More layoffs confirmed at Saskatchewan Polytechnic locations

More layoffs have been confirmed at Saskatchewan Polytechnic locations across the province. 

Earlier this month, the school announced 37 people would be laid off from the post-secondary institutions' facilities across Saskatchewan. The addictions counselling, cytotechnology and dental assisting programs would also be suspended.

Now, a school spokesperson has confirmed in an email that in total, 93 full-time and part-time employees received temporary and permanent layoff notices across the institution.

  • 13 full-time and part-time academic employees received temporary layoff notices.
  • 16 full-time and part-time academic employees received permanent layoff notices.
  • 35 full-time and part-time professional services employees received temporary layoff notices.
  • 28 full-time and part-time professional services employees received permanent layoff notices.
  • 1 out-of-scope employee received a permanent layoff notice.

An additional 42 employees received voluntary separation offers.

The spokesperson also said in the statement that the school does not disclose which "positions, departments or programs [are] impacted" out of respect for employees.

Indigenous advisor position cut

Shay McNabb is in her last semester of the joint nursing program between the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. She said she got an email last week saying that the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Indigenous nursing student advisor position at the Regina campus — where she attends — had been cut. 

"It was a huge surprise," McNabb said. "And it is upsetting to me for moving forward. It makes me upset and kind of breaks my heart that our Indigenous nursing students won't have that support."

McNabb said she had just spoken to the advisor not long ago because she needed a mentor during one of her placements. She said he helped her feel better and supported. 

"This is the reason why this position is here," McNabb said. "It's hard enough for Indigenous students to have support in these programs as Indigenous students of a diverse population and background. We carry so much more to go into post-secondary and into nursing school."

I can guarantee you that the retention rates of students, Indigenous students, entering the program will significantly decrease. Students will be dropping out. - Cole Woytiuk

McNabb said it's unfortunate especially because the school wants to Indigenize the program but is cutting a "very important position and support system." 

Cole Woytiuk is in his third year in the same program. He said to cut this position goes against what Saskatchewan Polytechnic says they're trying to do. 

"I can guarantee you that the retention rates of students, Indigenous students, entering the program will significantly decrease. Students will be dropping out," Woytiuk said. 

"Support is what gets us through nursing. Support is what keeps us going if we don't have support especially from the Indigenous context. As an Indigenous student, it's incredibly hard."  

Woytiuk said Indigenous people are strong and resilient but removing that academic support is a step back and counterintuitive. 

"They need to reinstate this position and they need to fortify this position and strengthen it and make sure that they're better supporting Indigenous students and that they make them a priority," Woytiuk said.

Layoffs tied to COVID-19

Jesse White, president of the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Students' Association, said in a statement that the association has been in communication with school officials about the issue. 

"[We] have been assured that students returning in the fall for year two will not be affected by the program suspensions or deferrals," White said.

"We will continue to communicate with Saskatchewan Polytechnic this summer to ensure the student voice is heard as the institution makes decisions that will affect our education this fall and beyond."

The school said in a statement that the layoffs are tied to COVID-19.

"Sask Polytech is preparing for a decline in enrolment and an anticipated revenue shortfall," the statement reads.