- Report of the President
- Report of the Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload
- Report of the Vice-President, Grievances
- Report of the Vice-President, University and External Affairs
- Report of the Treasurer
Committee Chair Reports:
- Report of the Chair of the Appointments Committee
- Report of the Chair of the Equity Committee
- Report of the Chair of the Librarians Committee
- Report of the Chair of the Membership Committee
- Report of the Chair of the Retired Members Committee
- Report of the Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee
Here we are in another spring, with its promise of transition and renewal, although we are also entering the third year of the pandemic, which is demonstrably not over. Being on campus now and seeing students and colleagues brings both joy and concern. Almost all of us want to interact (again) in person with others in our U of T community, but we also want to be safe, both for our own sake and for the sake of those to whom we are close, especially those who are more vulnerable.
UTFA shares these desires and concerns. We know that it has been another difficult year. Our members have faced often heavy and sometimes crushing workload demands. The impact of increased workloads has been particularly severe on those who are precarious and on those who provide care to young children, elders, and others who have special needs.
Over the last year, UTFA has worked hard to help our members address their individual and shared difficulties, collaborating with the University Administration when we saw them as being on the right track, and challenging them when that seemed necessary. And we did manage to achieve some important policy changes and accommodations, which I will describe more fully below. Nevertheless, we understand the support the University has provided to faculty and librarians to meet these unprecedented difficulties has been uneven at best, and often inadequate. We pledge that we will continue to pay attention to these gaps and inadequacies and to work to address them. Even when the general crisis subsides, there will be some who face ongoing problems from the pandemic, and we promise not to lose sight of these issues and the need to find adequate policies to address them.
The spring marks a period of transition and renewal at UTFA, too. The presidential election is recently concluded, and elections to the UTFA Executive Committee will be taking place soon within Council for positions coming vacant at the end of June. I would like to congratulate all 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 the candidates and their teams to articulate their values and their visions for UTFA as an association. And it engaged UTFA’s members. 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.
In the rest of my report, I want to outline briefly what UTFA has accomplished as an organization in the past year, despite the twin obstacles of the pandemic and Bill 124, and to make some brief remarks about our goals for the coming year and beyond.
Salaries, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload (SBPW) Bargaining
In his report in this newsletter, UTFA’s Vice-President, SBPW, Jun Nogami provides an overview of what UTFA has accomplished in its bargaining over this past year, including our negotiation of a three-year agreement that achieved unprecedented improvements in benefits and our securing one of the strongest COVID Letters of Understanding (LOU) in the university sector. As Jun notes, one of the main reasons we were successful in our bargaining is that we engaged in extensive outreach prior to the negotiating process; we bargained knowing that our demands reflected the priorities of UTFA members.
Our three-year agreement with the Administration left some important issues to be determined by arbitration because we could not get the Administration to accept what we regard as entirely reasonable requests. This affected the third year of the three-year agreement.
UTFA’s top priority in this arbitration process (and in future rounds of negotiation) will be to defend equal health benefits for retirees and to resist the Administration’s efforts to establish a two-tier system. The key to our success in the overall bargaining process is to pay attention to the interests of all the members of UTFA and not to allow the Administration to pit some members of UTFA against others. In fact, it is heartening to see the extraordinary level of solidarity among our members in support of one plan and equal access to health benefits for all! We are confident our members will rise to the occasion and resist with one voice if the Administration tables its regressive proposal of cuts to retirees’ health benefits at arbitration. We will keep you updated on this important issue.
The need to reform our bargaining framework and our Memorandum of Agreement (MoA)
For more than 6 months, as you likely recall, the senior Administration withheld UTFA members’ 2019–2020 PTR pay increases (normally due July 1, 2020), ostensibly because the parties were still bargaining, in an overt attempt to exert pressure on UTFA and to gain an advantage at the bargaining table. As long as UTFA did not agree to settle on the Administration’s terms, the Administration refused to pay our members the annual merit pay increases they had earned in the previous year. This was a bold tactic. We must reform our bargaining framework so that the Administration cannot use such a pressure tactic again.
UTFA represents its members’ interests in bargaining and elsewhere through the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between UTFA and the Governing Council of the University. The MoA was originally signed in 1977 and there have been a few updates over the years, such as the agreement to eliminate mandatory retirement and, more recently, the Special Joint Advisory Committee (SJAC) expansion of the list of topics UTFA can bargain. However, much of the MoA remains stagnant. In particular, the negotiation and dispute resolution processes, which rely heavily upon the Administration’s willingness to share power and voluntarily and substantively engage with the Association on important matters affecting faculty and librarians, have become antiquated.
Across the province and throughout the Canadian post-secondary sector, the relationship between faculty associations and university administrations is strained and frequently deteriorating. Public funding has eroded, collegial governance is being undermined, and administrations are taking “hard line” approaches with (or some might say against) their faculty members and academic librarians. (This is elaborated upon in Vice-President, University and External Affairs, Roy Gillis’s report.) At UTFA, as noted, we dealt with an administration that held back our members’ PTR, paying it only after a lengthy legal battle and membership outreach. While dramatic, unfortunately that hard line approach was not an isolated case. The senior Administration has also pressured UTFA to agree to “strict adherence” to obscure and asymmetrical aspects of the Memorandum’s dispute resolution (mediation/arbitration) process. And the Administration now routinely raises expensive and time-consuming legal objections to UTFA’s basic right to bring disputes between the parties to arbitration (both in bargaining and in the grievance process).
The MoA no longer serves UTFA well in negotiating faculty members’ and librarians’ terms and conditions of employment. We need to:
- Broaden the scope of items subject to the regular negotiation, mediation, and arbitration framework.
- Eliminate lengthy delays throughout the bargaining and dispute resolution processes.
- Protect the terms and conditions of employment of UTFA members during periods between agreements, such as the payment of PTR.
Achieving this will require a two-step process. In the short term, UTFA is proposing 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 right in unionized settings but one need not be unionized to put such a provision in place. This is one of the important issues that UTFA has referred to our upcoming arbitration. In the medium term, we must prevent a repeat of the PTR denial tactic by renegotiating the fundamental shortcomings within Article 6 of the MoA that now hamper UTFA’s ability to bargain as effectively on behalf of our members as we ought to be able to do.
- Modernize the UTFA-Administration dispute resolution process (mediation/arbitration) to reflect what has become the de facto process between the parties.
