Canadian Association of University Teachers

The Latest

(Ottawa – July 29, 2021) CAUT has released the Fall 2021 semester back-to-school plans for 120 universities and colleges as part of its ongoing efforts to track how post-secondary institutions are managing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fall 2021 semester re-opening plans database includes course delivery modes, institutional health and safety plans and information on hybrid teaching and vaccination requirements, where available.

CAUT has also released a checklist to assess post-secondary institutions’ re-opening plans for the Fall 2021 semester. The checklist – COVID-19 Guidance for Assessing Campus Re-opening Plans – is based on the recommendations of provincial public health authorities and input from CAUT member associations.

The Fall 2021 semester re-opening plans highlights some key back to university and college trends.

  • Forty-three per cent of post-secondary institutions will deliver courses primarily in-person, but plan to comply with expected indoor gathering limits and accommodate students who cannot return to campus by offering some courses online or in hybrid delivery mode.
  • About one-third (31%) of universities and colleges are planning to embrace a blended learning approach by offering a mix of in-person and remote delivery of courses.
  • Twelve per cent of institutions will require at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for students living in residences.
  • As of June 30, 2021, 15% of post-secondary institutions have yet to announce their fall semester plans.

CAUT will continue to monitor how universities and colleges are making academic workspaces safe for campus communities. If you believe that your institution’s plan for re-opening requires an update, please let us know by sending an email to our research team.

Author: gagne
Posted: July 29, 2021, 5:20 pm

(Ottawa – June 23, 2021) The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) are calling on provincial governments to suspend the current plans on the introduction of performance-based funding for universities and listen to the students and faculty concerns regarding the proposed system.

On June 16, CFS’s National Graduate Caucus and CAUT hosted a panel discussion on performance-based funding models in post-secondary education and their impacts on students and faculty. Panelists made it clear that the introduction of performance-based metrics for post-secondary institutions is a retrograde step for the sector and reduces the independence of institutions and the quality of programs offered to students.

“It’s not about accountability—this is about retooling the traditional mission of the university,” said Marc Spooner, professor at the University of Regina. “Let’s dispel any myth that universities have any control over the metrics. All performance-based funding does is turn the university into an entrepreneurial university. It is incentivizing the university to take in students with the highest social capital and the most probability of getting employed.”

“The heart of the problem lies in the inequalities in our societies, whether it is race, class, gender,” said Rudy Fichtenbaum, professor at Wright State University and past president of the American Association of University Professors. “We need to deal with the problem of inequality in education before kids even get to university.”

“Performance-based funding reduces the overall quality of education,” said Wesam AbdElhamid Mohamed, Deputy Chairperson of the CFS. “We’ve seen students, faculty and administrators all agree performance-based funding is harmful.”

Speakers agreed that collective action is required to push back against performance-based funding.

The Canadian Federation of Students is the largest student organization in the country, representing over 530,000 college and university students, and advocates for affordable, high-quality post-secondary education. The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice for academic staff representing 72,000 teachers, librarians, researchers, general staff and other academic professionals at some 125 universities and colleges across the country.

Author: fortier
Posted: June 23, 2021, 3:53 pm
Credit: Jordon Hon / University of Alberta

(Ottawa – June 21, 2021) Today marks the 25th anniversary of a nationally-designated day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse culture and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

This milestone arrives in the shadow of the recent, horrific discovery by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of an unmarked mass grave containing 215 children’s remains from the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. This discovery isn’t isolated: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found that 4100 named and unnamed students died in residential schools, often to be buried in unmarked, untended graves.

“The Kamloops discovery is sadly one of many recent grim reminders of the need to embrace and advance the 231 Calls for Action in the 2015 TRC report,” says CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith.

CAUT is committed to restoring, renewing, and regenerating Indigenous practices, languages, and knowledge, and has called for action on the recommendations contained in the TRC report, noting specifically the critical role education can play in supporting the reconciliation process. 

