Upholding academic freedom and excellenceMaking sure our voices are heard

The University of Toronto Faculty Association is the official representative of faculty and librarians on employment matters which include salary, pension, benefit negotiations, and workplace grievances. 

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Omicron Update/End of Year Best Wishes

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

When we wrote to you last week we shared a series of health and safety questions and concerns we had been raising with the University Administration in light of the significant threat posed by Omicron. This email provides a brief update, including some positive developments, based on the Administration’s responses to us in the last several days.

At an emergency meeting UTFA requested this Monday, we commended the Acting Provost and other senior Administrators for their December 15 announcement that halted in-person tests and exams and delayed in-person teaching and learning until January 31, 2022. We noted with appreciation their proactive approach to the surging variant of concern; the implicit recognition that a short notice requirement to ‘pivot’ to online exams would be untenable; and the clear acknowledgement that Omicron’s threat to public health now requires serious new measures to reduce the risks to U of T and our broader community.

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COVID/Omicron Variant: Questions for the Administration

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

Considering the rapidly rising COVID case numbers in Ontario—including Toronto and Peel—and the very serious threat posed by the Omicron variant, last week UTFA wrote to the University’s senior Administration. We pressed, once again, for greater transparency and the sharing of key health and safety information with UTFA, the public health scientists with whom we are working closely, and the broader University community.

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University Pension Plan (UPP) Member Engagement  Announcement

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Today, University Pension Plan (UPP) kicks off a two-part member dialogue on Member Experience and Responsible Investing. These conversations - beginning this November - provide an avenue for members to share their perspectives and preferences on two important topics.

Fall 2021

On November 9th, UPP will launch Part One of a Member Survey focused on Member Experience, followed by accompanying virtual Townhalls on November 23rd (Morning Session) and November 25th (Afternoon Session). Townhall attendees are invited to submit questions in advance via the event registration page or on MyUPP.ca.

Read full announcement


Statement of Solidarity with Teachers, Librarians, and Archivists in Afghanistan from UTFA Members

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

We, members of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA), stand in solidarity with colleagues working in schools, academia, cultural organizations, archives, and the libraries in Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about the threats to the safety and security of our colleagues, with particular concern for girls, women, and ethnic, religious, and sectarian minorities.

Teachers/instructors/professors, cultural workers, artists, librarians, and archivists in Afghanistan are leaders and role models who facilitate knowledge building and mobilization and engaged citizenship—both locally and globally, and who are integral to the wellbeing of society.

We call on Canadian and world leaders to collaborate globally to promote the professional and human rights of teachers/instructors/professors, cultural workers, artists, librarians, and archivists in Afghanistan. They offer trusted expertise and knowledge and preserve the history and culture of a people. Access to knowledge and information should be a fundamental human right.


Course credit / CERF / COVID LOU survey

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

We are writing to make sure you are accessing 2 of the key entitlements UTFA negotiated on your behalf in the COVID Letter of Understanding (the “COVID LOU”).

Read the full message


Statement of Apology

Thursday, October 28, 2021

I apologize for using a phrase that evoked a negative trope at the What the hell happened at the University of Toronto Law School? event. I now better recognize how such tropes can tap into and reinforce harmful stereotypes about the Jewish community. Although it was not my intention, I acknowledge that the words I used caused pain and distress to many of my colleagues, who experienced them as insults. For that as well I am truly sorry.

As someone who has devoted decades of her life to the work of challenging discrimination in its many forms, I am humbled. I am reminded of my responsibility to foster more listening, more respectful dialogue, and a greater willingness to learn from each other so that we may pursue our shared goals as an Association.

Terezia Zorić, UTFA President


UTFA Statement – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Thursday, September 30, 2021

September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, one of 94 calls to action identified in Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. It asked that the federal government collaborate with Aboriginal peoples to establish a day to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” UTFA stands with Indigenous members of the University of Toronto community in recognizing the particular role and responsibility that we in the post-secondary sector have to reflect on and learn Indigenous histories, cultures, and rights, as well as our own roles in the historic process of colonization. We join with the Canadian labour movement in calling for “all levels of government to make concrete commitments and take action on reconciliation by...

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Petition Calling for a Safe University of Toronto Re-opening

Friday, September 24, 2021

We are asking for your help in addressing serious problems with the University of Toronto Administration’s approach to campus reopening.