For example, did you know that an arbitration award can be unilaterally repudiated by Governing Council unless it is the unanimous decision of a three-person panel, of which one person is named by the Administration (or unless the award of the previous round of bargaining was already repudiated)? Where the single arbitrator model is used, the Administration must voluntarily agree that the award will be binding. That is not an even playing field.
Other Goals and Priorities
The fall will bring active preparation for the next round of bargaining. With the June 30, 2023, expiry of our agreement also comes the expiry of the Government of Ontario Bill 124 constraint on the bargaining of compensation. Once we engage with the membership to identify needs and wants via surveys and other forms of outreach, the next round provides an opportunity for UTFA to table further improvements to our benefits plan, in addition to other ongoing member priorities, including workload.
- UTFA will be proposing salary increases (across-the-board and PTR), workload improvements, and workload supports (e.g., TAs and administrative support staff) commensurate with the unparalleled professional expectations that UTFA faculty and librarians face.
- If U of T is to remain a great university, full-time faculty and librarian positions must remain the norm. UTFA will draw attention to and challenge the increasing trend within many units to supplant Tenure Stream positions with more precarious sessional, part-time, and CLTA appointments. In the 2020 part-time policy negotiations led by Past-President Cynthia Messenger, important, incremental progress was made in advancing the terms and conditions of employment for part-time members; however, there is still much work for UTFA to do to improve workload and job security protections for all precarious faculty and librarians. UTFA’s efforts in this regard will be strengthened by the contributions of our newly created Part-time Working Group, chaired by Vice-President, Grievances, Brian McDonagh, and supported by Leslie Stewart Rose, Chair of the Appointments Committee.
- We all know that the housing crisis in the Greater Toronto Area especially, but not only, affects junior members. UTFA will work to negotiate the re-establishment of a housing loan program (i.e., one whereby the Administration guarantees part of the down payment on the purchase of a new home), while ensuring that this meets the rules of Canada’s tax codes.
- The Child Care Benefit UTFA negotiated is currently a capped fund of $1,000,000 per year. This amount is distributed based on applications received. As we indicated in early March, and in keeping with an idea that struck a chord with our members during the election, UTFA will be proposing to increase this cap and further streamline the application process.
- After many years, and extraordinary efforts by our Librarian community, UTFA’s Policies for Librarians (PfL) negotiations are, at last, making real progress and we will ensure that they remain a priority for the Association. Jun Nogami and I will continue to support the ongoing work of the negotiation team. As Kathleen Scheaffer indicates in her Report on Negotiations for the Policies for Librarians (PfL), these important negotiations have moved into a facilitation process to seek to resolve the outstanding issues.
The Administration often draws attention to U of T’s standing as the best university in Canada and one of the best universities in the world. U of T has an annual carry-forward of several hundreds of millions of dollars. The institution’s national and global standing should be more adequately reflected in the working conditions and compensation provided to those whose labour establishes that standing.
Equity, Anti-Racism, and Justice
These values and commitments are at the heart of UTFA’s need to be inclusive and to represent all its members. Sometimes these commitments entail working in collaboration with the University Administration. For example, last year I co-sponsored an UTFA Council motion affirming the vital work of the University’s committees on Anti-Black Racism, Antisemitism, and Anti-Islamophobia:
That Council commends the constructive direction begun by the Division of the Vice-President and Provost, Human Resources and Equity, the Division of People Strategy, Equity, and Culture, and the Scarborough Office of the Vice-President and Principal by their anti-racism initiatives of the last two years. We commend the conclusions of the Anti-Black Racism Task Force and the Antisemitism Working Group, and we look forward to the report from the Anti-Islamophobia Community Working Group. We support the values of the Scarborough Charter, and the creation of the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. UTFA Council aims to work in tandem with these initiatives to oppose discrimination on, and to transform, our three campuses. We look forward to working with the Administration to make change.
We promised UTFA would take positive action to support the work of these University committees, and we will keep that commitment in our work in the year ahead.
UTFA now has a very active and engaged Pension Committee that is working hard to ensure that our jointly sponsored pension plan invests ethically and responsibly, paying particular attention to the issue of climate justice and investment choices. (See the Report of the Chair of the UTFA Pension Committee and UTFA Representative on the Employee Sponsor Committee of the University Pension Plan, Past-President Cynthia Messenger, to learn more.)
Sometimes, commitments to equity, anti-racism, and justice necessitate challenging the Administration. UTFA did that by endorsing and amplifying the “Letter from Historians” that called on Simcoe Hall to take more seriously the threat of anti-Asian racism at U of T. It is what UTFA did, and what colleagues who supported CAUT’s censure motion did, when expressing dissent with the Administration’s tolerance of inappropriate influence by a donor with respect to a law school hiring decision. It is also what UTFA has done for years on salary discrimination. UTFA has filed an Association grievance on salary discrimination based on gender, Indigeneity, racialization, or membership in other (sometime intersecting) equity-seeking groups. Through this grievance, UTFA has previously achieved material gains for Tenure Stream and Librarian women, although we are challenging the adequacy of the former. Our Association grievance also produced a Librarian Systemic Bias Working Group (co-chaired by UTFA Member-at-Large Whitney Kemble and myself), which began meeting this past year to explore biases in the librarian compensation system (for example, in the PTR process and the promotion process).
Recently, UTFA finally secured a legal right to access salary data collected by the Administration about equity-seeking groups—something the Administration had been refusing to share with UTFA for many years. UTFA can now analyze the data and develop a legal strategy for addressing salary discrimination for all UTFA members from equity-seeking groups for whom data exist at U of T. We are also carefully scrutinizing salary data for Teaching Stream, part-time, and CLTA faculty members to ensure they are not left behind. The expansive scope of UTFA’s work related to equity, anti-racism, and justice has been supported by UTFA’s superb Equity Committee chaired by Kass Banning. While the integration of equity, anti-racism, and justice is foundational to all our Association’s work, under her leadership this Committee has focused its attention on advancing a range of important projects and initiatives at UTFA.
UTFA must also continue to examine where its own internal practices fall short of our avowed commitments to equity, anti-racism, and justice. To that end, over the past year and a half I worked closely with the successive chairs of UTFA’s Membership Committee, Keith Adamson and Judith Taylor, and our U of T colleagues more broadly, to recruit more diverse and representative faculty and librarians to UTFA’s governing bodies—Council and Executive. Together, we organized and conducted focus groups with equity-seeking groups of UTFA members, including Black and Indigenous faculty, and women in STEM, to identify areas of concern for UTFA to address in its equity work.
