Update on the issue of workload

On November 6, the APUO held its second Strategic Thinking and Action Forum (STAF), which focused on the workload of APUO members.[1]The purpose of the meeting was to (i) share information on this issue; (ii) hear from members on the causes and effects of our increasing workload; and (iii) discuss the collective means and strategies available to us to deal with this situation. About 40 members participated in the two-hour discussion. Beyond the specificity of the conditions in the various faculties, the sharing of information during the Forum has reinforced the overall observation of an insidious increase in the workload of APUO members in recent years.

The sources of this growing workload most often mentioned by members are the following:

  • The hasty and deficient implementation of the computerization of the University of Ottawa’s management functions.
  • The growing bureaucratization of the University of Ottawa.
  • The hiring of an insufficient number of support staff.
  • The increase of shadow or invisible work.[2]
  • The hiring of an insufficient number of regular professors compared to the growth in the number of students over the past 15 years.
  • In some faculties, administrative pressures to increase admissions to graduate studies have been such that students with low marks have been admitted, resulting in a considerable workload increase for professors.

The effects of overload most often mentioned by members are the following:

  • The growing difficulty in meeting all the requirements of our work.
  • The scarcity of time that APUO members can devote to the university missions (teaching, research, community service).
  • The weakening of the sense of belonging to the University of Ottawa.
  • Increased stress levels and health problems.[3]
  • The growing difficulty in reconciling professional life with personal life. 

During the discussion, a consensus emerged that our thinking and action on workload should be part of a comprehensive analysis of university policies in Ontario and Canada. Thus, since the managerial and corporate turn of the university strongly determines the recent evolution of our working conditions, it is imperative that any mobilization around the issue of workload takes this context into account.

In terms of immediate and medium-term actions, various avenues have been mentioned, some of which have already been put forward:

  • Following the joint letter on workload from the APUO and the Support Staff Union (PSUO/SSUO) to Vice-Presidents Graham and Joyal, increase interunion cooperation on workload issues.
  • Continue to follow up on the joint workload letter.
  • Depending on the evolution of discussions with the Central Administration, consider occasional means of pressure to opposing shadow or invisible work.
  • Challenge the new centralized hiring management method.

As a follow-up to the November STAF discussions, the APUO will hold a STAF on the issue of university governance on Wednesday, March 6 from noon to 2:00 p.m., at Tabaret 083. For a growing number of academic staff unions in Canada, it is now well established that increased participation of professors, students, and employees in university governance is essential to reverse the most deleterious trends in the quality of education and university life, whether it is the rise of precarious work, the increase in invisible work, the centralization of decisions, excessive bureaucratization, or austerity as a management method. We will get back to you shortly with more details on this STAF on university governance, but you can register now. A lunch and coffee will be served. To ensure we can provide enough food for all participants, please RSVP through Eventbrite.

Finally, please note that the Central Administration recently informed us that its review of administrative and support processes initiated last spring reached similar conclusions to ours, namely that the implementation of Concur at the University of Ottawa is far from optimal and that its use should be entrusted to a team of specialized employees. As a result, the administration is currently working on the terms of this change and has promised us more details by the spring. We will inform you of the next steps as soon as we have more information.

The APUO strives to make its events accessible to everyone. If you require accommodations to access or to fully participate in this event (including dietary accommodations), please contact Anne-Marie Roy (apuoco@uottawa.ca, 613-230-3659) at the APUO office no later than three (3) working days prior to the meeting/event. 

[1]The first STAF was held on April 24, 2018, and focused on the financial situation of the University of Ottawa [2]“Shadow” or “invisible” work refers to the displacement of work from someone who is paid specifically to do the work onto people who are paid to do other types of work. The introduction of the Concur online platform for the reimbursement of professional expenses (RPE) and travel expenses is a good example of tasks shifting from support staff to APUO Members.[3]In 2007, in a major CAUT study titled Occupational Stress Among Canadian University Academic Staff, Catano et al. concluded that “the overall level of stress in Academic Staff employed in Canadian Universities is very high, consistent with the findings from the UK and Australian academic stress studies” and leading to health problems (Catano et al. 2007: 2).

Ford government’s post-secondary education sector announcement

On Thursday, January 17, the Ontario government announced a series of changes to the post-secondary education sector. These changes include:

  • A new tuition fee framework which includes a 10% tuition fee reduction for domestic students for 2019-2020 and a tuition freeze for 2020-2021.
  • Reforms to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and the elimination of the free tuition grant.
  • The introduction of voluntary student unionism.

