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New agreements for two member organizations

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Lakehead University

At the end of October, members of the Lakehead University Faculty Association (LUFA) ratified their new three-year collective agreement following an extended period of negotiations. Regular member communications and the hard work of the negotiating team resulted in gains on members’ top priorities of compensation, pension reform, benefits, contract lecturer equity, and university governance.

The agreement includes salary and benefit improvements for all members, as well as specific adjustments for Contract Lecturers. The salary increases are one and a half per cent for 2023, three per cent for 2024, and three per cent for 2025. These increases apply to salary scales, floors and ceilings, Career Development Increments, overload, distance education and off-campus teaching, and stipends for Chairs and Directors. In addition, Contract Lecturers will receive flat rate increases to their base salary in 2024.

The agreement contains increases to member pension contributions and other changes necessary to pension reform.

Benefits improvements include an expansion in paramedical services coverage to include audiologists and kinesiologists, new coverage for hearing aids, and an automatic entitlement to any benefit enhancements for retired members. Contract lecturers receive an increase in their benefit account, and some members who have held a limited-term appointment for one year are now eligible for maternity and parental leave.

The new agreement marks a significant advancement in university governance. It explicitly acknowledges the role of faculty and librarian participation in selection of senior academic administrators including the Deans and University Librarian. New policies also ensures that faculty and librarians have a clear majority over administrators in search and renewal/review committees, and that the LUFA members elect their own representatives to the committees.

A noteworthy feature of the agreement is its expanded and improved language on academic freedom for librarians.  


In early November, members of the NOSM University Faculty and Staff Association ratified a new three-year agreement, just hours before a strike deadline. Strong member support was reflected in a 100 per cent strike vote, as well as a successful letter-writing and communications campaign that garnered support from the local community and faculty associations across the country. With this backing, the negotiating team won solid wage and benefit increases, improvements to their working conditions and equity provisions, and avoid major concessions.

On compensation, members received a $1,250 increase to base salary from July 1, 2023, followed by a four per cent increase to scale, and scale increases of three per cent each in 2024 and 2025. The scale increases for each year will also apply to Progress Through the Ranks increments, as well as overload and overtime. 

Benefits improvements include the inclusion of psychotherapy coverage, an increase in paramedical coverage as well as major dental coverage. A fund to assist retirees in purchasing fringe benefits will receive an employer contribution of $5,000 per year. 

In gains for professional staff and librarians, the vacation for professional staff was increased to make it equal to that for faculty and librarians and the tuition reimbursement policy was updated to create equity across campuses for librarians and professional staff. A memorandum of agreement on alternative work arrangements for librarians and professional staff allows work off campus for librarians and professional staff, and a flexible work week for librarians (already available to professional staff). 

A noteworthy equity gain was made in the requirement for immediate supervisors to adjust workloads if members from equity-deserving groups are assigned governance and administrative duties. 

Ending gender-based violence on our campuses and in our communities

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By: Nigmendra Narain, OCUFA President

December 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6 marks 34 years since the deadly misogynistic massacre of 14 women engineering students at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. December 6th is now known as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, and every year we remember the 14 women killed in Montreal and recommit to ending gender-based violence on our campuses and in our communities.

In June 2023, we saw again just how urgent that mission is on our campuses. A person explicitly targeted a gender studies class on the campus of the University of Waterloo for a violent attack, wounding two students and a professor. The attack was shocking and deeply traumatizing for the victims, their families, their colleagues, and the entire Waterloo community. It resonated with so many across campuses and communities in Canada and beyond as well. Importantly, the incident was a sad reminder of the ongoing necessity to address misogyny, transphobia, and sexuality and gender-based violence in our campus communities.

Three decades after the L’Ecole Polytechnique massacre, more must be done to redress gender-based violence on campus and the increasing threats and harassment experienced by faculty, academic librarians, staff, and students who are marginalized, and who work in the areas of, but not limited to, gender, sexuality, race and racism, Indigenous, and Black studies.  

