Canadian Association of University Teachers

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(Ottawa – 12 July 2017) In a setback for balanced copyright, the Federal Court has sided with Access Copyright in a case against York University.

The case centred on the question of whether copying practices at York were subject to an Access Copyright tariff, and whether copies made within York’s fair dealing guidelines meet the test of fair dealing under the Copyright Act.

“We are very disappointed with the decision, and believe the court erred on the application of fair dealing and the mandatory nature of the tariff,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “We hope the decision will be appealed and that we will have an opportunity to intervene.”

Robinson says fair dealing allows the use of copyright-protected works, without permission from or payment to rights holders, if the material is used for research, education and other specified purposes, and meets certain fairness standards.

“It’s important that the education community work to preserve the principle of fair dealing and the rights of users to use copyrighted material for education and research,” Robinson added.

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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: July 12, 2017, 7:55 pm

(Ottawa— 29 June, 2017)  The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has filed a motion before the Supreme Court of Canada to intervene in two appeals involving Trinity Western University (TWU).

The appeals spring from cases originating in Ontario and British Columbia between the university and those provinces’ law societies, both of which have rejected TWU’s attempts to gain recognition for its Christian law school. The British Columbia Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Law Society of British Columbia, while the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld denial of accreditation by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The appeals are expected to be heard together at the end of November this year.

An Ad hoc inquiry conducted by CAUT in 2009 concluded that parts of the university’s policy allowed for “unwarranted and unacceptable constraints on academic freedom,” and recommended that TWU be placed on a list of institutions “found to have imposed a requirement of a commitment to a particular ideology or statement as a condition of employment.”

“Universities violate academic freedom when they require academic staff to commit to a particular ideology or statement of faith as a condition of employment, and it’s on this basis that CAUT is interested in joining the cases,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson.

TWU has filed an objection to CAUT intervention while CAUT’s response states that allowing it “will provide a fresh and useful perspective” in the hearing of both appeals.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers

(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

Author: bourne
Posted: June 29, 2017, 6:25 pm

(Ottawa— 21 June, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) marks National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2017 against the backdrop of the150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.

It is an appropriate moment to reflect upon both the countless contributions of Aboriginal Peoples, and also the historic wrongs committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has documented the many pressing issues still requiring attention, and its report points to the critical role education policy can play in supporting the reconciliation process.

Indigenous rights, including the right to education, are inherent rights enshrined in Treaties, the Canadian Constitution, and international agreements. CAUT is committed to restoring, renewing, and regenerating Indigenous practices, languages, and knowledge.

On this year’s National Aboriginal Day, CAUT asks governments to provide new resources to support Aboriginal students to access post-secondary education, and urges academic staff associations and universities and colleges to support Indigenizing the academy by working together to establish equitable policies and practices that involve Aboriginal Peoples and Indigenous Knowledge in all aspects of campus life.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers

(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

Author: bourne
Posted: June 21, 2017, 12:59 pm

(Ottawa — June 6, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) strongly condemns the unfair treatment of Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) faculty representative Louise Briand by the institution’s board of governors.

After an anonymous complaint lodged on May 4, Professor Briand was removed from her position on the UQO Board of Governors representing academic staff because she was accused of having been ‘disrespectful’ during Board meeting deliberations. Briand had been critical of the spending priorities of the institution, arguing that infrastructure spending was given priority over investment in teaching, program development, and research.

In a letter addressed to the chair of the UQO board of governors’ Governance and Ethics Committee, CAUT emphasizes that the UQO has a duty to respect Professor Briand’s academic freedom, as well as her freedom of expression.

“Academic freedom includes the right to express one's opinion about the university, its administration, and the system in which one works," says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. "UQO should immediately reinstate Professor Briand."

CAUT represents over 70,000 academic staff across Canada.

Author: bourne
Posted: June 6, 2017, 6:00 pm

(Ottawa – June 2, 2017) A Quebec Superior Court judge has retracted his own ruling from last January that required a Université du Québec à Montréal professor to violate the confidentiality of her research participants.

On May 31, in a case where the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) intervened, Justice Marc St-Pierre ruled that  professor Marie-Ève Maillé’s promise of confidentiality met the four criteria of the “Wigmore” test for determining whether a communication is privileged.