The 10% tuition fee reduction

The Ontario government introduced a new tuition fee framework, which will reduce tuition fees for domestic students by 10% for 2019-2020, and freeze tuition fees the following year. The new tuition fee framework is projected to save domestic students an average of $660 per year (for full-time studies). Nonetheless, since Ontario’s tuition fees are well above the national average, Ontario will likely continue to be the province with the highest tuition fees in Canada.

International students, who currently pay three to four times more in tuition fees are not included in the new tuition fee framework. There is no cap on their tuition fees.

Average Undergraduate uOttawa Tuition Fees: International and Domestic Students

Source: University of Ottawa website

While the APUO supports initiatives that make post-secondary education more affordable for students, we have concerns with this policy announcement. At the present time, the budgetary shortfalls produced by this decision are not replaced with increased government funding to colleges and universities. For the last two decades, Ontario’s colleges and universities have been chronically underfunded, which has downloaded the cost of education onto students. In essence, tuition fees are ‘user fees’ that students and their families pay to access a public service. This spring’s provincial budget must include new funding to ensure that the post-secondary education sector can continue to deliver high-quality education.

What does the 10% tuition fee reduction mean for the University of Ottawa? 

Based on current enrolment numbers of domestic students, the 10% tuition fee reduction announcement represents less than a 3% cut of total revenues for the University of Ottawa. Luckily, the University of Ottawa has a choice. The University of Ottawa is in a strong financial situation, having accumulated $429.46 million in surpluses over 10 years. The APUO sees no reason for the Central Administration to introduce new austerity measures in light of this announcement. The APUO will continue to monitor the University’s financial situation closely and oppose any cuts to faculties and the library.

Cuts to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

The APUO is outraged with the government’s announced cuts and reforms to the OSAP program, in particular, the elimination of the Ontario Free Tuition Grant for students with low-income backgrounds. The program, which was introduced in the fall of 2017, was meant to increase access to college and university for disadvantaged students who come from low-income backgrounds. Overall funding for the OSAP program has been reduced to 2016-2017 levels, reducing the amount of grants available to students. The reforms also include the elimination of the OSAP repayment 6-month grace period, forcing students to pay interest on their loan immediately after graduation.

In 2011, 52% of university enrolments in Ontario came from the highest income quartile, while barely 10% came from the lowest. Thursday’s announced cuts to OSAP and the elimination of the Ontario Free Tuition Grant will keep post-secondary education out of reach for many Ontarians.

Source: Statistics Canada

Voluntary Student Unionism 

Finally, the Ford government announced the introduction of voluntary student unionism. The APUO vehemently opposes this announcement. Student unions play a crucial role in influencing post-secondary education policies in the province, and across the country. Under the previous government, the now reversed reforms to the OSAP program helped to improve access to post-secondary education for students from low-income families. The introduction of a more generous grants program, prioritizing the needs of students with financial need was the result of research and lobbying efforts by the student movement.

At the University of Ottawa, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa and the Graduate Students’ Association provide essential services to the community, including a Food Bank (which was the second most visited Food Bank in Ottawa in 2014), the Student Rights Centre, the Centre for Students with Disabilities, the Pride Centre, and the Women’s Resource Centre. These two student unions have also consistently supported the APUO and other campus labour unions during collective bargaining.

The introduction of voluntary student unionism will mean that student unions across the province will have no guaranteed income. Many will cease to be able to deliver effectively services that are crucial to the community. Equally importantly, they will lose the resources that they have currently to advocate on behalf of the student body. Similar legislation introduced in the United States led to the collapse of the student movement. It is clear to the APUO that the Ford government is attempting to dismantle its opposition at the same time that it is unleashing a series of attacks on the post-secondary education sector.

December 2018 Bulletin

Student Evaluations of Teaching: the Kaplan Arbitration Ruling

On June 28, William Kaplan, the Arbitrator appointed to resolve the issue of Faculty Course Surveys (FCS) and related matters, including the use of student evaluations of teaching (SET) for promotion and/or tenure decisions, between the Ryerson Faculty Association and the Ryerson University, rendered a decision which highlights the limitations of the use of SETs, and the importance of a well-rounded review of faculty teaching. 

The APUO prepared a summary of the arbitration ruling and provides a brief analysis of its potential impacts at the University of Ottawa. The text is available in full at the following link.

Course materials and copyright

Some of you have contacted us expressing concerns about students redistributing audio recordings, videos, photos, and course materials without the authorisation of professors. These actions violate your intellectual property rights and the Canadian Copyright Act. The APUO offers the following sample statements for granting or withholding permission for the recording of lectures as examples of text that you may include in your course syllabi.  