Following the horrific attack in June, the Women’s and Gender Studies et Recherches Féministes (WGSRF) published an open statement, as well as a follow-up set of recommendations for universities and colleges to ensure safety on campuses. Crucially, the group recommends that postsecondary institutions “work collaboratively with faculty, front-line staff, and student leaders, to create meaningful responses to the increasing threats of violence and harm on our campuses” using non-carceral, trauma-informed approaches.

OCUFA strongly supports these recommendations. Many faculty associations in Ontario have been working for years to improve safety measures and educate campus communities about gender-based violence and harassment. Faculty and staff associations and unions are key partners for universities in this pursuit, and university leadership should work with them in strong, meaningful, and collaborative ways to find solutions to these pressing and urgent challenges.

The provincial government has a role to play here as well. The government can and should do a great deal more to assist universities with expanding trauma-informed, non-carceral, and meaningful safety measures. More direct, per-student funding for our public universities is a necessary sustainable, robust method for addressing some of these concerns along with consultation of faculty associations, staff unions, and student groups for impactful and effective actions. The government’s current Campus Safety Grant provides only about $120,000 in funding per university or college in Ontario to develop these safety measures—but this is barely a drop in the bucket to help make campuses safer.

This December 6, we honour Genevieve Bergeron, Helene Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, Maryse Laganiere, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michele Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte, by reaffirming our ongoing commitment to ending gender-based violence and harassment at Ontario universities.

After years of work, Ontario faculty say major victory achieved on protecting public universities

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TORONTO, November 21, 2023 –The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) welcomed news today from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in the Fall Economic Statement that the Federal government is reforming harmful corporate bankruptcy legislation—a crucial move that will protect public universities from corporate-style restructuring policies.

The news comes almost three years after Laurentian University entered into bankruptcy protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). The catastrophe was the first time a public institution utilized the CCAA and BIA processes, which are designed for private companies in financial distress. The move led to devastating cuts, job losses, and learning interruptions for students, faculty, and staff, and deeply impacted the University’s community of Sudbury, Ontario.

“OCUFA and its member organizations and allies have worked for years to secure this change to bankruptcy legislation through public campaigns and lobbying efforts,” said Nigmendra Narain, OCUFA President.

The 2023 Fall Economic Statement notes that the government will amend the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, to exclude public post-secondary educational institutions from becoming the subject of proceedings under either Act.

“Through the tireless efforts of OCUFA, our member organizations, and our allies, we are proud to see real change happen today to ensure that our public universities will no longer be vulnerable to the dangers of corporate restructuring,” said Narain. “What happened at Laurentian should never have happened, and now we can ensure that it will not happen again to another public university in Canada.”

“Canadians across the country know how valuable our world-class public university system is, and we know that these reforms will help protect our public universities and help them thrive,” he added.

In 2022, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk stated the CCAA/BIA process was an inappropriate method for dealing with the financial challenges of public institutions. Documents also released at that time showed that the Ford government knew of Laurentian’s financial situation and offered little meaningful assistance to Laurentian and its community during a time of crisis.

“OCUFA has worked for years to bring about this change and today’s announcement marks a critical step in the right direction for the financial health of our country’s public institutions,” said Jenny Ahn, Executive Director of OCUFA. “The Liberal government promised to reform these laws in 2021, and we are glad to see they have kept that promise to protect our world-class public universities. We are incredibly proud of the work OCUFA, in collaboration with its 31 member organizations, has accomplished in making the necessary changes to these laws.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at


For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at

Blue-Ribbon report recommendations not enough for Ontario universities to achieve excellence

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OCUFA calls for more provincial postsecondary funding

Toronto, ON, November 16, 2023 – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) says the government’s Blue-Ribbon Panel’s recommendations fall far short of what is required to even adequately fund Ontario’s world-class public universities. 

“How can we continue to aim for world-class excellence when we are dead last in Canada in per capita student funding?” said Nigmendra Narain, President of OCUFA. “Even if fully implemented, the panel’s recommendations would still leave Ontario’s public universities with the lowest provincial funding and the near-highest tuition for students in the country, so they would not put universities and colleges on viable, much less sustainable, footing.”

