On Tuesday, November 15, faculty and academic librarians from across the province gathered at the Ontario Legislature to meet with Members of Provincial Parliament to advocate for robust funding of public post-secondary institutions, better working conditions and support for contract faculty, the need for faculty renewal at Ontario universities, and for changes to Bill 26 that can create a culture of consent and prevention of sexual violence on campus.
After attending a preparation session on November 14, the delegation spent Advocacy Day meeting with more than 25 MPPs representing all political parties and regions of Ontario, many of whom have universities in or adjacent to their ridings.
At a breakfast reception, MPPs Kristyn Wong-Tam (NDP), Mike Schreiner (Green Party), and Dr. Adil Shamji (Liberal) gave remarks. Other MPPs and staffers from all parties joined OCUFA representatives for informal conversation and refreshments. OCUFA representatives were also invited to attend Question Period.
In meetings during the day, faculty and academic librarians discussed pressing issues in the post-secondary education sector, including:
- The need for meaningful government investment in post-secondary institutions to ensure high-quality, accessible education
- The financial and job security challenges faced by contract academic workers and faculty and the effect of this precarity on faculty, staff, and students across the university
- The narrow and punitive approach in Bill 26 to fight the pervasive problem of sexual violence on campuses, and the importance of instead creating a holistic, survivor-centric, and education-first framework to address this issue
OCUFA representatives shared their experiences of the day on social media—the first in-person Advocacy Day since 2019. OCUFA hopes these meetings will lead to fruitful relationships with those in elected office and ongoing dialogue about these important issues.