OCUFA Report - Statement on back-to-work legislation tabled by Ontario government

The original OCUFA Report can be found on the OCUFA website.

OCUFA statement on back-to-work legislation tabled by Ontario government

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) strongly condemns the tabling of back-to-work legislation by the new Ontario government aimed at the striking members of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 (CUPE 3903). We firmly support the rights of all academic workers to fair negotiations and good-faith collective bargaining, and are concerned with any attempts by government to interfere with the bargaining process.

This legislation marks the third time the Ontario government has attempted to interfere in public sector bargaining within the past year. The back-to-work legislation that ended last fall's strike at Ontario colleges breached the constitutionally protected rights of workers to freely negotiate their agreements, and this new legislation will do the same. These actions undermine the collective bargaining process and encourage employers to avoid meaningful engagement in negotiations, resulting in longer future strikes and employers who stonewall while waiting for government bailouts.

OCUFA is particularly concerned with the clause in the "Back to Class" Act that prohibits the arbitrator from including any provisions that might protect employees from being discharged or disciplined for exercising their constitutional rights. Such a provision unduly ties the hands of the arbitrator and works against the principles of reconciliation and healing that are important for all parties as they try to move on. The arbitration and remediation processes should focus on resolving the issues and points of conflict between the two parties, and not encourage targeting and punishment of individual members of the bargaining unit.

Recent strikes and bargaining impasses at postsecondary education institutions are products of government underfunding and problematic hiring practices. The increasing number of precarious positions and erosion of working conditions on our university and college campuses are direct results of such practices.

The provincial government should focus on addressing and resolving these systemic issues through a sustainable and informed approach. Growing precarity, deteriorating working conditions, and the threats they pose to educational quality can only be resolved with commitment and investment from both postsecondary institutions and the Ontario government in consultation with workers. These challenges have not been, and will never be, resolved by undermining constitutionally protected collective bargaining rights.

Collective agreement reached at Carleton University 

The Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) has reached a four-year agreement with their university administration. CUASA achieved across-the-board salary and career development increases competitive with other faculty associations, along with a lump sum payment upon ratifying the agreement. A territorial acknowledgment will also be placed at the front of the new collective agreement, recognizing Carleton University's location on the traditional land of the Algonquin people.

CUASA negotiated significant positive changes to the tenure and promotion process by making the dual-track process clearer and more transparent. Progress was made alleviating workload concerns by increasing research days for professional librarians, clarifying course credit values for instructors, expanding the definition of service, and formally recognizing the supervision of graduate and undergraduate students, directed studies, and tutorials as part of workload.

CUASA was also able to negotiate the constitution of committees to examine the use of teaching dossiers to determine teaching effectiveness, to examine and make recommendations on the Instructor rank, and to make recommendations on digitally-based courses. Further, an independent expert will be brought in to study the pay equity situation at Carleton and make a report to the university president in one year. From there, the president will have six months to provide the university's plan to address any gender pay inequities that are found. CUASA will also be continuing their pension discussions with the Carleton administration.

Finally, CUASA negotiated improvements to its benefits plan in areas including dental care, vision care, orthotics benefits, and massage therapy, as well as achieving increases in compassionate leave days and changes to parental leave in line with current legislation.

Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa reach deal with administration

The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) has reached a three-year agreement with their employer. The faculty association achieved across-the-board salary increases competitive with other faculty associations. The agreement also contains provisions for improving the Extended Health Plan by capping the annual out-of-pocket maximum payments for drugs covered under the plan.

APUO also improved equity language within the agreement, introduced changes to parental leave provisions in line with current legislation, and secured professional leave for Continuing Special Appointment Professors. Most importantly, the faculty association successfully protected minimum faculty complement numbers.