(Ottawa – July 8, 2020) Members of the Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD) have overwhelmingly voted no confidence in the College’s Board of Governors after the abrupt removal on June 26 of President Aoife Mac Namara.
“Our members have spoken,” says FUNSCAD President Mathew Reichertz. “The lack of transparency in the Board’s decision to remove the President after only 11 months in the position, and its unwillingness to share the reasons for its decision has created a vacuum of information that is destabilizing to the University and destroying our trust in the Board and its ability to responsibly fulfill its fiduciary duties.”
Over 95 per cent of FUNSCAD members voted, and more than 96 per cent voted no confidence.
Reichertz says the Board’s unexplained actions are damaging to NSCAD, and is calling for transparency about the decision. “The Board is the only entity that can repair this problem, either by providing a compelling and satisfactory explanation to the community it serves, and proving that it can act collegially and transparently; or by reinstating the President, and stepping down so that others who have the trust of the community may take up this important responsibility.”
(Ottawa — June 21, 2020) This year, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) marks National Indigenous Peoples Day as five years have passed since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) issued its landmark report.
The report documents pressing issues facing Indigenous peoples that still require attention, and the anniversary of its release is underscored by a global campaign against racism, sparked by the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis.
CAUT continues to press all levels of governments to act. As the TRC report notes, education policy can play a critical role in supporting the reconciliation process, but to do so we need to invest and be invested in the reconciliation process.
Academic staff associations, universities and colleges must urgently address systemic racism affecting Indigenous peoples which manifests in delegitimizing Indigenous cultures and knowledge. We must support Indigenization of the academy by undertaking proactive measures aimed at restoring, renewing, and re-generating Indigenous practices, languages, and knowledge; and by pursuing Indigenization through collective bargaining.
Today, as we celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples, we cannot forget the historic wrongs committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada, and are reminded that all Canadians have a role to play in decolonizing, and building a more just country and world.
(Ottawa – June 10, 2020) In recommendations presented to the federal government, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is calling on Ottawa to allow universities and colleges to access the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
“Universities and colleges, like other organizations, need financial support to retain and pay employees during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “Academics and staff are taking urgent steps to continue to conduct research and provide education. This vital work will be significantly hampered if institutions cannot retain employees and maintain operations throughout this crisis.”
Whereas private educational institutions are eligible for the federal wage subsidy program, public universities and colleges are not. CAUT is recommending that the government extend eligibility for the CEWS to universities and colleges, and extend the timelines.
“We appreciate the government’s efforts to improve its wage and income support programs,” Robinson adds. “But there are still gaps that need to be closed.”
(Ottawa – June 3, 2020) – The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) stands in solidarity with communities around the world protesting racism, injustice, and inequality.
While the ongoing demonstrations have been triggered by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the outrage and anger being expressed have their roots in years of pent-up frustration with racism and inequality.
CAUT calls on political leaders, organizations, members, and all individuals to take immediate action against endemic racism and inequality. In particular, reforms are needed urgently to policing practices and the criminal justice system in order to end the discrimination and racism against Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples that has resulted in unwanted violence and lives lost.
CAUT renews its commitment to fight anti-Black racism in the community, on our campuses, and in the academic workplace. Anti-Black racism in the academy is evident in the under-representation of Black scholars, students and leaders in post-secondary education; in their over-representation in precarious employment; in racial profiling on campus; and in discrimination in hiring and promotion.
Our universities and colleges must do better. We need to be part of the solution by addressing the inequities that exist and by leveraging the knowledge and expertise of academic staff and students to develop concrete ways to end racism and inequality in our society.
(Ottawa – May 27, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) joins with Canada’s unions in applauding the announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that his government is working with the provinces to ensure ten days of paid sick leave for working Canadians.
“Mandated sick leave across Canada is often unpaid, leaving many workers with the choice between coming to work sick, or losing pay,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “In the post-secondary education sector, this meant the most vulnerable workers on campus were left in this position. This announcement is a welcome relief for all such workers.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted social issues like lack of sick leave, and has forced some workers to lose pay or even their jobs if they were required to stay home and self-isolate.