Sample 1: Professor forbids recordings and redistribution of course materials
Recording lectures in any way, including the taking of photographs, is prohibited in this course unless specific permission has been granted by the professor. The educational materials developed for this course, including, but not limited to, lecture notes and slides, handout materials, examinations and assignments, and any materials posted to Brightspace, are the intellectual property of the professor. These materials have been developed for student use only and are not intended for wider dissemination and/or communication outside of a given course. Participation in this course constitutes an agreement by all parties to abide by the relevant University Policies, and to respect the intellectual property of others during and after their association with the University of Ottawa. Students creating unauthorized audio and/or video recordings of lectures, and/or redistributing or providing unauthorized audio, video, photographic or textual material of lecture content violates the professor’s intellectual property rights, and the Canadian Copyright Act.    

Sample 2: Professor permits audio and/or video recordings but with no distribution rights
For this course, students may create audio and/or video recordings of the lectures for their personal use. Such recordings are intended to permit lecture content review so as to enhance understanding of the topics presented. They are not a substitute for attending class meetings. Please be advised that since audio and video recordings are permitted, students’ voices and/or images may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak to the course instructor if this is a concern for you. When creating audio and/or video recordings of the lectures, students agree to the following terms and conditions:

  1. Recordings are not to be distributed through any on or off-line distribution channel without the expressed permission of the professor.
  2. Recordings are not to be shared with other classmates without the expressed permission of the professor.

Participation in this course constitutes an agreement by all parties to abide by the relevant University Policies, and to respect the intellectual property of others during and after their association with the University of Ottawa. Non-compliance with these terms violates the professor’s intellectual property rights and the Canadian Copyright Act. 

Posters of a racist-Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and homophobic nature

The APUO strongly denounces the racist Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and homophobic posters that were seen on our campus in late November/early December. The posters are part of a context in which we are witnessing an increase in hate and discrimination-based speech and crimes around the world. The APUO believes that discrimination and any acts rooted in hatred and intolerance have no place at the University of Ottawa. 

We express our solidarity and support for the communities targeted by the hateful message promoted through these posters.

The Canadian Association of university Teachers and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

In November, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denouncing the adoption of the back-to-work legislation, putting an end to negotiations between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and Canada Post, and ordering an immediate return to work. The APUO firmly supports CAUT’s position and reiterates that free collective bargaining is a right. 

For its part, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) shared a press release in which it expressed concerns about the Ford government’s decision to cancel the Université de l’Ontario français project. OCUFA is adding its voice to that of the APUO, which, on November 26, strongly condemned the cuts affecting post-secondary education and the Franco-Ontarian community

APUO office during the holidays

Finally, we wish all of our members a happy holiday. Please note that the APUO office will be closed from Friday, December 21, to January 2, inclusively. The office will reopen with our regular 8 am to 4 pm hours on Thursday, January 3, 2019. 

Student Evaluations of Teaching: the Kaplan Arbitration Ruling

On June 28, William Kaplan, the Arbitrator appointed to resolve the issue of Faculty Course Surveys (FCS) and related matters, including the use of student evaluations of teaching (SET) for promotion and/or tenure decisions, between the Ryerson Faculty Association and the Ryerson University, rendered a decision which highlights the limitations of the use of SETs, and the importance of a well-rounded review of faculty teaching.

Evidence presented during the arbitration demonstrated that individual characteristics including race, gender, accent, age and the appearance of a professor, all influenced the results of SETs. Other factors such as whether the evaluations are done online versus in-class, the courses are elective or mandatory, the number of students in the course, the subject matter, and the teaching style also impact the SET results.

“The expert evidence led at the hearing persuasively demonstrates that the most meaningful aspects of teaching performance and effectiveness cannot be assessed by Student Evaluations of Teaching. Insofar as assessing teaching effectiveness is concerned – especially in the context of tenure and promotion – Student Evaluations of Teaching are imperfect at best, and downright biased and unreliable at worst.”
– William Kaplan

At the University of Ottawa, the use of A-Reports (based on student questionnaires) is one of several elements considered in the promotion and/or tenure process. While the overall procedure to evaluate teaching at Ryerson University and at our own institution differ in many ways, the Kaplan arbitration ruling presents valid criticism, and exposes limitations of some aspects of our system.