UTFA is also engaged in ongoing, long-term learning, to help us better understand and fulfil our obligation to contribute to the decolonization and Indigenization of the academy, including via negotiations. (For one key example, see the Report of the Chair of the Retired Members Committee, Jody Macdonald, who co-organized a talk by Dale Turner, titled Engaging with Indigenous Perspectives at U of T, for UTFA’s Annual Retiree Reception.)
Health and Safety
UTFA has continued its principled advocacy over the past year to protect the health and safety of students, staff, faculty, and librarians. Via the COVID LOU, advocacy for a revised and strengthened University policy requiring proof of vaccination, improved water safety (Legionella) procedures, mask mandates, and ongoing ventilation upgrades, UTFA has been effectively pressing for a safer response to COVID at U of T, and safer conditions for the return to in-person work.
We couldn’t do this work without listening carefully to, and being aligned with, our expert advisory group of internationally recognized public health scientists. Those being honoured at this year’s AGM as UTFA Academic Citizenship Award recipients are outstanding examples of scholars who are using their expertise to contribute to the health, safety, and well-being of UTFA members, the U of T community, and our world beyond the University. They are: Professors Arjumand Siddiqi, Ashleigh Tuite, David Fisman, James Scott, Jeffrey Siegel, and Paul Bozek.
The coalition work of UTFA, employee unions, and student unions at U of T, across the GTA, and in the broader academic sector deepened in the last two years. We worked together closely to promote health and safety positions of common concern. To elaborate on one notable example, last summer the Administration initially resisted requiring proof of vaccination to come on campus. After expert advice, an open letter, student and campus union coalition lobbying, and a blitz of media interviews, UTFA and the coalition were able to effect meaningful, positive, change: the University Administration improved its position and adopted a genuine mandate that kept everyone much safer. Sustained advocacy of this type established for UTFA a respected national reputation as a leading voice on health and safety in the academic sector.
Our important work in coalition continues. At present, UTFA and groups across U of T are working to address the Administration’s plan to “pause” the campus mask requirement effective May 1, 2022. Given the sixth wave of the pandemic, and the efficacy of (especially higher grade) masks in conferring protections and mitigating the spread of the virus, this intended “pause” is a serious concern both to our members and to the broader University community. Many other Ontario universities have recently announced that their mask mandates will be maintained or extended; UTFA and the coalition will continue to advocate for the University of Toronto Administration to follow suit.
Throughout the (ongoing) pandemic, UTFA’s Central Health and Safety Committee has steadfastly advocated for five key principles to guide policymaking: respect for science; transparent decision-making; the precautionary principle; striving for best practices that exceed legislated minimum standards; and consultation and cooperation with all affected members of the University community. As the pandemic continues, and widespread misinformation and political interference in public health decision-making increase our shared risks, these principles are more important than ever.
In-person work at U of T is and will be much safer because of UTFA’s principled and effective advocacy. Furthermore, many of our proposals, such as those to improve indoor air quality and reduce overcrowding in classrooms, hold the promise of a safer and healthier university beyond the pandemic.
Strengthening UTFA’s Capacity to Protect and Advance Members’ Rights
One of UTFA’s key responsibilities is to ensure that faculty and librarians are treated fairly and in accordance with established rules, and that they are not subject to arbitrary decisions or unfair biases by those in positions of power in the University. As the report of the Vice-President, Grievances, Brian McDonagh, makes clear, UTFA provides a great deal of confidential advice and counsel to a large and increasing number of individual UTFA members seeking both informal and formal resolutions to workplace conflicts. If you, as an individual faculty member or librarian, have a problem, UTFA has your back.
The issue here is not just the vulnerability of individuals. UTFA’s members want us to serve as a strategic and effective bulwark against the Administration’s power when it infringes on UTFA members’ collective rights and interests. That is also why it is so important for UTFA to be able to advance the interests of members via Association grievances and policy negotiations.
One of UTFA’s Association grievances, on the misuse of student evaluations of teaching/student course evaluations (SETs/SCEs), is a good example of UTFA’s efforts to protect members from well-documented unfair and discriminatory biases in the evaluation of their teaching. UTFA’s legal work on this issue is also being supported by the Chair of the Appointments Committee, Leslie Stewart Rose, who outlines in her report some of the Committee’s inspired work on the issue. Similarly, under the leadership of Sherri Helwig, the Teaching Stream Committee is contributing enormously to UTFA’s ongoing efforts to improve the working conditions, PTR, and pay for the stream (see Sherri’s report).
Because U of T lacks an academic senate, it is also essential that UTFA defend and promote academic freedom and collegial governance as core values of the Association and of the University. UTFA’s advocacy for the closely aligned principles of collegiality, shared information, open consultation, meaningful representation, inclusivity, shared decision-making, and shared accountability in university governance remains vital.
Membership Outreach, Inclusion, and Engagement
Despite the constraints created by the pandemic, UTFA has established an unprecedented level of membership outreach, inclusion, engagement, and dialogue. We have done this over the past two years through constituency-based and all-members’ meetings, town halls, expert panels, focus groups, small group discussions, and member surveys. We have engaged more often and more widely with significantly more consultation, surveying, and direct dialogue with the membership than any other Executive in UTFA’s history. We also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Judith Taylor, Chair of the Membership Committee, for her stellar work advocating for, encouraging, and facilitating UTFA Council representatives’ communications with their constituencies.
Some of our membership outreach work has been ongoing for many years, as in the case of UTFA’s Librarians Committee. Chaired by Harriet Sonne de Torrens, this excellent committee regularly hosts insightful and well-attended information sessions, workshops, and other events. In other cases, new committees such as the Barriers to Research Working Group, under the leadership of Michael Attridge, are consulting broadly with representatives from all streams—and Tenure Stream researchers who do diverse kinds of research—in the design of an initial survey that will be circulated to and, we hope, engage a majority of the membership. Finally, in some cases individual UTFA Executive members, including Member-at-large Nasim Niknafs, help to raise awareness of, and support among UTFA members for, worthwhile external initiatives such the Students for Survivors Campaign to improve the University’s response to sexual violence. Be sure to read the rest of this AGM Newsletter to find out more about a variety of UTFA’s activities in which you might wish to participate.
At UTFA we are eager to continue to expand and democratize our membership outreach and participation in the coming year.
I want to thank the members of UTFA’s Executive, Council, and Committees, who participate with resolve and energy in the work of the Association. I must acknowledge Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload, Jun Nogami for his outstanding contributions to UTFA. He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our members in this second year of his vice-presidency.