According to a recent expert panel titled Is it safe to return to campus? featuring Canada’s leading public health scientists, U of T’s reopening plan fails in important ways to keep students, staff, faculty, and librarians on campus safe enough.

Every day we hear from UTFA members, staff, colleagues, and students who are deeply troubled by serious flaws in the U of T plan, but these concerns remain unacknowledged and unaddressed by U of T’s president and senior leadership. That must change.

Please read, sign, and share widely the following Petition Calling for a Safe University of Toronto Re-opening

Read full statement

Video: 'Is it safe enough to return to campus? What do public health scientists say?'

Thursday, September 16, 2021

On September 9th UTFA co-sponsored an expert panel titled “Is it safe enough to return to campus? What do public health scientists say?”

Panelists answered representative questions received from attendees ahead of time and via Zoom Q&A. This expert panel was organized by the Toronto Inter-University Coalition, which is comprised of faculty associations and unions from Toronto’s four universities and with the technical assistance of OCUFA.

To view the video of the event: https://youtu.be/hsx_UZCweDY

Expert Panel: 'Is it safe enough to return to campus? What do public health scientists say?' Thurs. Sept. 9, 7-9 PM

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

You are invited to join us for an interactive panel discussion with leading health and safety experts in epidemiology, indoor air quality, bioaerosols, bioethics, population health equity, and more.

Following brief presentations by the panelists, there will be an extended Q & A. Click here to register

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Open Letter to President Gertler on COU Lobbying on Occupancy Limits

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Dear President Gertler:

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU), at which you represent the University of Toronto, is lobbying the Ford government to exempt universities from the indoor occupancy limits that protect against overcrowding and mitigate the risk of COVID. There is no good scientific rationale for this political move.

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UTFA All Members’ Meeting on the COVID Letter of Understanding (LOU) & Health and Safety

Tuesday, August 31, 2021
5:00 to 7:00 pm

Please join us to learn more about how the recently-negotiated COVID LOU between UTFA and the Administration affects you, including:

  • Your right not to be required to teach hybrid or dual-delivery courses;
  • How the special PTR process works;
  • Workload relief provisions;
  • Your right to choose not to use Student Course Evaluations in some circumstances;
  • Which of your expenses qualify under the special COVID Expense Reimbursement Fund (the “CERF”); and,
  • Detailed accommodation guidelines, including whom to contact, for those facing medical circumstances, childcare responsibilities, or eldercare responsibilities.

UTFA’s members of the U of T Central Health and Safety Committee will also provide updates on, answer your questions about, and assess the sufficiency of the University Administration’s fall reopening plans.

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UTFA Council Ratifies COVID LOU (Agreement Reached with Administration)

Wednesday, August 11

On Monday, UTFA Council unanimously ratified a special COVID Letter of Understanding (the “COVID LOU”) the UTFA bargaining team had negotiated with the Administration.

As we explained in our last bargaining update, UTFA had been seeking to reach agreement on the most pressing COVID issues with the U of T Administration since the spring of 2020 and we had been negotiating the LOU since January 2021. Issues that are not COVID-specific, and that are part of regular salary, benefits, and workload negotiations—including annual across-the-board salary increases, benefit enhancements, and Workload Policy (WLPP) improvements—remain unresolved (See Appendix B of the LOU). Our last Memorandum of Settlement expired on June 30, 2020, and is subject to ongoing negotiations.

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Health and Safety Checklist for University Re-opening

Friday, July 16

If the University Administration wishes to schedule significant in-person activities while COVID-19 remains a public health concern, a number of conditions must be met before staff and students can have confidence that their campus is safe enough for in-person teaching, learning, and other work. The following is a non-exhaustive list of steps that a University Administration must take, at a minimum, to reduce the risks associated with university re-openings. 

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Joint Statement to University Administration re: Faculty of Music

Monday, June 30

Dear Provost Regehr, Vice-Provost Boon, Professor Hannah-Moffat,

Open Letter Regarding the University of Toronto Faculty of Music

Read the letter

UTFA Statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Monday, June 21

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day on Turtle Island, a day of celebration, recognition, and respect for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultures. This year’s National Indigenous Peoples Day is especially poignant in light of the recent discoveries of the remains of children at former residential schools across Canada.  