What role do the A-reports play in the evaluation process at uOttawa? Unlike many other institutions, A-Reports may only be used as an indicator towards a decision by the Dean to initiate or not a Direct Peer Review of Teaching (DPRT). As per article c) of our Collective Agreement, unless the Dean initiates a DPRT due to a pattern of weak A-Reports or outstanding teaching, any evaluation of teaching must be considered to have met expectations. Thus, at our institution, the Central Administration cannot deny tenure or promotion based on “weak” A-Reports alone. While we appreciate that in our Collective Agreement, there are measures in place to allow professors to communicate their own reflections on teaching and learning in light of A-reports, we also recognize that this doesn’t fully address the inequities and consequences for professors who face strong (conscious or unconscious) bias in their teaching evaluations. In light of the low participation rates on online student evaluation of teaching, the APUO is further concerned about the possibility of low participation rates exacerbating bias and compromising the relevance of the data. This is particularly important for professors who plan to apply for promotion and /or tenure in the coming years.

As a result of the most recent round of collective bargaining, the APUO will meet with the Central Administration in May of each academic year to discuss and review issues arising from the use of student evaluations data in making career recommendations and decisions.

The Central administration mandated the Senate Committee on teaching and its evaluation to study approaches to evaluating teaching. The Committee will make recommendations to revise/change current practices. Even if the Senate accepts to modify the current practices, the Central Administration will be required to get the APUO’s approval prior to implementing its use to officially evaluate a member’s teaching.

We wish to remind members that they are strongly encouraged to raise concerns they have regarding the use of student evaluations of teaching with the APUO, mainly if they believe they might negatively impact their application for promotion and/or tenure.

You may also be interested in reading the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ (CAUT) November bulletin The end of student questionnaires?

Economic Statement of the Ford Government

Dear members,

On November 15, in its fall economic statement, the Ford government announced cuts affecting post-secondary education and independent government watchdogs. Among them, the decisions infringing upon the rights of Franco-Ontarians are of particular concern for the University of Ottawa community.

The APUO strongly denounces these decisions and echoes the calls of the Franco-Ontarian community for their immediate reversal. The Office of the Commissioner of French Language Services and the Université de l’Ontario français are the result of long struggles on the part of Ontario’s Francophones.

In the current context of austerity, we are concerned that possible cuts in funding for colleges and universities could have an impact on the availability of French-language courses and programs at the University of Ottawa. We intend to work with the Central Administration in order to make sure that the University of Ottawa fully exercise its mandate to “preserve and develop French culture in Ontario”, as set out in section 4c of the University of Ottawa Act (1965), and comply with the Ontario French Language Services Act.

As a bilingual union in Ontario, the APUO stands in solidarity with the Franco-Ontarians’ struggles for justice.

Wash, Rinse & Repeat: The 2018 Update on the Real Financial Situation of the University of Ottawa

On September 25, APUO members received a communication from Jacques Frémont, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. President Frémont informed all members of the University community of a budgetary surplus of $15M instead of a balanced budget. The President argues that the $15M surplus is not structural but rather a one-time effect. One day earlier, on September 24, the Board of Governors approved the 2017-18 audited Financial Statements.

This communication will focus on the following questions:

  1. What are the real financial results for the University for the 2017-18 financial year according to the audited Financial Statements?
  2. Why are the numbers presented by the President and the APUO so different? What are the differences between a budget and audited financial statements?
  3. Why are the budget and the audited financial statements numbers so different? What are the potential solutions to this problem?
  4. Is the financial surplus structural or rather a one-time effect?

What are the real financial results for the University for the 2017-18 financial year according to the audited Financial Statements?

The University of Ottawa audited Financial Statements show a $69.77M surplus for the 2017-18 fiscal year. This surplus is significantly higher than last year’s surplus of $48.57M. Actually, it is the highest surplus of the past 10 years. Over the past 10 years, the cumulative surpluses are over $429.46M.

Fiscal year Audited Surplus (deficit)
2007-2008 $52.06M
2008-2009 $16.89M
2009-2010 $63.19M
2010-2011 $41.47M
2011-2012 $28.16M
2012-2013 ($1.48M)
2013-2014 $61.22M  (rectified in 2015)
2014-2015 $62.84M
2015-2016 ($13.23M)
2016-2017 $48.57M
2017-2018 $69.77M

Last year, Central Administration argued that the $48.57M surplus was higher than expected due to a significant increase to the return on our investments ($38.5M). While it may be true that the Central Administration’s investments are doing well, it still left the University with a $12.1M operating surplus. This year, the operating surplus was actually higher, at $76.84M, reduced by a $7.06M decline in fair value of investments.

Why are the numbers presented by the uOttawa President and the APUO so different?

You will notice that President Frémont’s communication refers to a “budgetary surplus” while the APUO refers to the “audited financial statements.” In simple terms, the budget is a financial projection generated by the Central Administration without any third-party oversight (no audit). In this case, the President is simply stating that there is a surplus in relation to the budget. By contrast, audited financial statements are third-party verified facts about the financial situation of an organisation. The generation of the Financial Statement have to follow Canadian Accounting standards.