Many thanks to UTFA’s dedicated office staff, who carry out the day-to-day tasks required to ensure UTFA meets the needs of its members: Chris Penn, Marta Horban, Rucsandra Schmelzer, Nicole Ptinis, Claire Reyes, and Susanne Waldorf. I also want to acknowledge UTFA Treasurer Maureen Stapleton’s work with staff to strengthen UTFA’s financial policy and procedures. Her efforts and expertise are greatly appreciated! Many thanks to UTFA’s insightful legal team: Helen Nowak, Reni Chang, Heather Diggle, Samantha Olexson, Khaleda Rashid, and Crystal Doyle. I am also grateful for the leadership that Kathy Johnson has provided UTFA as Executive Director.
Finally, I offer my thanks to you, our members, for your ongoing support for the work of UTFA during a challenging year. Our members are our strength.
This past year UTFA’s bargaining team engaged in a tough round of negotiations with the Administration, resulting in a three-year agreement covering the period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023. The outcome of negotiations/mediation determined salary and benefits improvements for the first two years of the deal. The terms for the third year will be determined in the fall through arbitration.
Salary and benefits increases in this round were 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. The legislation also puts a limit of 1% per year on total compensation, which means that the amount of money available for benefits improvements is also limited.
UTFA is a participant in OCUFA’s Charter challenge against Bill 124, but it may be years before the court renders a decision on the constitutionality of the legislation.
To achieve the historic gains to benefits made in this round of bargaining, the UTFA bargaining team, led by UTFA President Terezia Zorić and myself, pushed back on the Administration’s estimates for both the spending envelope for benefits and the costing of proposed improvements, which resulted in a larger suite of improvements. The benefits improvements that came into effect March 1, 2022, are summarized in the table below.
Year 1 benefits improvements:
An additional $180 is to 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 acknowledges that benefits improvements for 2020–2021 could not be utilized during that year. This additional money expires on June 30, 2022, if not spent by that date.
Year 2 benefits improvements:
An additional $50 is to 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 acknowledges that benefits improvements for 2021–2022 are available for only part of the year.
The following improvements, applicable to both active and retired members, were also achieved:
At the beginning of bargaining in the spring of 2020, UTFA identified the following bargaining priorities through a series of member surveys and town halls:
- Fair compensation, including the payment of PTR;
- Fair and equitable workloads;
- Mental health benefits improvements;
- Streamlined accommodation procedures;
- Health and safety protections; and
- Keeping the retiree health benefits plan the same as that for active members.
Clearly, we have made progress on many of these priorities.
In arbitration, UTFA will continue to pursue the salary, benefits, and workload proposals for Year 3 that have been tabled as part of these negotiations. These include important policy changes related to workload and an increase to the number of librarian research days.
You can read a complete list of items that might be tabled by either UTFA or the Administration in the appendices to the agreement.
With respect to benefits, UTFA has tabled a number of improvements for Year 3 (July 1, 2022–June 30, 2023). You will also see that the Administration has proposed cuts to benefits that likely impact retirees disproportionately, and that it has proposed to exclude retirees from any Year 3 benefits improvements. UTFA has been steadfast throughout bargaining in our refusal to differentiate retirees’ and active members’ benefits. Maintaining the same health benefits for retirees has been a long-standing, fundamental, principle for UTFA. We will resist any deviation from equal treatment related to the health benefits of active and retired members. The University of Toronto is in a very healthy financial position, with revenue and enrolments up. If the Administration continues to pursue its proposal to exclude retirees from Year 3 benefits improvements, we will engage our membership in a campaign to make clear that this is unacceptable to UTFA members.
The following outlines some of the other priority areas of UTFA’s work in SBPW.
Joint Benefits Committee
The Joint Benefits Committee monitors the usage of benefits and addresses any concerns brought forward either by UTFA, on behalf of members, or by the Administration. We had expected your healthcare premiums to decrease due to reduced utilization of benefits during COVID. However, this did not happen. We have asked for the financial statements for the benefits plan so that we can analyze where the money is going, and exactly how much we are paying to Greenshield for administrative services. This data will strengthen our bargaining position for benefits in the future.
Policies for Librarians Negotiations
Negotiations to modernize the Policies for Librarians (PfL) are ongoing. The negotiation process has drawn out over many years. While UTFA has prevailed on some issues, we are now shifting to a formal facilitation process to resolve outstanding issues. UTFA President Terezia Zorić and I will continue to support the PfL team at this next stage.
For more details, see below the Report of the Chief Negotiator, Policies for Librarians. Congratulations to the team for the agreements negotiated to date.
University of St. Michael’s College Bargaining
St. Michael’s concluded its last round of negotiations in late winter 2021. As part of that agreement, three working groups were established to look at: the measurement of teaching effectiveness in light of the problematic nature of SETs; whether or not there’s a gender-based salary gap at the University; and the possibility of St. Michael’s joining the UPP. All three groups have been busy over the past year and expect to conclude their mandates in the coming months.
Some of the most urgent bargaining issues that UTFA identified during its consultations with members were related to the pandemic. To address the urgent and pressing concerns of our members, COVID-related bargaining priorities were split off into a separate series of negotiations that resulted in a COVID Letter of Understanding (LOU) that was signed in August 2021.
The LOU provided:
- An alternative mechanism for the assessment of PTR for work during the 2020–2021 academic year;
- A modest amount of workload relief for those members with the heaviest teaching loads;
- Protections against dual delivery of courses;
- Making SET scores optional for PTR and promotions processes;
- Better communication to members about accommodations arrangements; and
- A separate fund, COVID-19 Expense Reimbursement Fund (CERF), to reimburse members for some of the expenses associated with the shift to remote work.
I am proud to report that the COVID LOU that UTFA negotiated with the Administration is described by our peer faculty associations as one of the strongest in the University sector.
In the Fall 2021 term, when it became apparent that the fifth wave of the pandemic would result in further public health measures, UTFA took immediate steps to negotiate a renewal of the terms of the COVID LOU. The agreement was renewed for the Winter 2021 term on February 24, 2022. This provided extensions of:
- the alternative mechanism for the assessment of PTR to work done in the 2021–2022 academic year;
- the workload relief for members with the heaviest teaching loads during the 2021–2022 academic year; and
- the eligibility period for expenses that could be reimbursed under the CERF.
