Canadian Association of University Teachers

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Photo credit: Paul Jones

(Ottawa – May 3, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is calling on the Federal Government to establish  an independent and public inquiry into the treatment of Professor Hassan Diab.

Following accusations by the French government that he was involved in a terrorist bombing in Paris in 1980, Professor Diab, a dual Canadian-Lebanese citizen, was extradited to France where he spent more than three years in solitary confinement. Recently, information has surfaced that reveals Canadian officials may have withheld evidence that would have exonerated Professor Diab of any wrongdoing.

 “Dr. Diab, his family, and all Canadians deserve to know why and how the Government of Canada allowed and enabled the suffering and the jailing of one of its citizens in a foreign prison for 1,156 days without proper evidence. I urge you to act on this matter immediately,” the letter states.  “We ask that an independent and public inquiry look at the actions of Canadian officials and review Canada’s extradition agreements in order to raise the burden of proof required in such cases.”

Author: dufour
Posted: May 3, 2018, 8:40 pm

(Ottawa – April 26, 2018) On April 28, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) will join with unions and employee associations across the country to mark the National Day of Mourning in recognition of workers killed or injured on the job.

Family and friends of people who’ve died or been hurt at work will take the day to remember and recognize the sacrifices of their loved ones. This year, the focus of this solemn day has widened to include condemnation of violence and harassment in the workplace.

CAUT commends the federal government for addressing workplace violence through tough regulations, as well as developing Bill C-65 which promises to deal with sexual harassment as a workplace hazard.

However, more remains to be done before we can call our workplaces safe. That is why CAUT adds its voice with other unions to urge further measures:

  • Put in place whistleblower protection for those reporting harassment and violence on the job;
  • Hire more federal health and safety officers and train them properly;
  • Recognize domestic violence as a workplace hazard in order to raise awareness around the need for workplace risk assessments, training and safety planning.

As well, CAUT urges workers to speak out and seek support if they are victims. In 2018, we need to break the silence that has protected perpetrators of workplace violence and harassment for far too long.

Media contact:
Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, CAUT
(o) 613-726-5186; (c) 613-222-3530; keller@caut.ca

 

 

 

Author: fortier
Posted: April 26, 2018, 1:31 pm

(Ottawa – April 23, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) have been granted leave to intervene in the York University v.The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency ("Access Copyright") case.

The decision by the Federal Court of Appeal allows CAUT to make written and oral arguments in a case that holds important implications for the way students, teachers, librarians and researchers use and share copyrighted material.

“This is a real victory,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The initial decision represented a significant setback for the education sector, and was not in keeping with other recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) jurisprudence. We look forward to making the case for fair dealing at the Court of Appeal.”

The case was first heard at the Federal Court’s trial division level, where Judge Michael Phelan adopted a strict interpretation of fair dealing and ruled against the university’s copyright practices.

If upheld, that decision would sharply limit the exchange of information within the university and college sector by forcing users to seek permission, and pay substantial amounts of money for uses the SCC has said should be free.

Author: bourne
Posted: April 23, 2018, 8:19 pm
International Solidarity

(Ottawa — April 9, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Iran’s leader protesting the death in prison of an Iranian-Canadian university professor who was accused of spying by Iranian authorities.

Kavous Seyed Emami, a duel-Canadian national, was arrested in January, and died last month in a Tehran prison, ostensibly by his own hand. He taught sociology and was also a prominent environmentalist who ran the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

CAUT’s letter, addressed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also protests the fact that Emani’s wife, Maryam Mombeini, a Canadian citizen, is now barred from leaving Iran to return to her children here.

“I urge you to allow Ms. Mombeini to join her family in this moment of grief. I fail to understand why Ms. Mombeini, a Canadian citizen, was barred from leaving Iran in the first place, and urge you to permit her the freedom to return to Canada,” the letter states.

Emani’s family does not believe he took his own life, and activists point to other suspicious deaths among detainees that have also been called suicides by Iranian authorities.

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Author: dufour
Posted: April 9, 2018, 8:49 pm

(Ottawa – April 6, 2018) A new report from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) reveals that the academic workforce is not as diverse as either the student body it serves, or the general labour force, and that wage gaps remain entrenched between men and women; and between white, Indigenous and racialized academic staff.

The report compares the number of women, racialized and   Aboriginal teachers working in Canada’s universities and colleges, and their type of employment and average earnings, drawing from census data.  The analysis shows persistent diversity and equity challenges.

