Each year, dozens of faculty from universities across Ontario travel to Toronto to participate in OCUFA’s Advocacy Day. The event provides an opportunity for faculty to meet with their local Members of Provincial Parliament and brief them about faculty priorities for Ontario’s universities. In addition to local MPPs, OCUFA representatives also met with Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) Mitzie Hunter, New Democratic Party Advanced Education Critic Peggy Sattler, and Progressive Conservative Advanced Education Critic Lorne Coe.
For the second year in a row, faculty gathered the day beforehand to discuss approaches to this year’s advocacy priorities and review strategies for making the most of their meetings.
With a provincial election only months away, faculty were focused on lobbying MPPs in their roles as policy makers and pushing all political parties to take strong positions on improving the quality of education at Ontario’s universities. These priorities include:
- increasing investment in Ontario university operating grants to return to 2008-2009 levels of per-student funding;
- investing in smaller class sizes and improving education quality by increasing the full-time faculty complement at Ontario’s universities; and
- providing the leadership and funding needed to support fairness for contract faculty across the postsecondary sector.
Following a long day of meetings, faculty joined MPPs and their staff for a special reception to continue these important conversations. The reception featured speeches from OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips, Mitzie Hunter, Peggy Sattler, and Progressive Conservative MPP Bill Walker, as well as several posters highlighting some of the research conducted by faculty members in attendance.
In addition to meeting with their MPPs, faculty were also active on social media, reporting back on their meetings and the issues discussed. It is hoped that these conversations will continue in the lead-up to the election, as faculty meet with MPPs and candidates in their own ridings and host campus events.
This article originally appeared in OCUFA Report. To receive stories like this every week, please subscribe.