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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March 1, 2024

Nominations for UTFA President Opens Today

Dear Colleagues,

2024 is a Presidential election year for the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA). I have been appointed by UTFA Council as the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for this election. The nomination period for the 2024 UTFA Presidential election opens today, Friday, March 1, 2024, and closes on Friday, March 15, 2024, at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

The UTFA President serves for two years, from July 1 immediately following the date of election. A President may serve up to three two-year terms consecutively.

The duties and terms of reference for the President are set out in the UTFA Constitution and Bylaws. The President of UTFA is directly elected by the members of the Association.

Any UTFA member in good standing may be nominated for the position of President. Candidates must be nominated by either two (2) members of UTFA Council or ten (10) members of the Association. Nomination forms are available on the UTFA Presidential Election page along with Guidelines for the Presidential election which includes important deadlines and requirements.

If there is more than one nominee, election forums will be announced and information about the balloting process will be provided. Balloting will take place between noon on Wednesday, March 20th and noon on Tuesday, April 2nd.  If there is only one nominee, that candidate will be acclaimed.

If you have any questions about the nomination or election process, please write to me at CRO2024@utfa.org.

Sincerely,

Professor Susan Bondy
Chief Returning Officer

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February 29, 2024

Tomorrow, 2:30 to 4 PM: UTFA Information Meeting on Potential CUPE Strike

Dear colleagues,

There may be a strike or lockout of CUPE workers as soon as this Monday, March 4 involving over 8,000 workers in five bargaining units represented by CUPE 3902 (TAs, CIs, Invigilators, etc., and Postdoctoral Fellows) and CUPE 3261 (Custodians, Maintenance Staff, Technicians, etc.). Key issues include fair wages, transit coverage, clearer work standards, and better health benefits. If you wish to support the efforts of these workers, you can add your voice to this e-action, or show your support by joining a picket line if there is a strike. 

We invite you to a special UTFA all-member meeting tomorrow, Friday, March 1 from 2:30 to 4 PM, via Zoom. We will hear from the CUPE 3902 President and discuss the potential strike, and your rights concerning academic continuity, academic integrity, and academic freedom, including how to respond to pressures you may be facing to reconfigure courses and/or programs and how to address students’ concerns.

For additional background please see our earlier email on “Academic Continuity” and the Integrity of our Academic Mission in the event of a strike. UTFA has been pressing for significant changes to the Academic Continuity Policy since before the 2015 CUPE 3902 strike.

We warmly invite you to submit any questions you would like us to address tomorrow when you register here.

Sincerely,

Jeff Bale
UTFA Vice-President, University and External Affairs

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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February 29, 2024

Register Now! Meet Your UTFA Negotiating Team at the St. George Campus

Dear colleagues,

Your Chief Negotiators and other members of the UTFA Negotiating Team will be at the St. George campus on Thursday, March 7th. We would love the chance to meet you in person, share bargaining updates, and hear about your concerns and priorities.

Please complete the registration form to attend one of two interactive in-person sessions. Learn more about what the implementation of the recent arbitration award means for you and help shape our current round of bargaining with the senior Administration. Your insights and input are essential!

We encourage you to send your questions in advance (when you register) and raise them during the sessions, time permitting.

Sessions will be held at the Rotman School of Management in Classroom 1065

  • Thursday, March 7, 10-11 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 7, 12-1 p.m.

Doors will open thirty minutes before the session start times. Refreshments will be provided.

Register by completing the registration form and indicate which session you will attend, if you have dietary restrictions, and what your questions are (if any) for the Chief Negotiators.

We look forward to meeting with you soon!

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić, UTFA President & Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Ariel Katz, UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload & Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Deborah Cowen, Chair, UTFA Membership Committee

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February 27, 2024

Potential CUPE Strike Update

Dear colleagues,

As you likely know, two units within CUPE 3902 recently held strike mandate votes that produced historic turnout and results. Over 50% of members in both Unit 1 (TAs, CIs, & invigilators) and Unit 5 (postdocs) participated in the voting process, with 94.4% and 95.1% voting in favour, respectively. As well, custodians, maintenance staff, technicians, and other service workers represented by CUPE 3261 completed their strike mandate vote last Thursday, with 91-98% support across the various units involved. Members of both locals will be in a legal strike position as of Monday, March 4th. 

The University of Toronto would not function without the vital work performed by members of CUPE 3902, CUPE 3261, and library workers represented by CUPE 1230, who are also bargaining at this time. In our Winter 2024 update earlier this month, we described the Administration’s refusal to engage in collegial governance or enforceable good-faith negotiations. Similarly, the University Administration continues to disrespect workers represented by these CUPE locals by delaying negotiations and failing to provide proposals for fair wages, transit coverage, clearer work standards, and better health benefits. 

As a reminder, the money is there: the University “continues to be in a strong financial position,” reporting an annual net revenue of $551 million in April 2023. What is missing is a commitment from the Administration to engage in good-faith bargaining. This approach to bargaining is premised in part on the idea that better working conditions for all campus workers – service workers, staff, instructors, postdocs, library workers, academic librarians, and faculty – means better learning conditions and improved well-being for UofT students, as well. Just as UTFA has demanded meaningful collegiality in our negotiations, we call on the Administration to stop stalling in their negotiations with CUPE members and offer serious proposals.

UTFA is proud to stand with CUPE members in their fight for better working conditions. We encourage each of you to show your solidarity as well:

  1. Add your voice to this e-action organized by CUPE 1230, 3261, and 3902;
  2. Join CUPE 3902 and 3261 members in front of Sid Smith Hall on Wednesday, February 28th from 4-5 pm for a solidarity rally;
  3. Stop by and support information pickets organized by CUPE 3902 on all three campuses on Thursday, February 29th; 
  4. In the event of a strike on Monday, March 4th, show your support by joining the picket lines. 

Please also review the note we sent to UTFA members last week regarding “Academic Continuity” and the Integrity of our Academic Mission  in the event of a strike. We will be holding a special UTFA Council meeting in the coming days (exact day and time TBD) to hear from the lead negotiators from CUPE 3902 and discuss issues surrounding academic continuity, academic integrity, and academic freedom. Stay tuned for more information. 

With so many employee groups in the heat of negotiations at the same time, this is a vital moment for us to stand together. 

Best regards,

Jeff Bale
UTFA Vice-President, University and External Affairs

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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February 13, 2024

Potential CUPE Strike: “Academic Continuity” and the Integrity of our Academic Mission

Dear colleagues,

As you likely know, there may be a strike or lockout involving CUPE 3902 Unit 1 (generally known as the TA unit) and Unit 4 (St. Michael’s College contract academic instructors) in early March at the University of Toronto. The senior Administration has already been holding meetings with some of our members, and indicating that “Academic Continuity” measures should be implemented by faculty and librarians should a labour disruption occur. 

Faculty and librarians have been reaching out to us with serious concerns about the communications coming from senior Administration. The UTFA Executive shares these concerns

In the lead-up to or during a strike or lockout, our members (including program directors, coordinators, and chairs) may come under pressure or feel that they have little choice but to reconfigure courses and/or programs to ensure ‘academic continuity.’ UTFA will not accept pressure by or on behalf of the Administration on UTFA members to reconfigure or otherwise significantly alter their courses (or, in the case of librarians, professional practice) or those of striking instructors in ways that undermine the autonomy of faculty, librarians, and other course instructors or the academic integrity of courses and programs.

UTFA values student learning and well-being. We believe that changing course structures, goals, and policies under external pressure is not fair to students, nor does it serve the integrity of academic programs or our educational mission. These principles are best served by maintaining the integrity of our course designs and teaching practices.

Some of our members may have a well-intentioned desire to minimize the impact of a work stoppage on students. Others will feel that strikes are a necessary disruption to achieve sustained improvements to conditions of learning and work and that it is our responsibility as faculty and librarians to stand in solidarity with striking CUPE members. Whatever your perspective on the potential strike or lockout may be, it is important to understand that, for academic freedom to be upheld, the discretion to decide whether and what changes to courses may need to be made during a disruption must remain in the hands of faculty/librarians/other instructors.

We also note that UTFA and the Administration are currently in mediated negotiations seeking to update the Academic Continuity policy, via the weaker “second track” within our Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). (For an explanation of our unwieldy multi-track bargaining system, see here.) While we have been pressing for significant changes to the Policy since before the 2015 CUPE strike, the fact that UTFA is uncertified has historically hindered our ability to protect academic freedom and other rights whenever the Administration chooses to declare or even to merely anticipate a potential academic disruption. 

We will be providing further updates soon and as events unfold. Please do not hesitate to write to us at faculty@utfa.org with any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President
On behalf of the UTFA Executive

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February 6, 2024

Winter 2024 Update to Members

Greetings, colleagues,

We hope you are as well as can be expected and that the Winter term has established a good rhythm. It has been a very busy time at UTFA since we last wrote. This email provides updates on several important projects; please click on the topics that interest you to learn more:

  1. Update on the Current Round of Bargaining Salary, Benefits, Workload, and Other Matters 
  2. The Administration’s Refusal to Engage in Collegial Governance and Enforceable Good Faith Bargaining Diminishes Our Power to Gain Improvements
  3. Ensuring Your Retroactive Salary Adjustments are Accurate and Transparent
  4. UTFA is Grieving the Administration’s Repeated Violations of the Workload Policy (WLPP)
  5. Growing Threats to Academic Freedom on Campus
  6. UTFA Achieves Major Gains for UofT Librarians: Implementing New Policies for Librarians (PfL)
  7. Meet Your Chief Negotiators During Winter Campus Visits and Ongoing Bargaining Town Halls
  8. 2023 Academic Citizenship Award Nominations are Due March 14, 2024
  9. Update on CUPE 3902 Unit 5 (Postdocs) Bargaining
  10. Hold the Date: UTFA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is April 25th, 2 - 4pm

We know that an informed, active, and outspoken membership is our greatest strength. We are communicating these updates to you in the hope that you will join us in undertaking the important work ahead. We will also begin issuing more regular updates on bargaining via email and on the UTFA website. Your engagement and support for our efforts to advance our shared interests fuels all of our bargaining and advocacy work.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić and Ariel Katz
Co-Chief Negotiators, on behalf of the UTFA Negotiating Team

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November 28, 2023

Today's Salary Increase - We Earned It!

Dear colleagues, 

As you are likely aware, today - November 28th - is the day that most of you should receive your long-awaited across-the-board (ATB) 7% pay increase. (Note that the Administration first proposed 0%, and then 1.75% in bargaining.) We invite you to join us in marking the important work of your UTFA 2020-2023 Negotiating Team, who fought hard against the effects of the unconstitutional Bill 124 (and the Administration’s proposals) to get back on track toward catching up with inflation. This increase is in addition to the 3% ATB increases previously achieved in bargaining with the Administration, resulting in a cumulative total of 10% ATB (as compared to the Administration’s proposed 4.75% cumulative ATB) for the 2020-2023 Agreement.

In recent discussions with the Administration, UTFA insisted that the Administration provide you with transparent information about your salary calculations, including how your retroactive pay amount was determined. Despite our entreaties that they provide a clear means of accounting, the Administration insisted that your November pay statement would already be simple and intuitive to understand. 

We advised the Administration that it is difficult for UTFA members to verify the accuracy of the calculations, including their gross retroactive payment amount. Neither the salary letter nor the pay statement includes the gross retroactive amount (only the net retroactive amount), and there are no details provided for members to confirm the retroactive amount. We have not yet seen how pension increases, due in February for retired faculty and librarians who were still employed in the 2022-2023 academic year, will be calculated.

While we can assure you that we will continue to push for the clarity you deserve, the Administration has asked us to suggest that you bring your questions to your unit’s Business Officer for clarification; we would add that, if you are not able to resolve your concerns that way, to please write to UTFA.

Finally, as mentioned above, we are currently bargaining with the Administration for our next agreement commencing July 1, 2023. Our Team opened this round of negotiations in September with proposals geared specifically toward cultivating more collaborative and collegial relations at the bargaining table. However, we (acutely!) feel the limits of the tools provided to us in our Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). In a separate communication to follow, we will provide you with further updates related to the current round of bargaining.

As ever, we welcome your thoughts, questions and feedback at faculty@utfa.org.

Sincerely,

Deb Cowen
Chair, Membership Committee

Ariel Katz
Vice-President, Salary, Pensions, Benefits, and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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November 9, 2023

Policies for Librarians Ratification Information

We are pleased to share the Policies for Librarians (PFL) tentative agreements that will be presented for ratification to the UTFA Council in two weeks, on November 23, 2023. On December 18, 2023, these agreements will be presented to the Governing Council of the University of Toronto for ratification. This modernized PFL will replace the one that existed since 1978, and is a result of six years of negotiations (starting in January 2018) between UTFA’s PFL negotiation team and the Administration. 

In June, both the UTFA Executive Committee and UTFA Council voted unanimously to endorse the in-principle agreements and the subsequent months were devoted to finalizing the legal texts. We are now preparing for the final step of a ratification vote by Council, as Article 12.3 of the UTFA Bylaws requires. 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY & AGREEMENT FULL TEXT 

Please click here for an Executive Summary of the PFL Agreement which outlines the substantive gains and improvements in working conditions that were achieved for U of T Librarians. Please review the tentative "The Agreement" which consists of the following documents:

  1. Letter of Understanding (LOU) on Scholars Portal CLTA Librarians;
  2. LOU on Research or Study Leave for Scholars Portal Librarians;
  3. LOU on Secondments for Librarians
  4. Policies for Librarians;
  5. Memorandum of Agreement, Article 4: Research and Study Leave; and
  6. Memorandum of Settlement

QUESTIONS? 

Should you have any questions before UTFA’s November 23rd ratification vote at Council, we will be happy to answer them either via email or via a Zoom meeting:

Email: you may email your question(s) to any of the the following members of the Policies for Librarians negotiation team:

Kathleen Scheaffer, kathleen.scheaffer@utoronto.ca
Harriet Sonne de Torrens, harriet.sonne@utoronto.ca
Whitney Kemble, whitney.kemble@utoronto.ca

Zoom: Members of the PfL negotiation team will be available on November 20th.  Please note, there will not be a presentation. This is solely a time to answer specific questions from those who have read the agreements. If you would like to connect with us via Zoom please register below:

November 20, 2023

For your information, the timeline for the parties to modernize and negotiate the amendments to the Policies for Librarians is below. 

RECAP OF KEY DATES

November 23, 2023

  • Ratification vote at UTFA Council

December 18, 2023

  • Ratification vote at Governing Council

January 1, 2024

  • The PFL Agreements come into effect (pending ratification by both UTFA and the Administration via Governing Council)

To ensure our librarian colleagues know how the PFL changes will impact them, UTFA will be holding an educational and celebratory event in 2024. There will be a presentation, plenty of time for questions and answers, and big cheers!

Sincerely,

Kathleen Scheaffer
Chief Negotiator, Policies for Librarians

Ariel Katz
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President 

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November 2, 2023

Graduate Supervision Guidelines: Follow-up

We are writing to follow up on our earlier message (“Concerning Changes to Graduate Student Supervision”) sent October 5, 2023. The Administration’s proposed changes to the Graduate Supervision Guidelines were initially provided to UTFA this past spring with a two-week window to provide our input ahead of a scheduled implementation date of July 1st. UTFA pushed back hard on two fronts: process and content, and the Administration agreed to temporarily pause the implementation to allow us to discuss our concerns with them.