“We are extremely pleased that the judge chose to uphold researcher-participant confidentiality,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The decision confirms that it is in the public interest for researchers to conduct their work with a promise of anonymity to study participants.”

The case involved the work of then graduate student Marie-Ève ​​Maillé, who interviewed 93 people in 2010 about a controversial wind farm being built in the Arthabaska region of Quebec, and promised them anonymity.

After local residents launched a class action lawsuit against the wind farm company, Éoliennes de l'Érable Inc., Justice St-Pierre ruled last January that Maillé, now an adjunct professor in social and public communications, must disclose the names of people who took part in her research.

Maillé requested a review of the judgment after receiving a letter indicating she could be held in contempt of court for refusing to comply.

Robinson notes that this latest judgment builds upon a 2014 case involving academic privilege and researcher-participant confidentiality, also from the Quebec Superior Court.

In that instance, CAUT funded a legal challenge on behalf of two University of Ottawa criminology professors resisting police efforts to obtain records related to a study about male escorts. One of their subjects was convicted murderer Luka Magnotta.

Justice Sophie Bourque denied Montreal police access to taped interviews the professors had collected, upholding for the first time the rights of researchers to protect confidential information necessary for their academic work.

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Author: bourne
Posted: June 2, 2017, 4:03 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Iranian leader Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei to ask for immediate release of Mr. Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association.

“The blatant disregard for Mr. Abdi’s rights to freedom of association, expression and the right to travel contravenes the central tenets of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a convention to which Iran is a signatory,” wrote CAUT executive director David Robinson.

Mr. Abdi was singled out for his leadership role and legitimate participation in trade union activities, apprehended on false charges and sentenced to six years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where he’s been on a hunger strike since April 30.

Mr. Abdi’s condition is reportedly deteriorating, and he is not allowed to communicate with a lawyer or family members. CAUT’s letter calls for all charges to be dropped and for his immediate release.
 

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Author: autobox
Posted: May 24, 2017, 7:00 am

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is dismayed that Canadian citizen and former Ottawa resident Dr. Hassan Diab remains imprisoned in France after his extradition there in 2014.

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

The allegations against him are based on secret unsourced evidence and what many view as deeply flawed handwriting analysis. Diab continues to deny involvement in any terrorist activity.

CAUT urges you to sign the petition calling upon the Government of Canada to work towards the immediate granting of bail for Dr. Diab and securing his urgent return to his family and home in Canada.

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Author: autobox
Posted: May 19, 2017, 7:00 am

At the 82nd Council meeting of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, delegates elected officers for the next year.

President James Compton and Vice-President Brenda Austin-Smith were re-elected. Also re-elected to another term were Peter McInnis (St. Francis Xavier), Chair of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee; John Kingma (Laval), Representative-at-large (Québec); Kelly Anne Meckling (Guelph), Representative-at-large (General); and, Kevin Kane (Alberta), Representative-at-large (General).

Four new members were elected to the Executive Committee: David Newhouse (Trent), Representative-at-large (Aboriginal); Sarika Bose (UBC), Chair of the Contract Academic Staff Committee; Pat Armstrong (York), Co-Chair of the Equity Committee; and, Blanca Navarro Pardinas (Moncton-Edmunston), Representative-at-large (Francophone).

“I’m looking forward to working with our new executive over the next year as we continue to defend academic freedom and push for better funding for post-secondary education and research, and better working conditions for all academic staff,” said CAUT President James Compton.

Below is the complete list of Executive Committee members for 2017-18.

