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Laurentian University Leaving Barrie After 15 Years

February 12, 2016 – After delivering programs at Georgian College in Barrie since 2001 and in Orillia from 2004 to 2013, the Board of Governors of Laurentian University decided today, after careful consideration of all options available in exercising its fiduciary responsibilities, to no longer resource Arts and Management programs in Barrie as of May 2017, and to no longer resource Social Work programs in Barrie as of May 2019. 

No first year students will be admitted by Laurentian in Barrie. Laurentian will completely exit Barrie by May 2019. It becomes the fifth university in recent years to stop delivering programs in the Georgian College – University Partnership Centre.  

All students currently enrolled in Laurentian’s programs in Barrie will be able to complete their studies and graduate with a Laurentian degree, through a combination of on-campus, on-line and distance courses. Individual meetings are being scheduled with every student currently registered at Laurentian in Barrie.  

An increasing proportion of university-bound students from Simcoe County – 88% - leave the region to pursue university studies. Barrie is the largest census metropolitan area in Canada without a university campus. 

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has set constraints on the powers of the Board of Governors and on the Senate of Laurentian in Barrie since 2010, including a program moratorium. In May 2015, the Ministry did not approve the University’s submission for Major Capacity Expansion in Barrie. 

Laurentian’s vision is for students who pay university tuition to be able to complete four-year degrees fully taught by university faculty in Barrie. This vision is not shared by Georgian College or by the Ministry.

Ministry restrictions would deprive students from adequate space conducive to a vibrant university experience and to the development of a sense of belonging. 

“Two of our core values as a university are putting students first and excellence. Accepting restrictions proposed by the Ministry would not be in the best interest of our current and future students. These are not winning conditions to attract and retain top university students and faculty in Barrie or to fuel creativity and innovation in the community we serve. They do not allow us to be competitive or sustainable in Barrie. Mayor Jeff Lehman, who has been an exceptional champion for university expansion, knows that we have left no stone unturned to fulfill our shared vision,” explained Michael Atkins, Chair of the Board of Governors of Laurentian University. 

“We would like to pay tribute to and thank especially the Mayor, City staff, members of City Council, our Governors from Simcoe County and our numerous community and industry partners and supporters for their unwavering support. Barrie is fortunate to have such outstanding leadership. It has been a privilege to work closely with them,” added Atkins.

Of Laurentian’s 696 students in Barrie, the 186 students currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work program will be able to complete their degree in Barrie by April 2019. The 291 students currently enrolled in third and fourth years of the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Business Administration and the Bachelor of Commerce programs will be able to complete their four-year degree in Barrie by April 2017. The remaining 219 students will be presented with a range of personalized options, including completing their degree in Sudbury with financial support or on-line, completing a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree in Barrie, having a Letter of Permission to take courses in another university to meet degree requirements, or transferring to another university. 

Laurentian’s office on Georgian College’s campus will be opened and fully staffed Saturday, February 13th, from 9 am until 3 pm, for students who wish to discuss personalized options for degree completion. Students may also visit Laurentian’s office on Georgian College’s campus any time from Tuesday, February 16th to Friday, February 19th, from 8:30 am until 7 pm. Students are advised to check their Laurentian email account for further information.  For additional questions, students can call 1-855-675-1151 ext. 3469 or email  

All 23 Laurentian full-time faculty in Barrie will be offered a position in Sudbury. Collective agreement provisions and university policies will apply for Laurentian’s faculty and the 11 full-time non-academic staff in Barrie. The services of 32 Laurentian part-time sessionals will no longer be required by 2019. 

“We thank Georgian College for its hospitality since 2001. It has outstanding faculty and staff. We wish them well in the future,” commented Dominic Giroux, President and Vice-Chancellor of Laurentian University. “Our focus in the coming days is to support our Barrie students, faculty and staff in this transition. Moving forward, Laurentian’s full attention will be on its thriving main campus in Sudbury, where students will soon benefit from more full-time faculty in the Arts, Management and Social Work. New innovative programs in IT Security and Criminology which had been contemplated by Laurentian in Barrie with the support of industry partners will be launched in Sudbury,” added Giroux.


Key Facts

  •  Laurentian’s enrolment in Sudbury has grown by more than 900 students since 2008 while increasing the average entry grade from 79% to 82%, despite challenging demographics in Northeastern Ontario, government cutbacks to teacher education and increased competition.
  • Laurentian has the best post-graduation employment rates among Ontario universities.
  • Laurentian’s national Tri-Council research funding is up 22% since 2008-2009 while it was stagnant nationally. Laurentian ranks #1 in Canada in NSERC funding in Economic Geology, #1 in Canada in NSERC funding in Applied Geophysics, #1 in Canada in SSHRC funding in Social Policy, Planning and Social Prevention and #1 in Ontario in NSERC funding in Mining and Mineral Processing. 
  • Laurentian is completing over $100 million of capital investments in Sudbury in 2016, including a new downtown School of Architecture, modernized classrooms and labs, a new Executive Learning Centre, a new Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, a new University Club, new one-stop student services and a new Metabolic and Cardiovascular Research Lab.
  • Laurentian has a balanced budget for a fifth consecutive year. It completed in 2013 the largest fundraising campaign in the history of Northern Ontario, raising over $65 million.