In reviewing the panel’s report, OCUFA has found that, even with the proposed 10% increase in public postsecondary funding this year, Ontario’s universities would remain the lowest per-student funded institutions in the entire country. The panel has also recommended much more modest increases in subsequent years, but even if the province were to maintain an annual 10% increase, OCUFA estimates it would take 10 years just to reach the Canadian average. Indeed, universities will continue to get less but still expected to do more.

The panel has also proposed that students help “share the load” by increasing tuition, even though Ontario’s domestic students already pay approximately $1,100 more in annual tuition than the Canadian average. Along with dealing with the growing challenges of inflation and affordable housing, students could be left shouldering an even larger burden if the recommended tuition hikes are implemented. Indeed, students will pay more but still get less.

“We agree with the panel that much needs to be done to make universities financially sustainable and that the process must start with the provincial government,” says Narain. “But the Blue-Ribbon report fails to recognize how far behind Ontario has fallen. How can we tell domestic and international students we have world-class public universities if we can’t even meet the average level of funding in Canada?”

“OCUFA is optimistic that the report shared some of the concerns it expressed in its formal submission to the Blue-Ribbon panel, including universities’ overreliance on international student tuition and the impending increase in the number of domestic students,” said OCUFA Executive Director Jenny Ahn. “It also welcomes the panel’s acknowledgement that assertions around faculty being overcompensated are unwarranted.”

OCUFA looks forward to discussing the report with its faculty and academic librarian members, stakeholders and provincial officials at our Funding Our Future policy conference on November 30 and December 1, 2023, where the postsecondary community will collaborate to find positive outcomes and paths that serve university faculty, academic librarians, staff, and students as we strive for excellence in Ontario’s world-class public universities.


Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at


For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at or 416-306-6033    

New agreement ratified for Western Librarians and Archivists

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The Librarian and Archivist unit of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association ratified a new four-year collective agreement last month, making important gains related to compensation and benefits, career advancement and research support, workload and maintaining the professional status of librarian and archivist work. Each of these contributes to maintaining high-quality library services at Western University. The negotiations saw remarkable member engagement and community outreach, with a 100% vote in favour of a strike mandate.

The high level of member engagement was the result of the negotiating team’s effort to ensure complete transparency with members. Bargaining bulletins were sent to members after the end of each bargaining session. Tabled proposals were shared with members and the UWOFA leadership, with an open invitation to discuss with the negotiating team.

In terms of monetary gains, members received scale increases of 3 per cent in the first year and 2 per cent in each of the remaining three years of the agreement; a flat rate addition to base of $500 in the first year and $1,000 in the third year, adding an approximate 1.5 per cent to the scale increase over the four years; and a one-time amount of $2,000 in the first year. They also saw a new promotion bonus, an increase to the research support fund, and an increase to the stipend for library directors and heads. The new agreement contains improved vision care and mental health coverage, including an expanded list of mental health providers.

Members also made major gains on leaves, with education leave at 100 per cent of salary (up from 85 per cent), a new compassionate leave with pay, a new caregiving leave with SEIB top-up, salaries of members returning from LTD to incorporate increases negotiated during their leave, and improved SEIB eligibility for Pregnancy, Parental, and Adoption leave.

On retirement, improvements to the phased retirement scheme now allow members beyond their normal retirement date to phase their retirement, with group benefit coverage unchanged (except for LTD), and now provide a phased retirement supplement as a percentage (relative to the length of the phase) of base salary immediately before the commencement of the phased retirement.

With respect to equity gains, on the monetary front, members received a significant increase to the career trajectory fund which corrects salary anomalies, and the correction process will occur sooner in the life of the agreement. Improvements included an increase to the maximum anomaly adjustment per member, as well as an agreement to investigate the feasibility of reviewing anomalies based on other equity-oriented demographic parameters, including Indigeneity, disability, membership in a racialized group, sexual orientation, and gender identity. In a non-monetary gain, a new Letter of Understanding (LOU) contains an agreement to enlarge the Members with Disabilities Working Group (negotiated into the faculty collective agreement last year) to include a librarian or archivist, and to expand its mandate to include the librarian and archivist collective agreement and librarian and archivist working conditions.

