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BCIT looking at cutbacks

The Burnaby-based B.C. Institute of Technology is looking at layoffs to address a $7- to $8-million shortfall in its 2014-2015 budget.

"As we seek a financially sustainable model, analysis indicates we will have to eliminate positions," said BCIT in a statement. "Some positions will be vacant, but others will unfortunately involve layoffs. It is premature to say how many positions, or from which areas these positions will be eliminated."

Staff and faculty had been notified recently of the status of the budget planning process to give time to explore ideas they might suggest.

"While we recognize the timing is not good, we want to be transparent and share information as soon as possible to ensure we have input from the BCIT community," it said.

"Layoffs would be the last resort and we will be exploring all other options first."

Nothing has been finalized.

"We hope to know more in mid-January,'' said BCIT spokesperson Dave Pinton.

BCIT's 2014-2015 fiscal year starts April 1, 2014.

The provincial New Democrat opposition placed the blame for the cuts on a $40-million budget cut to colleges and universities announced in the last budget. "Combined with frozen core funding for the last 10 years, maintenance cuts, hydro rate increases and the core review process, the end result has been traumatic for school planning and training of B.C. residents," it said in a press release.

The NDP says BCIT was already experiencing "massive backlogs" in some high-in-demand training programs.

"It’s disconcerting that the B.C. Liberals seem reluctant to award contracts to build our ferries here at home, but perhaps it’s because they don’t want to expose the mess they are making of our skills training system," said the NDP's advanced education critic David Eby.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

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