Audited Financial Statement Budget
Third-party (auditor) oversight? Yes No
Who decides the assumptions and definitions? Canadian Accounting standards Central Administration
Past or future oriented? Past (facts, verified by an auditor) Future (projection)

The Central Administration could decide to use the Canadian Accounting standards in preparing the budget but instead uses “modified cash basis accounting.” As you can see below, the decision not to use Canadian Accounting standards consistently generates significantly different results:

Budget year Accounting standard used Surplus/Deficit
2018-2019 Modified cash basis accounting Balanced budget
CA accounting standards Not published
2017-2018 Modified cash basis accounting $4.6 million deficit
CA accounting standards $15 million surplus 
2016-2017 Modified cash basis accounting $4.9 million deficit
CA accounting standards $16 million surplus 
2015-2016 Modified cash basis accounting $1.9 million deficit
CA accounting standards $13 million surplus 

Interestingly enough, the University of Ottawa budget no longer includes a Surplus/Deficit prediction using the Canadian accounting standards contrary to previous years. Using the “modified cash basis accounting” standards allows the Central Administration to advertise major budgetary deficits (often associated with cuts) while knowing that, even if their budget is 100% correct, their audited Financial Statements will show significant surpluses. Thus, the decision to use “modified cash basis accounting” allows the Central Administration to cut staff and services knowing that such cuts are not necessary to achieve a balanced budget, which then allows them to reallocate surpluses at their discretion. In other words, it is a political (and centralizing) decision hidden by an accounting technique.

Why are the budget and the audited financial statements numbers so different? What are the potential solutions to this problem?

As stated above, one of the major sources of confusion between the budget and audited Financial Statements numbers lies with the decision of the Central Administration to use “modified cash basis accounting” instead of the Canadian Accounting standards to prepare the budget. One simple solution would be for the Central Administration to use Canadian Accounting standards to prepare their budgets.

Is the financial surplus structural or rather a one-time effect?

This is an extremely difficult question for the APUO to answer since we do not have access to all the necessary information. That being said, the history of the past ten (10) years, i.e. cumulative surpluses of over $429.46M (see table 1 above), suggests that the University of Ottawa’s surplus is ‘structural.’ This money represents in part education services non-delivered. It is time for the Central Administration to be accountable to the University community for these cumulative surpluses and, more generally, for its management of our University. It is also time to put an end to austerity and put back in place the services that have been cut on the basis of erroneous premises.

Bill 47

Dear Members,

On October 23, the Doug Ford government introduced sweeping changes to the Employment Standards Act through Bill 47. The changes being introduced are a cause for great concern. They will inevitably impact upon our working conditions and those of our colleagues.

The change most directly affecting our University Community is the repeal of equal pay for equal work for casual, part-time, and temporary worker employee classifications. The abolition of these provisions from the Employment Standards Act gives the Central Administration a green light to continue its upward trend of hiring precarious workers, reducing our ability to protect our minimum complement in the next round of collective bargaining.

Bill 47 also curtails existing protections against sex-based pay discrimination. It removes the right of workers who believe they are victims of sex-based pay discrimination from asking their employer to correct discrepancies without reprisal.

The legislative change also has direct repercussions for our Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) colleagues who are working on amalgamating their multiple bargaining units. Teaching and research assistants as well as markers, who are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 2626, will also be impacted should Bill 47 pass. Our workload and working conditions are intimately tied to those of our colleagues.

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association (OCUFA), along with the APUO, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA), the Faculty Associations at Algonquin College and at La Cité, and Fight for $15 and Fairness are organising a rally at the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Constituency Office at 10 a.m. on Friday November 2. We encourage all Members to join the rally and to invite their students to participate in this action. 

Here is a summary of other notable changes introduced to the Employment Standard Act through Bill 47:

Minimum Wage:

  • Cancelling of the scheduled January 1 increase to $15/hour and freezing the minimum wage at $14/hour for the next 33 months. Minimum wage increases tied to inflation to restart in 2020.

Union Certification:

  • Replacing card-based union certification with a secret ballot vote.
  • Repealing rules mandating employers to share employee contact information during a union certification drive.
  • Removing employee protections for those who engage in union certification drives.
  • Repealing the power of the Ontario Labour Relations Board to review and consolidate certified bargaining units.

Personal Emergency Leave:

  • Reintroduction of provisions allowing employers to require employees to provide a medical note from a qualified health practitioner for taking sick days.
  • 10 paid personal emergency days repealed and replaced with 3 unpaid days for sickness, 3 unpaid family emergency days, and 2 unpaid bereavement leave days.