In addition, UTFA will continue meeting with the Administration to discuss how the accommodation provisions in the COVID LOU have been implemented. We are concerned about unnecessary delays and difficulties many of our members have experienced when seeking medical accommodation and about reports of onerous documentation requirements that have acted as a barrier in some cases.
I would like to end by thanking UTFA staff, especially our counsel, Reni Chang, and legal assistant Crystal Doyle for their support in bargaining; our Executive Director Kathy Johnson for her advice and wisdom; and Emma Phillips at Goldblatt Partners for her hard work.
Thanks also to the dedicated members of the SBPW bargaining team who persisted through an arduous round: Roy Gillis, Mary Alice Guttman, David Roberts, Arjumand Siddiqi, and Harriet Sonne de Torrens.
Most of all, I would like to thank UTFA President Terezia Zorić for all that I have learned from her this year, and for her willingness to co-lead SBPW and COVID LOU negotiations in addition to the many other good things that she does in her role.
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload
Report of the Chair of the UTFA Pension Committee and UTFA Representative, UPP Employee Sponsor Committee
The University Pension Plan (UPP) was launched on July 1, 2021. The pensions of new hires as of that date are covered by the UPP rules. The UPP is governed by the Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Joint Sponsors (JS). The JS comprises the Employee Sponsor Committee (ESC) and the Employer Sponsor Committee (ERSC). Please see this year’s updated UPP organizational chart for a brief explanation of the roles of the UPP boards.
For detailed information on the plan, please see the member handbook on the UPP website.
During 2021–2022, the ESC continued to work on building the plan. Activities and initiatives included the following: providing feedback to the BoT on member engagement sessions and surveys in November 2021 and March 2022; negotiating participation agreements for new plan entrants and processing related documentation; developing guidelines for new plan entrants; meeting with the BoT Chair and CEO for updates on the development of Responsible Investing (RI) approaches, on staff hires, and on administrative infrastructure and systems; meeting with unrepresented plan members (university administrators without union or equivalent representation); meeting with unions with no seats on the ESC; and communicating with OCUFA on pensions.
- On January 1, 2022, faculty in the Trent University faculty pension plan, staff at the University of Guelph Faculty Association, staff at the UPP, and staff at UTFA joined the UPP. See the member handbook for a complete list of employers in the plan.
- On March 8, 2022, the BoT expanded on its RI policy by announcing new emissions reduction targets: net-zero by 2040 and interim targets for 2025, 2030, and 2035. Note that the BoT is not committing to blanket divestment but thus far has sought to develop an engagement approach. The ESC will seek more clarity on the emissions reduction initiative and greater transparency in terms of plan investments.
- As of April 1, 2022, all plan investments will have moved over to the BoT’s control.
- The UPP is responsible for preparing annual actuarial valuations and is in the process of doing so for January 1, 2022.
The terms of reference for the UTFA Pension Committee were significantly revised and updated in December, and facilitated the election of a Committee that is “sufficiently knowledgeable, competent, and engaged vis-à-vis the UPP that it can provide helpful discussion and advice to the Committee as a whole/ESC representative and represent the views of Council and the UTFA membership in its deliberations.” It is intended that “all Committee members should be able to: 1) recognize the diverse and varied perspectives of the UTFA membership in the Committee’s deliberations on pensions and the advice it provides the Chair and others at UTFA; 2) help UTFA communicate its members’ needs and wants to the UPP Employee Sponsor Committee and Board of Trustees; and, 3) disseminate accurate and timely information on pensions to the Executive, Council, and as appropriate, to the UTFA membership.”
Since its election, the Committee offered detailed feedback on two drafts of the BoT RI survey that resulted in substantial change to the survey. The Committee is actively committed to RI, even though Committee discussions represent a range of views. While the Committee encourages the decarbonization of the portfolio, it recognizes the importance of social and governance aspects of RI. In February, Paul Downes gave a presentation on sample RI language in which Paris Agreement–aligned approaches were central. Other speakers will be invited to speak to the Committee on an array of issues in the coming months. Legal advisor to the ESC, Murray Gold, will speak to the Committee on the fiduciary responsibility of the BoT.
I would like to thank the members of the UTFA Pension Committee for their hard work and devotion to the success of the UPP: Joseph Carens, Paul Downes, Erica Kim, Lisa Kramer, James Mason, Jun Nogami, Marcin Pęski, Maureen Stapleton, and Terezia Zorić. My thanks and gratitude to Louis Florence, Mary Alice Guttman, and Brian McDonagh, who cycled off the Committee in 2021. I would also like to thank Hugh Mackenzie, UTFA’s appointee on the Board of Trustees. UTFA staff continue to play an important support role, and I wish to recognize and thank Crystal Doyle, Kathy Johnson, Chris Penn, and Nicole Ptinis.
Chair, UTFA Pension Committee
UTFA Representative, UPP Employee Sponsor Committee
The UTFA legal team has been busier this academic year than ever. Between July 1, 2021, and end of March 2022, the UTFA lawyers responded to 517 member inquiries. This is a 65% increase from the same period last year (314 inquiries between July 2020 and March 2021). More than half of this year’s inquiries were concentrated in six areas, frequently in relation to COVID: accommodations, often involving requests to teach online; health and safety; PERA, often combined with the newly negotiated CERF; PTR; teaching; and workload.
In the past two years, there has been a significant increase in the number of members seeking advice related to investigations launched by the Administration. These investigations have been initiated under several University policies, including the Workplace Harassment policy, the Graduate Supervision Guidelines, the Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct, and the Sexual Violence policy. The UTFA legal staff have been keenly observing new and concerning trends in how the Administration undertakes these investigations, noting several concerns related to procedural fairness, timeliness of complaints, and selection of investigators. UTFA President Terezia Zorić and I are working with legal staff to raise our concerns and make recommendations to the senior Administration
Sexual Violence Policy LOU Negotiations
This year I joined the UTFA team, led by Terezia Zorić, negotiating the Sexual Violence Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the Administration. The other team members are Roy Gillis, Azita Hojatollah Taleghani, and Kyla Everall. Most issues that remain unresolved relate to procedural fairness protections during investigations. The parties met with experienced facilitator Michelle Flaherty on numerous occasions. We are currently awaiting a response from the Administration on our last round of proposals.
Implementation of Part-time Policy
The new part-time policy (Policy and Procedures On Employment Conditions of Part-Time Faculty) negotiated by UTFA came into effect January 1, 2021. As part of the transition process for long-serving part-time faculty members, those with eight or more years of continuous service in the same unit who were renewed after the effective date were deemed to have a Continuing Appointment. Those with between five and eight years of service were reviewed in the fall for Continuing Appointments. While UTFA does not yet have statistics on the Continuing Appointment reviews, feedback from members indicates that these assessments were overwhelmingly positive.