 “These findings are discouraging because universities and colleges have talked often and publicly about committing to equity and diversity, but the fact remains that real progress is terribly slow in coming,” says CAUT Equity Committee Co-Chair Pat Armstrong.

The CAUT report — Underrepresented and Underpaid: diversity and equity among Canada’s post-secondary education teachers — concludes that:

  • Wage gaps exist between men and women and worsen for racialized and Aboriginal university and college teachers.  The wage gap is deepest for racialized women professors who earn on average 68 cents for every dollar earned by their white male colleagues;
  • Racialized, Aboriginal and women teachers are less-likely to have full-time, full-year employment;
  • Racialized post-secondary teachers have the highest rates of unemployment; and
  • The number of assistant professor positions has declined considerably which will slow progress as women, racialized and Aboriginal academics are unable to secure tenure-track positions.

“The data is revealing but comes as no surprise, especially to those who face inequality every day. Renewed commitments to equity from institutions and governments must be met with new approaches,” Armstrong argues. “We can and must do better to address discrimination in employment at Canada’s universities and colleges.”

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Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers
(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

Author: dufour
Posted: April 6, 2018, 12:54 pm

(Ottawa – March 20, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is launching an inquiry into the case of Professor Rick Mehta at Acadia University.

The university is currently investigating Professor Mehta for his classroom and social media conduct, including allegations that he has used his lectures to discuss his political views and has expressed opinions on-line that are claimed to be offensive and derogatory.  

“Professor Mehta’s case raises important questions about the scope of academic freedom in teaching and the exercise of extramural speech by professors,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “These issues are of broad significance to all academics in Canada.” 

CAUT has appointed an Ad Hoc Investigatory Committee to review how the University is handling  complaints against Professor Mehta, determine whether  his academic freedom has been breached or threatened, and make any appropriate recommendations.

Members of the Committee are Penni Stewart, Associate Professor at York University, and Francesca Holyoke, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the University of New Brunswick.

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Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers
(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

Author: bourne
Posted: March 20, 2018, 6:41 pm

(Ottawa — March 8, 2018) In the days and weeks since the not-guilty verdicts in the murders of Colten Boushie and Tina LaFontaine, public attention has been drawn to the legacy of racism and colonialism within Canada and the challenges of seeking justice. These two recent cases need to be seen in the light of a justice system in which a disproportionate number of Indigenous men and women are represented in Canadian prisons, of the inter-generational trauma resulting from the residential school system, and the continuing legacy of racism and discrimination directed towards Indigenous peoples.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has been made aware of incidents in which Aboriginal academics and their allies who have spoken out in the wake of the court decisions have been subjected to expressions of hate. There can be no justice and no reconciliation unless we acknowledge the truth of our history, the wrongs committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada, take steps to address the legacy of colonialism in the justice and education systems, and ensure that the experiences, voices, cultures, and knowledges of Indigenous peoples are recognized, affirmed and welcomed.

CAUT urges the Canadian Government to follow through on the Calls to Action as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report. CAUT is committed, and encourages all of its members, to work with Indigenous colleagues and communities to challenge racism, discrimination and colonialism wherever it takes root. Justice requires that we all do our part.

Author: fortier
Posted: March 8, 2018, 8:39 pm

(Ottawa — March 8, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) marks International Women’s Day 2018 by celebrating recent strides made towards gender equity in Canada, and urging continued action against remaining barriers.

Last year, the federal government put in place hard targets for the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program, requiring universities to address the underrepresentation of women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal Peoples and racialized people within the CRC program or lose funding

Additionally, Budget 2018 outlines major new initiatives that will help increase equity in the research community, including $15 million to implement programs that support improved equity and diversity in academia at post-secondary institutions and $6.7 million for Statistics Canada to create a new Center for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics, which will help monitor progress.

While we celebrate these achievements, more can and must be done.

Some 20 years ago, Canada was first on the United Nation’s Gender Inequality Index, yet today, we are ranked 18th, and the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap Report places us 16th.

There remains much work before true gender equality is achieved. CAUT maintains its call for the significant investment in a national child care program, and strengthening of the employment equity program in order to address inequality in the workplace, including in post-secondary institutions where women are underrepresented in senior positions and overrepresented in precarious contract positions.

