Report of the Chair of the Equity Committee, 2018–2019

June 9, 2019
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The Equity Committee advises UTFA Council and Executive on all matters pertaining to equity and diversity—includ-ing gender, race, sexual orientation, and ability—and assists UTFA in developing policy and approaches to pay equity, employment equity, sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, personal safety, and accessibility.

In July 2017, the OCUFA Executive Committee decided that OCUFA’s work and structure should be better informed by equity concerns, with the objective of promoting greater equity. In keeping with OCUFA’s focus on equity, UTFA was active in 2018–2019 focusing on equity issues through the Sexual Violence Policy (LOU) negotiations, where I am a member of the bargaining team, and Association grievances on the gender salary anomaly and pay equity.

As Chair of the Equity Committee, I collaborated with the Vice-Presidents, Grievances and University and External Affairs and the Chair of the Membership Committee on an outreach campaign on the gender salary anomaly. Over several meetings, we developed tactics for the campaign and identified timelines. In addition to joint committee meetings, the Equity Committee had a separate meeting focusing on various equity and diversity matters, including inequity in the language of job descriptions and in hiring committee processes.

In September 2018 and February 2019 I attended two meetings of the OCUFA Status of Women and Equity Committee (SWEC). September’s workshop focused on helping faculty associations to engage with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and indigenization, as well as providing those present with a framework and tools for approaching reconciliation work within their own faculty associations. Discussion at the February SWEC meeting concentrated on the provincial government’s recent decisions and their equity implications, such as cancellation in October 2018 of the Provincial Round-table on Violence Against Women, free speech policy on campuses, Bill 47, tuition cuts, and the post-secondary education budget cut and its impact on programs and services in higher education and on hiring faculty.

I joined Claude Evans, Chair of the Appointments Committee, and UTFA in-house lawyers in conducting a review of the situation of cross-appointed faculty and librarians at U of T and their inequality issues with respect to teaching and services.

I was also on the organizing committee of the UTFA-sponsored conference “Challenges and Strengths II: Showcasing the Contributions of Part-Timers at the University of Toronto” held on March 9, 2019, and organized by Claude Evans.

I continue to serve on other UTFA committees, when possible, in order to contribute to equity-related matters.As the Chair of the Equity Committee, I appreciate the support of UTFA’s president, Cynthia Messenger, and members of the Executive Committee, Council, and the Equity Committee. I would also like to thank UTFA staff, especially Chris Penn and Marta Horban, for their crucial assistance.

Azita H. Taleghani
Chair, Equity Committee