education said it was aware of the cuts at the university.

“The university has communicated that most administrative and academic units have been asked to implement base budget reductions, workforce adjustments will be kept at a minimum, and no academic programs are being eliminated due to budget pressures,” the ministry said in the emailed statement.

The ministry said it is confident the university will make money and “deliver high quality education that meets the needs of students, the community, and the labour market.”



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