Our previous message to you did not include a link to the Administration’s proposed Graduate Supervision Guidelines. We were reluctant to disseminate a document that the Administration provided to us because we hoped it would have changed substantively before it was published and implemented. However, we understand that the senior Administration has been sharing the document widely with other academic administrators and they have not demonstrated that any wide, meaningful, and collegial consultation with faculty members as a whole would take place prior to any implementation. We are thus sharing it with you now, and encourage you to read the proposed Guidelines here, along with the notes we have provided below. After you have read these, please feel free to share any comments, concerns, or suggestions with us (at faculty@utfa.org), and also, if you wish, with your graduate unit or the School of Graduate Studies. 

UTFA underscores its commitment to ensuring graduate students receive faculty supervision that is effective, caring, equitable, and supportive. For many of us, our mentoring relationships with graduate students are a cornerstone of our work as scholars. However, we have serious concerns about the proposed Guidelines. As you read them, you may wish to consider some of the issues that several faculty colleagues have already raised with UTFA, some of which we describe below.

Unlike the existing Guidelines, whose stated purpose is to “assist you in creating a rewarding graduate experience for both your students and yourself,” the proposed Guidelines appear to establish a binding University-wide set of minimum expectations and responsibilities for individual faculty members, and contemplate an additional layer of unit-specific requirements.

The proposed Guidelines also purport to “operationalize” an aspect of our responsibility for teaching under the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Thus, instead of serving as a resource designed to help instructors, the proposed Guidelines apparently alter what is expected of graduate supervisors with potentially serious implications for those who, in the eyes of the Administration, fall short. As drafted, the proposed Guidelines could open the door to complaints, investigations, disciplinary action, or denial of promotion, tenure, or continuing status, on the basis of a failure to comply with broad and vaguely-defined standards that are lacking definition or common understanding, or are dependent on highly subjective feelings, views, or assessments. Even more worrisome is the fact that these proposed Guidelines are also lacking in guarantees of procedural fairness to ensure that complaints against faculty for allegedly falling short of their new obligations would be handled fairly. The senior Administration has provided UTFA with conflicting answers about whether the proposed Guidelines are intended to be used only as a resource to describe best practices for self-improvement or whether the Guidelines could be invoked and relied upon during tenure and promotion reviews, disciplinary action, and other high stakes purposes.

In addition to these concerns about the proposed Guidelines as a whole, some of their specific provisions are worrisome. For example, graduate supervisors are already prohibited by law and under existing policies from discriminating against or harassing their students, but Section 2.3 of the proposed Guidelines purports to create a much broader duty, requiring faculty “to cultivate a teaching, learning, and working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, where everyone shares a sense of belonging, is treated with respect, and is able to fully participate” (italics added). The kind of environment described here is important, but is not solely within the graduate supervisor’s control; responsibility for this also rests with the Administration (its structures, systems, processes, and staff), and is dependent on the students and their responsibilities within that environment as well. Holding graduate supervisors solely responsible for creating something as amorphous as a “sense of belonging,” and potentially applying serious consequences to the failure to do so, is palpably unreasonable and unfair.

Similarly, Section 2.4 (“Promoting Wellness”) requires instructors “to promote a culture of caring.” Terms such as ‘wellness’ or ‘culture of caring’ and a desire to promote them may be positive aspirations, but in the absence of a shared meaning for these concepts among our (beautifully) diverse faculty complement and a shared understanding of how “success” in these areas may be measured, it is unclear how these requirements can be met–or how a professor might defend against the accusation of failing to meet this new, vague, overly-broad, requirement.

Likewise, Section 3.14 outlines that faculty are to “encourage and facilitate professional success, networking opportunities, and relationship-building within and beyond academia.” But, what does that look like? Wouldn’t this expectation vary dramatically based on the field in question (e.g., urban planning vs. classics) and potentially by the advisors’ own work and biography? Could international faculty new to the local context be penalized for not having a broad, local, non-academic network, for example? 

Moreover, nowhere do the proposed Guidelines account for workload implications. It is important to note that there are significant differences in the way graduate supervision is treated in Unit Workload Policies across the University: some departments clearly account for graduate supervision within faculty members’ workload (for example, by treating each student supervision as a portion of a course) while other units treat supervision as something that is done over and above faculty members’ regular teaching load. While there may be unit- or discipline-specific reasons for these disparities, it would make sense for the Administration and UTFA to negotiate some minimum standards for this in advance of new requirements being implemented related to that work, or at the very least to ensure each Unit Workload Committee reconsiders its approach to graduate supervision-related workload in a fully informed way.

Lastly, when reading the proposed Guidelines, you might notice that the faculty graduate supervisor is responsible for 28 bullet points, departments are responsible for 19, and the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) is now responsible for only 6. Even if these proposed Guidelines had been properly negotiated with UTFA and the offloading of such a broad set of responsibilities to individual graduate supervisors could be justified, it would still be true that not all faculty members are equally endowed with the capacity (within their current workload, for example) or resources to comply with such requirements, nor are departments and other units comparably resourced across the University to support this work.  

Again, we invite you to let us know what you think of the proposed Guidelines by writing to us at faculty@utfa.org

Sincerely,

Sherri Helwig
Vice-President, Grievances

Ariel Katz
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW)

Terezia Zorić
President

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October 31, 2023

Join us at the Retiree UTFA Town Hall on November 8 at 2:00 p.m.

Dear colleagues, 

This email contains three main items:

  1. An invitation to our Retirees Bargaining Town Hall. Come and meet your UTFA Chief Negotiators and help shape our bargaining priorities!
  2. A link to UTFA’s Executive Summary of Arbitrator Eli Gedalof’s recent award.
  3. An update on how you, as a retiree, will benefit from the award and how and when it will be implemented.

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1. Retiree Bargaining Town Halls

Please RSVP to attend our interactive Retirees Town Hall on Wednesday, November 8. Hear from your Chief Negotiators about what the award means for you, learn more about how it’s being implemented, and help shape our current round of bargaining. Questions may be sent in advance when you register, or be raised, time permitting, at the Town Hall.

Wednesday, November 8, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Via Zoom - Register here.

2. UTFA’s Executive Summary of Arbitrator Gedalof’s arbitration award

As promised, please click here for an Executive Summary of Arbitrator Eli Gedalof’s arbitration award issued on September 6, 2023. The Executive Summary provides an overview of the arguments made by both UTFA and the Administration with respect to salary, workload, and the impact of our Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)—the agreement that delimits the interventions an arbitrator can make in areas like salary and workload. It also provides a focused look at Arbitrator Gedalof’s assessments of these arguments and reasons for the award.

3. How you will be benefit from the award, and how and when it will be implemented

UTFA continues to advocate that the Administration equitably implement the award, particularly with respect to the 7% salary increase. When UTFA met with the Administration in bargaining, we insisted that all our members receive equitable pay increases following the arbitration award. We are very pleased to confirm that our efforts proved successful insofar as the Administration has now agreed that all faculty and librarians appointed on and after July 1, 2022, including those appointed on July 1, 2023, will receive the additional 7% ATB adjustment retroactive to their start dates. Additionally, members who retired effective July 1, 2023, will receive retroactive compensation to July 1, 2022, as well as an increase to their pension.

We look forward to meeting with you soon!

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić, UTFA President & Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Ariel Katz, UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload & Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Deborah Cowen, Chair, UTFA Membership Committee

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October 30, 2023

UofT Student & Labour Unions, Librarians & Faculty Stand Together for Academic Freedom

United in our resolve to uphold the right of each and all of us to speak freely about world events, the undersigned member organizations of University of Toronto Employees’ Associations and Unions call on the senior Administration of the University of Toronto to affirm this right and retract statements made by the Vice-President and Principal Gillespie of UTM and Arts and Science Dean Woodin that put this right in question. Their statements asserted, without any basis, that student unions can only legitimately express positions that are supported by their “full membership”. These statements stand in direct contradiction to the individual and collective rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and academic freedom as clearly articulated in the University’s Statement of Institutional PurposeStatement on Freedom of SpeechStatement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory HarassmentPolicy on Open, Accessible and Democratic Autonomous Student Organizations, and Memorandum of Agreement between the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association

We further call on the senior Administration to demand that Minister Dunlop retract her statements in the Ontario Legislature on October 17 castigating UofT students and scholars for exercising their rights and mischaracterizing the content of their statements, and that she issue a personal apology to each of the individuals she named.

As President Gertler emphasized in his statement from October 18, 2023, universities are first and foremost places where contending and competing views engage with one another. It is our collective duty to ensure that such perspectives, so long as they are lawful, continue to be heard, even if they are uncomfortable or even upsetting. This collective duty is meaningless if it does not apply in times of war and if it applies less than fully to those who express solidarity with Palestine.

UTMSU
ASSU
UTFA
SCSU
CUPE 1230
CUPE 1281
CUPE 2484
CUPE 3261
CUPE 3902
USW 1998

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October 18, 2023

UTFA Statement in Defence of Academic Freedom

Dear colleagues,

We mourn the loss of life in Israel/Palestine over the past two weeks and over many decades, and we strongly condemn all attacks on civilians in contravention of international law. We also extend our heartfelt compassion and solidarity to all members of our community who are grieving. No statement can adequately convey our collective horror, nor can it capture the depth of our members’ feelings. We commend our colleagues who are supporting each other and demonstrating leadership amid all of the rage, sorrow, and heartbreak.

We are an academic community. As its Statement of Institutional Purpose powerfully affirms, our University is

dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.

Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.

It is this human right to radical, critical teaching and research with which the University has a duty above all to be concerned; for there is no one else, no other institution and no other office, in our modern liberal democracy, which is the custodian of this most precious and vulnerable right of the liberated human spirit.

Protecting the ‘most crucial’ rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research, and the right to raise disturbing questions and provocative challenges to cherished beliefs that they entail, is all the more important in times of crisis.

In this heated context, UTFA members holding diverse perspectives are reporting harassment. Indigenous faculty and faculty of colour have been singled out in the national press for their public comments in support of Palestinians, and as a result have endured death threats, demands to senior Administration that they be fired, and other forms of harassment. Some UTFA members have had to engage with Campus Safety for their protection. Jewish and other faculty are reporting increased antisemitic hate speech on social media. In every case, we recognize that the goal of this harassment is to intimidate and to silence, and thereby to restrict academic freedom.

The University of Toronto Faculty Association is unwavering in its support for all faculty, librarians, students, other members of our scholarly communities who speak up about the current war in Palestine/Israel, and all who offer their scholarly expertise. It is not only a right, but also a duty for scholars to bring their expertise and varied perspectives to the most contested conversations, including about human rights, terrorism, colonialism, genocide, and international law.

We encourage any UTFA member experiencing harassment or attempts to limit their academic freedom to contact advice@utfa.org. UTFA will vigorously defend and represent all members who face improper treatment regarding their employment, including violations of their academic freedom rights, by ensuring the Administration honour the commitments and procedures as outlined in the Statement on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment and the grievance procedures in the Memorandum of Agreement. If you are experiencing an immediate concern about your safety, you may contact Campus Safety at 416-978-2222.

We call on academic units, deans and principals, and other senior Administration (1) to immediately denounce all forms of public harassment and intimidation to which some UTFA members have been subject; (2) to ensure procedural fairness in dealing with all complaints against students, staff, UTFA members, and other individuals and groups in our community; and (3) to reaffirm the University’s commitment to academic freedom, as expressed in the Statement of Institutional Purpose cited above.

We are a community of educators and scholars. We have a special duty to help deepen understanding, to approach differences as an opportunity for learning, and to create spaces for this vital dialogue. Anti-Palestinian racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and any other form of racism or discrimination have no place on our campus. It is the duty of every member of our community to ensure that our campus is an affirming and inclusive place to learn and work, for there is “no other institution and no other office…which is the custodian of this most precious and vulnerable right of the liberated human spirit.”

Sincerely,

The UTFA Executive

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October 5, 2023

Concerning Changes to Graduate Student Supervision

Dear UTFA colleagues,

After sharing this information with UTFA Council representatives last week, we are writing to alert the full membership about significant – and worrisome – changes the Administration is proposing with respect to graduate student supervision. Also worrisome is the fact that there has been virtually no collegial dialogue, or even meaningful consultation, with faculty members prior to this major re-write of our obligations as faculty members to our graduate students.

Many of the specific changes in the proposed Graduate Supervision Guidelines are ill-defined and problematic and, overall, represent a significant downloading of responsibilities from the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and departments/units onto individual faculty members. This is happening without any additional accounting of, or compensation for, the increased workload. UTFA is also concerned about the Guidelines being used within assessment processes for PTR (merit pay), promotion, tenure, continuing status, and continuing appointment, and the potential of our members being subjected to investigation and discipline when the guidelines are not followed to the Administration’s satisfaction – as, notably, there are no meaningful procedural fairness (due process) protections in the current or proposed Guidelines. Also concerning is the Administration’s unwillingness to negotiate these Guidelines with UTFA despite the fact that implementing them would have the effect of unilaterally modifying a section of our negotiated Memorandum of Agreement (MoA).

UTFA underscores its commitment as a faculty association to ensuring graduate students receive faculty supervision that is effective, caring, equitable, and supportive. Indeed, we could support the co-creation (with faculty and their elected representatives) of best practices that could be used by graduate supervisors for formative purposes. Our objection is to the Administration’s unilateral process of imposing new Guidelines, particularly after the current Guidelines, which were adopted only five years ago and whose stated purpose is only “to assist you in creating a rewarding graduate experience for both your students and yourself,” already appear to be evolving into formal expectations and responsibilities of UTFA members with disciplinary consequences.

Background

The Administration has created a new document, called “Guidelines for Graduate Student Supervision and Mentoring” to replace the current “Supervision Guidelines for Faculty.” The intent of the new proposed Guidelines is stated this way in the introduction:

[...] they operationalize the responsibility of faculty members to have ‘fair and ethical dealings with students,’ as set out in [Article 5] section 2(a) of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association.

This statement not only mischaracterizes what the MoA actually says, but it also demonstrates that these proposed Guidelines are intended to supplant negotiated MOA wording (that was intentionally broad, general, and non-operationalized) with a detailed set of newly assigned responsibilities.

The Administration also does not intend to negotiate these new responsibilities with UTFA: they sent the proposed Guidelines to UTFA for “review and feedback” as the last stage in their process, and gave UTFA a short, two-week window to review, discuss, consult, and respond before they intended to implement them. This is not the same as full, collegial governance. Indeed, UTFA will continue to challenge the senior Administration’s apparent belief that “collegial governance” means that they do the governance while we accept it collegially. Ultimately, UTFA was able to engage the Administration in discussion and to delay implementation, for now, as discussions continue. UTFA is committed to ensuring that whatever changes may be implemented best support graduate students and are properly negotiated between us and the Administration.

These proposed Guidelines are a serious, consequential matter for us as faculty members. Please feel free to write to faculty@utfa.org if you wish to share your feedback with us about the current Guidelines (or the imposition of new Guidelines), including any concerns you may wish to raise with UTFA about the reasonableness of expectations or of the workload implications.