As universities and colleges develop plans for the 2020-21 academic year, many are preparing for the continuation of remote instruction either fully or in part. The initial pivot to remote teaching in March 2020 was a specific response to an immediate and urgent public health situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. As institutions now focus on longer-term planning, decisions about the 2020-21 academic year, including the mode of course delivery, should be made in consultation with academic staff associations, and respect collegial governance processes and collective agreements.
Many academic staff associations have existing collective agreement language or letters of understanding regarding on-line and remote teaching. Modifications to these agreements should be negotiated with the association. While some flexibility may be needed in order to comply with public health orders, academic staff associations should ensure that emergency teaching measures are temporary and solely in response to an extraordinary situation. Any agreement about modifications to the collective agreement and members’ rights should be limited to the 2020-21 academic year, be reviewed regularly, and renewed only if conditions warrant.
Collegial Governance and Academic Freedom
Consistent with principles of collegial governance, the appropriate academic governance body should be responsible for all decisions about class cancellations, modifications, or the temporary continuation of remote teaching. In no case should the administration use the current situation to bypass collegial processes or assume final authority for academic decisions. The pandemic must not be used as a pretext to usher in a longer-term transformation of teaching.
The principle of academic freedom as well as specific language in many collective agreements grants academic staff the right to determine the mode of course delivery. Academic staff should have the right to determine the most pedagogically effective way to provide alternatives to in-class instruction and labs, subject to policies set by academic governance bodies and to the extent that alternatives might be necessary.
In the event that in-class instruction is not feasible, institutions and academic staff associations should ensure that academic freedom is not compromised in a remote teaching environment. Explicit protections should be in place to prevent data sharing, surveillance, and recording of on-line classes.
Special consideration should be given to students studying from abroad, as some course material may be blocked, monitored, or subject to censorship by local authorities, and potentially putting students and their families at risk.
Ownership over course materials has important implications for academic freedom, reputation, custody and control, and copyright. Academic staff should therefore retain their intellectual property rights over the content of their remote and on-line courses. Under no circumstances should on-line courses developed for internal use be shared with other institutions or transferred to third parties without the express permission of the course creator. Academic staff have the right to control the dissemination of their works and to make those works available under licensing arrangements of their choice.
When developing on-line course material, academic staff should be made aware of open educational resources, and follow the principle of fair dealing with respect to the use of copyrighted material. Fair dealing is a right to reproduce works without permission or payment within limits. In addition, the Copyright Act contains a number of specific exceptions that allow works to be reproduced without permission or payment. Some of these exceptions are limited to the educational context, while others are open to all users of copyrighted material. For more information, please consult CAUT’s Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Material.
Workload and Compensation
The development of on-line modes of instruction requires specialized technical support, training, and additional preparation time that will have an impact on workload. Administrations cannot simply expect staff to provide additional lectures, labs, and seminars to accommodate physical distancing protocols without additional staffing resources, credit, or compensation.
Some collective agreements have language that grants higher credit to on-line courses in the assignment of a member’s overall workload. Such language can be used to ensure a fair and reasonable distribution of remote teaching workload. Some academic staff associations have negotiated additional compensation, particularly for contract academic staff who cannot benefit from course load reductions.
Associations should be aware of other factors that may affect remote teaching workloads. Class sizes and the availability of teaching assistants and markers should be considered. The appropriate academic bodies should determine class sizes and teaching and grading support, subject to applicable collective agreement language.
Institutions must also provide appropriate technological support and personnel. Necessary equipment and software must be provided by the institution, or expenditures made by staff must be reimbursed. Failure to provide adequate resources and support may give rise to a policy or individual grievance. Where the administration requires a member to incur expenses while working from home, it must issue tax documents in compliance with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) guidelines.
