BCIT to lose 82 jobs

Budget deficit years in the making

Come January, five per cent of jobs will be axed at the B.C. Institute of Technology to make up for a $12 million budget deficit. According to the Vancouver Sun, BCIT president Don Wright broke the news to the school’s 1,700 full time staff at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. The cuts will affect 82 positions from all sectors, including faculty, support staff and management, but exactly which jobs will be eliminated is yet to be determined.

“Salary and benefits are a little more than 70 per cent of our budget. It would be pretty hard to imagine how we could eliminate a deficit without eliminating some positions,” Wright told the Sun. While enrollment is up at BCIT the province has said it will not provide any additional funds in 2010.

However, unlike administrators at other institutions, Wright is reluctant to blame the government for the Institute’s financial woes, and recognizes that internal decisions related to resource allocations need to be rethought. He was quoted in Burnaby Now saying, “I would not blame government for this and we have more students this year than last year. Some patterns of spending have been developed over a number of years, and now we need to try and correct them.”

Stephen Howard, communications officer for the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union told the Sun that the cuts are a “contradiction.” He says that “the economic downturn is upon us and more and more people are turning to post-secondary institutes like BCIT in greater numbers to get the training they need to try and get employed as the economy rebounds, and now key courses and services at this institution won’t be available to them.”