Sincerely,

Sherri Helwig
Vice-President, Grievances

Ariel Katz
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW)

Terezia Zorić
President

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October 2, 2023

More info on our award, good news, and Town Hall invitation

Dear Colleagues,

This email contains three main items:

  1. A link to UTFA’s Executive Summary of Arbitrator Eli Gedalof’s recent award.
  2. An update on who will benefit from the award and how it will be implemented.
  3. An invitation to our Bargaining Town Halls. Come and meet your UTFA Co-Chief Negotiators, and help shape our bargaining priorities for the current round!

***

  1. As promised, please see here for an Executive Summary of Arbitrator Eli Gedalof’s arbitration award issued on September 7, 2023. The Executive Summary provides an overview of the arguments made by both UTFA and the Administration with respect to your salary, workload, and the impact of our Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)—the agreement that delimits the interventions an arbitrator can make in areas like salary and workload. It also provides a focused look at Arbitrator Gedalof’s assessments of these arguments and reasons for the award.
     
  2. UTFA continues to advocate that the Administration equitably implement the award, particularly with respect to the 7% salary increase. When UTFA met with the Administration early last week, we conveyed our firm expectation that all our members receive equitable pay increases following the arbitration award. We are very pleased to confirm that our efforts proved successful insofar as the Administration has now agreed that all faculty and librarians appointed on and after July 1, 2022, including those appointed on July 1, 2023, will receive the additional 7% ATB adjustment retroactive to their start dates. It has also been confirmed that members who resigned between July 1, 2022, and September 6, 2023, will receive retroactive compensation. Additionally, members who retired effective July 1, 2023, will receive retroactive compensation as well as an increase to their pension. We have yet to receive confirmation from the Administration of the salary increase for our members on approved leaves during the academic year 2022-2023 or on unpaid leaves now. We are pressing the Administration to provide timely answers to UTFA and to confirm the broadest possible application of the pay increase for our members. We hope to have more information for you very soon and will write with further updates as they become available.
     
  3. Please RSVP below to attend one of our interactive Town Halls. Hear from your Chief Negotiators about what the award means for you, learn more about how it’s being implemented, and help shape our current round of bargaining. Please register for the session you wish to attend below. Questions may be sent in advance when you register, or be raised, time permitting, at each Town Hall.

UTFA Town Halls on the 2022-2023 Arbitration Award and Current Bargaining

  • Thursday, October 12, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Via Zoom - Register here for this session
  • Friday, October 13, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Via Zoom - Register here for this session
  • Thursday, October 26, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. In-person, UTSG - Email faculty@utfa.org to register for this session.

We look forward to meeting with you soon!

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić, UTFA President & Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Ariel Katz, UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload & Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Jun Nogami, former UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload & 2020-2023 UTFA Negotiating Team Co-Chief Negotiator

Deborah Cowen, Chair, UTFA Membership Committee

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September 20, 2023

7% raise implementation date: Nov. 28th!

Dear UTFA colleagues,

We are writing to let you know that we have confirmation from the central Administration that the 7% salary increase that UTFA’s Negotiating Team achieved on behalf of faculty and librarians will be added to the November 28th pay run. The payment will include the across-the-board (ATB) increase, retroactive to July 1, 2022, and additional merit pay (PTR) retroactive to July 1, 2023, following an increase to the PTR breakpoints and increments by 7%. (We will write under separate cover about the implementation of overload stipend increases.)

We will be sharing a more detailed analysis of the arbitration award in the coming days - stay tuned! And please hold the dates below for a series of Town Halls we will be hosting to discuss what we accomplished in the last round, what we didn’t, and to discuss our priorities for the current round of bargaining. 

Town Hall #1: October 4, 3-4pm, in person (location TBA, UTSG) Postponed to Oct 26 3:00-4:00p.m. Email faculty@utfa.org to register
Town Hall #2: October 12, 6:30-7:30pm, via Zoom
Town Hall #3: October 13, 2-3pm, via Zoom

Finally, if you liked that 7% raise, tell us what you’d like next! 

The bargaining survey closes tomorrow at 11:59pm! If you haven’t filled it out yet, note that it can be completed in just a few minutes, and that our members’ views will powerfully shape UTFA’s mandate for the current round of bargaining. (Yesterday was the first day of bargaining in which we dealt with preliminary process issues–more on that to follow soon.)

We look forward to seeing you at the Town Halls in October!

Sincerely,

Deborah Cowen
Chair, Membership Committee, UTFA

Ariel Katz
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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September 7, 2023

Breaking News: Additional 7% salary increase awarded

Breaking news! We are pleased to announce that Arbitrator Eli Gedalof has issued his arbitration award.

UTFA was successful in achieving a 7% Across-The-Board (ATB) pay increase (the Administration proposed 1.75%). This increase is in addition to the 3% ATB increases already achieved during the three years of the 2020-2023 Agreement with the Administration, resulting in a cumulative total of 10% ATB. The 7% ATB increase is retroactive to July 1, 2022. We have already approached the Administration to advocate for the earliest possible implementation of the award. We will provide an update on this as soon as we hear back from the Administration.

In addition to the ATB pay increase, other elements of the award include:

  1. Increase to the Per Course Stipend (overload course rate) by 7% in addition to the 1% already received, retroactive to July 1, 2022;
  2. Workload:
    • Amending Article 4.2 of the Workload Policy (WLPP), by recognizing the level and/or hours of technical and/or pedagogical support for teaching as a relevant factor in considering workload.
    • Requiring all units to prepare an Annual Workload Document on an annual basis. The Document will provide greater transparency around assigned workloads within the unit with respect to teaching, service, mode of delivery, class size, TA support, and course release (subject to any confidential accommodation agreements). Annual Unit Workload Documents are to be shared with all members of the unit and with UTFA by June 30 of each year.

The award does not grant:

  1. Any of UTFA’s other proposals addressing untransparent, excessive, and inequitable workloads. Arbitrator Gedalof characterized our proposals as constituting a significant alteration to the status quo, which, within the framework of our MoA, is ill-suited to positive resolution via interest arbitration.
  2. PTR increment increases for work done in the July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, salary year. Arbitrator Gedalof sided with the University Administration in agreeing that he did not have jurisdiction to award the PTR increase. He explained that the structure of our MoA prevented him from awarding PTR increases beyond the third year of the Agreement.
  3. Freeze provisions to protect the terms and conditions of employment of our members between negotiated agreements (e.g., so that the Administration cannot unilaterally withhold salary or benefit entitlements from faculty and librarians, as it did with our July 1, 2020 PTR increases). Arbitrator Gedalof emphasized that although freeze provisions are “an integral part” of collective bargaining, they are not available to UTFA under our MoA, which does not provide our members with the protections of the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

We will provide you with a more detailed analysis next week. To continue the conversation, we will also announce dates for all-member Town Hall Meetings to discuss the terms of the award, answer any questions you may have, and hear from you about your priorities for the upcoming round of negotiations.

Sincerely,

Ariel Katz
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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August 28, 2023

Troubling reports about an Amazon/U of T deal

Dear colleagues,

Last week, The Logic published this article (if paywalled, you can also access it from here) which describes troubling conduct by University of Toronto senior administrators surrounding a corporate donation from Amazon.

According to the article, the University accepted more than half a million dollars from Amazon last year to fund research and symposia on competition law at the Faculty of Law, and to pay a portion of the salary of a key staff member. The agreement came at a time when the sufficiency of existing competition laws to address the growing power of corporations like Amazon was becoming a live issue among experts, academics, and political leaders, and when the federal government had pledged to review Canada’s competition rules in ways that could affect Amazon.

Most disturbingly, the article reveals that Amazon’s donation was not disclosed to the academic community or to the public, and further, that speakers who participated in a seminar funded by the donation were chosen from a list prepared by Amazon. It also notes that the University of Ottawa rejected a similar donation from Amazon out of concerns that the terms that Amazon insisted on violated that university’s academic freedom standards. (For a more detailed article on the University of Ottawa’s rejection of the Amazon deal, see University of Ottawa scrubs proposed partnership with ‘insistent’ and ‘controlling’ Amazon).

These are very concerning allegations about decisions at the University of Toronto, which, if true, threaten to undermine academic and public trust in our institution and in the integrity of its members. If true, the allegations would also appear to violate several University policies designed to ensure the fundamental principles of integrity, autonomy, and academic freedom, including the University of Toronto’s own Provostial Guidelines on Donations, updated in 2021 following earlier concerns about undue donor influence. They also raise serious questions about what collegial processes were followed, if any, before the decision to accept the donation was made and what steps were taken to ensure that the gift supports approved academic priorities.

It has been more than a week since the article was published and we have not heard anything from the Administration about these very serious claims. Accordingly, today we have contacted the Provost, requesting an urgent meeting to hear more about this situation.

We will update you as we learn more. 

Sincerely,

Jeff Bale
UTFA Vice-President, University and External Affairs

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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August 21, 2023

Late Summer Update from UTFA

Dear colleagues,

We hope you are well and enjoying at least some of summer’s pleasures as we also prepare for the busy fall term. 

Thanks to all of you who responded to our June 29 communication survey. Nearly 1,000 of you responded and we learned a great deal from what you shared about our members’ preferred forms of engagement. We heard your clearly expressed desire to receive regular bargaining and other updates from us, and we look forward to hearing your input to shape the important work ahead.  

In our latest bargaining/arbitration update (from June 19), we told you about the arbitration that took place on May 31 and wrote that we expected to receive Arbitrator Eli Gedalof’s decision (which will include issues related to salary increases and rulings on important policy items such as workload) within a few weeks. Unfortunately, we have not yet received the arbitrator’s decision. Once we receive the decision, we will, of course, send you another update.  

Nearly four years have passed since UTFA commenced negotiations with the University Administration. That we do not yet have either a negotiated settlement or an arbitration award in hand serves as a stark reminder of why our current bargaining framework must be overhauled. As this exceptionally long and frustrating round of bargaining draws to a close, our need for more effective and efficient tools to bargain on your behalf has never been more evident.

Meanwhile, we are already preparing for a new round of bargaining in the fall. This year, in addition to addressing routine salary, benefits, and workload issues, we are planning to begin discussions with the Administration about the need to make substantive changes to the bargaining and dispute resolution frameworks contained within our Memorandum of Agreement. 

To better prepare for these negotiations, and in keeping with your responses to the communications survey, we will communicate with you in a variety ways (e.g. via town hall meetings, surveys, and so on). While the vast majority of you who responded appreciated the content of our email updates, many also wanted the frequency of our written communications to increase. Being mindful of your time, we intend to ensure our communications are efficient, organised, and more regular. 

To begin, we will invite you to participate in a series of focused surveys, the first of which will be distributed in the coming days. Two other surveys, one about research and another about your experiences with ableism/disability-based discrimination in your workplace, will be distributed in the coming weeks. 

We look forward to hearing from you soon! 

Sincerely,

Deborah Cowen
Chair, Membership Committee, UTFA

Ariel Katz
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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July 4, 2023

UTFA Statement of Solidarity Against Gendered Violence at the University of Waterloo

The University of Toronto Faculty Association condemns the hate-motivated attack on Professor Katy Fulfer and two students at the University of Waterloo on June 28, 2023, and stands in solidarity with students, faculty, and the broader university community. 

As details emerge, it is increasingly clear that this attack was motivated by misogynist and transphobic hate, and specifically targeted Prof. Fulfer’s philosophy of gender course. 

The media narrative is already taking shape that the perpetrator “acted alone.” But we must place this attack and its motivations in a broader context of the terrifying rise in misogynist, transphobic, and white-supremacist hate in Canada and beyond. “Anti-woke” and “anti-feminist” discourses have become a rallying call for the far-right globally, specifically targeting professors and academic programs centred on feminist, queer, trans, anti-racist, decolonial, and other social-justice curricula. The US state of Florida stands out, with its ongoing efforts to remove Gender Studies and African American Studies from its higher-education institutions. But we cannot forget about similar efforts in 2017 on our own campus, noted in this UTFA statement, to establish a website “designed to place under surveillance certain kinds of academic content” by naming specific U of T professors, courses, and programs.

The attack at Waterloo last week reminds us that this right-wing politicization and fear-mongering is not only an assault on academic freedom, but it is also an attack on our physical safety and well-being – especially for women, queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, racially minoritized, and disabled members of the university community who face specific, intersectional, forms of violence. 

UTFA calls on its members to sign and circulate this Open Statement of Solidarity from Women’s and Gender Studies Recherches Féministes, which the UTFA Executive has also endorsed. We also call on the University Administration to specify how it will follow through on President Gertler’s commitment to “renew [the University’s] efforts to continue to build an inclusive and safe environment for all members of the U of T community” in the wake of this violence at the University of Waterloo. 

Universities must be places where students can learn freely and safely, and where faculty, librarians, staff, and students can pursue their work and learning without fear and violence. 

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June 29, 2023

How should your Negotiating Team communicate with you?

Dear Colleagues,

We are facing a critical moment in our relationship with our employer. It’s time to negotiate both the regular bargaining issues as well as our bargaining framework itself–and we want to make sure we are getting you helpful information and hearing your thoughts clearly. Therefore, we write to solicit your feedback about how UTFA’s Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) Negotiating Team might best communicate with you. How do you prefer to be kept informed, and how would you like to express your needs and wants? 

To begin, please read our June 19, 2023, Update on Bargaining/Arbitration, if you haven’t done so already. In that update, we describe how the UTFA Negotiating Team has been striving to achieve an agreement that recuperates three years of significant lost ground in our wages. Specifically, we are working to rectify the impacts of Bill 124, which has, unconstitutionally, capped our salary increases to 1% per year at a time when inflation, housing costs in the Greater Toronto Area, and faculty and librarian workloads have all been skyrocketing. 

After reading the Update, please complete our 3-minute survey on UTFA bargaining communications. UTFA’s bargaining and communications teams will use the survey results to shape our future outreach plans as we head into the upcoming round of SBPW bargaining with the University Administration. 

   TAKE THE SURVEY NOW   

Sincerely,

Deborah Cowen
Incoming Chair, Membership Committee

Ariel Katz
Incoming Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload  

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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June 19, 2023

Update on Bargaining/Arbitration

Dear Colleagues,

We write with important bargaining updates. As we announced previously, when Bill 124 was struck down UTFA reengaged the Administration in bilateral negotiations for the current agreement expiring June 30, 2023.

UTFA has been striving to achieve an agreement that rectifies the fact that Bill 124 has, unconstitutionally, capped our salary increases to 1% per year during a three-year period when inflation, housing costs in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and faculty and librarian workloads have all been skyrocketing.

Regrettably, the Administration rejected our proposals and the parties proceeded to arbitration. In our arbitration hearing on May 31st, UTFA and the Administration were far apart on nearly everything important (as was the case throughout this marathon round of bargaining of 3+ years).

On the central issue of salary catch-up following the striking down of Bill 124, UTFA proposed a salary catch-up of increases between 8.5% and 12.75% to address our members’ losses in purchasing power (the two figures reflect different methods of assessing inflation within negotiations, and would be in addition to the 1% salary increases we received for each year in the July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2023 period). The Administration argued for a catch-up increase of only 1.7% (beyond the 1% per year already granted under Bill 124, i.e., a total of 4.7% for the three years of the Agreement). Not only does the Administration’s proposal seriously fail to account for lost wages and diminished buying power but it also proposes far less than others in our sector are receiving.

