Canadian Association of University Teachers

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(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.


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.


For more information, please contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, 613-820-2270 ext. 186, or



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.


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.”


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


For more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour, CAUT Director of Communications — 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.


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

(Ottawa – November 6, 2017) If you haven’t joined the more than 1,400 people who have responded to the CAUT Contract Academic Staff (CAS) Survey, you still have a chance. The survey deadline is being extended until December 15th.

The survey is open for individuals who taught at least one course in the 2016-2017 academic year at a post-secondary institution in Canada. This first national survey will shed light on the working experiences of the thousands of academic staff who are hired to teach on a temporary basis every year.

“We decided to extend the deadline to be able to reach more people to get a better picture of the ever-growing numbers of academic staff trapped in precarious contract and part-time work,” explained CAUT’s director of research and political action, Pam Foster.

Author: bourne
Posted: November 6, 2017, 4:17 pm

(Ottawa – October 26, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is calling on Dalhousie University to amend its Student Code of Conduct after a student leader was investigated for Facebook postings she made over the summer.

“One of the core missions of universities is to help students develop critical thinking skills and prepare them for being active citizens in a democratic society,” noted CAUT executive director David Robinson. “A university undermines this mission and violates democratic values when it restricts the free expression of its students.”

Masuma Khan, vice-president of the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU), faced a complaint under the Student Code of Conduct after she took to social media to defend her group’s decision not to participate in or endorse the Canada 150 celebrations. Responding to critics on Facebook, Khan used a number of expletives and wrote “white fragility can kiss my ass. Your white tears aren’t sacred, this land is.”

The University initially found that Khan may have violated the Code by engaging in “unwelcome or persistent conduct that the student knows, or ought to reasonably know, would cause another person to feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed,” and began a formal disciplinary investigation against her. After a storm of protest, the University announced it was dropping the investigation.

“The incident exposes serious problems with the interpretation and application of the Code,” said Robinson.  “Khan’s choice of words may not have been polite, but those words do not rise anywhere near the level of justifying censorship or discipline. Dalhousie, as do all universities, has a responsibility to ensure that speech which challenges and even offends powerful interests is encouraged. The Code has to allow for free expression.”


Author: bourne
Posted: October 26, 2017, 5:22 pm

(Ottawa – 16 October 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) stands with the more than 12,000 Ontario college faculty and librarians on strike for a fair deal.

The teachers, represented by the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU), took job action today after the College Employer Council failed to agree to longer contracts for part-time faculty, and the adoption of academic freedom guarantees.

“We carefully crafted a proposal that responded to Council’s concerns about costs in a fair and reasonable way,” said JP Hornick, chair of the union bargaining team. “Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom,” she said.

“College teachers in Ontario are taking a stand for quality education, and they have the support of academic staff across the country,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “The principles at stake – job security, academic freedom, and better governance – are ones worth fighting for.”

OPSEU is calling for the number of full-time faculty to match the number of faculty members on contract. The union represents faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges. 

Author: bourne
Posted: October 16, 2017, 6:24 pm

(Ottawa – October 11, 2017)  An investigation into the relationship between the University of Calgary (U of C) and oil and gas pipeline giant Enbridge has concluded that the school’s president, Elizabeth Cannon, was in a conflict-of interest due to a co-existing and “highly-remunerated” role as an Enbridge board member.

The report, prepared by a committee appointed by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), also notes a “deeply worrying culture of silencing and reprisal” at the University, and finds that the actions of President Elizabeth Cannon and other senior administrators both damaged the U of C’s academic reputation, and compromised the academic freedom of faculty member Joe Arvai.

The investigation reviewed events occurring while and after the U of C secured sponsorship from Enbridge to establish the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability (ECCS) at the university’s Haskayne School of Business.  Dr. Arvai was named director of the institute, then left the position a week after he announced opposition on scientific grounds to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

“Academic staff have the right to engage in robust debate without fear of intimidation or reprisal,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The U of C not only failed to protect and promote academic freedom in this case, but succumbed to pressure by Enbridge to compromise the autonomy of the work being conducted within the ECCS.”

The report found that “the accumulation of the President’s dual role and appearance of a conflict of interest, her failure to recuse herself publicly, and the Board’s evident approval or acquiescence in this conflict and non-recusal amount to a significant failure of leadership that very likely has harmed the U of C’s reputation for academic independence and objectivity.”

According to the authors, Enbridge was allowed to name the Centre, design its public launch and determine academic priorities, all the while skewing the sponsorship in its own favour to “subordinate the university’s responsibilities as an academic body to the priorities of prospective donors in the oil and gas industry.”

“The Enbridge sponsorship reveals how easily a university can make itself dependent on corporate money” that creates “inherent pressures to compromise academic objectivity where it came into conflict with donor priorities,” the authors state.

 The eight recommendations in the report include a review of the governance structure and processes at the U of C in order to make them more transparent and clearly linked to the principles of academic freedom and collegial governance. As well, the report suggests that all senior university officials be barred from paid service on outside corporate boards; that relationships with external entities be reviewed and made to comply with CAUT recommendations on university-corporate collaborations; and that processes of collegial governance and shared decision-making involving the U of C leadership and faculty, students and staff should be reviewed and strengthened along with the overall accountability of senior administrators.


Media contact:

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

Author: bourne
Posted: October 11, 2017, 12:53 pm

(Ottawa – 6 October 2017)  On this day as we mark the 10th anniversary of World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to highlight the role which the federal government can and should play in realizing and implementing a decent work agenda in Canada.

In this effort, CAUT joins with trade unions around the globe calling for government action promoting economic growth that puts people first.

As with many workers in different sectors throughout our country and the world, an increasing number of teachers at Canada’s colleges and universities are employed on short-term contracts with low pay, few benefits and no job security.

Such precarious employment undermines the quality of post-secondary education and unfairly compromises the future of talented researchers and teachers.

“Federal leadership is essential to promoting fair work conditions that support workers and tackle inequality,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson.  “Canada could serve as a model for best practices for other countries around the globe with the right effort.”

Author: bourne
Posted: October 7, 2017, 12:53 am