In other non-monetary areas, members saw an increase in the period of Academic Activity Leave (i.e., sabbatical). Academic activity (i.e., research) may now involve “creative expression” and may be in whatever media are appropriate to the Member’s area of academic expertise, with the requirement removed for Academic Activity to be relevant to librarianship or archival practice. 

Several gains were made on workload including that it be consistent with Member’s qualifications and the responsibilities identified in their job description, and a new LOU was signed requiring the employer to create job descriptions and make them fully accessible to members. In the event of significant changes to their workload, members may work with their direct supervisor to adjust planned activities and contributions or agree upon an Alternative Workload. Permanent significant changes in a member’s role that is not in their job description will require a change in the job description. Vacancies will not increase members’ workload through the redistribution of work within and across units. By ensuring reasonable workloads for members, these changes will help librarians and archivists maintain high quality library services.

Gains were also made to improve the performance review process and better inculcate a culture of recognizing, rewarding and supporting career advancement. Under an important LOU on On-Call work, a Joint Committee will be struck to monitor on-call work and extended work outside of normal working hours. Members can take equivalent lieu time off if required to work on call or given duties beyond normal working hours. Senior leadership will cover Directors and Heads who take time off to compensate for on-call work.

To arrest creeping de-professionalization, a new LOU requires the University to strive to accurately distinguish and identify the roles of librarians and archivists relative to other library staff in relevant documents and public-facing communications. This will help raise visibility and awareness of librarians and archivists and the work they do, thereby highlighting their professional contributions to the academic work of the university.

OCUFA BOARD MOTION: Solidarity with Brescia Faculty Association and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association

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That the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association stands in solidarity with the Brescia Faculty Association and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association to denounce the unilateral decision by both of their university administrations to “integrate” Brescia University College into the University of Western Ontario. The OCUFA Board opposes the process followed in reaching that decision, the steps that have been taken by both the Brescia and Western administrations since that decision, and the continued lack of transparency, commitment to collegial governance procedures and respect of the collective agreements in place. The Board also recognizes the unique and significant status of Brescia as Canada’s only women’s university college. At a time when the safety of women and trans people is increasingly threatened, it is especially concerning; student choices for equitable and safe spaces such as Brescia should be protected, not taken away. The Board calls on Brescia University College and the University of Western Ontario to work meaningfully with collegial governance procedures, and with faculty and staff associations at Brescia and Western to ensure that the path forward will respect and align with conditions of existing collective agreements.

Bargaining Success after Bill 124: University of Ottawa

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Earlier this month, the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) joined the ranks of faculty associations that have successfully negotiated wage reopeners following the court judgement dismissing Bill 124 as unconstitutional.

The salary adjustments will apply retroactively, adding 1.25 per cent to members’ salaries on May 1, 2021, two per cent on May 1, 2022, and 2.25 per cent on May 1, 2023. This is in addition to the one per cent per year increase members have already received, and represents a total increase of 8.5 per cent over the 2021-2024 agreement, or an average annual increase of 2.83 per cent.

APUO members employed at any time between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2024, will receive a lump sum payment covering their adjusted salary, prorated for the period of their employment during this time.

Focusing on Equity and Social Justice at OCUFA

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OCUFA’s Equity and Social Justice Committee (ESJC) began the 2023-2024 year with events signalling its commitment to a greater action orientation and engagement with current issues impacting members at the committee’s annual Equity Training Workshop and its first meeting of the year this fall.

At a session called “Organizing for social justice and equity: Learning from OCUFA’s Contract Faculty Committee (CFC)” at the ESJC’s Annual Equity Training Workshop for new equity representatives, participants heard from OCUFA’s Engagement and Campaigns Coordinator Jordyn Perreault-Laird and Contract Faculty Committee member Kimberly Ellis-Hale (Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association) about the CFC’s annual Social Media Day of Action. Over the years, this Social Media Day of Action has helped to build awareness and support from the wider campus community for the issues facing contract faculty. Perreault-Laird and Ellis-Hale shared resources and facilitated a campaign-building exercise, leaving members excited and inspired to consider a similar campaign-based approach to highlighting common equity and social justice issues across campuses.