In our detailed arbitration submissions, UTFA emphasized our members’ need for financial catch-up within the context of an extraordinary constellation of factors, including inflation that was the highest it's been in forty years, the crisis in housing affordability, and ever-increasing and weakly regulated workloads, amidst three years of unconstitutional wage caps.

The Administration’s submissions were primarily procedural rather than substantive, and heavily reliant upon the advantages that our one-sided Memorandum of Agreement gives the Administration. In the main, the Administration sought to persuade the arbitrator to order minimal increases by:

  • applying an unduly narrow and rigid interpretation of the arbitrator’s jurisdiction and of how relevant interest arbitration principles apply (unsupported by our 2022 Agreement or by normal collective bargaining practices);
  • ignoring the impact of inflation on our members and minimizing the need for inflationary salary increases;
  • downplaying the relevance of other recent settlements (such as the fully retroactive September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2024, 11% agreement the U of T Administration reached with CUPE 3902 UNIT 3 (which represents U of T sessional lecturers) or the July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023, fully retroactive 8.25% agreement reached between Toronto Metropolitan University’s Administration and TMU’s Faculty Association); and
  • arguing that the Administration’s 1.7% proposed increase is justified because, even if UTFA had the ability to strike, our members would not go on strike to support our demand for significant inflationary adjustments.

If you would like to review the arbitration briefs, they can be found on our website, here.

This was an extraordinarily long and frustrating round. The whole of the UTFA Negotiating Team is to be commended for its skill and persistence over the last 3+ years. We expect to receive Arbitrator Eli Gedalof’s decision, which would include a ruling on important policy items such as workload, within the next few weeks.

UTFA’s preparation for the next round of negotiations is already underway. Stay tuned for invitations to participate in setting our bargaining priorities via surveys, town halls, and other means of member engagement.

Sincerely,

Jun Nogami
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

Ariel Katz
Incoming Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload  

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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June 16, 2023

Important Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) Information

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

Any remaining balance in your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) expires after two years. Unused funds deposited in 2021 will expire on June 30, 2023.

One way to use a remaining HCSA balance is to seek reimbursement for your past extended health care premiums. We are linking instructions on how to do so here, including a link to the HCSA Benefit Premium Remittance steps to supplement the instructions that the Administration sent you earlier this month.

Sincerely,

Jun Nogami
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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May 31, 2023

Re: UTFA Retiree Reception: Additional Resources

Dear Retired Colleagues,

We write further to our email message below, with improved links and enhanced contact info:

  • Information on retirees’ Travel Medical Benefits, contained in retirees’ GSC Benefits Booklet, can be found here, now on UTFA’s website for greater ease of use. See pp. 15-22. (Kindly disregard the link at the 4th bullet, below.)

If you want information or have questions regarding the coverage available through the retiree benefits plan (e.g., what is covered and at what percentage), please contact Green Shield directly as follows:

Plan member website: www.gsceverywhere.ca
Phone: 1-888-711-1119
Email: customer.service@greenshield.ca

If you have questions about changing your retiree benefits coverage level (e.g., due to changing family circumstances, including after the death of a spouse) or anything related to your pension, please contact University of Toronto Pension Services as follows: Phone: 1-888-852-2559 (or 416-226-8278 when calling outside Canada or the United States), Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. (Please use the phone numbers here rather than contacting the University HR Service Centre as indicated, below.)

Sincerely,

Stephen Rupp
Chair, UTFA Retired Members Committee

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

__

Dear Retired Colleagues,

We were pleased to see so many of you attend UTFA’s Annual Retiree Reception on May 17th.

As promised, we write to share documents referenced during the session:

Also, to follow up on a question posed at the reception, we have received confirmation from the U of T Manager, Benefits and Pensions, that the option to maintain benefits coverage continues for spouses upon the death of a retiree (subject to the payment of premiums). If you have further questions, please contact the University’s HR Service Centre.

Finally, the Ziibiing Lab’s purpose is to support Indigenous peoples, thought, and movements. Donations provided to the Ziibiing Lab play an important role in advancing global Indigenous politics research and activities. For more information about the Ziibiing Lab Trust or to make a donation, visit here.

Sincerely,

Stephen Rupp
Chair, UTFA Retired Members Committee

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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May 31, 2023

Reminder to Register: Part-time Faculty Information Session Invitation - June 6 at 12:00 p.m.

Dear Colleagues,

Please be reminded of UTFA’s Part-time Faculty Information Session, to be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom. Please register here.

At this information session, we will highlight the key provisions of the Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions of Part-time Faculty and provide opportunities for Q and A throughout the event.

We also welcome potential questions for the UTFA leadership in advance. You may submit your questions (if you wish) when you click on this link to register for the Part-time Faculty Information Session.

We look forward to seeing you and having you join the conversation on June 6th! 

Sincerely,

Leslie Stewart Rose
Chair, UTFA Appointments Committee

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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May 30, 2023

UTFA Retiree Reception: Additional Resources

Dear Retired Colleagues,

We were pleased to see so many of you attend UTFA’s Annual Retiree Reception on May 17th.

As promised, we write to share documents referenced during the session:

Also, to follow up on a question posed at the reception, we have received confirmation from the U of T Manager, Benefits and Pensions, that the option to maintain benefits coverage continues for spouses upon the death of a retiree (subject to the payment of premiums). If you have further questions, please contact the University’s HR Service Centre.

Finally, the Ziibiing Lab’s purpose is to support Indigenous peoples, thought, and movements. Donations provided to the Ziibiing Lab play an important role in advancing global Indigenous politics research and activities. For more information about the Ziibiing Lab Trust or to make a donation, visit here.

Sincerely,

Stephen Rupp
Chair, UTFA Retired Members Committee

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

 

May 26, 2023

Joint Announcement: Policies for Librarians Agreement in Principle

Dear Colleagues,

We are very pleased to announce that the University administration and University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA), after more than five years of negotiations, have reached an agreement in principle on revisions to the Policies for Librarians. Once approved and implemented, the agreement will modernize the terms and conditions of employment of librarians at the University of Toronto to reflect the integral role they play in advancing the mission of the University. This agreement requires approval from UTFA Council and will also proceed to the Governing Council of the University of Toronto for approval in the fall.

We will reach out with implementation details and associated timelines when available.

In recognition of the significant time and dedication of those who contributed enormously to the negotiations and who shepherded these Policies to this point, we would like to acknowledge:

Kathleen Scheaffer, Librarian, UTFA Policies for Librarians Lead Negotiator, UTFA 801 Constituency Representative

Harriet Sonne de Torrens, Librarian, UTFA Librarians Committee Chair

Dan D'Agostino, Retired Librarian

Whitney Kemble, Librarian, UTFA Member at Large, UTFA 801 Constituency Representative

Ken McDonald, Associate Professor

Michael Attridge, Associate Professor, UTFA Member at Large

Emma Phillips, Legal Counsel

Danielle Sandhu, Legal Counsel 

 

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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May 26, 2023

Part-time Faculty Information Session Invitation - June 6 at 12:00 p.m.

Dear Colleagues,

You are invited to UTFA’s Part-time Faculty Information Session, to be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom. Please register here.

At this information session, we will highlight the key provisions of the Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions of Part-time Faculty and provide opportunities for Q and A throughout the event.

We also welcome potential questions for the UTFA leadership in advance. You may submit your questions (if you wish) when you click on this link to register for the Part-time Faculty Information Session.

We look forward to seeing you and having you join the conversation on June 6th! 

Sincerely,

Leslie Stewart Rose
Chair, UTFA Appointments Committee

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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May 5, 2023

Reminder to Register: UTFA Annual Retiree Event, May 17

Dear Retired Colleagues,

UTFA’s Annual Retiree Reception will be held on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. via Zoom. Please register here.

In addition to our featured presentation (see below), the UTFA President and Vice-Presidents will share important updates on the following:

  • Retiree access to Microsoft 365;
  • Recent health benefits improvements we have successfully bargained (despite the Administration's efforts to establish a two-tiered system and deny benefits to our retired members); and
  • How to access travel benefits.

Our featured keynote speaker will be Uahikea Maile, Assistant Professor, Indigenous Politics and founder of the Ziibiing Lab, a research collaborative on Indigenous politics in the Department of Political Science.

You may submit questions when you click on this link to register. We look forward to seeing you and having you join the conversation on May 17!

Sincerely,

Stephen Rupp
Chair, UTFA Retired Members Committee

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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May 3, 2023

Reminder - Tenure Stream Workshop May 9 at 12:00 p.m.

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to remind you that UTFA is hosting a Promotion workshop for Tenure Stream faculty on May 9, 2023 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The workshop is via Zoom. If you have not already done so, please register here.

UTFA presents a workshop on the interim review and the tenure review. This workshop is open to all Tenure Stream members of the Association and includes the following:

  • an overview of all relevant University review procedures
  • useful tips on compiling a successful dossier

Speaker: Emma Phillips, Partner at Goldblatt Partners

Helen Nowak, UTFA General Counsel; Jun Nogami, UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload; Michael Attridge, UTFA Member-at-Large; and members of the UTFA leadership will also be there to help answer questions.

Sincerely,

Leslie Stewart Rose
UTFA Appointments Committee Chair

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April 24, 2023

Tomorrow is UTFA’s AGM; Read our Annual Newsletter!

Dear colleague,

I am writing to remind you that UTFA’s Annual General Meeting will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, April 25, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00.p.m. via Zoom. We are on track to have our highest AGM turnout ever—and it would be great to have you be part of it! Click here to register.

I also want to strongly encourage you to read our Annual Newsletter (even if you cannot attend the AGM). Most of the Newsletter focuses on issues of critical importance to the membership, including UTFA’s efforts to bargain salary “catch up” post Bill 124, and to reverse the significant loss in our real incomes amid a cost-of-living and housing affordability crisis; our need for significant structural reforms to create a more even playing field in negotiations; and, historic shifts in U of T’s faculty complement, with rising precarity and a declining proportion of tenure steam positions. The Newsletter also contains a series of reports from UTFA Officers and Committee Chairs. I hope you will find it both engaging and informative.

AGM Featured Presentations:

  • Pursuing salary catch-up and more, post-Bill 124: Dialogue with your Chief Negotiators (with UTFA President Terezia Zorić and Vice-President Jun Nogami) 
  • Faculty, Librarian, and Staff housing affordability programs: What are the most promising approaches? (with Rob Gillezeau, UTSC Dept. of Management & Rotman School of Management; Fellow at the Broadbent Institute)
  • Strengthening our collective voices at UofT: How bargaining works and why it needs to change. (UTFA in conversation with panelists from McMaster, Toronto Metropolitan University, Waterloo, and Western; moderated by OCUFA President Sue Wurtele)

Find the full 2022-2023 AGM agenda here, our last audited financial statements here, and the draft 2021-2022 AGM minutes here.

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday at the AGM!

Sincerely, 

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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April 18, 2023

2022-2023 Annual Newsletter
 

Report of the President 

by Terezia Zorić

Overview 

Introduction 

As I think back over the 2022-2023 academic year, I am especially proud of UTFA’s resolute and principled advocacy on behalf of faculty members and librarians. Whenever possible, the Association’s leadership works cooperatively with the Administration to meaningfully address issues and concerns; however, UTFA is also willing to challenge the Administration to improve our members’ working lives when that is what is needed. (More...)

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Reminder to Register: UTFA’s 2023 AGM, April 25, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Dear UTFA Colleague,

UTFA’s Annual General Meeting is Tuesday, April 25, 2023, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., via Zoom. We are trending toward another strong member turnout this year. I encourage those of you who have not yet registered to do so here.

AGENDA

1. Acknowledgement of Traditional Land

2. Review of the Agenda

3. Minutes of the 2022 AGM

4. Welcome and President’s Remarks

  • Pursuing salary catch-up and more, post-Bill 124: Dialogue with your Chief Negotiators. T. Zorić with UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload, Jun Nogami.

5. Faculty, Librarians, and Staff Housing Affordability Programs: What are the most promising approaches?

6. Interactive Panel: Strengthening our collective voices at U of T: How bargaining works and why it needs to change.

  • UTFA in conversation with panelists from McMaster, Toronto Metropolitan University, Waterloo, and Western; moderated by OCUFA President Sue Wurtele.

7. UTFA Academic Citizenship Awards

8. Reports of the 2022-2023 UTFA Officers and Chairs of Committees

  • The reports are published in the AGM Newsletter and will not be read at the meeting. However, the President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, and Committee Chairs will be available to answer any questions.

9. Presentation of UTFA Student Award Recipients (Jeff Bale)

10. Other business and questions from the floor

11. Adjournment

Please don’t forget to register. I look forward to seeing you on April 25th!

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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You are invited: UTFA AGM April 25, 3-5 PM

Dear UTFA colleagues,

You are invited to UTFA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, April 25 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. via Zoom. Click here to register.

This year’s AGM will feature 3 interactive presentations.

  • Pursuing salary catch-up and more, post Bill 124: Dialogue with your Chief Negotiators.
    • UTFA President Terezia Zorić and Vice-President Jun Nogami
  • Faculty, Librarian, and Staff housing affordability programs: What are the most promising approaches?
  • Strengthening our collective voices at UofT: How bargaining works and why it needs to change.
    • UTFA in conversation with panelists from McMaster, Toronto Metropolitan University, Waterloo, and Western; moderated by OCUFA President Sue Wurtele

There will be opportunities for Q & A throughout the meeting. We also welcome potential questions for the presenters/panelists in advance. Please submit yours when you register or after you register via faculty@utfa.org.

More details, including the special UTFA AGM Newsletter containing annual reports from Executive members, as well as the Association’s audited financial statements, will follow in mid-April.

Remember to mark the date in your calendar and to register to attend today!

I look forward to seeing you on April 25!

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President
 

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Important Updates, Events, and Deadlines

February 28, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to provide important updates and information about key issues, events, and upcoming deadlines.

  1. UTFA is Seeking to Obtain Higher Salary Increases
  2. ‘Top Employer’ for Whom? Event
  3. Call for Nominations: UTFA Academic Citizenship Award
  4. Child Care Benefit Application Deadline
  5. UTFA Annual General Meeting
  6. Teaching Stream Promotion Workshop
  7. Tenure Stream Promotion Workshop

***

1. UTFA is Seeking to Obtain Higher Salary Increases for Faculty Members and Librarians: TODAY & March 2, 2023
Within the context of formal mediation, today and on the evening of March 2, UTFA will be pressing the University Administration to agree to larger across-the-board (ATB) salary and progress-through-the-ranks (PTR) increases for our members. This is after Justice Markus Koehnen declared Bill 124 unconstitutional in response to a successful Charter challenge by a coalition of over 40 unions. More specifically, Justice Koehnen found the statutory limitation to bargaining, which limited compensation increases to 1%, to be a violation of the s. 2(d) Charter rights of UTFA members (and all who are affected) which are not justified in a free and democratic society.