Equal Pay for Equal Work:

  • Repealing equal pay for equal work for part-time, casual, temporary workers and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status).

Employer protection:

  • The government is reducing administrative penalties for employer-contraventions of the Employment Standards Act.

Bill 47 is a step backwards for Ontario workers. It proposes of series of changes that will harm a significant proportion of the Ontario population, as well as reversing what should be considered basic rights for precarious workers across the province. The APUO strongly encourages our Members to join us for the rally on November 2. If Bill 47 is adopted, we can reasonably expect future legislative changes that will impact our own collective agreement and the Ontario postsecondary education sector as a whole.

September Bulletin 2018

September 2018 Bulletin

Updates to the Collective Agreement

As reported on June 27, we are very pleased to have ratified our new Collective Agreement, which is in effect from May 1, 2018, to April 30, 2021. Here is a summary of the main modifications to the Collective Agreement.


For the duration of the new Collective Agreement, the complement of faculty appointments will continue to be 1,311. It is worth noting that the APUO is one of the few academic staff unions that has successfully negotiated a minimal complement in its Collective Agreement in recent years.


The following paragraph has been added to the Collective Agreement.

Preamble (article 2):

(c)             With respect to the University’s mission to recognise diversity and foster respect, and in accordance with the University’s equity goals, the parties intend to continue playing a key role in promoting members of equity seeking groups in all sectors of university life.

We also bargained changes to language to emphasize the need to increase the representation of “equity groups” rather than focusing on “gender representation.”

For those of you who are members of Appointment Committees, you will now be required to participate in a soon-to-be-developed equity training. All Appointment Committees shall now have at least one Member who is from an equity group (woman, Aboriginal, Member with a disability, Visible Minority).

We have reinforced the language around the need for the Central Administration to provide data to the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee as it relates to the proportion of Equity Group members.

The APUO and the Central Administration signed a Letter of understanding on the creation of a Teaching Personnel Equity Committee. The Committee will be tasked with investigating potential constitutional, by-law and procedural changes to Teaching Personnel Committees (DTPC, FTPC, LPC, TPCI) that could make our hiring practices more equitable.

Finally, there is a Letter of Understanding to study the Gender Salary Differentials. The APUO and the Central Administration will create a Gender Wage Gap Committee (GWGC) to identify and correct gender-based salary anomalies.


Following a posting, the Librarian selection committee will consider internal candidates holding continuing appointments before external candidates.

Before revising a job description, the University Librarian shall now have to consult with the affected Librarian Member.

Continuing Special Appointment Professors (CSAP)

Once every five years, a CSAP member may apply for a four-month professional leave, with no reduction in remuneration, to enhance their teaching or perform scholarly activities.

Pilot project: Grievances

The APUO and the Central administration have agreed to implement a pilot project, for the duration of the Collective Agreement, replacing Step 2: Formal Grievance Committee (FGC) with a mediation session.

Student Evaluation data

The APUO and the Central Administration agree that for the next three academic years, the University may utilize the student evaluation data collected as authorized by the Senate in making career recommendations and decisions. The APUO has not provided its authorisation for any student evaluation collected electronically prior to July 2018. The two Parties will meet in May of each academic year to review whether issues arise from the use of student evaluations data in making career recommendations and decisions.

Salaries and benefits

Members will benefit from a two percent (2%) economic increase every year of the Collective Agreement. The same increase will be applied every year to the Progress-thru-the-Ranks amounts.

Changes to the Extended Health Plan

Coverage type Implementation date Change
Extended Health Plan May 1, 2019
  • Plan co-insured at 80%
  • A new “out of pocket” maximum on drugs per certificate per calendar year of $1,500.
May 1, 2020
  • Plan co-insured at 80%
  • “Out of pocket” maximum on drugs per certificate per calendar year increased at $2,000.
May 1, 2021
  • Plan co-insured at 80%
  • “Out of pocket” maximum on drugs per certificate per calendar year increased at $3,000.

Pension contributions

As of January 1, 2019, employee contributions to the pension will go up by 0.8% with full salary offset.

Retirees’ privileges and benefits

Retirees may receive, at no cost, a parking permit as per the negotiated agreement between the University and the Association of Professors Retired from the University of Ottawa (APRUO). The Central Administration will also provide the APRUO with suitable rooms as required for association business, free of charge, provided reasonable notice is given and space is available.


There will be an inventory of compensation for Members who take on various administrative tasks. This inventory will look at whether or not Members have, for example, salary top-ups, course releases, or research funds for the extra administrative duties they sometimes take on. The results of this inventory will put the APUO in a stronger position to include compensation for administrative duties in future collective agreements.

