Latest Posts

OCUFA Awards of Distinction announced

| |

TORONTO, July 20, 2023 – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) recognized ten members of the academic community for teaching, librarianship, journalism, scholarship, and service to their faculty associations.

“The 2022-2023 recipients of the OCUFA Awards of Distinction showcase the great innovation, advocacy, and dedication found on our public university campuses and in the higher education community,” said Nigmendra Narain, OCUFA President. “The selected recipients are actively pushing our sector forward in exciting and innovative ways in the classroom, at the bargaining table, in research, and in the media. OCUFA is pleased to celebrate their work and contributions to our universities and the postsecondary sector.”

The recipients of the OCUFA Teaching Awards are:

  • Stavroula (Roula) Andreopoulos, Teaching Stream Professor, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Ali Arya, Associate Professor, School of Information Technology, Carleton University
  • Véronic Bézaire, Instructor, Department of Chemistry, Carleton University

The recipients of the OCUFA Henry Mandelbaum Graduate Fellowships for Excellence in Social Sciences, Humanities, or Arts are:

  • Mohit Dudeja (Doctoral), Education, Lakehead University
  • Aqsa Zahid (Masters), Counselling and Clinical Psychology, University of Toronto

The recipient of the OCUFA Mark Rosenfeld Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism is:

  • David Venn, Assistant Editor, Literary Review of Canada

The recipient of the OCUFA Equity and Social Justice Committee Award is:

  • Sobia Iqbal, Diversity and Equity Committee Chair, Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA)

The recipient of the OCUFA Grievance/Arbitration Award is:

  • Natasha Udell, Legal Counsel, Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO)

The recipient of the OCUFA Lorimer Collective Bargaining Award is:

  • Susan Wurtele, Chief Negotiator, Trent University Faculty Association (TUFA)

The recipient of the OCUFA Service Award is:

  • Mike Eklund, President, University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association (UOITFA)

The awards will be presented at the OCUFA Awards of Distinction event at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel on Saturday, October 28, 2023.

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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at media@ocufa.on.ca

Nigmendra Narain, professor at Western, succeeds to OCUFA Presidency

| |

TORONTO, June 30, 2023 – Nigmendra Narain, faculty member at Western University, will be the 35th President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) starting July 1, 2023, for a two-year term.

“Ontario’s world-class, publicly funded universities offer unparalleled value to our communities, province and economy, and faculty and academic librarians are vital contributors to their success,” said Narain. “I’m very honoured to lead OCUFA and continue more than 50 years of advocacy for our public universities and the people who make them run.”

A lecturer and course coordinator in the Department of Political Science at Western, Narain has received multiple awards for teaching and service and is the former President and current Past President of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA). He is also the former Vice-President of OCUFA. His research interests include International Relations, gender politics, and security studies.

“It’s essential,” said Narain, “that public universities receive stable and robust funding, that their governance be transparent and equitable, and that university jobs are stable and of high quality. OCUFA will keep pressing the provincial government to adequately invest in our public universities to ensure that they thrive now and in the future.”

Narain thanked outgoing President Sue Wurtele for steering OCUFA with strength, dedication, purpose, and experience during times of upheaval in the education sector and public service nationwide. Wurtele’s tenure overlapped with the crisis at Laurentian University and subsequent campaign to reform corporate restructuring and bankruptcy laws at the federal level, the striking down of Bill 124 by Ontario courts, and the creation of a provincial government Blue-Ribbon Panel focused on post-secondary education success.

“Sue has been a consistent, strong voice for faculty, academic librarians, students, and university workers in the face of great hostility from the Ford government, opaque legislation, and attacks on workers’ rights,” said Narain. “I am grateful for her expertise and leadership as President, and am thrilled Sue will be staying on the OCUFA Executive as Chair of the Board. I look forward to embarking on the next phase of OCUFA’s advocacy work collectively.”