Read the full statement

Open Letter to President Gertler re: CAUT Censure

Thursday, June 10

Re: Town Hall on the CAUT Censure of the University of Toronto Administration

In the wake of the CAUT censure, UTFA has hosted two all-member events. Our first information session, on May 6, answered our members’ questions about the CAUT censure process and what the censure entails. 

Read the letter

UTFA Bargaining Update and Move to Mediation

Wednesday, June 9

We are writing to update you on our efforts to negotiate salary, benefits, pensions, and workload (SBPW) improvements on your behalf. As we previously reported, UTFA entered into the current round of SBPW negotiations with the U of T Administration in the Fall of 2019. Our proposals arose from a series of surveys and constituency-based consultations with faculty and librarians

Read the full update

UTFA statement on hate crime in London, Ontario

Wednesday, June 9

UTFA denounces the hate crime that led to the murder of four Muslim family members in London, Ontario this weekend.

Read the full statement

UTFA mourns the loss of Indigenous children in mass grave at residential school site

Thursday, June 3

UTFA grieves the loss of 215 Indigenous children following the discovery of remains found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. We mourn the deaths of these children in solidarity with their families and Indigenous communities.

Read the full statement

Op-ed: OCADU’s decision to terminate four librarians reflects a troubling trend in the post-secondary sector

Monday, May 31

On June 1, 2021, OCADU Administration will officially eliminate six library positions. This will result in the loss of four senior librarians who have over seven decades of service and experience. Please read this op-ed by Min Sook Lee (OCADU Faculty Association President), Harriet Sonne de Torrens (UTFA Librarians Committee Chair) & Terezia Zorić (UTFA President) on the loss of the library positions and how it reflects a troubling trend in the post-secondary sector. 

Read the full op-ed

CAUT Censure: Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday, May 26

The purpose of this FAQ document is to provide responses to questions that our members raised during a special information session on the CAUT censure (held on May 6, 2021) and via email before and after the event. We hope to continue updating this page as new questions emerge.

Read the full statement

Second Membership Meeting on CAUT censure

Friday, May 21

We are inviting you to a second UTFA special meeting about the CAUT censure of the U of T Administration. The meeting will take place on Thursday, May 27 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Read the full statement

Update on CAUT censure

Friday, May 14

As you know, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) recently issued a rare censure against UofT’s Administration in response to the hiring controversy at the Faculty of Law. Following that decision, UTFA organized an information session on May 6, 2021 with CAUT’s Executive Director, David Robinson, to explain the censure process.

UTFA is a member of CAUT. CAUT is a highly valued, democratic organization that speaks as a respected national voice for faculty, librarians, and other academic staff across Canada’s post-secondary sector. It is clear that CAUT Council came to its censure decision by way of an informed process.

Read the full update

OPEN LETTER to the President of OCADU on the decision to eliminate six librarian positions

Thursday, May 13

On behalf of the members of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) Executive and the UTFA Librarians Committee, we are writing to urge you and senior OCADU Administration to re-consider the decision to eliminate six librarian positions. We call on you to adopt and respect a collegial process that involves librarians, faculty, students, and the broader community.

We have serious concerns about the radical elimination of six professional librarian positions under the guise of a structural re-organization that has occurred without a collegial process of consultation with faculty, students, or the librarians who have lost their jobs. We are disappointed that the University Librarian, Tony White, and the OCADU Administration have decided to terminate the employment of four academic librarians. Combined, the four librarians have more than six decades of expertise and knowledge – a loss that is irreplaceable. Despite years of exceptional service, they were given their layoff notices on May 5, 2021 and will officially lose their jobs as of June 1, 2021. We are also concerned about the decision to eliminate two unfilled librarian positions at OCADU.

Read the full statement


UTFA Annual General Meeting (AGM) 

Tuesday, April 27 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.

UTFA’s 2021 AGM will feature two interactive panels who will answer questions posed by the membership.

Panel 1: Health & Safety Experts from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Panel 2: Bargaining Update


Read the 2021 AGM Newsletter

Further AGM details

Dalla Lana panel image - UTFA AGM


Public Statement from Historians at the University of Toronto, April 21, 2021

As faculty of the University of Toronto’s History Department, we join with hundreds of our colleagues in the fields of health and medicine in condemning the Government of Ontario’s refusal, through 13 months of this devastating pandemic, to even consider funding paid sick leave and paid time off for vaccinations for essential workers in this province. While the April 20th announcement extends the hope that a plan is finally coming, it is critical to remember that this government has repeatedly refused to implement these policies despite multiple calls to do so from the members of its own COVID-19 Science Table, leading public health experts, as well as ER and ICU physicians. 