Under the new policy, part-time faculty members in both streams are now eligible for promotion to Associate Professor/Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Professor/Professor, Teaching Stream. The criteria and procedures for promotion are the same as for full-time faculty in the same stream, but with a reduced expectation as to the quantity of work, based on the part-time nature of the appointment. Although the promotion process officially begins in October, faculty members are encouraged to begin preparing their dossiers well in advance.
The legal work of UTFA is supported by an excellent in-house legal team. With admiration and gratitude thanks go to Reni Chang, Samantha Olexson, Crystal Doyle, and Khaleda Rashid. Special thanks to Heather Diggle and General Counsel, Helen Nowak, for their outstanding contribution.
I wish to thank the UTFA Executive for their support and advice and in particular our Treasurer, Maureen Stapleton, our Executive Director Kathy Johnson, the office administration of Chris Penn and Marta Horban, and most importantly Terezia Zorić for her tireless support and mentoring.
Representation of UTFA at the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
As Vice-President, University and External Affairs (UEA), I serve as UTFA’s representative on the boards of both OCUFA and CAUT. This has been a challenging year for many institutions of higher learning across Canada, due to the negative impacts of failures in collegial university governance structures, including at the University of Toronto. The funding cuts to programs and the dismissals of faculty and librarians at Laurentian University remain in effect, and the provincial government has been unresponsive to calls to restore funding to Laurentian. Similarly, there has been an increase in the number of strikes and labour disruptions at universities across the country. The shrinking financial support for higher education by the provincial and federal governments, the predominance of the “business model” approach to budgeting, and the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to the complaints of increased workloads and stagnant or depressed salaries that are at the root of these labor actions.
Initiative on Supporting Scholars at Risk Internationally
The UEA Committee has begun the process of identifying existing programs and sources of financial support for scholars at risk internationally. While many programs are now emerging to support Ukrainian scholars and students at risk, the UEA Committee recognizes that there are scholars at risk across the world in many different countries. Communications are being sent out to identify existing programs and determine how UTFA members can become more aware of these programs to access them or contribute to them, or advocate within their own units or departments for more support for students and scholars at risk.
Relaunching of the UTFA Academic Citizenship Award
This past year, the UEA, Membership, and Executive Committees relaunched the UTFA Academic Citizenship Award. Council affirmed the Committees’ choice and we are excited to present the 2021 UTFA Academic Citizenship Award at this year’s AGM.
UTFA Undergraduate and Graduate Student Awards
One of the most rewarding and immediately impactful part of my responsibilities as Vice-President, University and External Affairs, has been organizing, awarding, and presenting the UTFA undergraduate and graduate student awards. The members of the University and External Affairs Committee were able to select outstanding scholars in need of support for both the Al Miller Memorial Award and the UTFA Undergraduate Tuition Award. The names and details of the successful recipients will be posted on the UTFA website.
Participation on Other UTFA Committees and Bargaining and Negotiation Teams
As Vice-President, University and External Affairs, I chaired the UEA Committee, and was also a member of our UTFA bargaining team, the Sexual Violence policy negotiations, and the UTFA representative to the University of Toronto Employee Associations and Unions (UTEAU). I am also a member of the Hate Crimes Working Group established by UTEAU that aims to improve the response to hate crimes and violence occurring at the University of Toronto.
Acknowledgement of Member Contributions
I would like to thank Keith Adamson and Marta Horban for their assistance with relaunching the UTFA Academic Citizenship Award and Chris Penn for her general administrative support. Thank you to the members of the UEA Committee for their engagement and dedication to the tasks of the Committee, and special thanks to Terezia Zorić, who, despite her extremely busy schedule, was able to attend many of the UEA Committee meetings and contribute to the work of the Committee.
J. Roy Gillis
Vice-President, University and External Affairs
This year we continued to strengthen UTFA’s financial health and stability. Both are important because they ensure that UTFA can continue to do the important work of the Association.
UTFA continues to benefit from initiatives implemented during the COVID shutdown to improve operational efficiency and manage costs. These actions allowed us to eliminate the operating deficit without compromising the level of service provided to our members.
UTFA’s financial health also benefitted from the strong performance of financial markets. The market value of our investment fund increased 12% in the year ending June 30, 2021, and recovered more than 20% from the COVID-driven lows of March 2020. The investment fund includes a $1.5 million contingency reserve that cannot be accessed without the approval of the Executive Committee and Council. The fund continues to invest conservatively, with 40% of assets in high quality equities and 60% in defensive fixed income securities, in compliance with the UTFA Investment Policy.
UTFA’s operating gains could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of our office staff. I would like to acknowledge strong contributions by Executive Director Kathy Johnson, Business Officer Marta Horban, and Bookkeeper Rucsandra Schmelzer. Thanks also to our President, Terezia Zorić, for her strong support.
The Association’s audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, can be found here. We wish to thank Donna Mehta, CPA, of Mehta Professional Corporation for her advice and the timely completion of this year’s audit.
Maureen Stapleton, CFA
UTFA has been hearing from Librarians and from Teaching Stream and Tenure Stream faculty members about barriers to research in general and during the COVID pandemic in particular. In November, the ad hoc Barriers to Research Working Group was formed with the mandate to gain a deeper understanding of these issues. It is currently developing a survey for the UTFA membership.
UTFA is currently engaged in an Association grievance that questions the (un)reliability, (in)validity, and discrimination in the use of SCEs/SETs in high stakes contexts such as promotions. The Appointments Committee is supporting this grievance process. UTFA has been highlighting the systemic bias and general limitations of the current practice of focusing on SCEs/SETs in evaluating teaching at the University. The Appointments Committee created an ad hoc working group to identify the issues arising from SCEs/SETs and to advocate for and support our members in relation to these issues. This group is currently compiling a list of resources, including links to policies, research, and reports on SETs, to help members prepare their promotion dossiers and PTR reports.
The Appointments Committee continues to develop communications plans to advise our members on policies, guidelines, and practices related to promotions of faculty and librarians. The Committee is also supporting workshops designed to help members learn more about the procedures for promotion to Full Professor in the Teaching and Tenure Streams. The chairs of the Appointments and Teaching Stream Committees have been working together to determine how to support Teaching Stream faculty in their decisions to be considered for promotion to full professor.
