This week, OCUFA released its response to the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities discussion paper, Strengthening Ontario’s Centres of Creativity, Innovation and Knowledge. Our submission, titled Growing Ontario’s Universities for the Future, was officially launched at a press conference this morning alongside responses from the Canadian Federation of Students, The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The OCUFA response highlights our concerns with the assumptions that underpin the MTCU discussion paper, and critically evaluates the policy proposals put forward by the government. Overall, OCUFA believes that, taken to their furthest extreme, the ideas, concepts, and proposals contained within the discussion paper would lead to an unprecedented government intrusion into academic decision-making and would seriously impair academic freedom within Ontario’s universities. Such an intrusion would be unacceptable, and would seriously damage the sector. Instead, OCUFA is urging the government to take a step back from the discussion paper. In collaboration with stakeholders, MTCU should reframe the assumptions contained within the existing document and begin a long-term co-operative project to improve quality, enhance student success, and ensure the viability of our institutions for decades to come. While we do not believe that the higher education sector can be re-designed in a few short months, we do believe that a vibrant, well-funded university sector can be grown through careful research, realistic goals, and meaningful partnership.