Since the TRC, many post-secondary institutions have developed Indigenization plans. To support academic staff associations at universities and colleges across Canada, CAUT’s Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Working Group has created a checklist for the Indigenization of the Academy. The checklist contains pragmatic information to guide local conversations about Indigenization plans and their impact and effectiveness as well as the experience of Indigenous staff.

“Indigenization represents a move to expand the academy’s conceptions of knowledge to include Indigenous perspectives in transformative ways,” Austin-Smith adds. “CAUT urges individuals and academic staff associations both to reflect on today’s celebration of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and to work in concrete ways to help realize the needed steps to reconciliation.”

Author: fortier
Posted: June 21, 2021, 2:00 pm

In this period of crisis at Francophone universities, with astronomical debt and deficits that exacerbate inequalities, has the time come for the federal government to play a key role in ensuring adequate funding for post-secondary education in French in minority and remote contexts?  

This is one of the questions asked by the panelists from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) and the Association de promotion et défense de la recherche en français (ACFAS), during a webinar that was held on June 9, 2021, in connection with the Sommet sur le rapprochement des francophonies canadiennes.

Moderated by François-Olivier Dorais, Professor of History at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, this nearly two-hour-long webinar brought together dozens of participants and panelists, who provided an overview of post-secondary education in French in minority and remote contexts in Canada.

For Jean Bernatchez, Professor in Education Sciences at Université du Québec à Rimouski, the various crises that we are currently experiencing lead us to examine this subject in greater depth and to implement original and ambitious strategies through the network-based development of training programs characterized by a transdisciplinary approach.

According to Karl Bélanger, Political Advisor at the CAUT, a worrisome development that could have a spill-over effect throughout the country is “Laurentian University’s decision, which was the first of its kind in Canada, to use the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).” While it is debatable whether Laurentian University should have chosen to use this law, which was designed more for corporations, “what is receiving less attention is the political choice of the federal and Ontario governments not to intervene before Laurentian University declared insolvency.”

Sophie Montreuil, Executive Director of ACFAS, is of the opinion, furthermore, that it is “crucial for research to be carried out in French, so that researchers as a group will develop a Francophone expertise, with a precise, well-developed and fundamental vocabulary for talking about their research in the media and in classrooms at different educational levels.” She added that ACFAS has recently published a report making a number of recommendations for the future of research in minority contexts in Canada.

Author: fortier
Posted: June 18, 2021, 3:43 pm

(Ottawa – June 8, 2021) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), representing 72,000 academic faculty and staff at 125 universities across Canada, stands in solidarity with the people of London, Ontario and Muslims across Canada reeling from the mass murder of four out of five members of the Afzaal family on Sunday night.

“We stand united to express our heartfelt condolences for the tragic and senseless loss of four Canadians who were the targets of a terrorist act fuelled by incomprehensible hatred and violence,” says Brenda Austin-Smith, CAUT’s President.  “Your loss is our loss; your family is our family.  No Canadian should ever have to be afraid to walk the streets of their community.”

CAUT joins the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty Association in condemning this horrific mass murder fueled by racism xenophobia and bigotry. Universities and colleges draw a diverse range of academics, staff and students to their campuses; this crisis is being deeply felt by the University community in London, Ontario and on campuses across the country.

“Everyone must be able to live and work free of discrimination and violence,” says David Robinson, CAUT’s Executive Director.   “But that is only the starting point.  Together, we must do more to end the scourge of hate and white supremacy. We affirm our commitment to ensuring that all universities and colleges are safe, equitable and inclusive environments where all people can learn and thrive.”




Author: fortier
Posted: June 8, 2021, 2:11 pm

(Ottawa – June 8, 2021) The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) must immediately release all relevant documents related to its decision last year to dismiss its President and the role commercial interests may have played in that decision--this, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the national voice of 72,000 faculty and staff at 125 universities and colleges across Canada.