Some institutions may be considering the outsourcing of remote or on-line courses for the 2020-21 academic year. This may involve contracting with third-party providers, or sharing of courses between institutions in which classes are made available to students from other institutions using shared on-line portals, credit transfer, recognition agreements, or collaboration among institutions to develop joint courses. These plans raise concerns around the outsourcing of the work of members. Academic staff associations must ensure that the work of developing, teaching, and revising courses remains in the bargaining unit.
Associations should resist the private provision of on-line courses, and should discourage course sharing if it leads to a loss of bargaining unit work. Course sharing may be used in some cases by members as a supplement, but never as a replacement, to existing courses.
Some collective agreements allow administrations to enter into contracts with individual members to license on-line courses and other commissioned work. The association is not a signatory to individual contracts, but should be copied on all correspondence between the member and the administration. Members should be advised of their right to seek association assistance prior to signing such contracts. The association’s role is to ensure that no contract undermines academic freedom. Custody and control, and copyright should remain with the creator. Contracts should grant the institution no more than a one-year license allowing the course to be shared with specified partners. Associations should be watchful for contracts that give ownership to the institution or external partner, and for contracts that do not preserve the moral rights of the creator. In the absence of any explicit contractual terms to the contrary, copyright belongs to the creator.
In all cases, the creator should have the right to teach the course and should have control over revisions. Where it may be appropriate for these functions to be performed by different individuals, all should be members of the bargaining unit, the rights and responsibilities of each should be clearly spelled out, and the creator must give permission.
Equity and Inclusion
Remote teaching raises equity and accommodation issues for students and academic staff. Synchronous remote teaching will not be inclusive of students who may be in different time zones across the world. Some students and staff will have varying levels of access to a reliable Internet connection, devices, or required software. Academic staff may also need specialized support to ensure on-line materials are accessible to those with visual disabilities, hearing impairments, learning disorders, mental illness, and other accommodation needs. Institutions should provide support structures and programs for all students and staff who are experiencing increased hardship.
Academic staff associations should ensure that decisions made around remote teaching fully respect collegial governance, academic freedom, and the collective agreement. While some flexibility in approach may be necessary, associations should seek to protect the following core principles:
- Academic decisions should be made through normal collegial processes. Academic staff, through their institution’s governance bodies, must make all academic decisions, including those involving changes to the mode of delivery of courses.
- Method of delivery is a pedagogical decision and an academic freedom right. Academic staff, subject to collegially developed policies and provisions of the collective agreement, should determine the method of delivery for courses. In the current context, such decisions may be constrained by public health directives and safety considerations. However, academic staff should determine how best a course or program might be delivered remotely.
- Copyright should remain with the course creator. Academic staff should maintain copyright over the course materials they produce. In the absence of any explicit contractual terms to the contrary, copyright belongs to the creator(s).
- Remote teaching arrangements should protect against contracting out and outsourcing. Academic staff associations should be vigilant in protecting the work of the bargaining unit from outsourcing.
- Staff should be compensated or credited for increased workloads. Extra time required for the preparation and delivery of remote courses should be recognized and compensated.
(Ottawa — May 19, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes the recent announcement from the federal government of $450 million in further support to the research community, but remains concerned that public universities and colleges remain ineligible for the federal wage subsidy.
“The funds are good news for health researchers and institutions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The health research sector was faced with massive layoffs, and we are pleased to see that the federal government has worked to fix what was a very significant gap in their wage subsidy program.”
The new announcement included extending wage support to university and health research institutes that are funded through industry and philanthropic donations of up to 75 per cent per individual to a maximum of $847 a week. These institutes are also eligible for up to 75 per cent of costs to maintain and restart essential research-related activities such as safe storage of dangerous substances and restarting data sets.
The federal government also announced an expansion of the wage subsidy program to include non-public educational and training institutions. The wage subsidy program still does not apply to public universities and colleges.
“It is troubling that private educational institutions are eligible for the wage subsidy, but public ones are not,” said Robinson. “Our public institutions across the country are also facing significant challenges. The federal government needs to do more to help the hundreds of thousands of workers that universities and colleges employ and the students they support”.