The horrific attack on a gender studies professor and two students at Waterloo University at the end of June was a painful reminder of the challenges of doing equity work. In his report at the ESJC meeting, OCUFA President Nigmendra Narain noted that OCUFA had immediately extended its deepest sympathies to the Professor and students, condemned the violent attack, and signed onto an open letter launched by the Women’s and Gender Studies Association [et Recherches Féministes] (WGSA/RF) calling for more support and resources for students and faculty working in social justice fields.

President Narain noted that several Ontario universities removed information such as course outlines and classroom locations from their public-facing websites as an important first step towards campus safety. However, he emphasized that OCUFA is advocating for universities to consult with faculty associations, faculty in gender, sexuality, race and Indigenous studies, equity-deserving, Black, Indigenous, and 2SLGBTQIA+ groups who are most targeted on campuses, as well as students and staff, to develop useful and impactful changes for classroom safety. These voices should be at the forefront when universities design their responses to bigotry, hate, extremism, and violence. OCUFA’s message was shared across multiple media platforms including CBC’s The National, CBC Radio, and CTV News.

At its meeting, the ESJC discussed the implication of the Waterloo attack in further depth, with a presentation by Catherine Anderson, Director of the Gender and Social Justice Program at McMaster University and President of the McMaster University Faculty Association entitled “The personal is the political: Risking our safety to teach about social justice.” Anderson noted that this kind of attack was not new in Canada, reminding members of the École Polytechnique attack of 1989 in which 14 women engineering students were killed.

Currently, faculty face increased hostility and threats through organized, targeted online harassment as well as greater racial and gendered hostility and mistrust in the value of scholarship and research from the public. This growing climate of intolerance for academic freedom and critical inquiry and for perspectives that challenge dominant socio-economic-political structures is exacerbated by pressures on faculty, staff, and students through funding cuts and performance metrics that devalue the work of collective care and support.

Anderson said university leaders must defend academic freedom and make a strong case for the public value of programs that teach social justice and critical thinking, and encouraged faculty associations to negotiate stronger protections around academic freedom, instructor autonomy, and health and safety in their collective agreements.

STATEMENT: Ontario faculty say campus safety and academic freedom must be upheld during international conflicts

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TORONTO, October 18, 2023 – University faculty and academic librarians stand against violence and hate, Islamophobia, antisemitism, and racism in all its forms on Ontario campuses. OCUFA and its member organizations also strongly support academic freedom, and the importance of universities as spaces of safety, scholarship, and civil rights.

In the wake of the tragic events of the last few weeks in Israel and Gaza, faculty and academic librarians, students, and members of the campus community have experienced harassment and threats that infringe on their safety and academic freedom. Safety and academic freedom are foundational to a university education, and OCUFA and its member organizations strongly support these tenets of a university experience.

This is why faculty and academic librarians were alarmed to hear Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop speak in the Legislature on October 17 about the events in Israel and Gaza and take the position that the Ontario government will be monitoring statements made by student and faculty groups on campus regarding these events.

This assertion represents a move against academic freedom for Ontario universities, in the name of campus safety. Hate has no place on university campuses, and processes are in place to protect students, faculty, and staff from harassment and violence. Campus safety is paramount at any time, but particularly during any period of international or domestic strife and tension. Universities are also a place for academic freedom, which allows for debate, including that which is contentious.

However, the government is using this position to threaten to impose restrictions on academic freedom, which is unacceptable. For the Minister to single out one perspective and argue that those with that perspective will be monitored and disciplined by the government is antithetical to the academic mission of our universities.

The situation in Gaza and Israel is complex and unfolding rapidly, with lasting effects for our university communities. OCUFA and its members stand with victims of violence and oppression and expresses deep condolences to those who have lost loved ones and are suffering physically and mentally following these tragic events. OCUFA and its members condemn any threats of violence, harassment, and hate against students, faculty, and all campus community members.