The following members will join Narain on the OCUFA Executive:

  • Vice-President, Rob Kristofferson (Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • Treasurer, Tyler Chamberlin (University of Ottawa)
  • Officer at Large, Mike Eklund (Ontario Tech University)
  • Officer at Large, Kimberly Ellis-Hale (Wilfrid Laurier University)
  • Officer at Large, Daniel Paré (University of Ottawa)
  • Past President and Board Chair, Sue Wurtele (Trent University)

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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at media@ocufa.on.ca

University faculty and academic librarians condemn attack at University of Waterloo

| | Be the first to leave a comment

TORONTO, June 29, 2023 — University faculty and academic librarians in Ontario were deeply disturbed to learn of the recent knife attack in a classroom at the University of Waterloo by a former student. The victims were attacked during a philosophy class focused on gender issues. A professor and two students were taken to hospital with serious injuries, and OCUFA extends sympathy and best wishes for a healing recovery for all injured parties.

“OCUFA and its members condemn all forms of campus violence. We are especially concerned that such an attack would take place during a class on issues of gender and that the attacker is believed to have been motivated by hate regarding gender expression and gender identity,” said OCUFA President Sue Wurtele.

Women, transgender, and nonbinary people experience significantly high rates of violence, threats, and hate. Faculty and academic librarians working and teaching in areas of social justice also face threats and harm for their work. The attacker’s hateful motivations, focused specifically on gender expression and gender identity, are deeply troubling.

“All faculty and academic librarians must be able to teach, research, and work without extremist threats to their safety and livelihoods,” said Wurtele. “OCUFA strongly supports this right.”

OCUFA and its members send solidarity and support to Waterloo’s students, faculty, and staff, in the aftermath of this traumatic incident. Faculty and academic librarians are committed to fostering inclusive, diverse, and safe campuses, and ensuring that those who work, live, and study at Ontario’s universities can do so without fear.

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 professors and academic librarians in 30 faculty associations 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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead, at communications@ocufa.on.ca

Organizing for collective strength with OCUFA

| | Be the first to leave a comment

OCUFA’s Contract Faculty Committee held a full-day workshop on May 26th full of inspiring speakers and hands-on organizing training. Keynote speaker Laura Walton, President of the CUPE Ontario School Board Council of Unions, shared how education workers engaged in the deep organizing necessary to mobilize people across Ontario in support of their bargaining demands, to crush Bill 28, and win a solid collective agreement.  

There have been some incredible success in the university and broader public sector that prove to us that when we push back together, we can win! The day’s sessions foregrounded the experiences of our colleagues who have been on the ground, organizing, bargaining, and winning improvements for contract faculty. 

The workshop consisted of multiple, hands-on sessions and participants walked away with tools for how to beat apathy, engage members, and learn about what it takes to win good jobs for contract faculty!

Organizing for Collective Strength text with photos of faculty engaging in a workshop.

The Ontario Universities and Colleges Coalition (OUCC) Joint Statement on Ontario’s Blue-Ribbon Panel

| | Be the first to leave a comment

TORONTO, June 1, 2023 – The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO), Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation (OSSTF/FESSO), Canadian Federation of Students (CFS-Ontario), Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) are deeply concerned about the composition, lack of transparency, and unknown mandate of the government’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel on postsecondary institutions’ financial stability and student experience.

We find the exclusion of current students, staff and faculty from the panel deeply irresponsible and out of touch with the present realities of postsecondary education. Although the panel will conduct consultations, these consultations are not equivalent to being represented on the panel that will make recommendations that will impact Ontario’s postsecondary sector for years to come.

Moreover, the very chair of this panel, Dr Alan Harrison, was appointed as a special advisor to the government on the Laurentian University insolvency. He produced four reports, none of which were made public. The insolvency resulted in a massive restructuring which included the elimination of 76 academic programs, affecting the academic careers of more than 900 students and the loss of 340 jobs at Laurentian and the federated universities. Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk found the use of creditor protection by Laurentian to be “unsuitable and damaging.” The concern for the future of public post-secondary education is justified by the makeup of the panel, excluding key players in the sector and prioritizing those with a history of dismantling public institutions.