Salary Increases – Memorandum of Settlement 

As mentioned above, Members will benefit from a two percent (2%) economic increase every year of the Collective Agreement as well as a two percent (2%) increase to the Progress-thru-the-Ranks amounts. As the Collective Agreement took effect on May 1, 2018, you should have noticed the above-mentioned increase on your September 15 paycheck, and a retroactive pay will be issued no later than October 5, 2018.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities

As outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities, education providers have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. Our duty to accommodate is based on three principles: respect for dignity, individualization, and integration and full participation. Each student’s needs are unique and must be considered individually when accommodation requests are made. When providing accommodations, it is key that students be able to participate in the process, and have an opportunity to express their needs.

The University’s SASS (Student Academic Success Service)–Academic Accommodations runs a Portal for professors called “Ventus”. Through this portal, you can view the students from each of your courses who are registered with SASS–Academic Accommodations, their accommodations, view and verify confirmations of academic accommodation letters, submit and modify notices of examinations and proctor instruction sheets, and view uploaded exam files.

We encourage all Members to work with SASS–Academic Accommodations to ensure accommodations are delivered in a timely manner, and in a way that supports the success of all students. We also recommend looking through the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policy on Accessible Education for Students with disabilities, specifically, Section 8 which outlines education providers’ duties to accommodate. Finally, please let us know if SASS does not have the resources to provide you with all the support you need.

The Ontario Government’s Free Speech Policy

On August 30, the Government of Ontario announced that Universities and Colleges will be mandated to adopt Free Speech policies by January 1, 2019. In its announcement, the Government further declared that these policies and their implementation on campus would be linked to operating and grant funding.

The APUO will continue to monitor the situation and will keep you informed of developments as the Central Administration takes steps to implement its own policy.

University of Ottawa 2017-2018 Financial Results

Earlier this week, Members should have received a communication from the Office of the President reporting a budgetary surplus of $15 million for the fiscal year ending on April 30, 2018. While Jacques Frémont seemed surprised by this outcome, the APUO would like to remind you that over the last decade, the University of Ottawa has recorded cumulative surpluses now amounting to $362 million.

While the President emphasized that this surplus is the result of austerity measures in the form of vacant positions, especially among support staff, we stress that this represents an increase in our workload and a deterioration of our working conditions. It appears that despite the continued financial health of our institution, the Central administration does not plan on addressing the concerns we’ve raised with regards to the quality of education being impacted by continued clawbacks to funding and resources that allow us to focus on teaching and research.

As has been the case in previous years, we will continue to monitor the financial situation of the University, and to advocate for additional support staff with the goal of fully carrying out the University’s mission and strategic goals.

Ratification vote results

Dear APUO members,

The results of the ratification vote are as follows: 182 YES and 4 NO. The tentative settlement has therefore been supported by 97.84% of the members who have cast a ballot.

We wish to thank our members for the continued support shown to us during this round of bargaining.


The APUO Executive Committee

APUO reaction to the Central Administration’s “Comprehensive/Global Offer”

Since our last bargaining update, the APUO and the Central Administration agreed to seek the assistance of a third-party mediator. We have mediation sessions booked with Arbitrator Kaplan on June 8 and 14.

In mid-April, the Central Administration unilaterally decided to deviate from the bargaining process established by over 40 years of past practice by presenting a “Comprehensive/Global Offer” and asking the APUO to respond in kind. The APUO negotiation team declined the offer and informed the Central Administration that it would prefer to continue bargaining as per usual. At that time, the Central Administration reiterated that it would only respond by global offers once the APUO has countered on all active proposals. The Administration also informed the APUO that it would not sign off on proposals on which both parties had reached a mutual agreement. In the view of the APUO, the Central Administration’s new inflexible bargaining approach has seriously impeded progress and reduced efficiencies.

Signed-off proposals

Prior to the Administration’s unilateral change in the bargaining process, the parties had signed off on seven proposals, two tabled by the APUO and five tabled by the Central Administration.


  • Governance / LOU on “Equity and TPCs”
  • Housekeeping


  • Direct Peer Review of Teaching (DPRT)
  • Emeritus Professor
  • Librarians
  • Two separate Housekeeping proposals

Agreed-to but unsigned proposals

Subsequent to mid-April, eleven other proposals have been agreed to by both Parties, nine tabled by the APUO and two tabled by the Central Administration.