OCUFA calls on the Minister to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff on our campuses—regardless of their position on this and any other world conflict—are safe and free to research, teach, and express their beliefs safely. Anything less is harmful to our community and the postsecondary sector.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at

For more information, contact:

STATEMENT: Western University’s sudden merger announcement alarms Ontario faculty

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TORONTO, October 3, 2023 – Ontario faculty are deeply concerned about recent and sudden news that Western University will close Brescia University College and merge the institution under Western’s umbrella.

This decision was made without consultation with the Brescia Faculty Association (BFA) or the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA)—in violation of collegial governance procedures and without regard for existing collective bargaining provisions at either university. OCUFA and its 31 member organizations are alarmed by this opaque and rushed procedure, and its implications for the rights of faculty at Western, Brescia, and universities across Ontario.

Western and Brescia announced their plan to shift programs and reassign academic staff without negotiation or consultation with faculty associations or the University Senate.  The move reflects the increasing attacks on collegial governance at Ontario universities through top-down non-consultative management from corporate-style University Boards and administrations.

Public universities are not designed to be run like corporations. This announcement is a big step away from the established and functional model of collegial governance that ensures our universities are run effectively, transparently, and in line with the academic mission of an institution. This announcement undermines that structure and it is not clear how damaging the effects of the decision will be. 

The University has also sidestepped established collective bargaining processes to push this plan forward. This is not appropriate for a public university.

Any change to the structure of a university—including the proposed Brescia merger—must be conducted in full compliance with existing collective agreements for staff and faculty at all relevant institutions. This is the only fair and transparent approach to ensure that members of the campus community have their rights protected during periods of massive upheaval.

Workers in this country—including faculty—have constitutional and legal collective bargaining rights. It is imperative for all Ontario universities to engage with faculty associations in a fair, transparent, and collegial manner in accordance with those rights.

OCUFA calls on Western University to work closely and meaningfully with faculty and staff associations at Brescia and Western to ensure that any path forward will respect and align with conditions of existing collective bargaining agreements.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at

A new agreement at University of Toronto

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The University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) has achieved a seven per cent pay increase, retroactive to July 1, 2022, for the third year of their 2020-2023 agreement. The seven per cent is in addition to the one per cent already awarded for each year of the agreement, resulting in a compounded total of 10.17 per cent for UTFA members over the three-year period. The increase also applies to the overload course rate.

Gains on workload were also achieved through revisions to the workload policy. The amount of technical and pedagogical support provided for teaching will now be considered as a relevant factor in considering workload. All academic departments are now required to prepare an Annual Workload Document and share it with members of the unit and UTFA by June 30 of each year. This addresses a longstanding concern of UTFA members around the lack of transparency for assigned workloads with respect to teaching, service, mode of delivery, class size, teaching assistant support, and course release.

These improvements were set out in an arbitration award issued by Eli Gedalof earlier this month. Following Justice Koehnen’s striking down of Bill 124 as unconstitutional, UTFA had requested that Arbitrator Gedalof consider proposals on further salary increases, in addition to outstanding workload proposals. This most recent award follows an earlier mediated settlement and subsequent arbitration award.


Why faculty expertise is essential to implementing university technology

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In the latest issue of Educated Solutions on the theme of technology in postsecondary education, OCUFA President Nigmendra Narain made the case for why faculty expertise must be integrated into university decision-making around technology and artificial intelligence, now and in the future.
“Students should expect a transformative experience in a classroom. And it’s our faculty who have the expertise to ensure that they do,” he wrote in the magazine, published by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). “Ontario public universities can be equipped to tackle the technology of the future only with proper government investment in our universities for good academic jobs and student tuition fee support.”
Read the full article and the entire issue here.

