Northern Ontarians believe fair university workplaces are key to high quality education

SUDBURY – According to a recent poll commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), 68 per cent of Northern Ontarians want professors with job security and benefits teaching university courses. Among Ontario youth considering a postsecondary education, support was even higher, with 71 per cent stating this as their preference.

“This poll reaffirms the public’s support for fairness for contract faculty,” said Gyllian Phillips, President of OCUFA. “With the provincial budget next week and an election on the horizon, it is time for the government to make postsecondary education a priority and invest in good jobs at our universities.”

The poll surveyed 2,001 individuals across the province, including 500 in Ontario’s north. It shows strong support for better working conditions for contract faculty among northern Ontarians, including 88 per cent supporting equal pay for those teaching the same courses as their full-time colleagues and 85 per cent supporting equal access to benefits, including health insurance and pensions. Further, four out of five Northern Ontarians agreed that declining faculty working conditions would negatively impact education quality.

As part of the poll, youth across the province were asked for their perspectives on precarious academic work. Precarious work is a significant concern for them, with a majority worried they won’t be able to find a well-paid, full-time job upon graduation. These results show that students firmly support improving working conditions for contract faculty.

“At Laurentian, the faculty association has been working hard to improve working conditions for our sessional members,” said Jim Ketchen, President of the Laurentian University Faculty Association. “We are pleased to see that Northern Ontarians strongly support policies that would address precarious academic work and ensure fairness for contract faculty at Ontario’s universities.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 28 faculty associations across Ontario. You can read the poll results here.

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