The Board of Directors of NSCAD dismissed then-President Aoife Mac Namara last summer without explanation, less than a year after she was hired.  The decision to hire Mac Namara in August 2019 was widely lauded by the university community, including faculty and students.  The firing led some on campus and in the arts community to express concerns that there was inappropriate influence of commercial interests in board decisions.

"As a publicly-funded university, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s must be held to the highest standard of transparency and accountability," says David Robinson, the Executive Director of CAUT. "It is deeply concerning that the Board of Governors is failing to be transparent."

CAUT has recently raised concerns about accountability and transparency in the case of Laurentian University, which filed for insolvency in February in a closed-door process that shut out the faculty association and students.  CAUT warns that the trend towards closed-door decision-making has negative consequences for academic faculty, staff and students.

"Faculty, staff and students must be consulted about decisions that have a major impact on the well-being and financial viability of NSCAD," says CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith." A failure to be inclusive in decision-making leads to poorer decisions, lower satisfaction of staff and students and ultimately impacts the quality of post-secondary education."

In addition to calling for NSCAD to release all relevant documents immediately, CAUT supports the Faculty Union of NSCAD’s call for a public inquiry into the Board of Governor's handling of the dismissal and plans for rehiring and future changes to the campus infrastructure.


Author: fortier
Posted: June 8, 2021, 11:28 am
Sheridan College [photo: Dan Zen / Flickr]

(Ottawa – May 31, 2021) Sheridan College’s decision to unilaterally terminate its Senate is ill-informed and threatens the quality of education at the institution, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“Sheridan was a leader in college governance until the abrupt decision, with no faculty or staff consultation, to abolish its Senate,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The Senate was a positive force - working to ensure transparent, informed decision-making on academic matters inclusive of administrative, faculty and other viewpoints within the community.”

A report on governance commissioned by the Administrators praises the institution, noting it has not faced “widespread discontent or a challenging occurrence that has fractured the community,” and notes that Sheridan is intent upon being “a genuine leader in governance…in a way that reflects the value it places on effective collegial participation in decision-making.”  Despite this, the report raised concerns over the legality of the Senate, which CAUT disputes.

“As long as the board maintains oversight, there is nothing in the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act that would prohibit colleges from constituting senates to advise on academic matters,” notes Robinson.

CAUT has long advocated for shared governance at post-secondary institutions with academic staff playing the decisive role in making academic decisions and setting academic policy for post-secondary institutions to fulfill their public responsibilities for the creation, preservation, and transmission of knowledge.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 31, 2021, 2:10 pm
Science Professionals

(Ottawa – May 26, 2021) Today’s vote by Parliamentarians to create a new standing committee on science and research is a positive move to help ensure a robust, sustainable Canadian research system, according to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“Passage of Motion 38 affirms Parliamentarians’ commitment to science, research and evidence-informed decision-making,” says CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith. “The lack of a dedicated mechanism and oversight for science and research has stymied our nation’s collective economic progress, yet science and research are critical in the ongoing fight against the pandemic, and for a just recovery. CAUT hopes this committee will be a catalyst for improvement.”

M-38 was a private member’s motion initiated by MP Kirsty Duncan, who was Canada’s Minister of Science leading up to the federal government’s historic investments to science in Budget 2018. CAUT acknowledges those critical investments, but notes that gaps exist.

“There remains a shortfall of approximately 40 per cent to reach the levels recommended by the report of the Fundamental Science Review Panel. Additionally, support for early career researchers still falls significantly short, at only 22 per cent of the levels recommended by the same report,” says Austin-Smith. “We hope that fundamental science and research is one topic of important study for the new committee once M-38 is passed, and that this government begins closing the funding gap between what was recommended by the Panel and what was delivered.”

Author: fortier
Posted: May 26, 2021, 8:29 pm
Parliament Hill

(Ottawa – May 21, 2021) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is urging Members of Parliament to pass a private-member’s motion initiated by MP Kirsty Duncan to create a standing committee on science and research starting in the next Parliamentary session.

