Report of the Vice-President, Salary, Benefits and Pensions, 2016–2017

April 10, 2017
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I assumed the role of Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload after the last round of bargaining, and I would like to thank Paul Downes for making the transition smooth. I also want to highlight the achievements gained under Paul’s leadership and Scott Prudham’s: a salary increase to match inflation; substantially increased PTR for the teaching stream; increased minimum salaries for librarians; increased vision care and complementary health benefits; increased professional expense funds for all streams; a tuition waiver for PhD studies; and an increase in pay while on Research and Study Leave. An increase in pensions contribution was offset by a flat rate salary increase and the creation of a health care spending account.

Our current agreement expires on June 30, 2017. In preparation for negotiations, I have been attending meetings of OCUFA’s Collective Bargaining Committee—to gain insight into bargaining in the current political climate; to compare notes with other faculty associations about gains they have realized and challenges that we all encounter; to learn from colleagues about issues that can arise in bargaining and how to deal with them; and to hear about different ways of engaging with association members so that bargaining is representative of everyone’s interests.

We gave notice of our intent to bargain to the Administration in December, and the Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload Committee has been working to shape our bargaining proposals. This work draws on input from the bargaining survey: we appreciate the effort that members made to complete it. We are excited about this round as the first in which we can test the new process that emerged from the Special Joint Advisory Committee negotiations. You will recall that the SJAC process led to the modernization of the Memorandum of Agreement and the ability of UTFA to negotiate policies that had previously been ‘frozen.’ We now have a second avenue in the bargaining process, through which any significant term or condition of employment for faculty or librarians that is not eligible for arbitration will be eligible for facilitation and fact-finding. This includes all the policies listed in Article 2 of the MoA and the new policy on academic restructuring. Thus in the upcoming round we intend to propose: substantive changes to the Policies for Librarians, which have not been meaningfully revised since 1978; a policy on privacy issues around academic records and surveillance; and improvements in the appointments policy for part-time faculty. 

The bargaining team approved by Council includes members from all three streams, our retired members, and all three campuses. I would like to recognize the team and thank them for their hard work. They are:

  • Linda Kohn—Professor, UTM Biology 
  • Cynthia Messenger—Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Writing and Rhetoric Program, Innis College
  • Katharine Rankin—Professor, Department of Geography and Planning
  • Kathleen Scheaffer—Librarian, Outreach and Instructional Services Coordinator, Faculty of Information
  • Kent Weaver—former Manager of Systems Operations, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Library (retired)
  • Terezia Zoric—Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Social Justice Education, OISE


Our previous contract included an agreement to address certain aspects of the current PTR system, particularly problems of implementation in units with few faculty and librarians. This work is ongoing, but our survey indicated larger issues of discontent, and we will be working to address those as well.


The Workload Policy and Procedures for Faculty and Librarians (WLPP) has been in effect for a number of years, but members continue to report a high degree of inconsistency in its application and little clarity in the criteria used to allocate workload in some units. Concerns have been raised about the role of deans and chairs in crafting policies that are meant to be designed by a departmental committee, about inequity across the three campuses, and about teaching stream inequities. We intend to gather data to assess specific problems and to assure proper implementation of the policy. 


I take this opportunity to thank you, our members, for your patience and support. Please submit feedback and suggestions to We value your input. 

I also want to thank the members of the SBPW Committee for their guidance; UTFA counsel Heather Diggle and Reni Chang and staff Marta Horban and Chris Penn for their help as I stepped into the position; and Emma Phillips and Steven Barrett (Goldblatt Partners) and Hugh Mackenzie (Hugh Mackenzie & Associates) for sage advice as we prepare for bargaining.

Ken MacDonald
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload
Chief Negotiator