We are concerned the panel will call for more privatization of student support services, elimination of select programs, potential mergers between northern institutions, increased precarity of employment, expansion of hybrid and online learning at the expense of quality hands-on learning, and redirection of apprenticeship funding to private training centres. It is reckless to continue underfunding the postsecondary sector and heavily relying on international and domestic tuition fees, placing education and research quality, secure employment and the integrity of Ontario’s institutions in jeopardy.
All of the threats above will have deep implications through cuts to staff and faculty, hugely diminishing student experience as well as the social and economic vitality of the regions where the post-secondary institutions are located.

Our experience is that the chronic and systemic underfunding of postsecondary education is causing damage to the student experience and the Ontario economy. Ontario sits last in the country in terms of per-student funding. Only 30 per cent of the operating budgets of universities and 38 per cent of the operating budgets of colleges come from the province. Despite the Ontario’s government’s regular claims of historic investments and innovation in post-secondary education, the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) is projecting annual shortfalls through 2027-28 in public funding totaling $40 billion, including a $2.7 billion shortfall in funding for post-secondary education.

It is clear this lack of investment in our public universities and colleges is setting up the system for failure, which would set up students, workers, communities and future generations for failure as well. The growing reliance of postsecondary institutions on private funding threatens intellectual standards and harms the quality of student experience.

Now is not the time to shortchange post-secondary education in Ontario. The economic benefits of investing in post-secondary education are, by the government’s own admission, too important to ignore. Every dollar invested in education generates a positive economic return on investment of 36%.
There is a better way – a more sustainable way forward for post-secondary education in Ontario, and it will require responsible leadership that invests in public services and institutions.

We urge the panel to ensure robust and sustainable funding for Ontario’s public colleges and universities to protect high-quality teaching and student supports. We also call for transparency, accountability, and public funding to allow our public post-secondary institutions to thrive. In order to ensure the longevity and health of Ontario’s institutions, education quality and student experience must be prioritized over the interests of the private sector.

It is time for the government to prioritize the needs and expertise of students, academic professionals, support workers and faculty. We ask the panel to address these urgent issues and take immediate action to ensure the future of public education in Ontario.

– ### –
Signatories:
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO)
Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation (OSSTF/FESSO)
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS-Ontario)
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)

View PDF.

Western librarians, archivists, and faculty demand their Employer fund the front line!

| | Be the first to leave a comment

 Members of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) held a well-attended campaign launch at the Western Grad Club. Representatives from OCUFA, PSAC 610, and UWOFA leadership rallied behind the librarian and archivist unit who will begin bargaining next week. Fair compensation, sustainable workloads and growing the complement are key concerns. It is critical that the Western Administration funds the front line and reinvests in the librarians and archivists and faculty at Western who uphold the teaching and research mission at the university. 
 
CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL TODAY.

Faculty welcome Liberal government review of bankruptcy laws for public post-secondary institutions

| |

TORONTO, May 1, 2023 – Ontario faculty and academic librarians applauded today’s announcement from the federal government that consultations will begin soon to reform corporate restructuring legislation that caused massive devastation at Laurentian University in 2021.

Following through on a 2021 Liberal election platform commitment, the Trudeau Government announced that the consultations will be held over the next 30 days with universities, experts, lenders and other stakeholders. The move marks a critical step in the right direction towards protecting public institutions from inappropriate and destructive corporate restructuring processes.

“The government’s decision to consult with stakeholders on this issue is welcome news for all Canadians who cherish public universities in this country, and this announcement indicates a commitment to helping our post-secondary institutions thrive in the future,” said Sue Wurtele, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

“Since 2021, OCUFA and our allies have been fighting for changes to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), which are meant for private—not public—entities,” she added. “It’s time to move forward and prevent another disaster like the one Canadians saw at Laurentian University.”

Over the last two years, Canadians have expressed outrage over the devastating cuts at Laurentian University, and questioned the application of federal laws designed for corporations to a public university. OCUFA has worked closely with the Laurentian University Faculty Association and community allies to campaign for new legal protections for all public institutions. Since then, nearly 5,000 emails have been sent to federal legislators demanding action to reform the CCAA and BIA.

“Today’s announcement opens the door to remedy a shamefully misguided law. Now the hard work of collaborating with the government and these stakeholders begins,” said Wurtele. “We must ensure that these laws are changed—and soon—to properly safeguard the vital public universities that we, and all Canadians, rely on and value.”