President: James Compton – WESTERN ONTARIO (UWOFA)

Past President: Robin Vose – ST. THOMAS (FAUST)

Vice-President: Brenda Austin-Smith - MANITOBA (UMFA)

Treasurer: Yalla Sangaré - SAINTE-ANNE (APPBUSA) 

Chair, AF&T: Peter McInnis - ST. FRANCIS XAVIER (ST.FXAUT)

Chair, CBEBC: Terri Van Steinburg- KWANTLEN (FPSE)

Chair, L&A: Carla Graebner - SIMON FRASER (SFUFA)

Chair, CAS: Sarika Bose – BRITISH COLUMBIA (UBCFA)

Co-Chair, Equity: Pat Armstrong – YORK (YUFA)

Co-Chair, Equity: Wesley Crichlow - UOIT (UOITFA)

Representative-at-large (General): Kelly Meckling – GUELPH (UGFA)

Representative-at-large (General): Kevin Kane – ALBERTA (AASUA)

Representative-at-large (Aboriginal): David Newhouse – TRENT (TUFA)

Representative-at-large (Quebec): John Kingma – LAVAL (SPUL)

Representative-at-large (Francophone): Blanca Navarro Pardinas - EDMUNSTON (ABPPUM-CE)

 

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Author: autobox
Posted: May 18, 2017, 7:00 am

The Canadian Association of University Teachers joins with unions and employee associations across Canada in marking the 26th National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

It has been 25 years since the explosion of the Westray Mine on May 9, 1992, which killed 26 coal miners in Plymouth, Nova Scotia. Following the tragedy, workers and their unions fought for and gained significant health and safety protection under federal legislation that criminalizes violations of workplace safety.

Despite this victory, we will reflect particularly this year on the fact that workers continue to be killed or injured on the job, few charges have been laid pursuant to the legislation, and only one prosecution has ever resulted in jail time. 

On this Day of Mourning, CAUT urges provincial and federal governments to closely examine why so few employers have been held to account; to invest in training for police and crown prosecutors; and for provincial labour ministries, police forces and other involved authorities to improve collaboration so that senseless workplace deaths can be minimized.  

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

Author: autobox
Posted: April 28, 2017, 7:00 am

To celebrate Earth Day, the Canadian Association of University Teachers urges you to join millions around the globe and participate in the March for Science. 

The March for Science is a celebration of science. We get together as a diverse nonpartisan group fighting for robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We call for political leaders and policy makers to develop evidence-based policies in the public interest.

Earth Day is also an occasion to reflect on climate change and the implications and challenges of tackling the problem. Academic staff has a special responsibility and a unique opportunity to be part of the solution. There are practical, concrete actions that you and your staff associations can take to reduce the threat.

Across Canada and the globe, staff associations and researchers are building expertise. On campus, action against climate change is focusing on three main fronts:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint of campuses
  • Teaching and Research
  • Political Advocacy

Canadians view academic staff with extraordinary legitimacy. This credibility lends you both power and the responsibility to forcefully present the case for confronting climate change.

This Earth Day, walk the walk, or talk the talk, but let’s do something.

There are many satellite marches planned in Canada. Register now  to march in Washington, or across Canada, or register to join any march virtually by digital live-stream.

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Author: autobox
Posted: April 21, 2017, 7:00 am

The Canadian Association of University Teachers welcomes today’s release of the report of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, and the recommendations for a funding increase of $1.3 billion for basic, non-targeted research.

“The report makes it clear that basic science and scholarly inquiry in Canada have been seriously underfunded for much of the last decade,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The most important recommendation in today’s report, and one that we urge the government to act on, is that Ottawa significantly and rapidly increase its investment in independent investigator-led research.”  

Robinson notes the report also calls for a better-balanced allocation of funding across the three federal research granting agencies.

“The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, while representing the largest constituency of university researchers, has been the poor cousin for years. The report rightly notes that there is a need to allocate new funds across the granting councils in a more balanced way to ensure more opportunities for those scholars in the social sciences and humanities,” adds Robinson.

Robinson says CAUT also welcomes the report’s recommendations to support Indigenous researchers and to improve equity and diversity in federal research programs, including the setting of “hard equity targets and quotas where persistent and unacceptable disparities exist.”

The report further recommends the creation of a new National Advisory Council on Research and Innovation (NACRI) to provide broad oversight of federal research programs, and to develop and harmonize funding strategies across the agencies. It also calls for improvements to the oversight and governance of the granting agencies. 

“When considering these changes, it will be critical we ensure that governance of the granting councils is reflective of the active research community and operates at arms-length from government,” adds Robinson.

Read CAUT's analysis here.

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For more information, please contact:

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

Author: autobox
Posted: April 10, 2017, 5:30 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) wrote to the Hungarian government to express concern about proposed legislation threatening the internationally prestigious Central European University (CEU).