UTFA’s negotiating team (co-led by UTFA VP Jun Nogami and me) is seeking agreement on, or an award for (if we move from mediation to arbitration), compensation in year 3 of our current negotiations which takes into consideration the “catch-up” required to address the losses that UTFA members have experienced due to the restrictions imposed by Bill 124 and inflation. We are now able to seize the opportunity to reconvene mediation and re-negotiate our compensation without the unconstitutional constraints of Bill 124 because the UTFA team protected the right to reactivate bargaining in our previous agreement. The team is now hoping to achieve, in substance, what we first proposed at the outset of this very long round of bargaining with the Administration: “If Bill 124 is found to be unlawful, UTFA proposes an ATB increase that is fair and reasonable in light of the unparalleled professional expectations faced by U of T faculty and librarians, trends in recent settlements in higher education, and broader economic considerations.” Stay tuned.

2. ‘Top Employer’ For Whom? Event: Thursday, March 2, 2023, 6:30pm; Tranzac Club
Faculty researchers and representatives from CUPE, UNITE HERE 75, and other voices from the campus labour movement are organizing an evening of conversation and music to promote decent service work on campus. More information is available at the-list.ca.

3. UTFA’s 2022 Academic Citizenship Award: Nominations due March 14, 2023
The UTFA Academic Citizenship Award will honour one or two initiatives undertaken by members who have made a significant contribution to our understanding of the relationship between the University and public life in 2022 – whether by encouraging the positive engagement of academics in key social issues, or by working to extend democratic and accountable practices within the University itself, or by making an outstanding contribution to the well-being of their community. The award is accompanied by a $1,000 prize. Detailed eligibility and selection criteria, information about past recipients, and the nomination form are available on the UTFA Academic Citizenship Award website page.

4. The Child Care Benefit application deadline is Thursday, March 16, 2023
Details and instructions for how to apply for this entitlement UTFA negotiated on your behalf can be accessed here. The benefit reimburses a portion of childcare expenses incurred in each calendar year for each eligible child (natural, step, common-law, adopted, or ward) under age seven. Note that the documentation requirements are somewhat complicated, so we encourage you to consult the Child Care Benefits FAQ and start the process ASAP. In the upcoming round of salary and benefits bargaining, your UTFA team will be seeking to expand this benefit.

5. UTFA’s AGM is Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 3 to 5pm
Please hold the date for our Annual General Meeting. Come, learn more, and engage with colleagues in shaping the work of our Association. Registration details and an information package will follow in the coming weeks.

6. Teaching Stream Promotion Workshop: Tuesday, May 2, 2023, 10am to noon
This UTFA workshop is relevant to full-time Teaching Stream members and assists them in preparing for their interim review related to continuing status, and promotion to Associate Professor, Teaching Stream. It is designed to demystify review procedures and includes:

  • useful tips from teaching dossier experts
  • an overview of all relevant University review procedures
  • a forum to share and exchange strategies for compiling a successful file

Host: Sherri Helwig, Chair, UTFA Teaching Stream Committee & Interim Vice-President, Grievances.
Speakers: Megan Burnett, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI), and Helen Nowak, UTFA General Counsel. Workshop is via Zoom. Register here.

7. Tenure Stream Promotion Workshop: Tuesday, May 9, 2023, noon to 2 pm
UTFA presents a workshop on the interim review and the tenure review. This workshop is open to all members of the Association and includes:

  • an overview of all relevant University review procedures
  • useful tips on compiling a successful dossier

Speaker: Emma Phillips, from Goldblatt Partners. Leslie Stewart Rose, Chair, UTFA Appointments Committee, and Helen Nowak, UTFA General Counsel, will also be there to answer questions. Workshop is via Zoom. Register here.

Please note these important dates and deadlines in your calendars. I hope to see many of you at these events, and all of you at our AGM on April 25th—and to share good news on salary negotiations well before then.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President
I support modernized U of T Policies for Librarians

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Statement of Solidarity after the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

February 16, 2023

We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the earthquakes of February 6, 2023 in Turkey and Syria. 

The scope of this natural disaster is compounded by the consequences of social crises. Long-standing and significant inflation in Turkey undermined living standards before these quakes; the inattention to building standards (as mandated after the major earthquake in 1999) only compounded the devastation of the current earthquakes. In Syria, 12 years of civil war have led to the displacement of millions of Syrians internally and in the regions of Turkey impacted by the earthquakes (and beyond). Taken together, this means that efforts to support those affected by the earthquakes are made more challenging by significant social and geopolitical tensions.

This catastrophe profoundly affects students, staff, librarians, and faculty in the University of Toronto community, to whom we extend our solidarity. UTFA has donated a modest sum to the University of Toronto Turkish Students Association (TSA) fundraising efforts through https://ahbap.org/, and the TSA is matching those funds. UTFA is also contributing to relief in Syria through https://www.whitehelmets.org/en/. We encourage our colleagues to consider supporting these and other organizations that are providing on-the-ground relief to the people of Syria and Turkey.

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'TOP EMPLOYER' FOR WHOM? March 2, 2023 event

February 10, 2023

'TOP EMPLOYER' FOR WHOM?
March 2, 2023 | 6:30pm
The Tranzac Club
292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto 

Organizing for decent service work on campus with faculty researchers & representatives from CUPE, UNITE HERE 75 and other voices from the labour movement
Info at https://the-list.ca

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Statement by the University of Toronto Faculty Association on the United Nations International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

January 26, 2023

The University of Toronto Faculty Association recognizes the importance of acknowledging today, January 27, 2023, as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The United Nations (UN) selected this day as it marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

This year the UN investigates the theme of “Home and Belonging” in the context of the antisemitic violence faced by victims and the survivors of the Holocaust. This global outreach program highlights how the “… violence of exclusion began with disinformation and hate speech that lent support to systemic injustice, discrimination, and marginalization and ended with genocidal killing.” This highlights for UTFA the special role and responsibility of our members to exercise their academic freedom and to challenge disinformation in its historical and modern-day manifestations.

Moreover, UTFA stands with all those who are working to eliminate antisemitism in all its forms and manifestations, whether that be through acts of religious intolerance, vandalism, harassment, incitement to violence, or acts of violence against persons or communities. UTFA categorically condemns any attempts to deny or minimize the catastrophic impact of the Holocaust.

UTFA also recognizes that acts of antisemitism and Holocaust denial have occurred within the University of Toronto community and condemns these actions and events unequivocally. UTFA supports the recommendations of the Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Semitism Working Group.

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Fred F. Wilson In Memoriam

January 13, 2023

b. 1937 d. 2023
UTFA President (1987 - 1990); CAUT President (1991 - 1992) 

Professor Fred F. Wilson joined the University's department of Philosophy in 1965 and he retired in 2003 after 38 years of service. Here he is remembered by former UTFA President Bill Graham:

I knew Fred very closely when we were both members of the Philosophy Dept.  We worked together on philosophical issues, many surrounding the work of John Locke and David Hume, and even more concerning the status of faculty members at the University of Toronto  and across Canada.  I served on Fred’s Executive Committee at U of T (UTFA) and also on his Executive at the CAUT, and Fred served on my Executive at UTFA too when I was its President.  We both cooperated smoothly to further the lives and careers of our fellow faculty both at U of T and nationally across Canada.  Fred was an excellent friend and colleague in these endeavors.  Although I have not been able to be with him in some recent years since I moved to BC, I will miss Fred’s  friendship, his brilliance, and his collegial assistance.   Please pass along my thoughts, with condolences, to his family on my behalf.

We extend our condolences to Fred’s family and all who knew and worked with him in his department, at UTFA, and RALUT.  The Association appreciates Fred’s many years of dedicated service on behalf of our membership.

Fred’s family has placed an obituary and guestbook here. A service took place on January 15, 2023 at Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel.

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The Long Journey: Negotiating the 1978 Policies for Librarians

January 11, 2023

UTFA is currently engaged in negotiating the 1978 Policies for Librarians to ensure that the University of Toronto academic librarians obtain parity and equal terms of employment, compared to colleagues at other Canadian universities.  January 18, 2018 commenced a series of 27 bilateral meetings with the University of Toronto Administration, followed by mediation and facilitation meetings with Administration in 2021 and 2022. We have one confirmed date with Administration in 2023, January 16, and are currently seeking more dates early in the year to end this long journey.

We are writing to share the history of our journey and to thank you for your continued patience and support.

Throughout this process UTFA has been guided by the following principles:  job security, equity, clarity, transparency, consistency, and collegial processes. Three new agreements were achieved:

How can you support us? Please review this PowerPoint presentation for more information and consider reinforcing our efforts as we work toward finalizing the new policy. Language, amplification, and reverberation are keys to ensuring our success:

  • Use "Faculty and LIBRARIANS" to amplify the academic role of librarians at U of T
  • Discuss our parallels and unique differences as academics with librarians, students, faculty, and staff colleagues
  • Ask for time in faculty councils and committee meetings to present these slides or to highlight our guiding principles and pursuits at the table
  • Link these slides to your email signature 

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Membership Renewal for Retired Members

January 4, 2023

Dear UTFA Colleague,

I am writing to encourage you to continue your membership in UTFA by renewing for 2023. For the small fee of $50, you will help UTFA continue its work on behalf of all our members, including those who are retired. For added convenience, you can renew your membership for two years for $100. Our fees have not increased for several years.

There are many reasons to maintain your membership in UTFA. To name one of the most important ones: UTFA fights to protect equal access to health benefits and benefits improvements for retired and active members—a fundamental principle UTFA’s negotiating team successfully defended when bargaining with the Administration in the 2020–2023 round. See here to learn more about the specific benefits improvements UTFA’s team recently won for all members. The value of these benefits improvements alone exceeds the cost of membership.

As a retired member, you retain an important voice in UTFA. This includes voting to elect the retired members who represent the interests of retired faculty and librarians on the UTFA Council. Currently those representatives are Ed Barbeau, Mary Alice Guttman, Raymond Kwong, and Jody Macdonald. In addition, UTFA has a Retired Members Committee dedicated to advocating for retirees’ interests. The Chair of the Retired Members Committee is Steven Rupp, and he is, by virtue of this position, a member of the Executive and Council.

As a member, you may serve on any of UTFA's standing committees (e.g., Retired Members; Equity; Librarians; Membership; or University and External Affairs). We welcome the perspectives that retired members can offer.

You may also vote at UTFA’s Annual General Meeting, which will take place on April 25, 2023, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. I encourage you to hold the date!

To renew your membership, please complete the following Microsoft Form by January 31, 2023. 


I hope you will renew your membership and continue your relationship with UTFA.

Please accept my best wishes for 2023, and don't hesitate to contact the UTFA office if you have any questions or concerns.  

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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Important Update: Bill 124 and UTFA-Administration Bargaining

December 9, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

We write with a very important update on Bill 124 and UTFA-Administration salary negotiations. As a reminder, our current three-year round of salary, benefit, and workload negotiations has been heavily constrained by a law that interfered significantly in bargaining to the detriment of UTFA members and to the advantage of the University Administration.

However, on November 29, 2022, Justice Koehnen issued his decision on the constitutional challenge to Bill 124, Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations, in which UTFA participated. Justice Koehnen upheld the constitutional challenge and declared Bill 124 to be void and of no force and effect.

As you are also likely aware, UTFA and the Administration are currently awaiting a ruling from Arbitrator Eli Gedalof for the terms of the third year of the agreement that covers the period ending June 30, 2023.

Given that the restrictions imposed by Bill 124 have now been struck down and are not in effect, UTFA has requested that Eli Gedalof not issue an award within the 1% restrictions that Bill 124 had imposed, and instead give us an opportunity to go back to the Administration to bargain for increases in salary for the current year, and in order to see if we can also negotiate offsets against the impact of Bill 124 over the first two years, when the Across-the-Board (ATB) increase was restricted to 1% by Bill 124.

Of course, if we could not reach agreement with the Administration, we would then return to arbitration before Eli Gedalof.

We should add that there is the possibility that the government will, as part of its appeal of Justice Koehnen’s ruling, also seek to stay the effect of the Bill 124 ruling while the appeal is argued before the Court of Appeal. If that were to happen, and if the stay motion were to be successful, then we would be back under Bill 124 at least until the appeal is heard and decided.

You can be certain that UTFA is making every effort to offset the effects of wage restraints in the face of inflation. If we cannot make further gains in relation to the current Agreement, we will continue to do everything in our power to do as well as possible in the next round of bargaining.

We will keep you informed of further developments as they come. 

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload

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CAUT Survey on the State of the Academy 

November 29, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), of which UTFA is a member, is seeking to understand academic staff experiences and attitudes towards the job, the workplace and the post-secondary education sector. The State of the Post-Secondary Academic Profession Survey will help identify current issues and needs of academic staff at universities and colleges. Results will help inform CAUT advocacy, as well as the tools and resources that are needed to support academic staff associations in meeting member needs.

CAUT affiliates are asked to distribute this request to their members. We invite you to read their formal request and complete the survey before January 16, 2023. Your voice is essential for providing credible data.

Regards,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jeff Bale
UTFA Vice-President, University and External Affairs

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Memorandum 22:56


Date: November 25, 2022
To: Presidents and Administrative Officers; Local, Provincial and Federated Associations
From: David Robinson, Executive Director
Re: Survey for Post-Secondary Faculty and Researchers

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is launching its inaugural State of the Post-Secondary Academic Profession Survey. The survey will build longitudinal information about issues and needs faced by academic staff at Canadian universities and colleges. This data will help CAUT and its member associations advocate for members’ interests.

What is this survey?
The online survey will collect information directly from post-secondary academic staff employed at universities and colleges across Canada about their experiences and attitudes towards selected topics including:

  • attitudes towards the PSE sector;
  • attitudes towards the workplace;
  • employment conditions / work activities.

The survey may also include additional questions, related to current topical issues, for example, questions on COVID or experiences of Indigenous faculty. As well, the survey will request demographic information that will enable analysis on equity, diversity and inclusion (gender, sexual identity and expression, visible minority status, Indigenous identity, self-reported disability, and use of official languages).

Who can participate?
The survey is open to all post-secondary academic staff at Canadian universities, colleges and polytechnics regardless of union membership. While the survey is entirely voluntary, we are asking for your assistance in ensuring as many academic and general staff as possible are included in this critical study.

Please circulate this survey to your members and to other associations of academic and general staff, if any, on your campus.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Caroline Lachance, Research Officer, at lachance@caut.ca.

The deadline for completion is January 16th, 2023

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Important Message on Masks

November 17, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

We write to share with you the urgent message sent today to U of T health sciences students, staff, and faculty members by deans in the health sciences faculties.

The deans strongly urge the “wearing of a high-quality, tight-fitting mask when indoors in health sciences buildings at the University of Toronto.” UTFA urges all our members in the health sciences and beyond to heed this important call and to wear high quality masks in all indoor spaces at the University.

UTFA vigorously applauds the principled leadership demonstrated by these deans.

