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outside photo of a closed printing business with signs attached to the glass
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CopyRITE closes permanently on May 23

By Anastasia Blosser and Lillie Coussée

CopyRITE, the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union’s (TMSU) on-campus print shop, has closed permanently as of May 23. 

The copying and printing centre was operating at nearly a $200,000 deficit, according to a shared 2023–2024 financial statement obtained by The Eyeopener. Previous financial statements indicated its profits hovered around the $50,000 mark prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CopyRITE was funded entirely by student fees, taking a portion of the $58.76 that full-time students at Toronto Metropolitan University pay to their students’ union every semester. 

A May 31 release from the TMSU concluded that the closure “would be in the best interest of the overall university community.”

The printing business closed temporarily for over two years during the pandemic. Once it reopened in November 2022, the print shop reportedly experienced a decrease in sales due to “a general decrease in demand,” according to Reanna Maharaj, the TMSU’s executive director.

In an emailed statement to The Eye on June 4, Maharaj said the TMSU “tried its best” to promote CopyRITE’s reopening through newsletters, flyers and outreach as well as increasing the price of printing services to keep up with inflation. 

During the students’ union’s October board of directors (BoD) meeting, she said the print shop has been operating at “a huge loss” with the lowest sales in the shop’s history.

“CopyRITE used to be used a lot before [the pandemic],” she said. “For architectural printing, the School of Interior Design used to do all of their renderings and mock-ups [through CopyRITE], engineers used to print their capstone projects there. But we are seeing less and less of that…when the pandemic hit, professors accepted a lot of stuff online.”

She said the TMSU consulted other print shops in the area, and many have been struggling to regain sales following the pandemic. 

“This is most likely due to accommodations that were made during the pandemic allowing students to submit their documents and assignments digitally, thus eliminating the need for physical copies.”

Maharaj said she asked the BoD for approval to implement a new point-of-sale system. The system would have allowed CopyRITE to accept credit and debit payments, potentially helping increase the number of sales. But after evaluating the shop, the students’ union decided against the purchase.

During the October BoD meeting, Marina Gerges, the then-president of the TMSU,  proposed downsizing the service from its current production capacity to lower operating costs. 

“We can do our due diligence to see if [business can] pick up,” said Gerges. “I have nothing against CopyRITE, but I want to get a bang for our students’ money.”

In its release, the TMSU stated that the core intention of the closure was to “redirect [their] resources” to benefit more students. 

Though the TMSU will not be investing in a new printing service, Maharaj said they will redirect students to other print shops in the area in the absence of CopyRITE. 

The TMSU is also preparing a proposal to introduce a new service to fill the vacant space, though she did not specify what kind of service.

Maharaj said this new service will “be beneficial for both students and sustainable for the TMSU’s financial well-being.”

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