Author: keller
Posted: March 8, 2018, 2:30 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is aware that an investigation has been launched against Professor Rick Mehta at Acadia University. The investigation will examine Professor Mehta’s classroom and social media conduct, as well as consider claims of harassment against him. 

Since being informed of the investigation, CAUT has been working closely with the Acadia University Faculty Association to ensure that Professor Mehta’s academic freedom and his right to due process are fully protected.

Academic freedom is the foundational value of the university. It includes the right of professors, without restriction by prescribed doctrine and within the law, to teach and discuss. It includes their right to free expression of opinion on matters of public interest without institutional censorship or reprisal.

Professor Mehta’s case raises issues of national importance on matters of academic freedom. It will be discussed by CAUT’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee meeting in Ottawa this week, at which time further action will be considered.

Author: keller
Posted: March 6, 2018, 2:17 pm

(Ottawa — March 2, 2018) The Liberal government delivered its third budget on February 27, 2018. It commits to significant investments in research and science, with historic increases to Tri-Council base funding for basic research.

It is a giant step on the road to getting science right, although it falls short of what was recommended by the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Research in its April 2017 final report.

This year’s budget contains positive measures to assist government and applied science, with new funding for laboratories and the National Research Council, and a more transparent and competitive process for federal support for priority-driven research initiatives.

The budget also announced small amounts of funding for the post-secondary education (PSE) sector to develop a national framework to address gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions and to support Métis students to attend PSE. As well, additional funding was announced to enable Aboriginal representatives to participate in international discussions on rights to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, something CAUT has encouraged through its efforts on copyright.

Titled Equality and Growth, Budget 2018 makes a number of investments related to enhancing equity. Changes to paternity benefits, paid domestic violence leave, and a commitment to apply proactive pay equity legislation to federal contractors are notable.

Click here for the full report.

Author: fortier
Posted: March 2, 2018, 7:52 pm

(Ottawa — 27 February, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes today’s Federal Budget which provides record new investments in basic science.

“CAUT urged the government to act on the recommendations of its science review panel that called for significant re-investment in basic science and research,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “While the budget does fall short of the $1.3 billion over four years called for in the panel’s report, the budget’s allocation of $925 million over five years is a significant step in the right direction toward restoring the ground lost over the past decade.”

CAUT’s pre-budget submission also recommended sustaining Canada’s climate research networks, further investment in Indigenous education; stronger employment equity programs, and increased federal transfers for post-secondary education.

Additional budget promises of interest for academic staff include the creation of a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics at Statistics Canada, $10 million to support Métis post-secondary education, new competitive processes for research institutes and organizations, and reinvestment in government science.

“We are pleased the government has heard the call of Canada’s scientific and research community that investing in basic research will support fundamental advances in knowledge that will benefit all Canadians,” Robinson adds. “This budget’s investment is a giant step forward and puts us well on the road to strengthening Canada’s research system.”

CAUT represents over 70,000 academic staff working in more than 120 universities and colleges across Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, 613-820-2270 ext. 186, or keller@caut.ca

 

 

Author: keller
Posted: February 27, 2018, 10:37 pm

(Quebec City — February 8, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) testified today before the Commission de la culture et de l’éducation at Quebec’s National Assembly to express its opposition to Bill 234, a private member’s bill that would introduce sweeping changes that would threaten governance at Université de Montréal.

“On the pretense of modernizing its Charter, the Université de Montréal administration is suggesting nothing less than to end collegiality at the University and to bring about a radical change in faculty working conditions without bargaining,” said CAUT Past President Robin Vose.

According to CAUT, Bill 234 presents the following three risks:

•    Infringement on academic freedom
•    Weakening of collegial governance
•    Altering working conditions outside the regular union bargaining process

“The last time the University updated its Charter was 50 years ago. Therefore, once a new Charter is adopted, faculty could be stuck with it for a very long time. We’re talking about a critical document that cannot be amended quickly, hence the importance of taking the time that is needed to properly assess the impact of such fundamental changes,” Vose stressed.

Related

Author: fortier
Posted: February 9, 2018, 2:00 pm

(Ottawa – February 1, 2018) The Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) has reached a tentative agreement with their employer after three days of conciliation.

“The DFA bargaining team has been working diligently for many months to negotiate an agreement that we can recommend to our membership,” says the President of the DFA, Darren Abramson. “We feel we have accomplished our goal, and are now preparing for our next round of negotiations in 2020.”