Read the full statement


The Laurentian Crisis and the fight to secure funding

Laurentian University's Administration appears intent to file for court protection and proceed with a financial restructuring plan that overrides the principles of collegial governance, collective bargaining rights, and relies on unethical use of research grants to pay off administrative debts. This plan may also jeopardize Laurentian University's important role in having a tricultural mandate to provide English, French, and Indigenous educational programs.

We strongly encourage all UTFA members and the University of Toronto community to join the broader coalition in showing support for our northern colleagues before the April 30th deadline. Please use the links on this page to learn more about the situation at Laurentian and to learn about the many ways to take action in solidarity with LUFA as well as Laurentian's students, staff and the Sudbury community.

UTFA's Laurentian solidarity page with links for information and action

Background articles

UTFA open letter to the Laurentian University Faculty Association

UTFA statement on Laurentian eliminating more than 60 programs



Working together, we took action and we won

Thank you. Three weeks ago, following protracted negotiations and an unsuccessful arbitration, we found ourselves facing an Administration that continued to withhold our July 1, 2020 PTR increases—despite the extraordinary efforts UTFA members have been making during the pandemic. In response, we launched an online petition and you immediately responded by signing the petition and writing to the Administration.

Thanks to you, within hours of our petition going live the Administration reached out to UTFA to negotiate a settlement to the PTR impasse. After UTFA obtained clarification on a key provision of the proposal, they ultimately provided everything we asked for in the petition.

Read more

Key win on PTR

Good news! Yesterday we wrote to you about the ongoing decision by U of T’s Senior Administration to withhold your July 1, 2020 PTR (Progress Through the Ranks) increase. The response from our membership was immediate and overwhelmingly supportive of UTFA’s position as expressed in our PTR petition.

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Where is your July 1, 2020 PTR? 

Please read this update on UTFA’s efforts to challenge the Administration’s withholding of your 2019-2020 PTR (Progress Through the Ranks).


UTFA year-end update

As this strange and difficult year comes to a close, I’m writing to offer a brief reflection on the work our Association has been doing. 

Since March, the pandemic has affected every aspect of our working lives. A series of UTFA member surveys have documented how the rapid shift to remote work has exacerbated the widespread problem of excessive workloads and pre-pandemic systemic inequities. On very short notice and under challenging circumstances, faculty and librarians on all 3 campuses have more than risen to the occasion—routinely sacrificing care for themselves in order to fulfill their commitments to their students, their scholarly and professional communities, and the broader purposes of the University as a whole.

Read the full update



U of T’s Reopening Plan is NOT Safe Enough. We Need to Take Fall 2020 Online

The University of Toronto’s reopening plan does not guarantee a safe return to in-person work. Until the safety of students and workers can be guaranteed, in-person learning, teaching, librarianship, and other academic work should be paused.

Update on Health and Safety from UTFA President Terezia Zorić

WATCH: Not Safe Enough — Listening to the Science on the Reopening of U of T Panel Discussion

Below you will find articles on some the latest scientific developments affecting in-person teaching, some of the key challenges facing schools, case studies of schools as they attempt to go back, as well as UTFA media coverage around this issue. It will be updated daily so please check back for the latest developments. As well, please sign and share our petition.

Detailed Report of SBPW Negotiations, July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020

In this long and complex round of bargaining UTFA brought forward a number of monetary proposals (for salary and benefits) as well as policy proposals to remedy long-standing concerns related to the Workload Policy and Procedures (WLPP) and the PTR process. It has long been UTFA’s view that workload and PTR policies, in their current form, are inadequate to ensure fair, reasonable, and equitable distributions of workload for faculty and librarians at U of T.

A settlement of UTFA's financial proposals, in which UTFA made modest gains consistent with sectoral norms, was achieved on April 25, 2018. However, a discussion continued with the assistance of Mr. William Kaplan on UTFA's proposals to amend the WLPP and aspects of the Academic Administrative Procedures Manual relating to the PTR process.

