Statement from the Ryerson Midwifery Education Program regarding recent events at Laurentian University
The Ryerson Midwifery Education program shares the sadness and concern expressed by so many in hearing the news that Laurentian University’s insolvency and restructuring has resulted in the planned closure of the Laurentian Midwifery Education Program (MEP) along with nearly seventy of Laurentian’s undergraduate and graduate programs. The planned restructuring will result in increased barriers to higher education for Francophone and Northern Ontario residents and marks a significant step backwards in terms of opening up accessibility to higher education in the province.
The Midwifery program at Laurentian is part of the Ontario Midwifery Education consortium along with Ryerson and McMaster Universities, and typically trains one-third of the Ontario midwives. The Laurentian MEP is unique in Canada. It is the only bilingual midwifery school in the country and specializes in northern, Indigenous and rural midwifery care. The program provides training for future primary health care providers which is responsive to the needs of Northern populations. Laurentian midwifery graduates have been leaders in Canadian Midwifery and the loss of this school will have a significant impact on the profession in Ontario and beyond.
The Laurentian MEP was neither a financial drain on the University nor a program with low enrollment. The Midwifery program at Laurentian receives envelope funding from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities and from the Ontario Ministry of Health and works within this allocated budget. It works with a government imposed cap on enrollment and is highly competitive, typically receiving some 300 applications yearly for the 30 available admissions spots. With the high demand for midwives in the province most graduates are working as full time midwives within months of graduation.
Laurentian midwifery students have been left without the security of knowing how they can continue on with their desired plan of study. The Ryerson Midwifery Education Program is committed, along with our consortium partner at McMaster University and other stakeholders, to support these students in the immediate future. This is a temporary support and not meant to be a permanent solution to the loss of the Laurentian program.
We stand in solidarity with those calling for the immediate reinstatement of the school of Midwifery at Laurentian University.
The Faculty and Staff Team of the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University