Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne dissolved the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and set June 12, 2014 as the date for the next provincial election. Wynne called an election after it became clear that neither the Ontario New Democratic Party and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario would allow the 2014 Ontario Budget to pass.
Like every election, the coming vote will have important implications for university faculty, students, and their families. OCUFA is calling on all parties to make higher education a priority in the coming campaign. Our universities currently receive the lowest level of per-student public funding in Canada, have the worst student-to-faculty ratio, and the highest tuition fees. Increasing public investment in our universities protects quality, promotes more hiring of full-time faculty, and controls tuition fees. Any party that invests in our institutions will ensure a high-quality system that our students want and our province needs.
The 2014 Ontario Budget also contained important provisions that would have allowed OCUFA to make great progress in our exploration of new pension plan options for our members. It is our hope that all of the parties will commit to preserving these measures beyond the election.
As always, is it is imperative that the parties respect the collective bargaining rights of professors, academic librarians, and workers across Ontario.
Over the coming weeks, OCUFA will be releasing a wide variety of resources that will help our members engage with the election campaign. We will be thoroughly analyzing each of the party platforms, with an eye to policies that affect higher education and labour rights. We will also be releasing several videos discussing issues important to professors and academic librarians. Innovative tools will be available on our website to allow faculty to quickly contact their local candidates. OCUFA will also be working to help local faculty associations organize campus events and discussions. In all of our activities, our goal is to ensure that professors and academic librarians have the information they need to make a difference in the election campaign.