This intervention by the deans is especially welcome following a lack of progress at the Central Health and Safety Committee with the senior Administration. UTFA continues to advocate that the senior Administration demonstrate respect for science and best practices in health and safety—including by employing a University-wide mask mandate and an education campaign on the significant risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 (re-)infections—rather than follow inadequate minimum standards set by the provincial government.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload

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From: dlsph-core-fac-l: DLSPH CORE FACULTY LIST On Behalf Of dlsph dean Sent: November 17, 2022 9:12 AM
To: DLSPH-CORE-FAC-L@LISTSERV.UTORONTO.CA
Subject: Important Message on Masks

Dear health sciences students, staff and faculty members,

This is an urgent request that we, your health sciences deans, are asking from our communities to help support our partners.

We work in close partnership with our health care system. The doctors, nurses, and other health professionals across the GTA are also our faculty, our students, and our partners. Thus, we are deeply concerned by the rapid increase in viral illness in our population, the strain that it has put on our healthcare systems, and the recognition that we need to support our partners during this challenging time.

That is why we strongly urge you to begin wearing a high-quality, tight-fitting mask when indoors in health sciences buildings at the University of Toronto.

Those who are lecturing or speaking publicly may want to remove their masks while talking. You may want to remove your mask if you are in your office or eating or drinking. But otherwise, please begin masking while you are indoors in our facilities. We thank everyone in advance for taking this step to help our health-system partners.

The evidence is clear that masks are highly effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Masks also help protect against the flu and RSV – two other viral illnesses overwhelming providers who are already facing remarkable challenges.

During the course of the pandemic, we have been moved by the ways in which our communities have gathered to face so many challenges together. We ask everyone to join together once more by wearing masks and getting all your seasonal shots to help relieve the burden on each other and our partners in care. In order to support this, the University of Toronto is offering vaccination clinics across our campuses during the month of November. Free masks are available on all three U of T campuses for pickup.

We urge everyone to be kind to yourselves and to each other during this extremely challenging time for our healthcare colleagues.

Sincerely,

Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown
Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Lisa Dolovich
Dean, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Linda Johnston
Dean, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Gretchen Kerr
Dean, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Laura Tam
Dean, Faculty of Dentistry

Charmaine Williams
Interim Dean, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Trevor Young
Dean, Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Vice-Provost, Relations With Health Care Institutions

 

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Call to support CUPE 3261 and CUPE 3902 campaigns

November 15, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

As we write this email, Bill 28 has just been repealed. The shared power of public- and private-sector unions, and a massive outpouring of public support for education workers in Ontario forced the Ford government to back down from legislation that attacked free and fair collective bargaining.

While negotiations between the provincial government and K-12 education workers continue, the fight for good jobs at U of T is heating up.

  • CUPE 3261 (service workers at U of T) are demanding no contracting out and may soon be on strike—their deadline is Monday, November 21.
  • CUPE 3902 Unit 3 (sessional lecturers, writing instructors, music professionals, and sessional instructional assistants) is deeply invested in bargaining for job security and dignity.
  • CUPE 3902 Unit 1 (teaching assistants, course instructors, exam invigilators, etc.) are continuing to resist proposed cuts to their healthcare benefits.

These campaigns are all part of a bigger struggle: a movement for good jobs at U of T & a better U of T.

What has UTFA been doing to support these campaigns?

  • UTFA Council endorsed CUPE 3261’s Good Jobs U of T campaign at its September 2022 meeting.
  • UTFA Council welcomed Amy Conwell, President of 3902, to its October 2022 meeting to learn directly about the issues they are facing in healthcare negotiations with the Administration.
  • At its last meeting, UTFA Executive voted unanimously to donate $1,000 to CUPE 3261’s strike fund. This is the largest amount allowed without Council approval.

What can you do to support these campaigns?

  1. Learn more about the issues by visiting the Good Jobs U of T campaign website and reviewing this Action Document from CUPE 3902 regarding proposed healthcare cuts.
  2. Quote tweet @cupe3261’s posts and encourage U of T to do the right thing.
  3. Sign this open letter circulating from U of T scholars to protest the outsourcing of good campus jobs.
  4. Send a letter to your Chair, Dean, or other Senior Administrators to support CUPE 3902, Unit 1, in fighting healthcare cuts (letter templates included here).
  5. All out for Good Jobs at U of T: attend this rally on Wednesday, November 16, 12-2 pm, in front of Sidney Smith Hall.

Yours,

Jeff Bale
UTFA Vice-President, University and External Affairs

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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July 1, 2022, Salary Increase and Retroactive Payment

November 11, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

As a result of the current round (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2023) of bargaining, there will be a 1% Across-the-Board (ATB) salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2022, and the Administration has indicated that it will be implemented for all faculty members and librarians on the November pay run. As a result, your payment for the month of November should include a retroactive salary payment equivalent to 1% of your annualized salary multiplied by 5/12 for the July-November period. Your pay rate in subsequent months will be 1% higher, less appropriate deductions, than your July 1 salary. This 1% ATB salary increase reflects the limits imposed by Bill 124.

If you have concerns after receiving your November salary payment, we suggest that you check with your unit’s Chair or Business Officer to make sure that you have received your retroactive ATB payment.

If you are not able to resolve your concerns, please contact UTFA by emailing advice@utfa.org

Sincerely,

Jun Nogami
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

On behalf of the UTFA SBPW Negotiating Team

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Ford Government Assault on Collective Bargaining--Rally Today at 5 PM

November 1, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

Today, the provincial government announced heavy-handed legislation that imposes a four-year contract on 55,000 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) education workers. Bill 28 is rushing through the legislature right now and undermines and disrupts these workers’ rights to free and fair collective bargaining. Worse still, this Bill invokes the notwithstanding clause to override any potential Charter challenge, and explicitly intends to overrule the Human Rights Act.

It is important to stress the sexist and racist pattern of this government’s actions. Not only did Bill 124 impose a wage-increase cap on the public sector jobs in which women comprise the majority of workers. But also, Bill 28 targets education workers who are predominantly female and racialized, who are among the lowest-paid education workers, and who have been subjected to a decade of significant wage suppression.

UTFA calls on Premier Ford and Minister of Education Lecce to reverse course and negotiate in good faith with CUPE to reach a fair deal. We stand in solidarity with all who insist that our provincial government must commit to free and fair collective bargaining, uphold the Charter rights of all workers, and invest significantly in public education.

We encourage you to speak out against the proposed legislation in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Join UTFA’s contingent at today’s 5 PM emergency rally outside the Ministry of Labour (400 University Ave., south of St. Patrick TTC station).
  2. Learn more about the issues, including by reading OCUFA’s statement of solidarity with education workers and condemnation of the government’s back-to-work legislation, here.
  3. Contact your MPP to express your concerns.
  4. Telephone the Premier (416-325-1941) and or the Minister of Education (416-325-2600) and leave a message opposing Bill 28.

This current conflict is part of a broader pattern that affects us all.

Sincerely,

Jeff Bale
UTFA Vice-President, University & External Affairs

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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UTFA Wins Benefits Improvements for All Members; Update on Outstanding Issues including Workload

September 30, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

We write with three primary purposes:

  1. to share good news about benefits for all UTFA members, active and retired;
  2. to provide some of the more important (and egregious) examples of the issues that are still outstanding and are a part of arbitration hearings this weekend; and
  3. to offer some “lessons learned” thus far in our multi-year negotiation process.

1. Agreement Reached on Benefits Improvements

As we previously wrote, on January 25, 2022, the UTFA Negotiating Team for Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) and the University Administration reached a three-year agreement. Salary, benefits, and workload terms for the third year, ending June 30, 2023, would be subject to arbitration and continue to be constrained by the Ontario government’s Bill 124, which restricts across-the-board (ATB) salary increases to 1% per year during the three-year period covered by this agreement. Benefits increases are also constrained by a cap of 1% increases to total compensation. To read each of the parties’ arbitration briefs and to review UTFA’s previous bargaining updates, see the Ongoing Negotiations page on UTFA’s website.

On September 15, 2022, Arbitrator Eli Gedalof issued an interim award ordering a 1% ATB salary increase (in keeping with Bill 124) effective July 1, 2022, and an increase to the minimum per course stipend and overload rate from $18,255 to $18,438.

Yesterday, UTFA and the Administration reached an agreement on benefits improvements for the third year of this three-year agreement—to be implemented November 1, 2022—that applies equally to active and retired UTFA members.

It is very important to note that UTFA successfully resisted the Administration’s efforts to deny benefits improvements to our retired members. Maintaining equal access to health benefits for active and retired members was a fundamental bargaining principle for UTFA’s negotiating team and a key goal that UTFA Council had mandated us to pursue.

The benefits improvements for all three years of the SBPW Agreement are summarized here:

Benefit

Prior Coverage

Coverage for Years 1 & 2

Coverage as of Nov. 1st

Mental Health Maximum 

$3000

$5000 & Increased the applicable reasonable and customary cap to no less than the Ontario Psychological Association’s recommended hourly rate. Added to list of eligible service providers: Marriage and Family Therapist, Addiction Counsellor.

$7000 & Hourly rate protections and expanded list of eligible service providers continue.

Vision Care

$450 per 24 months.

$700 per 24 months. Added to list of services covered: laser eye surgery for vision correction.

$725 per 24 months. Coverage for laser eye surgery for vision correction continues.

Major Restorative Dental

$2800 

$5000

$5000

Paramedical (includes Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Registered Massage Therapist, Osteopath, Acupuncturist, Dietitian, and Occupational Therapist)

$1250

$2500 & Chiropodist added to the list of service providers.

$5000 & Full list of service providers continues.

Orthodontics

50% covered, lifetime maximum of $2500.

75% covered, lifetime maximum of $5000.

75% covered, lifetime maximum of $5000.

Dependent Scholarship Program

50% of the amount of the academic fees for five full courses in a general Arts & Sciences program at U of T for a first undergraduate degree for enrolments at eligible institutions.

50% on the same terms.

Effective the 2022-2023 academic year, 65% on the same terms.

2. UTFA Interest Arbitration Update

Improving benefits for all our members has been only one part of UTFA’s efforts on your behalf during these protracted negotiations. Other issues, including ensuring fair and equitable workloads and the timely payment of PTR awards while we are bargaining, remain subject to arbitration. UTFA and the Administration have both filed detailed and lengthy arbitration briefs. Oral hearings before Arbitrator Eli Gedalof are taking place this weekend.

UTFA has prepared a chart (that we will continue to update as the process unfolds) that provides a side-by-side comparison of the differences in the parties’ positions on some of the most important issues that remain unresolved. These issues include reining in excessive teaching workloads; the need for transparent workload assignments; Librarian Research Days; the need for a minimum level of TA support campus wide. The chart, and the arbitration briefs on which it is based, can be found at UTFA’s Negotiations and Agreements page on our website.

3. Some Lessons Learned in this Very Long Round of Bargaining

The extraordinary length of the bargaining process, the refusal of the Administration to respond meaningfully to longstanding concerns expressed by our membership about excessive workloads, and the importance to our members of the unresolved issues proceeding to interest arbitration all reinforce UTFA’s view that our bargaining framework as defined by our Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) is deeply flawed. It serves UTFA members very poorly in many respects. As an Association we must:

If we are to resist undue influence by the Administration during bargaining, we must ensure that all terms relating to salaries, benefits, and workload remain in effect during each round of bargaining until a final resolution is reached by settlement or award. This “freeze provision” is a standard right in unionized settings, but there is no requirement for an association to be unionized to have the benefit of such a provision. This freeze provision is one of the items that will be decided following the upcoming arbitration hearings.

We are working in various ways towards addressing these challenges and will say more on this in the coming days and weeks.

Until then, we remain very interested in hearing from you, our members. Please email us your thoughts via faculty@utfa.org.  

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami PhD, FAAAS, P. Eng.
UTFA VP, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, & Workload

On behalf of the UTFA SBPW Negotiating Team 

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Across the Board (ATB) and Per Course Stipend Increase—Joint UTFA and U of T Administration Announcement

September 16, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

In January 2022, we announced that with the assistance of Mediator Kevin Burkett, the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) had reached partial agreement via Minutes of Settlement (MOS) with respect to salary, benefits, and workload for the period July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023. The MOS included the referral of outstanding issues with respect to salary, benefits, and workload for the period July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023 to interest arbitration.

While we are still awaiting the conclusion of the arbitration process, in the interest of implementing pay increases for faculty and librarians in a timely way, Arbitrator Eli Gedalof has made an interim order that provides the following:

  • An Across-the-Board (ATB) salary increase of 1.0%, retroactive to July 1, 2022.
  • Minimum per course stipend and overload rate increase from $18,255 to $18,438 effective September 1, 2022.

Note that several other proposals (see Schedules A and B in the Minutes of Settlement) in the agreement have yet to be adjudicated.

In his interim award Arbitrator Gedalof noted that his order was without prejudice to either party’s position with respect to the constitutionality of Bill 124 and any ongoing litigation in that regard.

Further details about the implementation of these ATB and per course stipend increases will be forthcoming.  

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami PhD, FAAAS, P. Eng.
UTFA VP, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, & Workload

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Interim Award Regarding July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 salary increases

September 16, 2022

Interim Award Regarding July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 salary increases

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COVID Update - Fall 2022

September 7, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

We write with a health and safety update, and to share serious concerns with the Administration’s continued dismantling of COVID mitigation strategies, especially the ongoing ‘suspension’ of mask mandates.

While we recognize that some members may be comfortable with the lifting of the mandates, UTFA has been hearing from a large and growing number of our members who are deeply concerned about workplaces that the science tells us are unsafe in the absence of proper measures to mitigate the spread of airborne infections. These measures include but are not limited to verified ventilation and filtration improvements, universal masking, and reduced overcrowding. We are still amidst the seventh wave of a deadly pandemic, with levels of test positivity, wastewater signals, hospitalizations, and deaths higher than this date in 2021 and 2020. We are experiencing massive hospital strain with staff shortages, emergency department closures, and unprecedented overcrowding. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence about long COVID speaks to high prevalence and devastating effects, even after mild disease. Multiple infections increase the risk of long-term damage to many organ systems, which may result in serious cognitive and physical decline.

In contrast to U of T’s approach, Western University, Brock University, the University of Manitoba, OCADU, and several other post-secondary institutions have announced mask mandates for at least the Fall term. Western’s announcement on August 22, Western requires COVID-19 booster and masking in instructional spaces this fall, includes the following compelling rationale (among others):

“Mitigating the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as well as of severe outcomes from the infection can be effectively achieved with a combination of masking and vaccination,” said [Dr. Saverio] Stranges, [public health physician and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics]. “This also reduces severity of symptoms and protects those immunocompromised individuals in our community. There is no doubt that this approach will help keep people out of hospitals and preserve on-campus teaching and learning.”

Relying on the expert advice of UTFA’s advisory panel of leading indoor air quality and public health scientists, UTFA has been urging our Administration throughout the summer to reinstate a mask mandate at U of T at least until the end of the Fall semester. UTFA’s position on masking is guided by our commitments to, and advocacy for, key principles: respect for science; the precautionary principle; and best practices in health and safety that exceed legislated minimum standards—as is required by U of T’s own Health and Safety Policy.

In response to UTFA’s advocacy, including our repeated requests for improved COVID case tracking, data sharing, and transparency in decision making, the Administration instead unilaterally reduced the opportunities for us to raise serious health and safety concerns that the Administration is responsible for addressing, by changing the frequency of our Central Health and Safety Committee meetings from twice a month to four times a year. UTFA would like to do more; however, given the shortcomings of UTFA’s Memorandum of Agreement with the University Administration, our members do not enjoy the same workplace protections or timely dispute resolution procedures afforded to our colleagues who are members of certified faculty associations.

