What's Inside (click to jump to a specific section)
Report of the President
- Pensions report
- Part-time Appointments Policy
- Merit Pay "policy"
Report of the Vice-President, Grievances
Report of the Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload
Report of the Vice-President, University and External Affairs
Report of the Chair of the Appointments Committee
Report of the Chair of the Librarians Committee
Report of the Chair of the Membership Committee
Report of the Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee
Hello and Season’s Greetings! Thank you for reading UTFA’s end-of-term newsletter. We have a lot to report. The newsletter opens with the UTFA president's report on pensions.
Please see a video on the proposed pension change here. This video is sponsored jointly by the university administrations and the participating employees of the three founding universities in the UPP: U of T, Queen’s, and Guelph.
As most of you will know, over the past year UTFA has been focused on pension change. I am chief negotiator for UTFA on the University Pension Plan (UPP) initiative, which is a multi-employer jointly sponsored defined benefit (DB) pension plan.
The problem with the current plan model
Why is UTFA seeking to move to a new model for the pension plan? The blunt answer is that the current model will not hold over the long term. In the current model, the University’s pension costs are both high and volatile. Funding rules require the University to contribute more to the plan than the benefits cost. And solvency funding is volatile because it varies with current interest rates. In addition, when investment returns do not reach their target and pension debt is incurred, the pension debt must be repaid to the plan over a short period. Provincial government pension funding regulations determine the repayment protocol. The government’s newest regulations continue to be onerous for institutions such as universities. These rules are to be lamented—but they are not going anywhere. The University administration must take the money to make pension debt payments from the operating budget, which includes taxpayer dollars. This is the part of the model that is not sustainable. All indications are that the provincial government and the U of T administration would like to see this cycle come to an end.
Securing the defined benefits pension plan
- Defined benefit pension plans are disappearing, especially in the private sector. Employers are no longer willing to guarantee these plans and bear the risk associated with them.
- UTFA is attempting to secure our defined benefit plan by moving to a more sustainable model of the DB plan. The most successful DB model in the province is the jointly sponsored one (JSPP), sometimes called the Canada Model. Ontario has produced some famous JSPPs: the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) are among the best known.
- I want to be clear that I am advocating moving to the JSPP model, not because of the current financial status of our plan—but because I believe that the plan we have now will not be the plan in place ten or fifteen years from now, and it might not be recognizable in thirty years, when new hires will retire.
Joint governance and joint responsibility
- The JSPP model offers joint governance. We don’t have that now. In the proposed UPP, a sponsor board of twelve would feature six employer side reps and six employee side reps. Both sides would have to agree on matters related to the plan.
- UTFA is the only faculty association that will have a permanent seat on the sponsor board. The other faculty associations will cycle on and off.
- With joint governance comes joint responsibility. If a surplus occurs, the two sides of the UPP sponsor board (employee and employer) will together decide how to use surplus funds. Pension contribution holidays are a thing of the regrettable past. No responsible sponsor board would permit them.
- If a deficit occurs, the two sides of the sponsor board will have to agree on how to address it. Debt cannot be allowed simply to accumulate. Addressing debt in this plan model could mean temporarily lowering the index rate on a go-forward basis, or temporarily increasing contributions. Earned service (including earned indexing against inflation) may not be touched.
- The tie between pension debt and the University operating budget will be severed once the pre-inception debt is paid down by the University.
- The UPP will begin life fully funded.
- Each university entering the UPP will have to pay down its debt over fifteen years.
Features of the proposed UPP
- In the negotiations for the new UPP, UTFA, working alongside the Steelworkers and the faculty associations from Queen’s and Guelph, sought to create a sustainable DB plan that would save money, create a financial buffer, and hold each university accountable for its own debt. We achieved each of these goals.
- Some of the plan improvements we made are as follows:
- Our members would see an improvement to the “lower deck” (below the YMPE) percentage, from the current 1.5% to 1.6%. That increase would help lower UTFA earners achieve higher pensions.
- For higher earners, the newly negotiated Supplementary Account Plan (SAP) will provide additional retirement income. The SAP is not retroactive. It is tied to the UPP. It begins to accumulate employer contributions after the effective date of the UPP. Note that employees do not make contributions to the SAP. If the vote on the UPP does not succeed, then there will be no SAP.