Many thanks to all who have engaged with me and UTFA this year—those who have participated deeply in committee work, who have mentored me in my first year in this role, and whom I have invited to join the work. I am thankful for the collegial inspiration of our membership as we do this critical, creative, and important work together.
Leslie Stewart Rose
Chair, Appointments Committee
The Equity Committee advises UTFA Executive and Council on matters pertaining to equity and diversity and assists UTFA in developing policy regarding pay equity, employment equity, sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, personal safety, and accessibility. This year the Committee worked to build on last year’s important work, outlined in the Committee’s revised equity statement released in the fall of 2021—necessitated and informed by the University of Toronto’s stated commitment to address anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion.
The Equity Committee has focused on five main issues this year:
- The underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous faculty at the University of Toronto. The Committee continues to seek ways to support attempts by the University to address these issues through various mechanisms, advocacy on recruitment (for both increased hiring of underrepresented groups and cluster hires), hiring practices, working conditions, and retention. The Committee recommends that future rounds of bargaining prioritize these hires and related supports.
- Obtaining data to support UTFA’s ongoing efforts to address salary inequities. To this end, the Equity Committee has been involved in advocacy work related to UTFA’s salary discrimination grievance, led by Terezia Zorić. After several years of litigation, UTFA was successful in securing the right to see data collected by the Administration that sheds light on salary inequities. As set out in the Report of the President, progress has been made to address gender-based salary discrimination for some members, but further work is needed. More work is also needed to address salary inequities among racialized and Indigenous members.
- Offering valuable input to the Barriers to Research Working Group (BRWG) regarding questions of equity and workload related to the pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic UTFA members have experienced increased familial and community responsibilities, and these have disproportionality impacted the working lives of women. Racialized and Indigenous faculty have additionally engaged in more affective labour, extra committee work, and providing additional supports to underrepresented students, thus compounding increases to their workloads. This winter, much of my work with the BRWG has been focused on understanding how these shifts affect the ability of equity-seeking faculty to conduct research.
- Critically examining equity-related documents produced by both the U of T Administration and CAUT. Through this work we identified several concerns with the Administration’s Report on Employment Equity 2020. A key concern is the insufficient analysis of the underrepresentation of Black faculty and librarians. To get a better understanding of this issue, we requested disaggregated data. We also discussed the merits and shortcomings of the Scarborough Charter, making recommendations toward implementing its principles. Lastly, we devoted considerable attention to CAUT’s report Indigenization of the Academy to identify how the University can implement its core mandate and UTFA can draw on its recommendations in future bargaining.
- Strengthening UTFA’s governance norms for equitable participation and collegial communication. To this end, the Committee provided feedback on a draft survey to read UTFA Council’s pulse regarding democratic engagement and will work to refine the survey in partnership with the Membership Committee. The Committee also reviewed CAUT’s Anti-Harassment & Non-Discrimination Statement, and a motion that UTFA adopt the principles embodied in the statement was passed by Council. The Committee is currently studying a draft Interim Policy and Procedure for Internal Harassment and Discrimination Complaints and will offer feedback.
As Equity chair, I attended several two-day retreats of the OCUFA Status of Women and Equity Committee (SWEC) in June and September 2021 and February 2022. These sessions provided practical tools and strategies to help participants acknowledge and value difference within their associations, emphasizing the interconnected nature of equity struggles, especially the pandemic’s impact on equity-seeking groups.
I am grateful for the valuable counsel, considerable time, and crucial support Equity Committee members have graciously offered in their important work for UTFA. I also give thanks to UTFA’s support staff, especially Kathy Johnson, Helen Nowak and Samantha Olexson for their dependable assistance on all-things equity, and Chris Penn and Marta Horban for administrative assistance. Lastly, I am indebted to President Terezia Zorić for her invaluable input and unfailing moral compass.
I welcome your thoughts on the issues we have worked on, or any other that you would like to see the Equity Committee address.
Chair, Equity Committee
I have been delighted to serve another year as Chair of the Librarians Committee. My librarian colleagues are an engaged segment of the UTFA membership, and they contribute their time generously to the librarian community’s shared interests.
A highlight of the year was a lunch hour session on academic freedom for librarians at the University of Toronto in relation to professional practice, scholarship, and service. Hosted by UTFA on February 14, 2022, the event featured a presentation by Emma Phillips, labour lawyer and partner at Goldblatt Partners. This important educational event provided members with a deeper understanding of their academic freedom rights as librarians.
Over the course of 2021–2022, librarians have served on a number of UTFA committees, working on behalf of members:
- Librarians Committee
- UTFA Council: Whitney Kemble, James Mason, Kathleen Scheaffer,
- Barriers to Research Working Group: Kathryn Barrett, Harriet Sonne de Torrens
- Academic Continuity Policy: Harriet Sonne de Torrens
- COVID LOU negotiations: Harriet Sonne de Torrens
- Gender Bias Working Group: Kyla Everall
- Salary, Benefits, Pensions, and Workload negotiations: Harriet Sonne de Torrens
- Librarians Systemic Bias Working Group: Whitney Kemble (Co-Chair), H. Sonne de Torrens
- UTFA Pension Committee: James Mason
- Sexual Violence LOU negotiations: Kyla Everall
Each of these librarians has made important contributions. UTFA appreciates their service.
I would like to thank all UTFA members who have served on this year’s Librarians Committee, members of the UTFA Executive, Council, staff, lawyers, and colleagues in the various negotiating committees who have consistently supported the rights of academic librarianship at the University of Toronto. A special thanks to Jun Nogami and Terezia Zorić for their on-going support.
Harriet Sonne de Torrens
Chair, Librarians Committee
This year the UTFA Policies for Librarians (PfL) negotiation team hosted 4 sessions with the U of T librarian community to review the context and history of the PfL negotiations and to ensure that we continue to reflect the community's priorities at the bargaining table.
After 27 bilateral negotiation meetings and 4 mediation sessions, UTFA and the Administration are entering into the facilitation stage. William Kaplan will serve as our facilitator. We are confident that modernized Policies for Librarians will be achieved, assuring increased job security, equity, diversity, clarity, consistency, transparency, and collegiality.
I remain grateful to the members of negotiation team, Michael Attridge, Dan D'Agostino, Whitney Kemble, Ken McDonald, and Harriet Sonne de Torrens, and our sage counsel Emma Phillips and Danielle Sandhu, and to the UTFA Executive, Council, and staff team for their unwavering support.