Further, the University encouraged the posting of signs around campus that label mask-wearing an optional, personal choice. This message was echoed in a July 28 Provostial memo touting the University’s ‘mask-friendly environment’ and indicating that face masks are optional. This is a powerful example of how the University Administration has derogated its infection prevention obligations and rebranded COVID health and safety (solely) an individual responsibility, if not an individual choice.

The Administration’s decision to reclassify mask-wearing as a personal choice fails on multiple levels. It fails to recognize that because we share the air, the significant COVID risks in our academic workplaces can only be reduced through coordinated and collective action such as universal masking. It fails to protect immuno-compromised and vulnerable members of our community. It fails to meet the standard of “adopting the best practices available to protect the University community.” And, it fails to ensure that the University fulfils its duty of care to staff, faculty, librarians, and students.

Even in the absence of a (much-needed) University-wide mask mandate, UTFA wants the University to do much more to counter misinformation and educate about the importance of wearing well-fitting, N95 masks in indoor spaces. Individual units/faculties, departments, and individual members should have the right to make policies that require masks in their own classrooms, labs, and other shared workplaces. Regrettably, the Administration has advised us that they will grant our members only the right to request that their students wear masks in instructional spaces.

UTFA will continue to closely follow the advice of our leading scientists and to invite collegial, evidence-informed health and safety discussions with the Administration. We will continue to demonstrate how universal masking would enable safer in-person work, support immuno-compromised and other vulnerable individuals and groups, and result in fewer interruptions to teaching, learning, research, and the fulfilment of our broader academic mission. In concert with other GTA campus groups, we are also planning an event in the coming weeks to update members on the latest science and provide expert advice on how they might best seek to manage their risks commuting to and while on campus.

Stay tuned.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President
On behalf of the UTFA Central Health and Safety Committee

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Joint UTFA and Administration Communication on Improvements to the Dependent Scholarship Program

August 10, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

The University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) and the University Administration are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on an improvement to the Dependent Scholarship Program as part of benefits improvements for the year July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, for both active members and retirees.

Effective immediately the value of the Dependent Scholarship Program for faculty members and librarians will be increased from 50% to 65% of the amount of the academic fees for five full courses in a general Arts & Sciences program at the University of Toronto for a first undergraduate degree for enrolments at eligible institutions.

Applicants should continue to use the current application form for the Dependent Scholarship Program and all applications for the 2022-23 academic year will be processed based on the new value as outlined in this announcement.

For the applications that have already been received, there is no need to submit another application. The student/recipient will receive an email confirming the amount of their scholarship shortly.

Previously, UTFA and the University Administration negotiated a three-year Salaries, Benefits, and Workload (SBW) Agreement covering the period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023. The outcome of these negotiations determined salary and benefits improvements for the first two years of the Agreement. The terms for the third year will be determined through interest arbitration commencing on October 1, 2022. To facilitate timely access to the Dependent Scholarship Program improvements for the 2022-23 academic year, the parties reached agreement on this item; other SBW proposals, including other benefit improvements, remain to be determined.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami PhD, FAAAS, P. Eng.
UTFA VP, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, & Workload

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UTFA’s Response to the Administration’s Suspension of the Mask Mandate

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

Three weeks ago, the senior Administration announced that it would be discontinuing the University’s mask mandate today, June 30, 2022. UTFA has been hearing from many faculty members and librarians who are concerned about this change. We also recognize that some UTFA members support the decision.

As we begin the summer season, it seems probable that we are entering into another dangerous wave associated with Omicron variants. Wastewater signals in the GTA are currently rising, and studies are emerging that show that the impact of repeated COVID-19 infections can be cumulative rather than diminishing. The increasingly well-documented threat of ‘long COVID’ is particularly worrisome.

UTFA’s position on masking continues to be guided by our commitments to, and advocacy for, key principles: respect for science; the precautionary principle; and best practices in health and safety that exceed legislated minimum standards. Based on the advice we have received from leading indoor air quality and public health scientists, UTFA has responded to the Administration’s announcement by calling for an extension of the University’s mask mandate. Specifically, we are advocating that the Administration require all University community members to wear well-fitting, high-quality masks.

We regret that the University Administration does not appear to have taken the advice of its leading scientists into account when making the decision to remove the protection that mask mandates provide. Transforming the decision about whether to wear a mask from a universal requirement into an individual choice is in our view an ineffective public health strategy because we share the air in common—including airborne pathogens.

UTFA is very concerned about the potential health impacts of lifting the mask mandate, including the risk of increased infections and reinfections on campus. UTFA is also concerned that the lifting of the mask requirement will make it more difficult for the more vulnerable amongst us (e.g., those who are immunocompromised) to attend in-person activities on campus.

Moving Forward

UTFA will continue to engage in collegial discussions with the Administration and to advocate in a principled manner.

We call on the Administration to follow in the footsteps of Ontario hospitals, and to extend the University’s mask requirement throughout the summer, and into the fall as appropriate. UTFA believes an extension of universal masking would enable a safer return to in-person work, which is in the interests of the entire University community.

UTFA will continue to provide you with updates as they become available.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami PhD, FAAAS, P. Eng.
UTFA VP, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, & Workload

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Important Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) Information

Monday, June 6, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

Any remaining balance in your Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) expires after two years. Unused funds from 2020 will expire on June 30, 2022.

One way to use a remaining HCSA balance is to seek reimbursement for your past extended health care premiums. You can find detailed instructions from UTFA on how to do so here, to supplement the instructions that the Administration sent you on May 31 (see below and here).

Sincerely,

Jun Nogami
UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

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Date: May 31, 2022
To: Eligible Faculty & Librarians
From: Ian MacEachern, Director, Benefits, Pension & Payroll Re: Healthcare Spending Account (HCSA)

As you may know, any balance remaining in your Healthcare Spending Account (HCSA) on the last day of the benefit year (June 30) gets carried forward to, but not beyond the end of, the next benefit year.

Since any funds set to expire on June 30, 2022 cannot be carried over, an excellent way to use your HCSA is to submit the health and dental premiums deducted from your pay.

The process, which can be completed by logging in to Green Shield’s plan member online services website, is simple and the step-by-step guide to submitting these expenses is available on the HR Service Centre.

If you need assistance related to Green Shield’s website, please contact Green Shield directly at 1-888-711-1119 or customer.service@greenshield.ca.

 

Provocation Ideas Festival - May/June 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Provocation Ideas Festival aspires to create a new public square of spirited discussion that is rooted in local communities but informed globally, for which an informed and engaged public is critical.

The festival brings together voices from community, public health, justice, governance, and acclaimed artists whose work challenges our conventional perspectives. 

Provocation is a not-for-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who have generously shared their expertise, knowledge, support, and commitment in overseeing the planning and development of the festival.

Please visit here for more details about the Festival. 

www.provocation.ca

 

Workshops: Teaching Stream May 24 & Tenure Stream May 25

Tuesday, May 10, 2022​

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know about our annual workshops for our members in the Teaching and Tenure Streams. To facilitate attendance, UTFA will offer the workshops through Zoom video conference. We look forward to seeing you online!

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić
UTFA President


Continuing Status Review Workshop for the Teaching Stream

Tuesday, May 24, 2022
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Via Zoom video conference

This workshop helps Teaching Stream members prepare for the interim review and the continuing status review. It is designed to demystify review procedures.

This workshop is open to Teaching Stream members of the Association and includes the following:

  • useful tips from teaching dossier experts
  • an overview of all relevant University review procedures
  • a forum to share and exchange strategies towards compiling a successful file

The workshop will cover the policies and procedures for the review processes as outlined in the Policies and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA). It will be most appropriate for full-time faculty at the Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream rank. The workshop will not focus on issues that are particular to promotion to Professor, Teaching Stream, and it will not cover continuing status reviews for part-time faculty, which follow a different policy.

Speakers: Megan Burnett, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI), and Helen Nowak, UTFA General Counsel

Host: Sherri Helwig, Chair, UTFA Teaching Stream Committee

To attend, click below to RSVP with your name and department/faculty. Once registered, you will receive a link prior to the event.

 

Tenure Stream Workshop

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Via Zoom video conference

UTFA presents a workshop on the interim review and the tenure review. This workshop is open to all members of the Association and includes the following:

  • an overview of all relevant University review procedures
  • useful tips on compiling a successful dossier

Speaker: Emma Phillips, Lawyer from Goldblatt Partners

Leslie Stewart Rose, Chair, UTFA Appointments Committee, and Helen Nowak, UTFA General Counsel, will also be there to help answer questions.

To attend, click below to RSVP with your name, department/faculty, and which review you are preparing for. Once registered, you will receive a link prior to the event.

 

POSTPONED: Teaching Stream – Continuing Status Review Workshop (May 2)

Thursday, April 28, 2022​

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know that the Continuing Status Review Workshop for the Teaching Stream, originally scheduled for May 2, 2022, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., is postponed. UTFA will circulate an email in the coming days advising members of the new date once it has been confirmed.

My sincere apologies for any inconvenience.

Respectfully,

Sherri Helwig
Chair, Teaching Stream Committee

 

Reminder: UTFA members determine whether (some) SETs may be used in their PTR and other academic review processes

Wednesday, April 27, 2022​

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

In response to requests UTFA has received in the past few days regarding student course evaluations and the PTR process, this is a friendly reminder that, pursuant to Article 5 of the COVID LOU that UTFA negotiated with the Administration:

“any faculty member or librarian teaching a course that normally includes in-person classes in the period during which physical distancing measures were in place and in-person classes could not continue… may determine whether or not the student course evaluations for courses taught in that period may be relied on in any academic review process, including the PTR process, and that no adverse consequences will flow from a decision not to consider those course evaluations.” (emphasis added)

If any of your courses in 2021-2022 meet these criteria (i.e., “normally includes in-person classes in the period during which physical distancing measures were in place and in-person classes could not continue”) and you wish to exclude the student course evaluations in respect of any (or all) of those courses from the 2021-2022 PTR assessment (or any other academic review), we encourage you to email your department chair as soon as possible.

If you have any questions or require assistance, please reach out to us at faculty@utfa.org.

Sincerely,
Terezia Zorić
UTFA President
 

Petition to Maintain the University of Toronto’s Mask Mandate

Friday, April 22, 2022​

Dear Colleagues,

UTFA has been hearing from many faculty and librarians who are concerned about U of T’s plan to “pause” the mask mandate May 1st. Members have been asking us about how to express their view that the mask mandate should be maintained. This view is also strongly held by UTFA’s expert public health advisors.

CUPE 3902 and USW 1998 have been receiving similar calls from their members.

Together we created a petition calling on President Gertler to maintain the requirement to be masked in indoor University spaces.

We encourage you to sign the petition and to share it widely!

Sincerely,
Terezia Zorić
UTFA President

Jun Nogami PhD, FAAAS, P. Eng.
VP Salary, Benefits, Pensions, & Workload
UTFA  

 

Teaching Stream – Continuing Status Review Workshop (May 2)


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

I am writing to invite you to our annual Continuing Status Review Workshop for members in the Teaching Stream. UTFA will once again offer the workshop via Zoom.

We look forward to seeing you May 2!

Sincerely,

Sherri Helwig
Chair, UTFA Teaching Stream Committee

________________________________

Continuing Status Review Workshop for the Teaching Stream

Monday, May 2, 2022
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Via Zoom

This workshop assists Teaching Stream members in preparing for the interim review and the continuing status review. It is designed to demystify review procedures.

This workshop is open to all Teaching Stream members of the Association and includes the following:

  • useful tips from teaching dossier experts
  • an overview of all relevant university review procedures
  • a forum to share and exchange strategies towards compiling a successful file

Speakers: Megan Burnett, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI), and Helen Nowak, UTFA General Counsel

Host: Sherri Helwig, Chair, UTFA Teaching Stream Committee

To attend, click below to RSVP with your name and department/faculty. Once registered, you will receive the link to attend the event in the days ahead.

 

UTFA Annual General Meeting


Tuesday, April 19, 2022
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Register here.

AGENDA

1. Acknowledgement of Traditional Land (Joseph Carens)

2. Review of the Agenda

3. Minutes of 2020–2021 AGM

4. Welcome and President’s Remarks (Terezia Zorić)

5. Featured Q&A-based discussion: Jim Turk, founder of the Centre for Free Expression, with Rinaldo Walcott and Judith Taylor

Jim will discuss the stakes of free expression in society, and what we can do to safeguard and inspire it. On the Centre’s site under Events, you can view and listen to Centre-hosted talks and panels to get a sense of the Centre’s priorities and vision, and you can look at their projects as well. Please send your questions for Jim to faculty@utfa.org

6. Greetings: Susan Wurtele, OCUFA President

7. Presentation of the UTFA Academic Citizenship Awards (Judith Taylor with Terezia Zorić and Jun Nogami)

UTFA’s 2021 Academic Citizenship Award honours faculty members from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health: Professors Arjumand Siddiqi, Ashleigh Tuite, David Fisman, James Scott, Jeffrey Siegel, and Paul Bozek.

8. Reports of the 2021–2022 UTFA Officers and Chairs of Committees

The reports are published in the AGM Newsletter and will not be read at the meeting. However, Officers and Committee Chairs will be available to answer questions. Also, the Past-President will be available to answer any questions on the University Pension Plan (UPP).

9. Presentation of UTFA Student Award Recipients (Roy Gillis)

2022 UTFA Al Miller Memorial Awards
2022 UTFA Undergraduate Tuition Awards

10. Other business and questions from the floor

11. Adjournment

 

Invitation to UTFA AGM: Tuesday, April 19

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,
 
I would like to congratulate all our members who participated in the two presidential campaigns and to express my deep appreciation to all who voted. The election process did what democratic contestation is supposed to do, it compelled candidates to articulate our values and our visions for UTFA as an association. And it engaged the UTFA “citizenry.” That a record high 70% of our membership voted speaks to the health and vitality of our organization. I am honoured to have received a decisive majority and clear mandate to lead UTFA for a second term. As a democratic organization, UTFA gains its strength from having an informed, engaged, and active membership, so let’s continue the momentum. 
 
I am delighted to formally invite you to UTFA’s Annual General Meeting. UTFA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is on Tuesday, April 19, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.mRegister here

Our 2022 AGM will feature a Q&A-based discussion with Jim Turk, founder of the Centre for Free Expression. Jim will discuss the stakes of free expression in society, and what we can do to safeguard and inspire it. On the site under Events you can view and listen to Centre-hosted talks and panels to get a sense of the Centre’s priorities and vision, and you can look at their projects as well. Please send your questions for Jim to faculty@utfa.org.

More details, including the UTFA AGM Newsletter containing important reports from Executive members, will follow.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić, 
UTFA President

 

UTFA Presidential Election Results

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Results
Terezia Zorić: 1669 votes (61.5%)
Renan Levine: 1043 votes (38.5%)

Turnout
2720 (70.3% of electors, including 8 abstentions)

Michael O’Connor
UTFA Chief Returning Officer

 

UTFA President Elected

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to inform you that Terezia Zorić has been elected President of the University of Toronto Faculty Association for the term July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024.