“Dates for a ratification vote on the new deal will be announced shortly.”

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Author: fortier
Posted: February 1, 2018, 2:43 pm

(Ottawa — February 1, 2017) The Manitoba Labour Board has found that the University of Manitoba violated the law when it withdrew its salary offer during the 2016 negotiations.

“This ruling serves as a notice that employers still have a duty to bargain in good faith, despite government interference,” said University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA)  president Janet Morrill adding that the distress this caused students, parents, and employees was unnecessary and harmful.

The University of Manitoba administration pulled its salary offer off the bargaining table just days before a strike deadline, ultimately setting the stage for what would be a three week strike. The administration claimed that it was forced to do so by the conservative provincial government.

In the decision, the Board states that, contrary to what it claimed, the administration didn’t try to dissuade the government from demanding a 0% wage increase. The Board concluded that the administration acted in bad faith by not telling UMFA about the government’s mandate and ordered the administration to apologize and pay up to $2.4 million dollars to the Association.

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Author: fortier
Posted: February 1, 2018, 2:18 pm

(Ottawa – 17 January 2018)  The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes the release and return of former Ottawa resident and university professor Dr. Hassan Diab.

Dr. Diab, a Canadian citizen, was recently released from the French maximum-security prison where he was held since his extradition in 2014. He arrived safely back in Canada yesterday.

Until 2007, Diab led the life of an academic, conducting research and teaching sociology at Ottawa-area universities. In 2008, he was arrested by the RCMP after French authorities accused him of involvement in a 1980 terrorist bombing in Paris.

“From the outset, CAUT has advocated for Dr. Diab’s release,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “His case highlights serious flaws in Canada’s extradition treaties with other countries, which must be remedied so that other Canadian citizens don’t suffer the same unjust treatment that Dr. Diab and his family have been forced to endure.”

The allegations against Diab were based on secret unsourced evidence and what experts viewed as deeply flawed handwriting analysis. Diab has always denied any involvement in terrorist activity, asserting that at the time of the bombing, he was in Lebanon studying. French judicial investigators, who travelled to Beirut as part of their probe of Diab’s claims of innocence, have now accepted his explanation.

“Dr. Diab’s six-year battle fighting extradition to France shone a spotlight on Canada’s extradition agreements with many countries which allow Canada to send its own citizens to requesting countries on flimsy evidence that wouldn’t stand up in any Canadian court proceeding,” said Robinson. “CAUT urges the federal government to review those agreements in order to raise the threshold of proof required in such cases.”

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Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers
(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

Author: bourne
Posted: January 17, 2018, 8:24 pm

(Ottawa – December 11, 2017) An independent committee of inquiry into the dismissal of a tenured University of Ottawa professor has concluded there was no violation of academic freedom.

Beginning in the early 2000s, Prof. Denis Rancourt and the University of Ottawa administration became involved in an escalating series of disputes over the pedagogy and grading of his assigned courses that culminated in his termination in 2009.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) established an independent investigation to determine whether the dismissal of Prof. Rancourt was justified.

The committee’s report concluded that the University of Ottawa was justified in terminating Dr. Rancourt for insubordination.

“He was not fired for his ideas or beliefs, but rather for persisting in violating the Collective Agreement by not grading on an objective basis after being warned on several occasions to do so,” the committee found.

The report notes that Prof. Rancourt had the right to teach his courses as he saw fit as long as he covered in a general way content from the approved course descriptions.

“But, academic freedom could not shield him from his violation of other clauses in the Collective Agreement, particularly his requirement to adhere to the University’s grading policy as stated in the Collective Agreement,” the report states.

Author: bourne
Posted: December 11, 2017, 4:02 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) marks Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women by honouring the memory of the 14 young women murdered — simply because they were women — at Montreal’s École Polytechnique in 1989.

CAUT strongly denounces all forms of violence, and on this day condemns gender-based violence, of which violence against women and girls is one form.

Women are 20% more likely than men to be victims of violence, and young women face almost twice the risk than young men. This year, Canada announced its strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. While CAUT applauds this positive step, it is clear that much more needs to be done to counter the discrimination and intolerance that contribute to gender-based violence throughout our country.

On this day of remembrance and action, CAUT commits to campaigning for increased support for victims, and to continue to work toward ending the scourge of gender-based violence.