(Ottawa — May 15, 2020) As the federal and provincial governments consider easing the emergency restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, colleges and universities across the country are developing plans for their operations in the fall. The options being considered raise logistical questions about how far campuses can re-open and how courses will be delivered; health and safety considerations about how best to protect all members of the campus community; and academic concerns about how to ensure our institutions can continue to fulfil their core mission of teaching and research under the circumstances. It is crucial that academic staff associations and academic governance bodies be actively involved in all discussions about planning for the 2020-21 academic year.
To assist in these discussions, CAUT is providing the following guidelines for member associations. As with all of CAUT’s advice and resources related to COVID-19, these guidelines will be updated as necessary as more information becomes available.
CAUT Guidelines for Re-opening Canada’s Universities and Colleges
- The recommendations and guidance of public health authorities should inform all decisions about when and how to re-open campuses safely. The health and safety of students and staff should be the primary consideration.
- The workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) and academic staff associations must be involved in decision-making around re-opening. The JHSC is responsible for identifying workplace hazards and making recommendations for prevention and mitigation. The administration, academic staff association, other campus unions, and the JHSC must work closely on a comprehensive workplace safety plan until the risks from exposure to COVID-19 are contained, and the workplace and community can resume normal activities.
- The JHSC and the academic staff association should consider a range of possible ways to reduce the risk posed by COVID-19, including:
- Establishing recommended physical distancing protocols in classrooms, residences, libraries, and other spaces on campus;
- Enhancing sanitation protocols and enacting measures to properly train and protect staff who conduct the cleaning;
- Identifying appropriate and effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be used by students and staff;
- Establishing criteria and protocols in the event a student or staff member is diagnosed as or suspected of being COVID-19 positive; and
- Ensuring appropriate resources are in place to support the well-being and mental health of students and staff.
- Institutions should provide reasonable accommodation for staff who are at high risk or have family responsibilities that require them to remain off-campus. As much as possible, institutions should permit these staff to continue teleworking.
- Consistent with principles of collegial governance, the appropriate academic governance body should be responsible for all decisions about class cancellations, modifications, or the temporary continuation of remote teaching or blended instruction. As the CAUT Policy Statement on Distance (including Online) Education notes: “Academic staff, through collegial processes, should determine the method of course delivery and workload allocation.”
- Institutions should negotiate any changes to instructional methods and mode of delivery with the academic staff association. The principle of academic freedom as well as specific collective agreement language provide academic staff with the right to select course materials, determine the pedagogical approach, and choose methods and modes of instruction and assessment within their assigned courses, subject to institutional policies as developed by relevant academic governance bodies.
- In the event that in-class instruction is not possible, institutions and academic staff associations should ensure that academic freedom is not compromised in a remote teaching environment. Explicit protections should be in place to prevent data sharing, surveillance, and recording of on-line classes. Additionally, academic staff who create distance courses should retain their intellectual property rights relating to the content of those courses.
- Academic staff, and in particular contract academic staff, should be properly compensated for additional preparation or instructional time that may be required as a result of a continuation of temporary remote teaching. In all cases, academic staff should be provided with sufficient time and resources to further develop skills in remote teaching.
- All plans for the fall academic year should fully consider equity implications. Lower-income students and those in rural and remote regions may have inadequate or no access to computers or Internet connections to participate in on-line learning. Students and academic staff with disabilities may require specific accommodations. Institutions should provide support structures and programs for all students and staff who are experiencing increased hardship.
(Ottawa – May 12, 2020) A new survey commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) shows a significant number of students are reconsidering their plans for university and college in the fall, citing lost income, limited support, and concerns about the quality of remote learning.
“Students and their families are worried about their health, the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uncertainty about how classes will be taught in the fall,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “Among those students who say they will still be able to afford their tuition fees and living costs, a large number — about 75 per cent — are worried that distance learning will create a poor learning experience.”
The survey, of both graduating high-school students and returning post-secondary students, reveals:
- Seven in ten say their summer employment plans have been negatively affected by COVID-19;
- 30 per cent of returning and new students might change their plans about enrolling at a post-secondary institution in the fall;
- One in two says that COVID-19 has made it more difficult to afford tuition and living costs;
- Over two thirds of students say their personal finances and those of their parents or family have been affected by the pandemic.
