Reckless government announcement threatens education quality and students’ rights

(Toronto –  Jan. 18, 2019)

Without increased public funding for Ontario’s universities and colleges, the Progressive Conservative Government’s announced tuition fee reduction is nothing more than an ill-conceived political gimmick designed to distract Ontarians from damaging cuts to the province’s already under-funded postsecondary education system. OCUFA has long advocated for tuition fee reductions but not in the absence of increased core funding and sound student financial aid policy.

OCUFA is concerned that the fee reduction, OSAP cuts, and changes to ancillary fees were announced without consulting any stakeholders at the province’s universities or colleges. This demonstrates a government pursuing a political agenda, not one interested in good public policy or helping students.

The announced OSAP cuts and changes to eligibility criteria mean it will be harder for many students to access postsecondary education. While faculty are reassured that the Minister’s remarks signaled the government’s commitment to not cutting core operating grants for postsecondary institutions, the announced changes mean that universities and colleges will struggle with less funding and students will be burdened with less financial assistance, more expensive loans, and higher debt.

“These reckless changes will shrink university budgets, increase class sizes, encourage further tuition fee hikes for international students, and threaten both the accessibility and quality of postsecondary education in Ontario,” said Gyllian Phillips, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “We should be accelerating investment in postsecondary education in Ontario. Instead, this government has slammed on the brakes and put the car in reverse.”

The government’s unnecessary and anti-democratic decision to make many ancillary fees voluntary undermines students’ rights on campus and increases administrative costs and red tape for universities. Many of the fees the government has identified as non-essential were introduced by students through democratic votes. Students’ unions in particular are democratically elected, not-for-profit organizations founded by and for students. This is an attack on the ability of students’ unions to represent and support their members.

“Students’ unions provide numerous crucial services and support for students on campus, and, through their advocacy work, they play an important role holding universities and governments accountable for decisions about issues including tuition fees and student financial assistance.” said Phillips. “It is no coincidence that this government is cutting support for students’ unions at the same time they are cutting OSAP. Ironically, this appears to be another attempt to stifle political debate, dissent, and speech on campus.”

Ontario’s universities are vital institutions that produce amazing graduates and research. But maintaining this level of excellence will require that the government actually sit down and talk to students, faculty, staff, and administrators, instead of continuing to make uninformed decisions in secret, behind closed doors.
Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 29 faculty associations across Ontario. For more information, please visit

LUFA Update: New Website for Academic and Indigenous Programs

(Sudbury – Dec. 3, 2018)

Aanii, Bonjour, Hello,

LUFA has been advised that the website for the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs (AVPAI) has been completely revamped.

The major addition includes a new section on Indigenous Presence on Campus. This is an educational resource (with apps, videos, articles, websites, etc.) created for all faculty, staff and students at Laurentian University and the federated partners (University of Sudbury, Thorneloe University, Huntington University).

The section includes six new topics that represent the most common questions and requests received by the AVPAI’s office. The subpages and resources have been created for the entire Laurentian community.

The new additions are:

  • Cultural Competency
  • How to be an Ally
  • Anishinaabemowin Language
  • Supporting Indigenous Students
  • Indigenous Faculty
  • Resources on Indigenous Peoples

LUFA has received several questions regarding resources on Indigenous peoples. Faculty have requested them to add more indigenous content to courses as well as to assist with the introduction of sensitive topics in the classroom.

Included in this email is an attachment entitled “Anishinaabe Waadiziwin: Protocols for Working with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers (Elders, Métis Senators, Others) at Laurentian University.”

The AVPAI has partnered with several Knowledge Keepers in the community in order to provide assistance to the Laurentian community including  resources and support for the classroom. In the attachment there is a simple form to fill out if you would like to request the support of a Knowledge Keeper. The protocol is detailed and addresses some FAQs.

Please click on the following link for the new additions: The website will be fully updated and translated into French by January 2019.

Our thanks to Dr. Pamela Toulouse for taking the time to meet with us to discuss these significant new developments.

Miigwetch, Merci, Thank you,

The LUFA Executive


LUFA Update: Rollback to 15 Credits for 2019-20 Workload

(Sudbury – Nov. 15, 2018)

LUFA has been informed that there is misinformation being circulated regarding the workload credit grievance. As previously reported, LUFA is seeking to have the special deal that was negotiated with the members, implemented. (i.e., 12 credit workload for faculty members of the Faculty of Arts).

