November 25, 2021
To the Ministry of Colleges and Universities-Postsecondary Accountability Branch,
On behalf of over 17,000 full-time and contract university faculty and academic librarians, including faculty at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University, OCUFA is writing to provide feedback on the proposed summary of regulation under the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University Act, 2021.
We are extremely concerned with what may be an oversight in the “NOSM Summary Regulation” and strongly recommend amending the NOSM regulations in order to protect collegial governance at the institution and to ensure the new university is truly based on a bicameral model of governance. This amendment would ensure that the governance at NOSM remains consistent with all other universities in the province. Our recommendation matches the recommendations of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine University Faculty and Staff Association.
In section 4 of the regulation, entitled Senate, the item describing the Senate powers says, “The senate has (subject to the approval of the board) the power to determine and regulate the educational policy of the University and has the power…”
We request that this language be replaced with, “The Senate has, subject to the approval of the board with respect to the expenditure of funds, the power to determine and regulate the educational policy of the University and has the power…”
This language would be consistent with that of other Ontario public university acts. In accordance with the foundational principles of shared governance and academic freedom, every public university act in the province provides for Board approval of the Senate’s decision with respect to “the expenditure of funds” and in some instances “the expenditure of funds and the establishment of facilities”. The new NOSM University must not be an exception. Collegial governance, carried out through the bicameral system, is a fundamental tenet of Canadian universities. Granting the Board additional powers, as the current language in the regulations implies, would undermine collegial governance at the newly formed NOSM University from the onset.
Further, as the NOSM University Faculty and Staff Association has outlined in their submission we too are deeply concerned that if the language in the regulations remains as is, there will be serious consequences for the future of NOSM as a reputable university.
The change in language we propose would ensure that the newly formed Northern Ontario School of Medicine has a bicameral governance structure, like all other universities in the province, and would establish the infrastructure for a healthy university.
OCUFA’s members 17,000 members await your response on this important issue.
Dr. Sue Wurtele,
President, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)