CFS National Chairperson Sofia Descalzi points out that lack of affordability is affecting some students more than others, with 85 per cent of those reconsidering plans for their fall education saying reducing or eliminating tuition would be central to assisting their return.
“It is clear that already marginalized populations are being affected disproportionately by the situation, with a larger number of women and those identifying as visible minorities saying it will be harder to afford post-secondary,” Descalzi notes. “Even with government supports in place — such as the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and changes to grants and loans — the stark reality is that many students will not be able to swing higher education come fall and, if they do, many students will have to increase their debt levels even more.”
The survey was conducted by Abacus Data with 1,100 high school and post-secondary students in Canada, aged 17 and older, from April 23 to May 1, 2020. The sample includes 300 graduating high-school students and 800 post-secondary students.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Keller, CAUT Communications Officer; 613-222-3530 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Geneviève Charest, CFS media contact; email@example.com
(Ottawa – May 7, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes the Ontario government’s decision to suspend plans to introduce performance-based funding (PBF) for post-secondary institutions, but says the decision should be made permanent.
“It is the right decision and the Ford government should not only postpone the implementation, it should abandon the idea completely. Performance-based funding has a long history of failing in wherever it is tried,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.
The Ontario government announced its decision in light of the financial uncertainty facing universities and colleges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the Alberta government is still pressing ahead with performance-base funding measures, and Saskatchewan and New Brunswick are also considering PBF.
”More than ever, colleges and universities need to focus on building and advancing knowledge. They don’t need another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. All provincial governments should realize that and act accordingly,” adds Robinson.
(Ottawa — May 1, 2020) The federal government must address the significant financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on universities and colleges with a series of bold measures to strengthen public funding and to maintain enrolment levels, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
“Universities and colleges are integral to the solving of Canada’s current and future challenges. We urge you to take immediate steps to further close the gaps in emergency support and commit to making changes to improve the affordability and sustainability of post-secondary education as part of a recovery plan that ensures a stronger and more just post-Covid-19 Canada,” wrote CAUT President, Brenda Austin-Smith, and CAUT Executive Director, David Robinson, in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
CAUT is asking the federal government to act on three recommendations in order to ensure Canada’s post-secondary institutions weather the pandemic and are well-positioned to assist the country in recovery:
- Allow universities and colleges access to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy;
- Work with the provinces and institutions to implement tuition waivers to ensure that any qualified student will be able to get the education and training they need without taking on additional debt;
- Increase the federal transfer to the provinces for post-secondary education with agreements on shared priorities to improve affordability, accessibility and quality.
CAUT argues that the extending the federal wage subsidy program will help secure jobs for the summer and the fall for thousands of academics. Providing tuition waivers gives students and those workers currently unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic an opportunity to get the education and training they need without taking on debt. The final recommendation focuses on building long-term, stable, and predictable public funding for Canada’s universities and colleges.
“This pandemic has brought into sharp relief the unsustainability of the current financing of post-secondary education in Canada. Support for students must be complemented with a commitment to stable and predictable core operating funding. This will allow colleges and universities to focus on their core academic mission,” concluded Austin-Smith and Robinson.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, 613-222-3530 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ottawa – April 28, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) stands with unions and employee associations across the country to observe this year’s National Day of Mourning in recognition of workers killed or injured on the job.
Nearly five million workers in Canada have been deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a number of frontline workers already losing their lives to the virus. The crisis has starkly revealed inequities in our workplaces, with many of those who risk their lives daily working for minimum wages, with few benefits, and in insecure positions.
Every employee has a right to safe working conditions, and fair compensation. On this Day of Mourning, CAUT calls on governments and employers everywhere to use the lessons being learned during this extraordinary time to rebuild a more equitable and better world.