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Listen to CAUT’s online town hall to learn about critical research underway in Canada asking how to eliminate gender-based violence.

Author: bourne
Posted: December 6, 2017, 6:40 pm

(Ottawa – November 16, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is urging Ontario’s colleges to return to the negotiating table with faculty in order to reach a collective agreement.

In voting held this week, 86 per cent of striking faculty rejected the employer’s contract offer.

“The recognition and protection of academic freedom is one of the key remaining issues that motivated the ‘no’ vote. The College Employer Council needs to move on this if a fair deal is to be reached,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson.

“Academic freedom in teaching is a widely-recognized professional right that allows faculty to decide on the most appropriate teaching methods and practices,” Robinson explains. “College teachers are best placed to make these decisions based on what they know about their students, the nature of the subject they are teaching, and their experience of what engages and motivates students to learn.”

Robinson adds that academic freedom for college faculty is particularly important today given that colleges and universities in Ontario are increasingly working together in close partnerships. Collaborative programs, articulated pathways, and joint research projects between universities and colleges are now commonplace.

“However, college faculty are denied the academic freedom that their university counterparts enjoy,” says Robinson.  “This exposes college faculty and their work to outside pressure and censorship, and threatens to inhibit more collaboration.” 

According to Robinson, academic freedom is essential to the provision of quality education and research.

“The purpose of teaching in a college or university is not to simply transmit information or to provide students with ready-made conclusions. It is to enable students to reason independently and to develop the skills to think critically and intelligently in all aspects of their lives. College faculty cannot fulfill this purpose unless they have the freedom to exercise their best professional judgment over their teaching and the ability to model critical thinking in their classrooms,” says Robinson.

While the College Employer Council is proposing to develop institutional policies on academic freedom, Robinson says the only way that academic freedom can be effectively enforced is if it is included in a collective agreement.

“Embedding academic freedom as a right in a contract allows faculty recourse to the grievance and arbitration process to resolve any disputes. Institutional policies simply lack the same enforcement mechanisms and can be changed unilaterally at any time by administrations,” he says.

“College administrations in Ontario would do well to recognize that when you respect academic freedom and let the professionals play a key role in academic decision-making, you improve the quality of education that students receive. It is no secret that the best colleges and universities in Canada and around the world are those that recognize the academic freedom of faculty as a foundational value,” Robinson adds.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of 70,000 academic staff working in more than 120 universities and colleges across Canada.

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Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (c)

Author: bourne
Posted: November 16, 2017, 6:51 pm

(Ottawa — November 10, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is speaking out against a private bill to amend the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Charter which threatens the principle of  collegial governance and infringes upon fundamental rights and freedoms of academic staff.

The Charter — a private act of Quebec’s National Assembly — governs faculty and defines operational powers at UdeM. The University administration tabled a bill last August to “modernize” the Charter, and the Quebec government has until November 15 to  bring it before members of the National Assembly.

“Under the false pretense of modernizing its Charter, the Université de Montréal administration is attempting to bring an end to collegial governance at the University and make radical changes in faculty working conditions without bargaining,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “This is unacceptable, and Philippe Couillard’s government should nip it in the bud. Collegial governance is the cornerstone of academic freedom and governance in our universities, and cannot be tampered with.”

The bill strips power from the University assembly  and concentrates it in the board of governors’ hands, as well as introduces draconian changes to the board’s composition  by ushering in members of the community.

“The administration  is using subterfuge to concentrate power and change the composition of the board to be overwhelmingly made up of business people who have nothing to do with academia and little understanding of how a university works,” Robinson added. “The bill will act as a Trojan horse not only in Quebec, but across the entire country. It should be withdrawn, because it is not in the public interest and goes against the fundamental rights of academic staff.”

CAUT represents over 70,000 academic staff working in more than 120 universities and colleges across Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour, CAUT Director of Communications — dufour@caut.ca or 613-293-1810

Author: keller
Posted: November 10, 2017, 4:17 pm

(Ottawa – 8 November, 2017) The University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology Faculty Association has reached a tentative agreement between its teaching faculty members and the administration just ahead of a strike deadline.

Details of the agreement will remain confidential pending ratification. The main issues at stake in negotiations were compensation and workload.

Teaching faculty at UOIT have the highest workload in Ontario for teaching-intensive academic staff, and are amongst the lowest paid.

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Author: bourne
Posted: November 8, 2017, 6:13 pm