Though Sudbury’s Laurentian University is still conducting a feasibility study to try to implement a new law school with a focus on Aboriginal law, the Ontario government is flat out denying it funding along with two other Ontario universities that had similar plans.
Laurentian along with Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University and Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo had ail been vying for funding for new law programs though the province has not funded a new law school opening in 40 years. There are six universities in Ontario that offer law programs.
Laurentian University’s law program would have specialized in both Aboriginal and francophone communities and Lakehead’s would have centered around Aboriginal and environmental resource law. Both programs were to be geared towards the needs of small northern Ontario communities. Laurier’s approach would have offered a more integrative program similar to those offered in the U.S.
Though the number of applicants to Ontario law schools has remained steady in recent years, the Ontario government is looking to channel more funds into medical school programs to meet the need for new doctors in the province and that is its priority at the present time.
The only university in Ontario that currently offers an Aboriginal law program is London’s University of Western Ontario.