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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at media@ocufa.on.ca

Emerging from Bill 124: Appeal update

| | Be the first to leave a comment

The Ford government has submitted its factum to the Ontario Court of Appeal in its case against the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s declaration that Bill 124 violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. OCUFA supports the Superior Court’s declaration of Bill 124 as null and void, and opposes the government’s decision to file an appeal.
 
In this statement, legal counsel for the Ford government dismissed Justice Koehnen’s conclusion that Bill 124 caused substantial interference of collective bargaining. The government makes the narrow argument that restraining wages to a one per cent cap in and of itself did not prevent the ability of unions to proceed with meaningful and good faith negotiations. The Ford government also claims that Justice Koehnen failed to recognize unions’ ability under Bill 124 to seek an exemption from the salary cap and pursue the right to strike.
 
While Bill 124 did not prohibit the right to strike (and strikes did occur while unions were restrained by this legislation), Justice Koehnen did point out that unions were significantly limited in their scope of bargaining and prevented from meaningful and fulsome negotiations, including trading salary demands for non-compensatory gains such as decreases to unsustainable workload demands. Power dynamics between parties at the bargaining table were significantly compromised, amidst pandemic pressures and spikes in inflation.
 
The government’s appeal is ongoing despite recognizing that Bill 124 is no longer in effect. Court dates have been set for June 20-23, 2023.

For further information and updates on the Superior Court ruling, appeal, and successes post-Bill 124, please visit the OCUFA page on Bill 124

Emerging from Bill 124: Key future dates

| | Be the first to leave a comment

The Ford government officially filed an appeal in December 2022 against the Superior Court’s decision that declared Bill 124 unconstitutional. Key dates in the ongoing process include:  

  • March 10 – The government’s written factum was submitted 
  • May 9 – The unions’ responses will be filed 
  • June 20-22 – The scheduled hearings at the Ontario Court of Appeal 

OCUFA has been monitoring the situation closely and continues to do so. In February, OCUFA published a statement responding to the decision by the Ontario Superior Court that Bill 124 was unconstitutional.  
 
Catch up on related bargaining gains for faculty associations, including at Trent, Wilfrid Laurier, and Queen’s. 

Budget can’t miss another opportunity to protect universities

| |

TORONTO, March 24, 2023 –Ontario university faculty demand that the federal government make good on their election platform promise to protect public universities and other public institutions by amending destructive corporate restructuring legislation—a no-cost move that could save millions and preserve Canadian communities.

“In 2021, the government squandered an opportunity to protect public institutions from corporate legislation in their last budget. Now’s the time to act on their promise and not miss another chance,” said Sue Wurtele, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “When Laurentian University filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), it became the first public university in Canada to do so—with devastating consequences for the institution and the Sudbury community. The government has an opportunity in this budget to make sure it never happens again.”

OCUFA and its allies have called on the government to exempt public institutions from seeking protection through corporate legislation since 2021.That’s when Laurentian administrators filed for creditor protection under the CCAA—an unprecedented decision resulting in the loss of 69 university programs and 200 faculty and staff jobs.

“The CCAA and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) are federal pieces of legislation specifically designed for private-sector corporations, not public institutions. However, in their current form, these acts can be used to dismantle and restructure public institutions in particular ways, as we saw with Laurentian,” said Wurtele. “If other public institutions, like universities and hospitals, are allowed to invoke the CCAA or BIA, the results will be destructive.”

In late 2022, Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk deemed the CCAA process an inappropriate remedy for addressing the financial challenges of public institutions. And documents released in 2022 showed that the Ford government knew of Lawrentian’s financial situation, they offered little meaningful assistance to Laurentian and its community during a time of crisis. To prevent another crisis, all levels of government have a role to play, said Wurtele.

“Public universities are pillars of their communities, and are vital spaces for teaching, learning, and research,” she said. “The federal government has an opportunity to ensure that they—and all public institutions—won’t be vulnerable to the same destruction suffered at Laurentian, by amending the CCAA and BIA to exempt public institutions now.”

