OCUFA’s 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals are deeply concerned about the equity implications of the COVID-19 crisis on Ontario’s health care system and economy, and the adverse impacts both will have on the most marginalized in our society.
While it may be difficult to remember life before COVID-19, it is important to recall the state of Ontario’s economic and health care systems before the pandemic. We must compare the devastating effects of the pandemic with where we were before it began.
Ontario has the lowest public service spending per capita in all of Canada, including the lowest levels of funding per person for health care. It also has the lowest per-student funding levels and the most students per faculty member in the country. In addition, increasing numbers of Ontario campus workers are in precarious jobs. In fact, over 50 per cent of undergraduate courses are taught by contract faculty, many of whom lack job security, fair pay, and benefits. And in Ontario, like much of Canada, precarious employment, housing insecurity, and limited access to health care are rampant and most adversely impact those on the margins: women, racialized and Indigenous persons, people with disabilities, and migrants.