NAIT to cut up to 240 jobs in wake of Alberta post-secondary funding reduction

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology said Monday it will have to cut between seven and nine per cent of its staff — which means between 190 and 240 positions.

In a statement, the post-secondary school pointed the finger at funding decreases in the past two provincial budgets.

“For 2020-21, NAIT expects to receive a total reduction of 6.8 per cent ($11.2 million) to our Campus Alberta and Targeted Enrolment grants. An infrastructure maintenance grant ($6.4 million) that was eliminated last fall was restored with Budget 2020.

LISTEN BELOW: Garry Wilson with the NAIT Academic Staff Association, joins the Ryan Jespersen Show

While officials have been looking at other ways to reduce costs and grow revenues, the school is anticipating two more years of funding reductions.

“Even with these voluntary measures, difficult decisions must be made to further reduce spending,” NAIT’s statement reads.

It said the final number of job cuts will depend on the board’s decisions and “choices made by staff in the coming weeks.”

“That does not necessarily mean all are going to be academic staff,” said Garry Wilson, president of the NAIT Academic Staff Association. “We’re hoping that this is a way that NAIT can start alleviate some of the what we feel is administrative bloat here at NAIT.”

“Our concern is going to be that they’re going to now bring in contract instructors here to alleviate anybody who’s been a full-time member that’s leaving. So that’s our concern, that we’re now going to drop full-time instructors and bring in contract instructors.”

The United Conservative government released its second budget on Thursday and funding for post-secondary is going down.

Advanced Education’s budget is $5.1 billion in 2020-21, a six-per cent cut from the forecast in the last budget. Budget 2020 implements the first phase of a new funding model that includes base funding from the province but is also based on a school’s performance.

Over three years, the UCP will trim Advanced Education spending by 10 per cent to “encourage post-secondary institutions to find efficiencies,” the budget document said.

The province also lists post-secondary schools’ “own-source/reserves” as funding sources.

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