Congratulations and best wishes to Terezia.

I also wish to thank Renan Levine for his participation in this important democratic process. 

Thank you to Terezia, Renan, and their teams for their commitment to a fair election.

Finally, I would like to thank UTFA staff for their support throughout the election process.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Connor
UTFA Chief Returning Officer

 

Statement by the University of Toronto Faculty Association on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD)

Monday, March 21, 2022 

The United Nations designated March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) to annually commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre, where South African police murdered 69 women, men, and children (and injured 180 others) as they peacefully protested apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

UTFA joins the world-wide community to observe this day. Despite a half-century of legal advances in the fight against racism and racial discrimination, UTFA members continue to experience racism in our workplaces and communities, including racial profiling, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism. These experiences are a result of systems that maintain privileges for some groups of people over others, as well as individual racist acts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, white supremacist groups have exploited a context of deepening socio-economic precarity, racism, and xenophobia to fuel intensified discrimination and violence toward Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities across global societies. In particular, racial harassment and assaults against Asians have increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognizing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UTFA reaffirms the importance of full respect for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and the importance of protecting civic space. We stand in solidarity with individuals and organizations that stand up against racism, racial discrimination, and intolerance in all forms and manifestations. UTFA reaffirms its commitment to fight injustice, and to work tirelessly to ensure a safe, collegial environment for all members of the university community.

On this March 21 day of remembrance, we specifically acknowledge the ongoing labour of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized and allied faculty who have, for some time now, been speaking out ​against ​racism in its myriad forms across all three campuses of the University of Toronto. In solidarity with these colleagues, UTFA resolutely recommits to strengthening its efforts to speak out against racial discrimination and to advance​ equality and social justice in university life.

 

UTFA Presidential Candidates Forums

Thursday, March 17, 2022 [Updated: March 21, 2022]

Dear Colleagues,

Two UTFA Presidential Candidates Forums will be held next week at which presidential candidates Renan Levine and Terezia Zorić will have an opportunity to outline their platforms. The Forums will be moderated by Hamish Russell, the speaker of UTFA Council. In anticipation of the Forums, the candidates have provided platform statements. You can access them directly here: Terezia Zorić’s platform statement Renan Levine’s platform statement

At each forum, candidates will make opening comments, respond to questions, and make closing comments. Questions may be sent in advance to chiefreturningofficer@utfa.org or be raised, time permitting, at each Forum. We encourage questions that are applicable to both candidates.

When:
Tuesday, March 22, 5 to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 23, 10 to 11 a.m.

Forums will begin on the hour.

Where: Via Zoom webinar

RSVP: Please click on the appropriate date to register for the Forum you wish to attend:

Tuesday, March 22 https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_I6z5buWnTLivZMUjXP0N5A

Wednesday, March 23 https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SXw5uL1CQIqalS2fvZmHCQ

If you have questions about registration, please write to faculty@utfa.org.

If you have questions about the election, please write to me at chiefreturningofficer@utfa.org.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Connor
UTFA Chief Returning Officer

 

UTFA Election Announcement

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Dear Colleagues, 

The period for nominating candidates for the position of the President of UTFA has now ended. There are two nominees: Renan Levine and Terezia Zorić. As a result, there will be an election.

The President of UTFA is directly elected by the members of the Association. We will be using an online voting system, as we have for past elections. You will be receiving an email early next week with detailed voting instructions. Please note that the voting period will begin on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, and will end on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Note also that online ballots often roll out rather than appear in all members’ inboxes at the same moment. Reminders will be sent at intervals of three to five days to those who have not yet voted.  

The candidates' statements appear on the Presidential Election web page, for which there is a link from the UTFA home page.

If you have questions about the election, please write to me at chiefreturningofficer@utfa.org.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Connor
UTFA Chief Returning Officer

 

Nomination received for UTFA President

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

We have received a nomination for UTFA President, for Terezia Zorić. Additional information will be available on her candidate page after the nomination period closes.

Further nominations may be submitted until Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

If you have any questions about the nomination or election process, please write to me at chiefreturningofficer@utfa.org.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Connor
UTFA Chief Returning Officer

 

Nomination received for UTFA President

Monday, March 14, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

We have received a nomination for UTFA President, for Renan Levine. Additional information will be available on his candidate page after the nomination period closes.

Further nominations may be submitted until Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

If you have any questions about the nomination or election process, please write to me at chiefreturningofficer@utfa.org.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Connor
UTFA Chief Returning Officer

 

Statement on Ukraine

Monday, March 14, 2022

The University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) decries Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and stands with the Ukrainian people and our colleagues in higher education in Ukraine. We endorse the principles of the United Nations Charter and its Declaration on the Principles of International Law, which recalls “the duty of States to refrain in their international relations from military, political, economic or any other form of coercion aimed against the political independence or territorial integrity of any State.” We declare our solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their resistance to this unprovoked and egregious act of war. 

Our thoughts are with those who have connections to the region, including our students, faculty, and staff, who are concerned for their family members, friends, and colleagues there. We further acknowledge the courageous efforts of all who have risen to oppose the actions of the Russian state, including those dissenting in Russia itself. 

Recent reports of the difficulties that some international students are facing in evacuating Ukraine are also of concern. We urge higher education institutions in Ukraine and leaders in higher education around the world to immediately institute programs backed by the needed financial resources to enable all scholars-at-risk to find safe haven.

In the coming weeks UTFA will be reaching out to student groups; U of T faculty, librarians, staff, and the Administration; OCUFA and CAUT to see how we can support solidarity actions already in progress.

 

UPP Member Survey Part Two: Responsible Investment now live

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

LAUNCH SURVEY

The survey is an anonymous way to share your opinions and perspectives with UPP about the role of responsible investing in your pension. Your answers are not linked to any personal identifiers and will be kept completely confidential. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete and will remain open until April 30, 2022.

Stay Connected! Visit MyUPP.ca to subscribe for updates and share with UPP anytime.

 

Nominations for UTFA President now open

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

The nomination period for the 2022 UTFA Presidential election opens today, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. and closes on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

The UTFA President serves for two years, from July 1 immediately following the date of election. A President may serve up to three two-year terms consecutively.

The duties and terms of reference for the President are set out in the UTFA Constitution and Bylaws. The President of UTFA is directly elected by the members of the Association.

Any UTFA member in good standing may be nominated for the position of President. Candidates must be nominated by either two (2) members of Council or ten (10) members of UTFA. Nomination forms are available on the UTFA Presidential Election page along with Guidelines for the Presidential election.

Read more

 

COVID LOU Extension—New Town Hall; Health & Safety Update

Monday, February 28, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

We write to provide you with three important updates: 

A. You are invited to a new Town Hall; 
B. The COVID LOU has been extended in some significant areas, including PTR; and,
C. The Administration has recently indicated that it intends to continue to require certain key health and safety measures for at least the remainder of this term.

Read more

 

Nominations for UTFA President open on Tuesday, March 1

Friday, February 18, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

2022 is a Presidential election year for the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA). I have been appointed by UTFA Council as the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) for this election.

The UTFA President serves for two years, from July 1 immediately following the date of election. A President may serve up to three two-year terms consecutively. The duties and terms of reference for the President are set out in the UTFA Constitution and Bylaws. The President of UTFA is directly elected by the members of the Association.

The Presidential nomination period opens on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. and closes on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

Read more

 

Invitation to UTFA Town Halls on the 2020–2023 SBPW Agreement

Monday, February 7, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

As we previously wrote, on January 25, 2022, the UTFA Negotiating Team for Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) and the University Administration reached an agreement regarding the three-year period July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023.

Please join us for an UTFA Town Hall to learn about the agreement and what it means for you. There will be an opportunity to have your questions answered. We encourage you to attend the session that corresponds to your campus; however, you are welcome to attend any session that fits your schedule.

UTFA Town Halls on the 2020–2023 SBPW Agreement

UTFA UTM Town Hall
Thursday, February 10, 2022
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

UTFA UTSC Town Hall
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

UTFA UTSG Town Hall
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Where: Via Zoom

RSVP: Please register for the session you wish to attend by email to Chris Penn at faculty@utfa.org. Questions may be sent in advance to faculty@utfa.org or be raised, time permitting, at each Town Hall.

We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić and Jun Nogami
UTFA Co-Lead Negotiators, SBPW Bargaining

 

You're Invited: UTFA Town Hall for Retirees on the Three-Year Agreement

Friday, February 4, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

On January 25, 2022, the UTFA Negotiating Team for Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) and the University Administration reached an agreement regarding the three-year period July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023.

Please join us for a Town Hall to learn about the agreement, what it means for Retirees, and to have your questions answered.

What:     UTFA Town Hall for Retirees on the 2020 – 2023 Agreement 
Date:      Monday, February 7, 2022
Time:      4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where:   Via zoom
RSVP:    by email to Chris Penn at Faculty@utfa.org

Questions may be sent in advance to Faculty@utfa.org or be raised, time permitting, at the town hall.

Retirees are also welcome to join the Town Halls  which are being organized for each of the three campuses. Further details will be communicated early next week.   

We hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Jun and Terezia
Co-Lead Negotiators, SBPW

 

UTFA Reaches Three-Year Agreement with Administration

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

On January 25, 2022, the UTFA Negotiating Team for Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) and the University Administration reached an agreement regarding the three-year period July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2023. This agreement has now been ratified by UTFA Council and the U of T Administration.

Under the terms of the deal, salary and benefits improvements for the first two years, ending June 30, 2022, have been settled.  Terms for the third year, ending June 30, 2023, are subject to arbitration.

Bargaining in this round was constrained by Bill 124 (the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019) which restricts salary increases to 1% per year during the three-year period covered by this agreement. Furthermore, the legislation puts a limit of 1% per year on increases to total compensation which also limits benefits improvements.

Highlights of the settlement are listed below.

Salary

  • July 1, 2020: 1.0% across-the-board salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2020.
  • July 1, 2021: 1.0% across-the-board salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2021. 
  • PTR paid on July 1, 2021 will be augmented with an additional payment to reflect a 1% increase in breakpoints and increments.
  • PTR for the 2021-2022 assessment period will be paid on July 1, 2022, and breakpoints and increments will increase by 1%. Pursuant to the COVID Letter of Understanding (LOU), the process to be followed will be subject to a discussion between UTFA and the University Administration regarding whether there should be any modification to the process for determining PTR scores and awards for the 2021-2022.
  • Minimum Per Course Stipend and Overload Rate will increase from $17,895 to $18,255, effective on date of ratification.

Benefits

Year 1 benefits improvements:
An additional $180 will be deposited into each active member’s Health Care Spending Account (HCSA), with an effective deposit date of July 1, 2020. This is a one-time only adjustment that reflects the fact that benefits improvements for 2020-2021 cannot be utilized.

Year 2 benefits improvements:
An additional $50 will be deposited into each active member’s HCSA, with an effective deposit date of July 1, 2021. This is a one-time-only adjustment that reflects the fact that benefits improvements for 2021-2022 will be available for only part of the year.

The following benefits improvements will become effective as expeditiously as is practicable (UTFA is in discussions with the Administration about when that will be):

 

Year 3 – All remaining issues are subject to arbitration

In arbitration for Year 3, UTFA will continue to pursue the salary, benefits, and workload proposals for Year 3 that have been tabled as part of these negotiations.

Notably, UTFA is seeking important policy changes related to workload and an increase to the number of librarian research days.

With respect to benefits, UTFA has tabled benefits improvements for Year 3 (July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023) and will continue to resist all proposals by the University Administration that have the impact of reducing health benefits for retirees as compared to those for active members.

Within the context of Bill 124 and other factors that made this a difficult round of bargaining, including the need to negotiate the COVID LOU, UTFA made progress on the goals UTFA Council mandated us to pursue. That mandate included:

  • PTR for 2020-2021 and future years;
  • Fair and equitable workloads, including increased supports for remote academic work during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Mental health benefits improvements and stream-lined accommodation processes;
  • Fair compensation and benefits for actives and retirees; and,
  • Health and safety protections.

At the same time, there is still much work to be done via arbitration and in future rounds of UTFA SBPW bargaining on your behalf.

In closing, we would like to express our gratitude for the continuing work of the other members of the UTFA SBPW negotiating team: Roy Gillis, UTFA VP, University & External Affairs; Mary Alice Gutman, Professor Emeritus; David Roberts, Geography Associate Professor, Teaching Stream; Arjumand Siddiqi, Public Health Professor; and, Harriet Sonne de Torrens, Chair, UTFA Librarians Committee.

We also express our thanks for the support of our legal staff at UTFA: Reni Chang, Counsel, and Crystal Doyle, Legal Assistant, as well as our Executive Director, Kathy Johnson. Further, we thank Emma Phillips and Mary-Elizabeth Dill of Goldblatt Partners and Hugh Mackenzie of Mackenzie and Associates for their expertise and assistance.

Sincerely,

Terezia Zorić, UTFA President

Jun Nogami, UTFA Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload

 

Updates on Bargaining, the COVID LOU, and Health and Safety

Friday, January 28, 2022

Dear UTFA Colleagues,

Below are three brief updates: on salaries, benefits, and workload bargaining; the COVID LOU; and Health and Safety. Several important meetings on each of these items are scheduled in the coming days and we will write you more detailed communiqués by the end of next week.

Read full updates

 

Statement by the University of Toronto Faculty Association on the United Nations International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

Thursday, January 27, 2022

The University of Toronto Faculty Association recognizes the critical importance of acknowledging today, January 27, 2022, as the United Nations International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Moreover, UTFA calls for actions across all levels of Canadian society to eliminate antisemitism in all its forms and manifestations whether that be through acts of religious intolerance, vandalism, harassment, incitement to violence or acts of violence against persons or communities and condemns any attempts to deny or minimize the catastrophic impact of the Holocaust. UTFA also recognizes that acts of antisemitism and Holocaust denial have occurred within the University of Toronto community and condemns these actions and events unequivocally. UTFA supports the efforts of the University of Toronto administration to address antisemitism within the University of Toronto community and supports the recommendations contained within the Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Semitism Working Group.

As former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated in January 2008, “We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands.”

 

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.

Read full message

 

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.

Read full message

 

Annual Retiree Reception: Engaging with Indigenous Perspectives at U of T

Monday, December 6, 2021

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Update: Professor Dale Turner was guest speaker at this event. Drawing on his research and teaching activities, he proposed a range of answers to the key question How do we listen to Indigenous peoples in and on their own terms?

Professor Turner’s remarks were very well received. Listen to them here.

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Retirement offers many new opportunities. As a retiree, you continue to be an important member of the University of Toronto Faculty/Librarians community. In your first year of retirement you are welcomed, without fees, as a retired member of the University of Toronto Faculty Association. Following this there is an annual $50 fee for all UTFA retired members.

The UTFA Retired Members Committee identifies and addresses concerns that are particularly relevant to retirees, such as retiree health and other benefits, special events, and developments around the new UPP (University Pension Plan).

Read the full announcement

 

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...

Read full statement

 

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

Read full invitation

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.

Read full statement

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.

Read full invitation

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.

Read full statement

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. 

Read full statement

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

Register

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.

Read more

 

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).

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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

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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