SUDBURY – Dr. Sarita Verma states: “As you have likely heard by now, on April 15, 2021, the Government of Ontario introduced legislation to establish the Northern Ontario School of Medicine as an independent, standalone degree-granting institution. I have received many questions since this happened asking about NOSM’s future. In light of Laurentian University’s Companies’ Creditor Arrangement Act (CCAA) proceedings, I am not allowed to comment further at this time. And as many of you know, we are still trying to navigate the loss of our revenue ($1.6 million) and to try to protect our endowments ($14 million) as a result of that situation. As well the accreditation bodies are now concerned about our financial situation.
“What I can’t say is what the implications are until the government’s bill is proclaimed in force.
“What I can say to you is that nothing is changing. There have been several misleading statements made in the media and directly to NOSM partners that have instilled fear and panic with NOSM stakeholders. The fact is that NOSM is not leaving Thunder Bay or Sudbury. NOSM has wonderful, historical and strong affiliations with Laurentian and Lakehead Universities and we will build on them. We will continue to strengthen relationships with those cities and across a pan-northern community-based environment. NOSM is not taking any steps to change campuses, curricula, processes, policies or existing partnerships.
“We will continue to build on our relationships and work through our strategic plan The NOSM Challenge 2025 on transforming health human resource planning, advancing social accountability, innovating health professions education and strengthening research capacity in Northern Ontario. NOSM will continue to work with the rural, Indigenous and Francophone communities, learners, faculty, staff, and our institutional partners to remain an internationally renowned institution that prepares world-class health-care professionals to practise in Northern Ontario. And as always, you—our students, residents, staff and faculty come first.
“NOSM was established as a government strategy to address the health needs of the region, improve access to quality care, and contribute to the economic development of Northern Ontario. The School is a stand-alone legal entity (not-for-profit corporation), governed by its own Board of Directors, with a unique funding model that differs from every other university and medical school in Canada. NOSM receives funding directly from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Health. However, under the current structure, NOSM does not have degree-granting status. The government’s intention is to grant NOSM that authority. The legislation has to go through three readings and then has to be proclaimed in force. There is a public consultation underway. You can contribute to that process here.”