  • Governance: Academic Administrative Positions Letter of Understanding
  • Governance: Academic Postings
  • Governance: Chairs
  • Governance: Composition of TPCs
  • Governance: Information
  • Working conditions: Academic leave
  • Working conditions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • Working conditions: Faculty Workload Review Committee
  • Working conditions: Retired professors


  • Grievance process (Mediation)
  • Notice of Intent to apply (related to tenure and promotion applications)
  • Librarians

Withdrawn proposals

Both Parties have withdrawn many of their initial proposals.


  • Governance: Confidentiality
  • Governance: Management rights
  • Governance: Visiting professors
  • Quality of Education: New course
  • Quality of Education: Ratios and class size
  • Working conditions: Academic Freedom
  • Working conditions: Annual reviews
  • Working conditions: Childcare
  • Working conditions: Complaints and member files
  • Working conditions: Exit interviews
  • Working conditions: Replacement professors
  • Working conditions: Teaching restrictions
  • Language teachers
  • Efficient negotiations: Inter-union solidarity


  • Delegation
  • Liaison Committee
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Teaching load
  • Basic progress
  • Discipline

Outstanding proposals

Please find below some highlights of the progress that we have made and some of the non-monetary issues that remain outstanding.

Ensure open, transparent and fair governance

  • APUO / Selection of chairs: The APUO wants academic unit colleagues to select their chairs. We also propose to formalise the compensation of two (2) course releases per year for chairs. Central Administration has rejected our proposal on compensation and is proposing a pilot project for the election of chairs in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
  • APUO /Selection of Deans: The APUO has drastically modified our original proposal. The APUO is asking for a ratification vote by members for the renewal of a Dean’s appointment.
  • APUO / Selection of Vice-Deans: The APUO has drastically modified our original proposal. The APUO is asking for a ratification vote by members in the appointment of Vice-Deans.
  • Administration / Exclusions: The Central Administration seeks to double the number of excluded Vice-Deans. The APUO has rejected this proposal.
  • Administration / Student evaluations: The Central Administration seeks to remove their obligation to get APUO’s consent prior to using evaluation data obtained after their unilateral decision to change the student evaluation system. The APUO has proposed doing a joint study on student evaluation questions and the system, and the possible use of teaching dossiers. In return, the APUO is agreeing to provide a temporary (starting May 2018 for the duration of the study) consent to the use of the data in evaluating members’ teaching.
  • Administration / New evaluation tools: The Central Administration seeks to remove our consultation rights and their obligation to get APUO’s consent prior to using any newly development teaching evaluation tool (such as a teaching dossier). The APUO has rejected this proposal.

Workload and improving the quality of education

  • APUO / Complement: The APUO has proposed to add the complement (the minimum number of APUO appointments) language in the Collective Agreement and suggests the University of Ottawa hire 15 new members per year. The Central Administration has rejected renewing the complement agreement and refuses to discuss the issue unless it is directly linked with the monetary proposals. If the complement agreement is not renewed, it will allow the Central Administration to abolish APUO positions when members leave the University, be it for retirement or any other reason. This will not only result in an increased workload for APUO members (who are already overburdened) but also in a considerable impoverishment of teaching, research, and collegiality at the University of Ottawa – not to mention the dramatic impact this decision will have on the academic career prospects of doctoral candidates.
  • APUO / Workload: The APUO has proposed clear guidelines on correcting workloads that are significantly higher than the previously agreed-to workload benchmark of 1992-1994. In 2014-2016, some academic units had a 200% higher student contact hours than in 1992-1994. The Central Administration has rejected our proposal and instead proposed to replace the 1992-1994 benchmark with the 2014-2016 number of student contact hours. This modification would have serious deleterious impacts for academic units experiencing increased workload such as many units in the Faculty of Engineering and the Telfer School of Management.

Create Fair and Equitable Working Conditions

  • APUO / Computers: The APUO is demanding that non-functional computers be replaced with new systems. Central Administration rejects this proposal.
  • APUO / Course releases: The APUO is demanding more flexibility in how it can allocate its course releases. Central Administration rejects this proposal.

Improve Librarians, CSAP and Language Teachers’ working conditions

  • APUO / Librarians: The Parties are discussing changing the hiring processes. The APUO is proposing that members are consulted when their positions are modified. Central Administration rejects this proposal.
  • APUO / CSAP: The APUO has proposed a four-month professional leave per each five-year contract for CSAPs. The Central Administration has proposed a similar leave but using qualifying criteria that excluded ALL existing CSAPs for benefiting of the leave.

Other issues

  • Both Parties: Both Parties are working to establish a joint working group study and correct gender salary gaps.

The Negotiating Team continues to work very hard to seek mutually-agreeable solutions in the context of bargaining. You can show your support for the Negotiating Team by promoting the #Respect Campaign to help us reach a fair deal.