Feel good about your information and become a local news champion today

SAIT cuts staff in wake of Alberta budget; U of C ‘remains steadfast’

Faculty at Calgary’s Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) received word Thursday that 230 positions at the post-secondary school would be eliminated.

The message, from Dr. David Ross, President and CEO of SAIT, indicated it would result in the loss of 150 jobs and 80 job vacancies that wouldn’t be replaced.

Ross said they waited until after Alberta’s Budget 2020 to make the announcement.

“This is a hard day for our institution – losing people who are passionate about student success is not easy,” Ross wrote.

“The decision to reduce staff was difficult and the full impact of this is not lost on me.”

Non-union positions in the administrative, technical, professional and management services, along with those of temporary and casual contract workers will begin next week.

Union positions lost will happen in April, Ross said.

Ross said after the budget cuts to post-secondary laid out in the October 2019 Alberta budget, the school was forced to implement cost reductions in nearly every area.

In the provincial budget document provided Thursday, it outlined a projected increase of tuition fees at Alberta post-secondaries of $290 million between 2019-2020 and 2022-23 – an average of 6.9 per cent per year.

It also showed a post-secondary expense target of $4.906 billion by 2022-23, down from a forecast $5.472 billion in the 2019-2020 budget year.

Graphic in Alberta’s budget. SCREENSHOT

‘It’s no wonder… that so many young people are choosing to leave Alberta…’

The University of Calgary also made a statement Friday outlining an additional six per cent cut to their Campus Alberta grants, representing $26.7 million. Roughly 250 positions were eliminated at the University of Calgary last year, and they eliminated or deferring 200 other initiatives and projects.

“We recognize the ongoing austerity of the current economic climate in Alberta and we will continue to do our part to meet the fiscal challenges presented in Budget 2020,” said Dr. Ed McCauley, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calgary.

“While these cuts are very significant, UCalgary remains steadfast in maximizing our impact in the community and the benefits we deliver to society every day.”

The University of Calgary Students’ Union also raised concerns about a further $100 million in Alberta post-secondary cuts.

“This budget also puts a portion of institutional funding at risk based on performance and, combined with two consecutive budget cuts, we are deeply concerned about the quality of post-secondary education in Alberta,” said SU President, Jessica Revington.

“It’s no wonder, given recent elimination of student tax credits, the cancellation of the STEP program, increases to student loan interest, and tuition increases of up to seven per cent per year, that so many young people are choosing to leave Alberta rather than staying to contribute to our economy.”