The Dean of Arts circulated the following memo on Tuesday, Nov. 13:

“Hello / Bonjour,

Please see the message below from the Interim Dean of Arts:
Veuillez consulter le message ci-dessous de la doyenne intérimaire:

As you know, the 12-credit workload issue in the Faculty of Arts has been an ongoing conversation since it was trialed for this academic year. I wanted to share that a decision to end the trial has been made for the 2019-2020 academic year and in line with current Collective Agreement language, the Faculty of Arts will again be assigned a 15-credit workload. Thank you.”

These statements are inaccurate. It was never stated that the 12-credit workload was being “trialed for a year.”

It is our position that the previous Dean has committed to a 12-credit workload for the duration of the collective agreement through having negotiated directly with the members in the Faculty of Arts, and that therefore the members of the Faculty of Arts must be provided the necessary resources for a 12-credit workload for the balance of the life of the collective agreement.

We are very concerned that the Administration’s action in rolling back the reduction to 12 credits is retaliation for LUFA having filed a grievance. The grievance asserted that the previous Dean acted inappropriately, both contrary to the collective agreement and the Labour Relations Act in implementing this change.

In order to ensure an equitable workload, we also sought as a remedy in the grievance that all faculty members should be moved to a 12-credit workload for the duration of the collective agreement and they should be provided the necessary resources to implement that workload. Our aim was not to see a rollback of these positive changes for members of the Faculty of Arts, but rather to ensure that all members were treated equitably.

We informed the administration that we were happy to continue the committee work to help achieve a 12-credit workload on a long term basis and in preparation for the next round of bargaining, but this would be independent from the remedy we were seeking through the grievance and/or unfair labour practice. LUFA continues to assert that members are entitled to the 12 credits for the duration of the agreement. We hope that the parties can find a long term solution during negotiations in 2020. The administration has indicated a willingness to continue these discussions in advance of bargaining.

Our position is that the Administration cannot now roll back the change to 12 credits and that it is a violation of the collective agreement and the Labour Relations Act for them to do so. We will be challenging this action.

Fair Employment Week at Laurentian University, Oct. 22-26

(Sudbury – Oct. 19, 2018)

LUFA is joining with CAUT members across Canada in hosting events on campus in support of fair treatment for all academic staff during Fair Employment Week from Oct. 22-26.

Laurentian faculty members will be staffing an information desk in the Bowling Alley (Faculty of Arts) next Wednesday and Thursday from 11 am to 1 pm.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, the film, Degrees of Shame, will also be shown in Room C-206 from 2:30 to 3:30 pm.  Refreshments will be served. The documentary explores the economic situation and working conditions of contract academic staff in the US, suggesting an information economy parallel to migrant farm workers.

On Friday, Oct. 26, Sudbury MPP Jamie West, who has taught in the University’s Labour Studies program, will be speaking about fair employment for academic staff at the Atrium at 2:30 pm.  Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas will also be in attendance.

An increasing number of teachers at Canada’s colleges and universities are trapped in precarious contract and part-time work, according to a CAUT release. What used to be a short-term stepping stone has instead become a career-long condition, with many earning less than a living wage.

The release also notes that part-time and contract professors are denied the opportunity each year to participate in (and be paid for) all aspects of academic work – research, teaching, and service. This has serious implications, not only for contract academic staff, but for students, their regular academic staff colleagues, and the integrity of post-secondary institutions.

We join our CAUT colleagues in affirming that the working conditions and job security of contract academic staff must be improved.

Ratification of the Collective Agreement, University of Sudbury

(Sudbury – Oct. 5, 2018)

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the Memorandum of Settlement of the Collective Agreement has been ratified by the University of Sudbury membership. Of the members who cast ballots, 92 percent were in favour; the three-year deal was ratified earlier by the University of Sudbury’s Board of Regents.

The membership’s mandate for the bargaining team was to ensure that the importance of collegial governance be more clearly recognized. This was achieved in key places: a renewed Article on Academic Freedom that explicitly identifies the principle and practice of collegial governance, and in the preamble to the Appointments, Promotions, Tenure article.  It will help ensure that appropriate collegial processes are respected.

The mandate also included addressing the inequity in pay for both full-time and part-time members.  By the end of the agreement, sessional rates of pay will approach parity with other sessional rates on campus. For tenured and tenure-track faculty, the team fought hard to get the University to agree to catch-up funding, which is now explicitly identified in the agreement.