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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at manishaas@ocufa.on.ca or 416-306-6033

Budget falls short on investment in Ontario universities

| |

TORONTO, March 23, 2023 – The Ford government continued its streak of neglecting Ontario’s public universities in the provincial budget, tabled today at Queen’s Park. The government failed to meaningfully invest in universities, which university faculty warn may lead to more privatization and instability for students, faculty, and staff on campuses.

“Ontario sits last in the country in terms of per-student funding from the government, so there is nowhere to go but up. But today’s budget doesn’t accomplish even this. It fails to include enough investment to adequately fund our universities,” said Sue Wurtele, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “The government claims to want to help Ontarians with high student debt, high tuition fees, and improving the financial health of our universities, but its choices provide no real solutions, insufficient financial support and, as such, reveal that they aren’t serious.”

The budget includes no additional operating funding for universities, nor an increase in per-student funding. The government announced additional seats for medical and nursing students, but provided no details on the allocation of those seats, no funding commitment for faculty to teach new students, and no assurance that instruction won’t be privatized.

The consequences of continuing to underfund colleges and universities will have far-reaching effects for all Ontarians.

Insufficient funding from the government, on a per-student and operating basis, has created an unsustainable dynamic for Ontario’s universities, in which they increasingly rely on high tuition fees from international students as a significant source of revenue. Short-term tuition freezes recently proposed by the government—applicable to only some students—will provide some much-needed relief in the immediate term for students struggling with the high cost of living. But this approach fails to address the larger issue of chronic underfunding of public universities in the province.

“Only robust, long-term public funding will ensure the long-term financial health of our universities. The Ford government has once again failed to invest in the vibrant public institutions we rely on,” said Wurtele. “Ontario’s citizens expect our government to support our world-class public universities. The government should be focused on making sure our universities thrive instead of starving them of the resources they need.”

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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

-30-

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at manishaas@ocufa.on.ca or 416-306-6033.

STATEMENT: Along with tuition freeze, Ontario university faculty and students call for more post-secondary funding

| | Be the first to leave a comment

TORONTO, March 17, 2023 – Ontario university faculty and students know the math does not add up in the provincial government’s latest announcement on post-secondary education.

University tuition fees are unaffordable for many in Ontario, and are among the highest in the country. Tuition fees remain the most significant barrier to accessing post-secondary education in Ontario. The government clearly recognizes this crisis and has taken a step in the right direction by continuing the tuition freeze for some students in the 2023- 2024 academic year. But while this tuition freeze offers some relief for students facing record-high inflation, it does not address the chronic and systemic underfunding of Ontario’s post-secondary education system. The government’s decision not to provide additional funding to universities, despite record inflation and the skyrocketing cost of living, is irresponsible. Universities and colleges urgently need appropriate funding to ensure their sustainability and provide equitable access to post-secondary education.

Ontario sits last in the country in terms of per-student funding, and only 30 per cent of the operating budgets of universities come from the province. Freezing tuition without an adequate increase in funding forces institutions to rely more heavily on other sources of funding, including international tuition fees. This over-reliance on tuition fees as a source of funding for public universities has put an incredible strain on students and their universities. This dynamic has led to the aggressive and exploitative recruitment of international students, whose tuition fees are unregulated. As a result, domestic and international students in Ontario are graduating with historically high levels of student debt and the provincial government continues to neglect to invest in the student grants programs that so many students need.

This lopsided approach to revenue generation is unsustainable. OCUFA, CFS-Ontario, and their members, are disappointed that the provincial government’s tuition freeze announcement did not include any long-term public funding solutions commitments. Only with appropriate funding and in consultation with students and faculty can Ontario have an accessible post-secondary system.

The provincial government must make a different choice that does not put our world-class higher education system on an unstable footing for the future. That includes faculty and students as primary stakeholders. Instead of narrowing universities and colleges’ options to fund our vibrant, safe, innovative campuses and offering short-term freezes for some students over others, the government should provide meaningful, ongoing, robust public funding for the institutions in which we teach and learn. A short-term tuition freeze for some students will not solve the affordability crisis for all. Only a robust investment of public funding for Ontario universities will make our education system accessible.