It has been a pleasure to return on an interim basis as Chair of the Membership Committee this year, building on the expertise and contributions of the Committee’s prior chair, Keith Adamson. In a word, my work has been about communication. I have undertaken several projects, all of which I hope are promoted by the next chair. First, I am aiming to ensure that Council members speak up more equally so that the diverse concerns and interests of our membership are all brought to the fore. To that end, our Equity and Membership Committees have jointly engaged in constructing Council’s own ‘speaking up’ survey. Second, I have initiated a campaign to increase the communications from Council representatives to their constituents. We are aiming to regularize communications from your constituency representatives so that you learn about a wide range of opportunities and happenings. If you have been learning more about deadlines for childcare subsidies or an upcoming CAUT conference on academic freedom, that’s due in part to this initiative. Third, I am meeting with departments that have no Council representation to encourage members to serve. UTFA is the only body that represents faculty and librarians and through which you can meaningfully shape bargaining goals.
The above initiatives are consonant with UTFA President Terezia Zorić’s commitment to communication. The number of forums that she has held in her presidency for information and consultation is unprecedented, as is her investment in drawing on expertise held by UTFA members to form the building blocks of UTFA’s initiatives and aims. It’s been a pleasure to work with her to this end.
Membership Committee members have been highly engaged and we have developed several initiatives to bring to members this spring and next academic year. In support of the ongoing negotiations for a new deal with librarians, we will be showcasing a series of partnerships between tenure and teaching stream faculty and librarians, conducting research together, building collections, or applying for grants. Put simply, faculty cannot move on without librarian colleagues. We also intend to begin Fact Fridays, an initiative to educate our members about the structure of governance at U of T, data about our faculties and departments, and information about your rights, benefits, and ways to be active in stewardship of the University generally. I look forward to participating in these initiatives as a Council member, and to a time when the Chair of the Membership Committee and other members of the UTFA Executive Committee can once again visit your departments for in-person dialogue with you.
I would like to thank the many supportive members of the UTFA Executive Committee, Council, legal staff, and office staff for their continued support of the UTFA membership and the work of this committee. I would like to thank UTFA members who use their academic freedom, and who mobilize for just causes within and outside U of T. A particular thanks to Terezia Zorić, whose dedication, ethics, collaboration, and capacity-building inspired my service.
Chair, Membership Committee
The Retired Members Committee (RMC) represents approximately 700 retired faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto. All newly retired faculty and librarians are automatically members of UTFA when they retire and initially pay no dues.
The Retired Members Committee met virtually once last spring and three times in the fall, and we meet again this month. We also hosted our Annual Retiree Reception virtually, with the theme Engaging with Indigenous Perspectives at U of T. This year we launched attendee introductions via breakout groups and had positive feedback about how smoothly this worked and how enjoyable it was to meet other people. Our speaker, Professor Dale Turner, from the Department of Political Science, spoke thoughtfully about beginning the urgent process of Indigenizing the University. This is a topic of concern for retirees, and we plan to develop this theme in our next Annual Retiree Reception.
During meetings of the Committee, we enjoyed lively and discerning discussions focusing on:
- Challenges to academic freedom on campus;
- Our links with U of T’s Senior College and Senior College Centre;
- Trends in public sector benefits in Ontario;
- Protecting and valuing our health benefits plan; and
- Engaging with UTFA’s retiree community.
As Chair of the RMC, I nominated Kent Weaver for the position of Director, College and University Retiree Associations of Canada /Associations de retraités des universités et collèges du Canada (CURAC/ARUCC). The nomination was successful and Kent is now serving on the CURAC/ARUCC Board of Directors. Congratulations, Kent!
Many thanks to the members of the RMC, who share their collective wisdom to guide us: Ed Barbeau, Joseph (Joe) Carens, Elinor Fillion, Helen Grad, Mary Alice Guttman, Raymond Kwong, Brenda Mallouk, Suzanne Meyers Sawa, Angela Miles, and Kent Weaver, as well as President Terezia Zorić, Vice-President Jun Nogami, and Executive Director Kathy Johnson.
In memoriam: The Retired Members Committee has learned since the 2021 Annual General Meeting of the death of the following UTFA retirees: P. Earl Burke, Margrit Eichler, John A. Fleming, Maria Kowalsky, Douglas McIntosh, Stephen Tobe, and Gordon H. Wright.
Jody (Geraldine) Macdonald
Chair, Retired Members Committee
This year, a primary goal of the Committee was the development of a better, shared understanding of issues of concern to Teaching Stream members across the University. To this end, the regular Committee meetings were opened to all Teaching Stream faculty. Meetings were well attended, and discussions were active and productive.
The enhanced interest in Committee efforts and issues specific to faculty members in the Teaching Stream is both encouraging and disheartening: it has been encouraging to share information with and learn from greater numbers of faculty in ways that can benefit all, and at the same time disheartening because we are learning more about how widespread and deep-rooted some challenges are, and about some of the unique and troubling ways our Teaching Stream members are experiencing them in different units.
One focus of the Committee’s work this year has been an initial exploration of challenges that Teaching Stream members regularly face as they fulfil the goals and responsibilities of the scholarship- and practice-related component of their work. Research-related challenges are not faced equally by all Teaching Stream faculty across the University, but they are encountered in large enough numbers that they cannot be dismissed as aberrations or as localized to only a few units. The Committee continues to learn of faculty who were hired following a demonstration of impressive research or creative/professional practice and whose ability to continue this work is frustrated by a combination of inadequate time, funding, and support. A member survey building on this initial investigation is in development (by the Barriers to Research Working Group) and will allow the Committee to learn more about the impact of these challenges.
Other Committee efforts focus on working conditions, PTR, and pay for the Teaching Stream. These issues intersect in significant ways with other important work of the Association (including existing and potential Association grievances related to pay equity/salary discrimination, student evaluations of teaching [SETs], and Teaching Stream workload), and the Committee is contributing to each of them.
Looking to the future, the Teaching Stream Committee plans to develop clear and regular communications to inform faculty about timely and essential issues, and to create targeted advice (to Teaching Stream members of unit workload committees, for example) to better support them as they exercise their rights.
I have been fortunate to work with a stellar group of people this year. I am so very grateful to the members of the Teaching Stream Committee, the guests at our meetings who contributed so generously and insightfully to our discussions, and those people who went above and beyond in their support of the Committee’s work, including the past Chair David Roberts, UTFA President Terezia Zorić, and the incredible UTFA staff.
Chair, Teaching Stream Committee