The team also faced incredible resistance to its efforts to obtain more security for non-tenured faculty, but managed to get agreement on a University roster as well as better language to compensate for course cancellations.

Please join us in congratulating the bargaining team, led by Chief Negotiator Réal Fillion, and the University of Sudbury members for their strong support throughout the process that resulted in significant improvements to their terms and conditions of work.

In solidarity,
The LUFA Executive

Negotiations Successfully Completed!

(Sudbury – Sept. 25, 2018)

The University of Sudbury and the Laurentian University Faculty Association – University of Sudbury are proud to have successfully completed their negotiations. A tentative agreement has been reached, one which now has to be ratified by both parties. The revised agreement is for a duration of three years.  Both the University and its faculty union wish to thank the negotiating teams for their efforts.

LUFA Barbecue Update

(Sudbury – Sept. 24, 2018)
Good cheer prevailed at the LUFA barbecue at the Atrium on Thursday! Nearly 1,000 faculty and students enjoyed food and fellowship.The team of volunteers was bolstered by our University of Sudbury members, who also handed out the FAQ leaflet about the negotiations for a new collective agreement at their institution. The countdown is on for a strike or lockout in October. Mediation with William Kaplan is set to take place tomorrow.



LUFA Barbecue at the Atrium

(Sudbury – Sept. 20, 2018)

Last year’s “Come to the Table” LUFA barbecue was such a great success that we are doing it again! All faculty and students are invited to share food and fellowship at the Atrium today from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

The menu consists of hotdogs and hamburgers (and their vegetarian/vegan equivalents), condiments, and assorted cold drinks. We will also be handing out a leaflet on the negotiations for a new Collective Agreement at the University of Sudbury.

We hope to see everyone there!

Labour Disruption Looms at University of Sudbury as Sessional Security and Pay Equity for Faculty Remain Unaddressed

(Sudbury –  Sept. 14, 2018)

Following a full morning with a Ministry of Labour conciliator, and after seeing no movement from the University of Sudbury to address the important issues of job security and pay equity for faculty, LUFA has requested a no-board report placing the parties in a position for a lock-out or strike in the first half of October.

“Faculty at the University of Sudbury are paid significantly less than their colleagues at Laurentian University and that gap continues to grow,” said LUFA President Fabrice Colin. “This issue has been raised in every round of bargaining since the faculty unionized in 2002 and the university has yet to address it seriously.”

After modest recognition of the principle of parity in the last round of negotiations the university refuses to deal with this fundamental issue. Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions, and that’s why it is vitally important the university invest more in the faculty teaching in the classroom.

Agreement about job security for sessionals is also outstanding.

“Our sessional members never know whether they are going to have another job after their contract is up,” stated Chief Negotiator Réal Fillion. “This makes it incredibly hard for them to make long term plans for their families and decide whether they can afford to stay in Sudbury.”

LUFA is committed to reaching a fair agreement, but is ready to take job action if required. The faculty association is hopeful that the university will engage on these important issues in mediation and avoid any labour disruption.

Work Stoppage Looms as Conciliation Fails at the University of Sudbury

(Sudbury, Sept. 14, 2018)

Dear Members,

Despite the best efforts of the membership’s Negotiating Team, the conciliation that took place on Friday for a new Collective Agreement at the University of Sudbury failed to reach a settlement. The Team has asked for “No Board” report from the provincial labour ministry. This starts the countdown to a strike/lockout in the first half of October.

“We are committed to reaching an agreement, but progress has been extremely slow on our core issues of fair pay as well as job security for our part-time members,” said Chief Negotiator Réal Fillion. “There is no choice but to prepare for job action that will put additional pressure on the employer to make us a fair offer.”

The University of Sudbury membership has already given the Negotiating Team a strike mandate. One hundred percent of the members who voted were in favour.

We must mobilize since there is no guarantee of a settlement at the mediation that will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 25 and the stronger our support for our colleagues, the more likely it will be that the university makes us a fair offer in advance of any job action.

The AGM on Friday, Sept. 21 at 1 pm will be an emergency membership meeting on the impending labour disruption including strike protocol and picket lines on campus. We ask all members to join our University of Sudbury colleagues on the picket line.

In solidarity,
The LUFA Executive