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.

Workload

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.

Equity

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.

Librarians

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.

Other

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.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee

APUO Ratification Meeting

RATIFICATION MEETING

Dear APUO Members,

A ratification meeting of the proposed collective agreement (1 May 2018 to 30 April 2021) will be held on Wednesday June 27, 2018. A summary of the process and results, followed by a «Questions and Answers» period, will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, in the Alumni Auditorium UCU (85 University). The ratification vote itself will begin at 11:00 AM and last until 4:00 PM at the entrance of the Alumni Auditorium.

You can download the 2018-2021 Tentative Settlement which includes changes to the collective agreement and the letters of understanding that accompany it.

We hope to see you in large numbers, as with previous general meetings.

Sincerely,

The APUO Executive Committee

The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) strives to make its services accessible to all persons with disabilities. If you require accommodations to access or to fully participate in this event, please contact Michel Desjardins (apuodir@uottawa.ca, 613-230-3659) at the APUO office no later than three (3) working days prior to the meeting/event. Such advance notice is essential for the APUO to make arrangements for any appropriate accommodation requests. 

Bargaining Update: Agreement in principle

Dear members,

We are pleased to inform you that we have reached an agreement in principle with the Central Administration at the end of our second day of mediation.

We believe that we have negotiated the best deal possible in the current circumstances and we are happy to recommend its ratification. The agreement will be presented to the APUO Executive next week. A Special General Assembly (SGA) and secret vote to ratify the agreement will be held in the coming weeks. All relevant information will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.

We would like to thank all APUO members for your support and participation in our Respect campaign. We also wish to thank William Kaplan, the independent mediator who worked hard to make this agreement possible.

Thank you again for your extraordinary support.

Sincerely,

The APUO Negotiation Team
Michel Desjardins
Jean-Daniel Jacob
Susan Spronk
Dalie Giroux
Colin Montpetit
Richard Hébert
Paul Saurette
Natasha Udell

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.

APUO

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

Administration

  • 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.

APUO

  • 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

Administration

  • 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.

APUO

  • 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

Administration

  • 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.

Conciliation vs. Mediation

Dear members,

In our last Bargaining Update, we informed you that Central Administration had filed a request for the appointment of a Conciliation Officer. We also informed you that both parties had agreed to mediation. Here is a short summary of recent developments.

The APUO and the Central Administration have agreed to hire William Kaplan as a mediator. The parties will meet with the mediator on June 8 and 14.

A Conciliation Officer has been appointed by the Province. The Parties have agreed to delay the scheduling of conciliation sessions after mediation in the event that mediation fails.

Although both processes can function in parallel and aim at assisting the parties in reaching an agreement, they are different. Here are some of the main differences between mediation and conciliation.

Quick facts on conciliation

  • The conciliator is appointed by the Minister of Labour.
  • Conciliation is mandatory and will continue as long as both parties find it constructive and helpful.
  • If one or both parties conclude that conciliation is not working, they may request a No-Board report which shall be issued by the Minister. Once the No-Board has been issued, there is a period of 17 working days (during which negotiations are still possible) at the end of which: (1) the members may begin a strike action; (2) the Employer may impose a lock out; or (3) the Employer may unilaterally rewrite the Collective Agreement.
  • Conciliation does not inevitably lead to one of the three previous scenarios, but it would be irresponsible for APUO not to prepare for the prossibility of a stike, if only because a strike could prevent the Central Administration from unilaterally re-writing the Collective Agreement.

Quick facts on mediation 

  • The mediator is chosen by the parties
  • Mediation cannot be imposed by one party on the other party; it requires mutual consent of both parties;
  • There is no deadline to mediation
  • Mediation can proceed independently from conciliation

As many of you may have observed, job security and fair and equitable working conditions have been the target of postsecondary administrators who back austerity policies similar to those implemented by our Central Administration.

  • Last fall, our peers at the Association of Part-Time Professors at the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) had to obtain a strike mandate before reaching an agreement with the Central Administration at the eleventh hour.
  • College Faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) were forced to return to work by way of back-to-work legislation after a 5-week long strike.
  • This winter, the administrative, technical and library staff at Carleton University, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees 2424 (CUPE 2424), held a 4-week long strike to protect their bargaining rights and retirement pension.
  • More recently, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA) got a strike mandate before reaching an agreement earlier this week.
  • Teaching Assistants, Contract Faculty and Graduate Assistants represented by CUPE 3903 at York University are currently in their thirteenth week of strike.
  • Professors at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) were locked-out of their workplace from May 2 to May 16 following disagreements at the bargaining table about workload, monetary offers, and their complement agreement. It’s worth noting that several key issues of this labour dispute are similar to the ones the APUO Negotiating Team is most concerned about during this round of collective bargaining.

These are just a few examples of work actions in the last year that highlight the challenging context in which the APUO finds itself, and underscore the importance to be prepared for all possible work-action scenarios.

Until we can report back on the progress of mediation and conciliation, we once again encourage you to participate in our Respect campaign by:

  • wearing the pin that you received a few weeks ago;
  • sticking the poster that you received on your office door;
  • expressing support for your Negotiating Team on social media by using the hashtags #Respect and #uOttawa together;
  • by email at the following address: apuoco@uottawa.ca

At this time, our best asset to ensure that we can negotiate a fair collective agreement is by showing our unity.

In solidarity,

The APUO Executive Committee

Bargaining Update: Conciliation

Dear members,

After an intensive weekend of negotiations, the APUO and the Central Administration’s negotiation teams were unable to reach an agreement. At this stage, both parties will be seeking the assistance of a third-party mediator. The Negotiating Team will recommend this solution to the APUO Executive Committee.

As we have expressed through our Bargaining Updates over the last few months, the vast majority of the proposals tabled by the APUO have been rejected, including all of APUO’s proposals regarding workload, making this round of collective bargaining a difficult one.

Moreover, many items of the Central Administration’s global offer are unacceptable, most notably, the monetary proposals and the end of the APUO complement agreement.

The Central Administration has informed the APUO that they have filed a request for the appointment of a Conciliation Officer. We will inform you of any developments as they arise.

We once again encourage you to participate in our Respect campaign by:

  • wearing the pin that you will receive in the coming days;
  • sticking the poster that you will receive on your office door; and
  • expressing support for your Negotiating Team on social media by using the hashtags #Respect and #uOttawa together.

At this time, our best asset to ensure that we can negotiate a fair collective agreement is by showing our unity.

In solidarity,

The APUO Negotiating Team