Toronto – The leaders of OPSEU/SEFPO are applauding Humber College for becoming one of the province’s first public colleges to offer a standalone four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

“This is great news and it’s proof-positive that our public colleges can play a vital role in filling the gaps in public services that have been laid bare during the pandemic,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Everyone in Ontario will benefit by investing more in the front-line faculty and staff who make our colleges so great.”

OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida said Ontario’s public colleges are perfectly positioned to offer the high-quality education needed to fill the skills gaps in vital public services like health and long-term care.

“We were very pleased when this government took our advice last month and invested $115 million in our colleges to quickly and effectively train up to 8,200 new Personal Support Workers to tackle the understaffing crisis in long-term care,” said Almeida. “And we’re very pleased today to see that even more colleges are stepping up to provide the high-quality and highly sought-after training that Ontario clearly needs.”

OPSEU/SEFPO CAAT Academic Division Chair RM Kennedy said that as colleges take on an increasingly important role in training the next generation of workers, it’s time for the government to push the colleges to adopt “shared governance,” which is the norm in higher education institutions around the world.

He said shared governance is vital to program quality, because it gives college faculty – not bottom-line-focused administrators – decision-making power on academic matters. Without shared governance, he said, there’s a risk that college graduates in programs like nursing won’t have the education they need to provide safe care to Ontarians.

“Colleges aren’t just factories manufacturing graduates out of a mould,” said Kennedy. “To ensure the highest possible education standards and protect faculty’s intellectual property rights, government must order colleges to immediately adopt shared governance.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931