In its letter, the CAUT notes that amendments to Act CCIV on National Higher Education, if passed, will make the institution’s continued operation as a free and independent international graduate university impossible.

“For 25 years, CEU has played a global role in advancing knowledge and scientific inquiry,” says CAUT President James Compton. “Academic freedom and university autonomy are fundamental pillars of all democratic societies. The proposed legislative changes would undermine those pillars and set a dangerous precedent for other institutions in Hungary.”

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For more information, please contact:

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

 

Author: Anonymous
Posted: April 4, 2017, 1:00 pm

This Earth Day, April 22, countless people around the globe will stand up and March for Science. The Canadian Association of University Teachers supports the Science March and urges you to join in the many satellite marches planned in Canada.

Please register now to march in Washington, or across Canada. You can also register to join any march virtually by digital live-stream.

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity, and as a foundation to uphold the common good.

We must stand together to face down forces seeking to discredit scientific consensus and restrict scientific discovery. How can we afford not to?

Author: Anonymous
Posted: April 3, 2017, 6:22 pm

This year's Federal Budget sets out the government’s vision for jobs and growth, focusing on skills development, innovation, and infrastructure investment. As part of this agenda, a number of positive measures were introduced that will help increase access to post-secondary education, specifically for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students and part-time learners.

The budget also makes important investments in child care, home care, programs to increase women’s participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, and initiatives to decrease gender-based violence.

Academic staff will be disappointed, however, that absent from this year’s budget is any new funding for basic research. This is particularly notable following the government’s first budget last year which boosted funding for the granting councils and announced a review of fundamental science, the results of which have been delayed.

Click here to read more.

Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 30, 2017, 8:19 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers tabled a Submission to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women for its Study on the Economic Security of Women in Canada.

In its brief, CAUT propose five specific federal actions that, if taken, will improve women’s economic security and leadership, not only in academia, but across all of Canadian society.

We call on the federal government to:

1. Work with the provinces and territories to expand and increase protections for workers in precarious employment;

2. Enhance the social safety net for precarious workers, by improving the Employment Insurance Program and getting a national child care framework signed and funded;

3. Introduce immediately proactive pay equity legislation;

4. Improve the federal employment equity program, including the Federal Contractors Program; and,

5. Restore federal funding levels for basic research to 2007 levels and ensure its equitable distribution.

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Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 28, 2017, 8:05 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is preparing to launch an investigation into the controversial departure of Professor Andrew Potter as Director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of Canada.

In a letter to McGill  Principal Suzanne Fortier issued today, CAUT says recent public statements made by Ms. Fortier renew concerns about the circumstances of Professor Potter’s resignation, and the University’s obligation to protect the academic freedom of its staff.

“Principal Fortier has said that academic freedom is not a consideration in this case because Professor Potter held an administrative position with the University,” explains CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “This flies in the face of the well-established principle and practice that administrators who also serve as academic staff enjoy the full protection of academic freedom.”

In its letter, CAUT is seeking further details about the University’s role in the controversy that erupted after Professor Potter wrote an on-line article for Maclean’s Magazine in which he argued the response to a recent snow storm in Montreal was reflective of a “pathologically alienated and low-trust society” in Quebec.

“Academic freedom is central to a university’s mission in a democratic society,” Robinson wrote. “If the University did indeed cave in to external pressure and Professor Potter was pressured or coerced into resigning, this would represent one of the most significant academic freedom cases in recent decades.”

Robinson says that, subject to any further information provided by McGill University, CAUT will establish a committee of inquiry to determine if Professor Potter’s academic freedom was violated.

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For more information, please contact:

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

Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 27, 2017, 8:10 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is concerned about the circumstances surrounding the sudden resignation of Professor Andrew Potter as Director of the Institute for the Study of Canada at McGill University.

Professor Potter found himself at the centre of controversy this week after writing a blog post for Maclean’s Magazine in which he argued the response to a recent snow storm in Montreal was reflective of a “pathologically alienated and low-trust society” in Quebec.

Some media reports suggest that following pressure from high profile figures, the McGill administration forced Potter to resign as Director of the Institute.