Signatories:

Mitra Yakubi, Chairperson – Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario (CFS-O)

Sue Wurtele, President – Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)

 

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the oldest and largest student organization in Ontario, representing over 350,000 college and university students in every region of the province.

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 www.ocufa.on.ca.

For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at manishaas@ocufa.on.ca or 416-306-6033.

View PDF.

Ontario faculty support Ontario nurses

| | Be the first to leave a comment

During two days of all-out pickets in late February and early March, OCUFA staff, member organizations, and allies showed their support online and in person for the Ontario Nurses’ Association as they bargained with the Ontario Hospital Association and the provincial government for a new contract.

Nurses are fighting for better staffing and fairer wages, which will lead to better care for all Ontarians. OCUFA was proud to support friends in the public sector!

5 people standing outside with a large flag and signs in protest.

Ontario academic workers and allies demand fairness for contract faculty

| | Be the first to leave a comment

On February 28th, tenured faculty, students, community members showcased their support and appreciation for contract faculty’s contributions to our campus communities through sharing short videos and graphics online for OCUFA’s eighth annual social media day of action. 

Participants used this opportunity to bring attention to contract faculty demands for job security, equal pay for equal work, and access to pension and benefits. They also highlighted ongoing campaigns at OCADU and negotiations at Ontario Tech

The day also saw broad participation from allies in the labour movement, including health care workers, organized labour, and precarious workers

Watch some of our video contributions:

See more on Facebook and Twitter.

A new contract at Queen’s

| | Be the first to leave a comment

The Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) has ratified a new three-year agreement ending June 2025. The agreement was reached following a strong strike mandate.

QUFA is the first faculty association to fully avoid wage restraint under Bill 124. Annual across-the-board (ATB) increases of 3.5 per cent, three per cent, and three per cent were achieved. Even more significant compensation gains were attained for contract faculty (Term Adjuncts), whose base stipends increase prior to the ATB rates being applied, and who will receive a two per cent increase to pay in lieu of benefits (from six to eight per cent).

The faculty association’s QUFA Disrespected campaign highlighted key priority areas which members organized around to achieve impressive bargaining outcomes. Faculty and academic librarians and archivists demonstrated their commitment to their bargaining demands through one-on-one outreach, displaying demand specific posters, an email campaign, and stepping into leadership roles as picket captains as conciliation moved forward.

As a result, the profile of equity-related work has been raised by including activities that advance Indigenization, equity, diversity, inclusion, anti- racism, and accessibility in several areas, including:

  • administrative and professional service
  • evaluation
  • contract faculty appointments
  • renewal, tenure, and promotion

The value of the diverse range of scholarly methodologies and ways of measuring research impact is now acknowledged with respect to appointments, evaluation, renewal, tenure, and promotion.

On the key priority of increased job security and respect for contract faculty members, the new agreement has many notable improvements. Right of first refusal provisions now provide more time for contract faculty members to teach specified courses to gain eligibility. A course taught as a Postdoctoral Fellow also now counts towards eligibility. In another change, contract faculty will now be able to include the following work in appointment reports:

  • professional and administrative service
  • contributions in pedagogical development
  • innovation related to teaching

Adjunct faculty scholarly and creative work, and professional development, will now receive greater support through an increase to an annual fund that provides resources in the form of a salary stipend and/or grant. For Continuing Adjunct faculty, the timeframe to apply for the Full Professor rank has decreased, with eligibility for sabbatical leave in the first year of their promotion to Full.

An annual course release for the purposes of research support is now available for Continuing Adjunct faculty members who have obtained a multi-year grant as a principal investigator; this is a significant expansion of this right. The pay structure for Continuing Adjunct faculty now provides an option for the Adjunct to take on a service load comparable to the departmental norm with an increase in their full time equivalent salary. This, in turn, allows the departmental service load to be shared more widely among full-responsibility and continuing adjunct faculty members.

On workload, the workload standard will now include mechanisms for dealing with extraordinary tasks related to teaching, including deferred grading that extends into sabbatical or nonteaching terms.

Librarians and Archivists’ terms and conditions are now more aligned with faculty, specifically in the areas of sabbatical leave and renewal, promotion, and continuance.