Algoma University Amendment Act, 2019 Passes Second Reading

Member of Provincial Parliament Ross Romano speaking with Algoma University's Brent Krmpotich.

Queen’s Park – On March 21, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario completed second reading of Bill 79, the Algoma University Amendment Act, 2019. Introduced by Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano back on March 6, Bill 79, if passed, would allow Algoma University to begin the process of granting future undergraduate and post-graduate degrees.

“Algoma’s curriculum needs the ability to grow with the job demands of tomorrow so that students have a greater reason to attend here,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “If more of our youth have the opportunity to be trained locally, they will have more reason to stay home, where they all ultimately want to live work and play.”

“Bill 79 is an important step towards enabling the University to innovate and expand our academic programs to meet the needs of today’s students,” said Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor of Algoma University “I want to express my sincere thanks to MPP Romano for his ongoing commitment to supporting the growth and development of Algoma University”

Algoma University was established through the passing of the Algoma University Act in May of 2008. At the time this bill received royal assent, the University was only permitted to grant degrees it currently offered as part of Laurentian University, with further degree granting authority set to be determined at a later date.

Between June 2008 and December 2018, Algoma University’s future degree granting authority remained in limbo, as the section that granted this ability had not been formally declared law by the Provincial government. Having not been brought into force after ten years this portion of the enacting legislation was repealed, removing any possibility for Algoma to offer degrees or other programming outside of what it currently offers. Bill 79, if passed, would restore this repealed section and allow Algoma to work with the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities to offer further programming that meets the job demands of today and tomorrow.

“Our Government looks forward to continuing to work together with Algoma to ensure that it can provide its students with boundless educational opportunities now and in the future,” said Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “Northern postsecondary institutions are not only integral to their local communities, but continue to offer innovative educational programming that attracts students from across Ontario and around the world.”

“Algoma University has been dedicated to providing high-quality academic programs in Northern Ontario to a growing, diverse student population for over a decade,” said Donna Rogers, Academic Dean at Algoma University. “We want to continue to offer vibrant, relevant programs that meet the needs of our community, our province, our country and the world, and engaging with industry partners to satisfy their need for career-ready employees. Bill 79 will assist us in those efforts and we are grateful to MPP Romano for his continued support”

Bill 79 was carried unanimously after the conclusion of second reading debate. It was referred to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.