Read the full report


Letter from U of T School of Public Health Faculty to U of T Administration Regarding Work and Health Inequities under COVID-19

Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Dear President Gertler, Vice-President & Provost Regehr, and Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity Hannah-Moffat:

As faculty members at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, we write to express our concerns regarding the University of Toronto’s measures to protect the health and safety of all workers, essential and non-essential, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Urgent action is needed to: (1) ensure adequate workplace health and safety measures by consulting with relevant groups prior to the University’s reopening process; (2) provide employment security to workers currently facing precarity, including highly racialized and feminized low-wage workers; and (3) provide gender-equitable work-at-home policies related to childcare and elder care. The U of T is a world leader in public health with extensive expertise among its faculty. Moreover, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health has one of three Canadian graduate training programs in Occupational Hygiene, and the only one in Ontario. This faculty expertise is contributing to national and international responses to COVID-19, yet it has only scantly been consulted to shape internal U of T COVID-19-related policies. The U of T still has the opportunity to model a justice-informed COVID-19 response, marshaling this expertise, to ensure the health and well-being of U ofT workers.

Many U of T workers, and their unions, have expressed concern that the University has to date not adequately informed, let alone consulted with, the 50 joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) about health and safety protections for on-siteworkers. There is a lack of clarity on how the (shifting) public health recommendations are being implemented on campus, what personal protective equipment is needed and will be provided, and how physical distancing will be enforced, nor has there been a clear message on which positions are eligible to work on-site versus at home. Since the JHSCs were not informed about or involved in these decision making processes, worker representatives were unable to communicate with, or share the concerns of, their members. This is a missed opportunity on the part of University administration to engage those who are most familiar with workplace conditions and the day-to-day operations of the University.

Read the full letter including the list of signatories


UTFA Statement on Anti-Black Racism

The University of Toronto Faculty Association strongly condemns anti-Black racism in all of its guises. Like many in the community in which we live and teach, we are outraged by the growing number of violent deaths of Black citizens in both Canada and the United States. COVID and racialized violence are the double tragedy that has wrought untold anguish in families across North America and well beyond. We at UTFA wish to express our solidarity with those in the Black community who have suffered and also our sorrow. For those members who might need help navigating resources at this very painful moment, please reach out to UTFA at advice@utfa.org.

UTFA will hold special meetings of its Executive Committee and Council to discuss and reflect on the cultural shift that is a result of the heinous killing of George Floyd in the United States. Why was the catalyst for Canadian academics an American death at the hands of police—when the Black and Indigenous and Asian communities in Canada have been identifying systemic racism for years? What is UTFA’s role in confronting systemic racism in our community and in our university? What can UTFA do as a labour organization committed to equity both to confront our own lack of diversity and to address practices that are undergirded by racism? How can UTFA use its meeting spaces and its online spaces to give voice to these issues?

The University of Toronto Faculty Association


The List statement on anti-Blackness at the University of Toronto

In the wake of the latest episodes of lethal anti-Black police violence - the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell - The List stands in solidarity with Black faculty, librarians, staff and students, and communities in this city and across Turtle Island. We also mourn the killing of Chantel Moore, and condemn this and other episodes of brutal and systemic colonial state violence.

This is a moment of reckoning – though one that is long overdue. Even as we call for this reckoning today, we ask ourselves why we were not calling more loudly for it every single day before now. Many statements condemning anti-Black and colonial violence are circulating, and we add our voices to this growing chorus. But if these calls are to amount to more than the usual lip service, if they seek to go beyond self- congratulatory performance and the obligatory ‘check in’, and if they will honor and not simply absorb Black people’s long term labour for change, then this needs to be a moment of fulsome structural change in all of our departments and programs, in all our faculties and on all campuses across the University of Toronto.

We must stand beside and behind Black staff, faculty, librarians and students who have been dealing with racism at this institution every single day. As a group of primarily progressive faculty and librarians, we call on our administration to meet the demands and desires of our colleagues in the Black Faculty Group who have been working tirelessly, day in and day out, for change. We call on the U of T administration to commit to rigorous and systemic address of anti-Black racism and white supremacy on campus and beyond. And we demand a major investment of resources to support the flourishing of Black life and Black excellence at every scale of institutional life.

Read the full statement including the list of signatories