“As advocates for a robust and sustained Canadian research system, we recognize that science and research is critical to this country’s ongoing fight against the pandemic, and for a just recovery. The lack of a dedicated mechanism and oversight for science and research stymies our nation’s collective progress,” writes CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith in a letter to Duncan in support of her initiative.   

Approval of M-38 will affirm Parliament’s commitment to science, research and evidence-informed decision-making with the committee-members’ mandate inclusive of “the review of and report on all matters relating to science and research, including any reports of the Chief Science Advisor.”

CAUT’s letter to Duncan acknowledges that recent, significant federal investments for science have been crucial, but notes that gaps still exist which could be studied by the committee.

“You are a champion for research, and we welcomed your leadership as Minister of Science that led to historic investments in Budget 2018. As you know, there remains a shortfall of approximately 40 per cent to reach the levels recommended by the report of the Fundamental Science Review Panel. Additionally, support for early career researchers still falls significantly short, at only 22 per cent of the levels recommended by the same report.”

CAUT has also written to all MPs to urge their support for M-38.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 21, 2021, 3:43 pm

(Ottawa – May 21, 2021) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau to voice grave concerns over the situation of Dr. David Scheffel, an anthropology professor imprisoned in Slovakia over his research on the marginalized Roma population there.

“While in detention, he was subjected to harsh conditions while also being denied access to the research materials necessary to mount a fair and full defense,” CAUT’s letter describes. “During his trial, the presiding judge took into consideration only the testimonies provided without the presence of Dr. Scheffel’s lawyer…who was also not provided the opportunity for cross-examination.”

An anthropology professor for over 30 years at Thompson Rivers University in B.C., Scheffel was arrested in Prešov, Slovakia in 2017 and held until his conviction on sexual exploitation and child pornography charges last February. His lawyer believes the charges are likely an attempt to undercut Scheffel’s advocacy for Slovakia’s vulnerable Roma population. CAUT notes that Scheffel received full ethics clearance from his University to conduct this research.

CAUT is monitoring his imprisonment and has growing concerns since being informed that Scheffel contracted COVID-19 in prison.

“We call on your government to intervene to provide support to Dr. Scheffel, including petitioning the Slovakian government to grant conditional freedom while a reassessment of his case is underway, and to uphold international human rights and principles of academic freedom,” the letter concludes.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 21, 2021, 3:25 pm

(Ottawa – May 20, 2021) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) representing academic staff across Canada—including staff at bilingual and Francophone institutions in minority settings—supports the national dialogue on post-secondary education in the francophone minority context. CAUT will seek to bring the perspectives of academic staff to help strengthen minority language post-secondary education in Canada. 

“Bilingual and French-language universities and colleges are the driving force behind the cultural, social and economic vitality of Francophone communities across Canada,” notes Yalla Sangaré  CAUT Treasurer and a professor at Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia. “However, as seen in the recent crises at Laurentian University and Campus St. Jean, French language education is under threat.  This dialogue is timely and necessary.”

The dialogue process, organized by Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne (ACUFC) and the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA), will run until the spring of 2022 and will result in an action plan to ensure sustainability for the sector.

“Francophone academic staff have unique challenges and can bring important perspectives to ensuring the sustainability of quality affordable and accessible minority-language education in Canada,” says Sangaré.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 20, 2021, 12:14 pm
[Photo credit: OCADU / aoberg / Flickr]

(Ottawa – May 20, 2021) The termination of four senior librarians and elimination of two other library positions at OCAD University raises red flags that the University’s administration is not respecting principles of collegial governance as it moves forward with restructuring plans for its library. 

In a letter to OCADU President Ana Serrano, CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith and CAUT Executive Director David Robinson, noted, “the reorganization was done without meaningful consultation that included librarians amounts to a devaluing of the skills and knowledge librarians bring to the institution. Lay offs seriously deplete very important expertise.” 

The University notified the librarians they were being laid off on May 4, effective on June 1st.

CAUT urges President Serrano to pause the restructuring plans and reinstate the four librarians until there has been a thorough review of best practices and community needs.  CAUT also calls on OCADU to involve the University’s librarians, faculty and students in any major reorganization.