(Ottawa – April 27, 2020) Last week’s announcement that the federal government will provide more than $1 billion for medical research will help ensure that researchers working across the country have the funding they need to continue their crucial work necessary toward the road to recovery from COVID-19, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
“It is encouraging to see additional funding for research and science,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “Across the country, university-based researchers have been stepping up to help understand and fight this virus.”
The new funding includes the creation of an Immunity Task Force and increased data monitoring, as well as an additional $114.9 million for the Canadian Institute of Health Research for projects developing and implementing medical and social countermeasures to help mitigate the health and social impacts of COVID-19. The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization-International Vaccine Centre; the National Research Council; the Canadian Immunization Research Network, and Genome Canada also received additional funding.
“This additional funding reinforces how crucial our research community is in Canada, and the important role they play in improving and protecting the lives of all Canadians,” said Robinson.
(Ottawa – April 24, 2020) The Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that the collective licensing agency Access Copyright cannot enforce its tariffs against York University or any non-licenced user, but also repeated a lower Court’s misconceptions about fair dealing for education purposes.
“In finding that Access Copyright’s tariffs are not mandatory, the Court recognizes that educational institutions can opt out of collective licensing arrangements and choose other legal routes to copy and use works, including through site licensing, open access materials, transactional licences and through fair dealing,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.
CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) intervened in the appeal arguing against mandatory tariffs and the lower court’s ruling on York University’s fair dealing purposes. The Federal Court of Appeal, while reversing the decision on mandatory tariffs, failed to correct the lower court’s flawed comments on fair dealing, which contradict previous Supreme Court decisions on the user rights of students and faculty.
“This decision is critically important for choice in educational licensing of copyrighted material, but it remains equally important that the education community keeps working to defend fair dealing,” added Robinson.
Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; (c) 613-222-3530; email – email@example.com
(Ottawa – April 22, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes today’s announcement by the federal government of new supports for students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The financial support initially provided through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) left out many students,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “Today’s announcement of nearly $9 billion in funding for the new Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) and the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) will help students replace income, find summer jobs and launch careers.”
“It is also significant that the government announced an additional $75 million in support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students,” added Robinson.
“The measures announced today are an important first step in providing support directly to students and indirectly to post-secondary institutions,” said Robinson. “However, more will need to be done if universities and colleges face enrolment and financial challenges in September. The federal government should be prepared to work with the provinces to provide additional funding grants to institutions as needed. We have to ensure that any new federal support is not offset by provincial cuts or tuition hikes.”
The new CESB will provide $1,250 per month for students (including recent graduates and future students) from May through August 2020, increasing to $1,750 for students living with a disability or who are taking care of someone. An additional $291 million will be provided to the federal research councils to extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants.
The CSSG will benefit students who choose to volunteer and serve their communities, by providing up to $5,000 for their education in the fall. Additionally, Canada Student Grants for eligible students will be doubled up to $6,000 for full-time and up to $3,600 for part-time students.
Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-222-3530 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org
(Ottawa – April 21, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is calling on the Manitoba government to reverse its demand that universities cut deeply into their budgets by as much as 30 per cent.
“Cuts of that size will permanently damage Manitoba’s universities, and undermine their capacity to teach students who have already been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic,” warns CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.
Premier Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservative government has given universities only a few days to model budget cuts of 10, 20 and 30 per cent over the next four months, either by cutting their workforces or by reducing other expenditures.
“The Manitoba government is an outlier amongst the provinces. Other governments recognize that public investment is critically needed at this time to keep the economy from falling into a tailspin, and to ensure that public services like post-secondary education are able to play their part in the battle against COVID-19,” Robinson says.
CAUT urges the Manitoba government to stop the cuts and to recognize that universities are the key drivers that will contribute to the province’s future recovery.
“Cutting now is a false economy that will irreparably harm universities, students and all Manitobans,” Robinson says.
(Ottawa — April 7, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) are calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to post-secondary students and contract academic staff.
“Students and contract academic staff are seeing their job offers vanish and will have limited or no income over the coming months because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “We’re urging the government to ensure that students and our most vulnerable workers are not left behind.”
