Category Archives: College


Ontario, unions may clash over deficit cuts

Job Losses Likely; All options are on the table: Finance Minister

By Mohammed Adam, Canwest News Service

The gathering storm could engulf Ontario’s 1.2 million public-sector employees as municipalities, hospitals, school boards, colleges and universities brace for provincial cuts that could trigger local austerity measures, and set workers on a collision course with their employers.

Ontario’s 24 community colleges are now in a tug-of-war with the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, which has rejected a three-year, 5.9 per cent pay increase. About 9,000 college teachers and ancillary workers have given OPSEU a strike mandate, and the teachers could hit the picket lines next month.

In the early 1990s when Jean Chretien’s Liberals faced a large deficit, they cut programs and reduced the federal public service by about 55,000 employees, many through attrition.

About the same time in Ontario, Mr. Rae forced public-sector workers to take 12 days of unpaid time off to avoid cutting 40,000 jobs.

His party suffered and he still carries the scars, even though he is now a federal Liberal MP.

His Tory successor Mike Harris’ approach, which was met with a rash of strikes, was no-holds-barred funding cuts to everything from education to welfare, transit and municipal transfers.

Posted by Jane Campus

More Strike FAQs

If you have a question that isn’t listed below, please let us know and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.

Q –When did the professors’ collective agreement expire?
A –The current collective agreement for the full-time academic bargaining unit expired on August 31, 2009.  To date, they are working under new terms and conditions imposed by the colleges on November 18, 2009.

Q -Who would be going on strike?
A –In the event of a strike, it would be the nearly 9,000 full- and partial load professors, librarians, counselors that would be on the picket line.

Q -Have there been previous strikes in the college system?
A –Yes, there have been three strikes previously in the Ontario college system.  There was a strike in 1984, 1989 and during the last round of bargaining in 2006.

Q -Have students ever lost their semester or year due to a work stoppage?
-No!  In the last round of bargaining, colleges put in place semester completion strategies to ensure that all students were able to finish their semester.  Semester Completion Strategies might include a condensing of course material and/or extending the semester and will be posted on the college’s website, in the event of a strike.

Q -How will my classes be affected?
A –In the event of a strike by the full-time academic bargaining unit, your classes would more than likely be canceled.

Q -Can faculty be replaced by supply faculty?
A –It is very unlikely that the colleges would use supply faculty or instructors, but that is a decision that can only be made by the college.

Q –I’m taught by a part-time professor, would they be on strike too?
A –No, part-time professors are not part of the same bargaining and as such will be expected to report to work the same for full- and part-time support staff workers.

Q -What services will remain open on campus during a strike?
A –What services remain open during a strike will vary by college, so it is best to check with your college what services they will be running, in the event of a strike.

Q -Can I cross a picket line?
A –Yes, you can cross a picket line if you wish to.  People on the picket line will only want to speak with you about their position, so remain calm, polite and listen.

Q -What if I do not feel safe crossing a picket line?
A –You should not have a problem crossing a picket line as long as you are respectful and let the academic staff provide you with their material.

Q -Will sports activities, including intramurals, continue through the duration of a strike?
A –In most cases, all activities, including pub nights, intramural and varsity sports would be postponed until the strike was over, but that decision would be up to the college and local student government.

Q -I live on campus.  How will a strike and picket line possibly affect my day-to-day living?
A –Most picket lines would be setup at or around the main entrance to the college campus, so it would depend where the residence is located.  Any service that have unionized employees will not cross another picket line, so you can expect those services (i.e Canada Post, Waste Management, Municipal Transit, etc.) not to be running.

Q -I have summer student employment scheduled to start in May.  What should I do?
A – We recommend you wait to see how long the strike would last before making any backup plans for employment.  After the previous faculty strike, colleges condensed the semester to ensure that students’ summer plans weren’t impacted too greatly.

Q -Will I be refunded for lost class time if classroom contact time is not extended to the end of the semester?
A –Whether or not a refund would be issued would be dependent on how long the work stoppage lasts.  In the previous strikes, no refunds were issued to students for the lost contact time.

Q -Or, will courses be condensed?  If so, will I receive a partial refund from the college?
A –Traditionally, refunds aren’t given even if the semester is condensed.

Q -My living arrangements end in April.  What should I do if the semester is extended?
A –Before making any decisions or extending your lease wait to see how things progress.  Traditionally, strikes in the college system have only lasted three weeks.

Q -Will OSAP claw back funding due to a college strike?
-During the last work stoppage OSAP did not clawback funding from students.  Any arrangements or changes to OSAP allocations will be communicated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Posted by Jane Campus

Results Still Uncertain

100212_caataupdate.pdf (82 KB)
View this on posterous


The vote on management’s offer last received is not yet completed. The vote was conducted under section 17(2) of the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act. Segregated and mail-in ballots will need to be counted to determine the final result, depending on the number of ballots mailed in.

Eight thousand, three hundred and sixty valid ballots have been counted and the unofficial results at this time are 4,285 to accept and 4,075 to reject the offer. However, over 350 mail-in ballots were sent out and another 141 ballots have been segregated. Overall, there may be over 500 ballots yet to be counted, depending on the mail-in rate of return. Accordingly, there can be no definitive statement of results. The official count is scheduled for February 24th.

Given the uncertain results, the Union has postponed the strike deadline indefinitely until the final results are in.

There are serious irregularities with the voting process conducted by the colleges. The colleges are attempting to hide the mail-in voters’ list from the union. Some colleges posted the vote as a “final offer” vote. Section 17(2) of the CCBA is explicit that the vote is on “the offer last received.” The colleges are free to describe their offer in the way they like, but not characterize the vote itself in a prejudicial manner as was done at some colleges in order to influence voters. The Union will be bringing these matters to the attention of the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Fourteen of the 24 colleges voted to reject the offer. Only ten colleges voted to accept. The number of eligible voters was increased by over 750 – a seven per cent increase – between the January 13th strike vote and the February 10th offer vote. It is not possible to definitively quantify how many of these temporary hires voted or how they voted.

The Workload Task Force studied the college system and made unanimous recommendations for a better college system in the future. The Union is disappointed that the colleges were unwilling to follow the recommendations of the Workload Task Force to improve the quality of education for future college students.


Vote results by college

Posted by Jane Campus