Author: fortier
Posted: May 20, 2021, 12:03 pm

(Ottawa – May 19, 2021) Copyright is once again before the Supreme Court of Canada on May 21st, where the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), together with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), will make arguments on the landmark case between York University and collective licencing agency, Access Copyright.

Legal counsel for CAUT and CFS will voice concerns of post-secondary teachers, researchers and students, says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “CAUT will urge the Supreme Court to decisively rule on what constitutes fair dealing for education purposes, and preserve the balance resulting from its previous decisions between enabling student and educator access to works, while respecting the rights of authors and creators to reasonable compensation.”

The Supreme Court will scrutinize the latest judgment in the case from the Federal Court of Appeal, which was appealed by both York University and Access Copyright. The Appeal Court stated that Access Copyright cannot enforce its tariffs against York University or any non-licenced user, a clear recognition 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.

The Federal Court decision, however, failed to correct what CAUT considers to be the lower court’s flawed comments on fair dealing.

 “The case could impact post-secondary institutions, teachers, and students in profound ways because so much of what constitutes ‘knowledge’ is copyrighted,” says CFS National Treasurer Marie Dolcetti-Koros. “Teacher/student relationships epitomize the balance between just rewards for creators and the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of intellectual works. As both creators and users of educational materials we can appreciate better than anyone what is fair because the works we often deal with come from our own communities of scholars.”

CAUT and CFS will argue that mandatory tariffs and any restrictions on fair dealing will reduce the quality of education and research. CAUT represents 72,000 academic staff that create and share knowledge. CFS represents over 500,000 post-secondary education students.

More information about the case is available on the Supreme Court of Canada’s website. Those interested can watch a live webcast of the hearing on May 21 beginning at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 19, 2021, 2:01 pm

(Ottawa – May 18, 2021) The United Kingdom’s University and College Union (UCU) is calling for a global boycott or greylisting of the University of Leicester.

UCU’s greylisting sanction is part of a long running dispute over threatened redundancies at the University, with administrators suggesting up to 145 staff are at risk, with around 60 of those 145 likely to lose their jobs. The UCU charges that the cuts will not only risk the livelihoods of staff, but also damage academic freedom and worsen students' learning conditions, as the university targets particular subjects for cuts, including early modern and medieval literature, pure maths, and political economy.

Greylisting, as with CAUT’s own censure sanction, is rarely used as a last resort when trade unions in England are faced with serious violations of academic freedom and other principles that are fundamental to post-secondary education.

The sanction means UCU is asking its members, other unions and labour movement organisations, along with the international academic community, for support in any way possible, including by:

  • not applying for any advertised jobs at Leicester
  • not speaking at or organising academic or other conferences at Leicester
  • not accepting invitations to give lectures at Leicester
  • not accepting positions as visiting professors or researchers at Leicester
  • not writing for any academic journal which is edited at or produced by Leicester
  • not accepting new contracts as external examiners for taught courses at Leicester
  • refusing to collaborate on new research projects with Leicester.

CAUT pledges its full support to UCU in the boycott of Leicester University, and urges members and allied organizations to respect the sanctions against it.

Read more about the UCU’s campaign and the situation at Leicester University.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 18, 2021, 8:03 pm

(Ottawa – May 7, 2021) Universities are publicly-funded institutions and should not be subject to legislation that regulates how private companies address insolvency, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)—the national voice representing 72,000 university faculty and staff at 125 universities and colleges.

“Universities and their academic staff associations have negotiated procedures to deal with financial exigency matters,” said CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith, in a letter sent this week to Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne. “These procedures are collegial and respectful of the principles of academic freedom and tenure.”

Austin-Smith says such procedures—instead of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA)—should have been followed in the financial crisis facing Laurentian University in Northern Ontario. The crisis has had ripple effects across the region, resulting in job losses, the cancellation of French-language and Indigenous programs, and has left hundreds of students scrambling to complete their education.