“Many students, even if they do work during the school year, are not eligible for the CERB and their prospects for the summer are grim. Students must be included in this much-needed emergency benefit. It is essential that the federal government offers support to those who are falling through the cracks," says Canadian Federation of Students Chairperson, Sofia Descalzi.
Many students and contract academic staff rely on income from spring and summer jobs to help make ends meet, but there are significantly fewer summer employment opportunities today than in a normal year. Even if a student made over $5,000 in their previous summer job, they are not eligible for the CERB if they did not lose a job because of the pandemic.
With colleges and universities cancelling spring and summer courses, some contract academic staff may see their incomes reduced to below the $2,000 per month provided through the CERB.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communication, Canadian Association of University Teachers, 613-293-1810 or email@example.com
(Ottawa – March 26, 2020) The federal government’s newly expanded and improved income support program for workers and their families is a valuable and timely measure, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing massive disruption worldwide and the next few weeks or months will be difficult for many workers who are experiencing job loss or reduced income,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a significant step forward and we encourage both provincial and federal governments to continue to expand and adapt supports to best assist Canadians with this crisis.”
The new CERB, announced March 25, simplifies and expands previously announced programs and will provide $2000 per month for up to four months to workers who have lost income as a result of COVID-19, including contract workers and those who previously would not have been eligible for the benefits offered through the Employment Insurance (EI) program.
The application portal is expected to be functional by early April. Those applying can expect funds within approximately ten days.
(Ottawa — March 26, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is gravely concerned by the Government of Alberta’s refusal to reverse planned cuts to post-secondary education which will see over 600 workers laid off at the University of Alberta alone, most before March 31st.
Despite outcries from the scientific community, and a national call to support workers and families through the COVID-19 crisis, the provincial government is proceeding with massive funding cuts to post-secondary education.
The Kenney government announced earlier this year that funding would be reduced by up to 20% for some institutions. With universities and provinces now reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, the funding reductions will be even more devastating for workers and families in Alberta and will have long-lasting impacts on the quality and viability of post-secondary education.
“In this unprecedented time, governments need to be investing in science, supporting workers, reducing anxieties, and ensuring that families can get through this crisis,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The post-secondary education and research community is stepping up to address the COVID-19 crisis. To cut funding to the institutions that provide needed evidence-based expertise to deal with this pandemic – from research in vaccinology and immunology, to policies needed to address the social and economic fallout – is short-sighted and harmful.”
Robinson adds that CAUT supports the calls of the joint letter sent to the University of Alberta to maintain employee benefits and payroll throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
(Ottawa — March 18, 2020) Across Canada, as universities and colleges are taking important steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CAUT welcomes the $27 billion in direct support to Canadians announced today by the federal government. This is an important step in ensuring that vulnerable Canadians, including post-secondary education workers and students, are adequately supported throughout this crisis.
Many of those in the post-secondary sector – contract academic staff instructors, support staff and students – have precarious work with limited job protection and few benefits. The new emergency care benefit of $900 biweekly for those who do not have access to paid sick leave, a six-month interest-free reprieve on student loan payments, and a deferral of tax payments until August 31, among other measures, are necessary steps to support vulnerable workers.
As we move forward in addressing the crisis, we hope our governments continue to adapt and evolve programs to meet the needs of workers and their families. In addition to this financial support, measures are needed to uphold workers' rights at the provincial level.We call upon all provinces to ensure job-protected leaves, and to make the necessary changes to employment standards to close the gaps in support made evident from this public health emergency.
The economic repercussions of this crisis will be felt for months and even years to come. For academic staff, threats to their livelihoods loom in the coming school year, as universities and colleges are likely to see pandemic-related declines in enrolment and resulting financial problems this fall.
Additional fiscal measures will be required to stimulate the economy and support public services. CAUT urges the federal and provincial governments to coordinate measures to assist education in the coming months.Ensuring the sustainability of post-secondary education through the predicted temporary downturn in enrollment will protect core operations and livelihoods, provide continuity for the expertise needed to continue to tackle this crisis, and support Canada’s recovery.