Quest University and Primacorp Ventures have closed a deal that will rescue Canada's first independent secular university from millions in debt and that will allow the school to continue with its programming as usual.
On Dec. 9, the two inked an agreement that will have Quest sell its lands and campus to Primacorp Ventures, which will lease the facilities back to the school.
The largest of these debts is held by the Vanchorverve Foundation, which called in its $23.4-million loan in November 2019. The foundation is managed by Blake Bromley, a founding member of the school.
Vanchorverve's demand for payment prompted the school to seek protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, or CCAA, in January this year.
The courts granted the school protection, giving it an opportunity to find a way to pay off its bills, but any deal that the university made needed court approval to go ahead.
On Nov. 16, the BC Supreme Court gave its blessing for the Primacorp transaction. On Dec. 9, the deal was finalized.
"I am very grateful for the outstanding work of many people who have supported Quest University through this challenging time. Our successful emergence from CCAA opens a new and important chapter for the university. With our new partnership with Primacorp Ventures Inc., we remain committed to academic freedom, uncompromising academic and pedagogical standards, and social justice, particularly with First Nations," said Quest University president George Iwama in a news release.
"The combination of this financial restructuring with the pandemic has been stressful. There is light shining on the path before us, however. We are looking forward to redoubling our marketing efforts with an eye to increasing our enrolment and spreading the news of this excellent university here in Squamish, B.C."
Scott Fehrenbacher the CEO of higher education for Primacorp commended the deal.
"Our strong partnership with Quest University reflects the kind of innovation that will benefit students and provide for great economic opportunity for the entire region," said Fehrenbacher in the news release.
"Our agreement will not only enable Quest to operate on a solid financial basis, but we are confident it will build on the academic achievements of the university, which are recognized across Canada, and the world."