CAUT member associations passed resolutions at their April Council meeting calling on the federal government to exclude publicly-funded institutions from the CCAA, and to provide stronger leadership to strengthen the post-secondary education and research sector as part of its post-pandemic recovery strategy. CAUT is asking the federal government for both emergency and increased long-term funding for public universities and colleges. The last federal government top-up to provincial transfers for post-secondary education was in 2008.

“The CCAA must be amended to exclude publicly-funded institutions and governments must step up for post-secondary education so that there are thriving high quality, affordable and accessible universities and colleges for all” says Austin-Smith. “Supporting post-secondary education is critical for our collective future.”


Media contact:
Rachel Vincent, Communications Officer, 613-276-9030;

Author: fortier
Posted: May 7, 2021, 11:47 am

(Ottawa – April 28, 2021) The Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano, along with five senior administrators from Laurentian University should resign for their roles in creating the financial crisis that has devastated this northern Ontario university, says the Council of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

Council delegates, leaders of over 80 academic staff associations from across the county representing 72,000 teachers, researchers and librarians, last week voted unanimously for the call for resignations. CAUT is also calling for an independent investigation into the circumstances that pushed the University into insolvency.

“Staff and students in Northern Ontario are paying the price for poor financial decision-making by university administrators—and the unwillingness of the province to step in to prevent the crisis,” says CAUT President, Brenda Austin-Smith. “In order to move forward from the devastation, there needs to be accountability for those that made this mess.”

Laurentian University filed for creditor protection in February, and earlier this month over 80 faculty and other academic staff—members of the Laurentian University Faculty Association—lost their jobs. The University cut at least 60 programs, including French-language and Indigenous programs. 

In addition to calling for the resignation of Minister Ross Romano, CAUT Council is calling for the resignations of Laurentian University President Robert Haché, Vice-President Academic and Provost Marie-Josée Berger, Vice-President Administration Lorella Hayes, Board Chair Claude Lacroix and Registrar Serge Demers.

“The problems at Laurentian University stem from a serious failure of sound financial stewardship by current and previous administrators. There urgently needs to be an independent investigation into the misguided financial practices that pushed the University to the brink so that we can find out what went wrong and what needs to be done to prevent another calamity,” says Austin-Smith.


Media contact:
Rachel Vincent, Communications Officer, 613 222-3530;

Author: fortier
Posted: April 28, 2021, 7:14 pm

(Ottawa – April 28, 2021) Today is the second day of remembrance for workers killed on the job since the pandemic began.  On average 1000 workers die every year on the job in Canada. Although we do not know the full extent of the tragedy yet, it is likely more lives have been claimed at work than ever before due to transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. 

Throughout the pandemic, it has become clear that those who must go to work to provide essential services, many of whom are racialized and immigrant workers, have suffered disproportionately.

Today we remember those who have become ill, injured or died at work. It is also a day to renew commitments to fight for enforced workplace health and safety regulations and better working conditions for all.

CAUT joins with other unions to call for paid sick days and increased wages for frontline workers. The rise of precarious work and the decline in real wages forces too many workers to show up when it is not safe to do so.

Every person should be able to go to work without the fear of being infected, injured or killed.


Author: fortier
Posted: April 28, 2021, 12:02 pm
University of Toronto

(Ottawa – April 22, 2021) Delegates to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council voted today to censure the University of Toronto because of the Administration’s failure to resolve concerns regarding academic freedom stemming from a hiring scandal in the Faculty of Law.

“When reviewing all the evidence, CAUT Council delegates concluded that the decision to cancel Dr. Valentina Azarova’s hiring was politically motivated, and as such constitutes a serious breach of widely recognized principles of academic freedom,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

The hiring process was abruptly aborted following concerns raised by a sitting judge over Dr. Azarova’s academic work on human rights in Israel and Palestine.  Facing mounting criticism, the University of Toronto commissioned an external review undertaken by Justice Thomas A. Cromwell, but whose mandate did not include determining credibility or plausibility.