Faculty and academic librarians say more can be done to improve campus safety

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OCUFA President Nigmendra Narain spoke to media about the issue of campus safety, following the tragic attack at University of Waterloo in June 2023. In several interviews, he offered recommendations for universities and the provincial government to improve safety for all members of the campus community.
Funding universities properly is an important part of this process.
“We have to face up to the fact that campus safety is an issue and [Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop] and the province have a place to play here because Ontario itself ranks last in Canada for per-capita university funding,” he said in an interview with CityNews Kitchener.
In the Waterloo Region Record, Narain pointed out that current investment in campus safety is inadequate to address the problem. Referring to the government’s $6 million Campus Safety Grant, he said: “On the surface this appears like a large investment, but when divided across the 23 public universities and 24 colleges in Ontario it only amounts to $127,659.57 per institution… This illustrates the sheer lack of meaningful investment the provincial government is making in campus safety and universities more generally.”
In interviews with the Canadian Press and CBC’s The National, Narain also highlighted the safety concerns of faculty and students studying social justice, gender, and race issues.
“These classes themselves have become a lightning rod in terms of hate and online extremism, in particular,” he said. “We need to have a better and broader conversation about campus safety overall, to protect the mission of the university which is to discuss, talk, collaborate, do research and give students a strong learning environment.”
Follow OCUFA to keep up to date on all our media appearances and read OCUFA’s statement on the Waterloo attack here.

New pension plan at Wilfrid Laurier

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As a separate process from bargaining, members of the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) and the Executive have ratified a tentative agreement that provides consent under the Pension Benefits Act to convert the Wilfrid Laurier Pension Plan to the University Pension Plan (UPP).
WLUFA’s primary interest in entering negotiations over conversion to the UPP was to secure greater stability and accountability for the pension plan by moving from a single employer pension plan where the employer has sole responsibility for funding the plan, to one that has shared governance and risk.
The tentative agreement includes provisions for a one-time offset that covers the difference in contribution rates between the Laurier Plan and the UPP. The offset will apply to all members, including contract faculty and part-time librarians, whether they are members of the Pension Plan or not. The Agreement also provides that past WLU service will count towards the UPP’s early retirement option. Administrative stipends for WLUFA members will be counted as pensionable earnings when determining benefits and contributions. The agreement also moves the Supplemental Pension Plan into the WLUFA full-time collective agreement for the first time.
Because Laurier has a single plan that covers all employees, other campus unions will each negotiate and vote on their own agreements regarding conversion to the UPP, a process that will likely be completed over the winter.

Ontario faculty call for transparency from government on student housing crisis consultations

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TORONTO, September 13, 2023 – Faculty and academic librarians are calling for more clarity and bold solutions from the Minister of Colleges and Universities after a recent announcement that the Ministry will host consultations on the student housing crisis this fall.

The Minister announced the start of roundtable meetings that include representatives from municipalities, private career colleges, and builders, with the aim of removing barriers to creating affordable student housing. It is unclear in the initial announcement which stakeholders in the postsecondary sector will be invited to participate in the meetings.

“It is disturbing that reporting on the government’s initial list of consultants regarding the student housing crisis does not include people who have seen its effects firsthand, including faculty and academic librarians and student groups,” said Nigmendra Narain, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “Faculty and their allies have been offering a straightforward solution to the student housing crisis, and that solution is more core funding for our postsecondary sector from the government. The government needs to listen to the real experts with real experience on this issue.”

The chronic underfunding of the postsecondary sector has forced universities to look elsewhere for revenue, including tuition fees from international students. Domestic students are also facing high student debt, and now all students are facing a housing affordability crisis.

“International students did not cause this crisis. Government neglect of our world-class public universities has caused this crisis. Reversing this trend and investing in public postsecondary education will help to solve it and help students,” said Narain.

The urgent need for sustainable, robust government funding in postsecondary education was also a key component of OCUFA’s recommendations to the government’s Blue-Ribbon Panel on postsecondary student success and financial stability earlier this year. That panel, whose report is now with the Minister, also did not include current faculty or student experts from the sector.

“If the Ford government really cares about fixing the housing crisis, it should be looking at creative solutions that require investment in our public institutions, together with faculty, staff, and students in our campus communities,” said OCUFA Executive Director Jenny Ahn. “In our Blue-Ribbon Panel submission, OCUFA warned that the Ford government’s underinvestment in our public universities would result in such a crisis. The government is walking a dangerous path, and the results will be disastrous if they continue to ignore real solutions.”

Faculty and academic librarians call on the government to fund universities adequately and sustainably, and meaningfully engage with true experts on a sustainable path forward for universities and their communities.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at


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