It’s no secret that colleges and universities urgently need more funding.

As the union representing 45,000 staff and faculty in all 24 of Ontario’s colleges and 16 universities and other postsecondary institutions, we have been sounding the alarm for years.

Our members have been living and working with the consequences of three decades of defunding by government. They include:

  • Increased class sizes
  • Crucial programs, services and supports starved of funds or eliminated
  • A piecemeal approach to higher education that does not meet the needs of students or communities.
  • A shift to online learning without adequate supports
  • The massive growth of a lower-paid, insecure workforce of staff and faculty
  • Workload levels that are causing both total burnout and deteriorating mental health for faculty and staff.

Further, international students have been squeezed to the breaking point by a business model that depends on them to fund the system.

It is time for the Ford government to step up and undo years of damage.

A “blue ribbon” panel of business consultants and former university executives made its recommendations to the government on funding.

The panel recommended a one-time funding boost of 10% and a one-time tuition fee hike of 5%, with subsequent years’ funding and tuition increases linked to inflation.

The funding increase is not enough. And we don’t agree with shifting the cost burden to students. Postsecondary education is a public good that benefits our society and economy.

OPSEU/SEFPO sector leaders and President JP Hornick told the panel last spring that Ontario should raise per-student funding to the average level of other provinces. (Currently, Ontario lags far behind all other provinces in per-student funding.)

The funding should be tied to concrete measures that improve the student experience, including:

  • Improved workloads for faculty and staff, resulting in more resources and supports for students;
  • Fairness for precarious faculty and staff, resulting in a more stable workforce to help students.

As well, to limit the escalating growth in high-paying executive positions, colleges and universities should be required to follow strict financial transparency rules.

It is time for the Ford government to change course and properly fund public postsecondary education in Ontario.

Other Bargaining Updates

College faculty arbitration update

OPSEU/SEFPO CAAT Academic and the CEC participated in a mediation/arbitration September 7-9, 2022. Following the mediation part of the proceeding, an arbitration occurred on September 9, 2022. The arbitrator’s award will form the new collective agreement and it is...

College faculty bargaining team statement

The college faculty bargaining team has issued the following statement: Arbitrator William Kaplan has imposed a media blackout on the upcoming voluntary mediation-interest arbitration between the colleges’ and college faculty bargaining teams. There will be no further...

Joint statement by OPSEU/SEFPO and the College Employer Council

OPSEU/SEFPO’s college faculty bargaining team and the College Employer Council have issued the following statement: The parties have reached an agreement to enter binding interest arbitration and the strike that was scheduled to commence at 12:01 am on March 18, 2022,...

College faculty to resume talks with employer

Toronto – With some 16,000 college faculty set to go on strike at 12:01 Friday morning, the College Employer Council (CEC) and the faculty bargaining team have agreed to meet Thursday. “We were encouraged that the CEC replied to our letter and have agreed to meet...

College faculty set strike deadline

TORONTO – Some 16,000 faculty at Ontario’s 24 public colleges say they will go on strike at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, March 18 if the College Employer Council (CEC) does not agree to voluntary binding interest arbitration.   The faculty bargaining team sent an open letter...

Work to Rule: Phase 3

Started 12:01am, March 02, 2022 Focus Work-to-rule must impact the functioning of the colleges in order to work as a bargaining strategy to bring the Council back to the table to discuss faculty’s needs. The colleges and CEC have chosen to abandon negotiations and to...

Legal Brief Supports Faculty Proposals

Throughout this round of bargaining, the College Employer Council (CEC) has repeatedly refused to negotiate significant issues regarding workload, staffing, or fairness for partial-load faculty. They have justified their obstinacy by claiming that changes to these...

Five reasons to REJECT the CEC’s forced offer

Click here for a printable PDF version The College Employer Council’s forced offer fails. It’s a terrible contract that fails faculty, fails students and threatens to harm the entire college system. All faculty should vote to reject the colleges’ offer, because: (x)...