“In a close examination of the facts of the case, CAUT Council found it implausible to conclude that the donor’s call did not trigger the subsequent actions resulting in the sudden termination of the hiring process,” notes Robinson. “The University of Toronto Administration could have re-offered the still-vacant position of Director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) to Dr. Azarova.”

“The decision to censure was not taken lightly. It is a measure of last resort used only when we are faced with serious violations of academic freedom and other principles that are fundamental to higher education,” says Robinson.

Censure is a sanction in which academic staff are asked to not accept appointments or speaking engagements at the institution until satisfactory changes are made. Censure has been rarely imposed, last used for governance violations at First Nations University in 2008.  Read CAUT’s detailed procedures relating to censure here.


Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-222-3530;

Author: foster
Posted: April 22, 2021, 7:36 pm

(Ottawa – April 19, 2021) Today’s federal budget makes historic investments in childcare and long-term care, extends emergency supports for students and provides a welcome boost to minority language post-secondary education, but is a missed opportunity to address core issues facing the post-secondary education sector, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), which represents academic staff at universities and colleges across the country.

“The largest investment for post-secondary education in Budget 2021 is the extension of emergency measures for students. Whereas this investment recognizes the financial hardship that students face, it fails to address affordability and access issues facing post-secondary education,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “Federal leadership is needed to work with provinces and territories to ensure high quality post-secondary education for all.”

Budget 2021 extends the temporary doubling of student grants from $3000 to $6000, however even with the doubling, this grant amount is below average tuition. It also increases minority language post-secondary education support by $121 million, a measure CAUT called for in light of financial concerns facing French language and bilingual post-secondary institutions. There are a number of targeted investments in research including $250 million over four years, for the federal research granting councils to create a new tri-council biomedical research fund.

 “These measures deliver needed relief for students and welcome support to fortify minority language post-secondary education. But they fail to address long-term systemic under-funding of the system, which has forced universities and colleges to rely on private funding, precarious workers, including academic staff, and exploitative international student fees. It doesn’t have to be this way,” Robinson notes.

In its Submission to Finance Canada’s Pre-Budget 2021 Consultation CAUT called for:

  • A national PSE strategy with the provinces and territories that includes a minimum of $3 billion in direct federal funding;
  • Increased support for Francophone and bilingual post-secondary institution to secure programs;
  • Accelerated research through enhanced investments in the Tri-Agency’s granting programs and increasing graduate student scholarships; and,
  • Improved student financial assistance by moving towards a 50:50 grants and loans model and increasing funding for Indigenous post-secondary education by a minimum of $650 million annually.

Statement on the budget


Media contact: Lisa Keller, CAUT Communications Officer 613-222-3530;

Author: fortier
Posted: April 20, 2021, 12:28 am

(Ottawa – April 12, 2021) Today’s lay-offs could have been avoided and will undermine Laurentian University’s chances of recovery, charges the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). At least 80 members of Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA) are said to have received termination notices today.

“These job cuts stem from the closed-door mediation process among creditors triggered after Laurentian was granted insolvency protection. Staff, students and the community of Sudbury are paying the price for poor administration and government inaction,” says CAUT President Brenda Austin-Smith.

Austin-Smith notes that the Laurentian administration did not have to take the University down such a path and could have used processes in the collective agreement between LUFA and the University for dealing with financial emergencies, which would have allowed the parties to move forward sustainably, in a way that would have protected the academic integrity of the institution.

 The details of the mediation agreement at Laurentian University remain confidential and will not be publicly known until later this month but staffing cuts will lead to a wide range of program cuts, the cancellation of cutting-edge research, and leave thousands of students scrambling.

“How can Laurentian expect to attract new students and fulfill its tricultural and bilingual mandate?” Austin-Smith asks. “The federal and provincial governments must work together and save Laurentian University now.”

Media contact: Lisa Keller, CAUT communications officer 613-222-3530 or

Author: fortier
Posted: April 12, 2021, 9:29 pm