“If it is true that the McGill administration bowed to external pressure and forced Professor Potter to step down, then this would be one of the most serious violations of academic freedom in recent years,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “Universities have an absolute obligation to protect and defend the academic freedom of their faculty from outside influences.”

Robinson notes that McGill’s policy on academic freedom explicitly states that “[t]he university and its officers have a duty to protect the academic freedom of its scholarly community, both individually and collectively, from infringement and undue external influence as well as to maintain the university’s institutional autonomy.”

CAUT is seeking clarity from the McGill administration about the events leading up to Professor Potter’s resignation.

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For more information, please contact:

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

Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 23, 2017, 8:13 pm

Today’s budget makes welcome commitments in a number of areas of importance to academic staff in our colleges and universities, such as increasing access to post-secondary education for Indigenous scholars, but it fails to build on the government’s initial investments in fundamental science.  

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has called for an investment of an additional $500 million over three years through Canada’s granting councils to restore basic research funding to 2007 levels when adjusted for inflation. This federal budget doesn’t include any new investment in fundamental research.

“We need transformative and sustained investments in fundamental science that lead to real advances in knowledge that contribute to our understanding of the world and a better quality of life, but this budget falls short on that promise,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson.

CAUT welcomed the new investments in support for Indigenous students and scholarship, and initiatives to help women to succeed in post-secondary education, including child care. Budget 2017 commits $90 million over two years to the Post-Secondary Support Program and $7 billion over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. 

“We applaud the government for delivering on its promises to invest in the post-secondary education funding for Indigenous students and other measures. It is long overdue that the federal government begin honouring its Treaty obligations,” says Robinson.

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, Communication Officer, 613-820-2270 ext. 186 or keller@caut.ca

For a full report on the Budget, click here

Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 22, 2017, 9:53 pm

The Association des bibliothécaires, professeures et professeurs de l’Université de Moncton (ABPPUM) has reached an important milestone towards equity. Yesterday, the negotiating team reached a tentative agreement with their employer that will give their members salaries equivalent to those received by their colleagues working at anglophone universities in New Brunswick.

Members of ABPPUM will vote on the agreement on Monday.

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Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 10, 2017, 7:41 pm

This International Women’s Day, academic staff unite with women across the country and around the world to celebrate achievements and to call for bolder action to address inequality. 

Twenty years ago, Canada was ranked first place on the UN’s Gender Inequality Index. By 2014, Canada slipped to 25th place.

 We need to once again become a global leader.

The Liberal government has moved quickly in its first year to regain some lost ground: the child benefits and retirement security systems were improved; investments have been made to the shelter system; the Court Challenges Program of Canada (CCP) and the long-form census were reinstated; and a gender analysis of the budget is underway.  In addition, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was launched and a commitment made to develop a comprehensive federal gender violence strategy and action plan.

More needs to be done. CAUT urges the government to: 

1. Re-establish funding for women’s, Aboriginal, and equity-seeking groups, which engage in advocacy. The government’s $3 million increase last year to Status of Women Canada and the return of advocacy activities as an eligible grant activity were a start. However the Status of Women Canadas budget is still only 0.02% of total federal program spending.

2.  Address inequality in employment. In universities and colleges, women are underrepresented in senior positions and overrepresented in precarious contract positions. The Conservative government weakened the Federal Contractors Program that requires organizations and businesses – including universities and colleges – receiving federal government contracts to have employment equity plans.

3. Close the wage gap. Women still earn less than their male counterparts even in academia, and when adjusted for rank, discipline, and other factors.  The gap is greater for women who are Aboriginal, racialized, transgender, and those with disabilities. The federal government has promised to introduce pay equity legislation before 2018. This legislation should be based on the recommendations of the 2004 Federal Pay Equity Taskforce report and the 2016 Report of the Special Committee on Pay Equity.

4. End violence against women. The federal government has committed to a comprehensive federal gender violence strategy and action plan. This should include a plan to end “rape culture” and provide better access to legal aid for victims.

5. Establish a national child care program that offers accessible, affordable, and quality care. The federal government must provide funding and leadership, and work with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to make affordable quality child care a reality for all families.

Author: Anonymous
Posted: March 7, 2017, 7:45 pm