- What are the other main changes to the plan that members should know about?
- To create a more affordable plan, we agreed to 48-month averaging, which means that the best 48 months of salary are averaged in the pension calculation process. We currently have 36-month averaging. The Teachers’ Plan uses five-year averaging.
- The UPP will feature increased contributions, but UTFA has negotiated the equivalent of full offsets in the form of salary increases. For UTFA’s report on the SAP and the offsets, click here.
- The spousal death benefit will cost slightly more under the UPP. Approximately 1% to 2%—of the portion of the member’s pension that is based on service under the UPP—will be deducted to pay for a pension of the spouse that is 60% of the member’s pension. (No deduction on service under the current plan.) Any deduction is greater if the spouse is more than ten years younger than the plan member or if the spousal pension is greater than 60%. Remember that, in pension plans, members with spouses do not pay higher contribution rates as they do for health care benefits. Members with spouses and those without spouses pay the same contribution rates in both the current pension plan and the UPP. In the UPP, the extra contribution from those with spouses comes in the form of a slight reduction in the pension of the member (unless the member and the spouse sign a waiver in which the pension for the spouse is declined). The UPP does provide a partial subsidy for survivor benefits. It is just not quite as large as the subsidy under the current plan.
- In the UPP negotiations, we also agreed to save on plan costs on the early retirement provision. In the current plan, members may retire at 60 if they have at least ten years of pensionable earnings. Under the UPP, the years double to twenty. Very few UTFA members take early retirement, and therefore this seemed a reasonable area in which to reduce plan costs. Grandparenting provisions, however, mean that those who are 52 when the UPP begins may take early retirement under the current plan rules for UTFA members: age 60 and ten years of service. Early retirement is the only provision to be grandparented.
Earned service is protected
- It is important to bear in mind that the law protects all earned service. This means that members who are already retired are not affected by the proposed changes.
- All years of service earned in the current plan will be credited based on the current plan’s rules. Most of you reading this newsletter will have some years in the current plan and some in the new UPP.
- Two sets of rules will be applied to determine your pension when you retire. The two pensions will then be added together. Prorating will occur where necessary. For example, as mentioned above, the deduction for the spousal death benefit would be calculated based only on the years of service in the UPP.
- Only those hired after the UPP begins will have all of their service calculated under the new plan’s rules.
Pension estimator tool
- UTFA and the Steelworkers are developing a pension estimator, an online tool, in which plan members could put in their own numbers and estimate what their pension might be. The tool is meant only to help members understand how the current pension and the UPP work.
Ratification vote February 2–February 8, 2019
- UTFA will ask plan members to vote on the new UPP in an online ratification process that will begin at 9:00 a.m. on February 2 and end at 5:00 p.m. on February 8. If that vote fails, I anticipate a decade of concession bargaining on pensions. I am sorry to have to communicate this unwelcome news. Current plan benefits would be eroded over time. An example of a feature of the current plan that I believe would not survive: our 36-month earnings averaging. That could turn into what Teachers’ and many other public sector pension plans in Ontario have—five-year averaging.
- When you vote in February, please bear in mind that UTFA does not believe that the current plan will remain the current plan. UTFA is urging members to vote in favour of the UPP because remaining in the current plan is just too risky.
Please visit these websites for more information:
I am indebted to Terezia Zoric for her crucial role in pension communications, and I am grateful to the UTFA Pension and SAP Negotiating Team for their dedicated service: Jody MacDonald, Marcin Peski, Kathleen Scheaffer, Harriet Sonne de Torrens, and Terezia Zoric. Without the assistance of UTFA’s pension experts—Goldblatt Partners, Eckler Ltd., and Hugh Mackenzie—UTFA would not have been able to undertake the complex UPP negotiation and the accompanying education campaign, and to all of them I offer heartfelt thanks. Finally, I must warmly acknowledge Alex McKinnon, Department Leader, Research, Public Policy and Bargaining Support, for the Steelworkers. Alex and I have worked closely as a team on the UPP, and the project could not have moved forward without him.
Part-Time Appointments Policy
The U of T’s appointed part-time faculty cohort might be unique in the country. At other postsecondary institutions, part-timers are paid per course. At U of T, part-time faculty hold renewable contract appointments, and they are salaried. Their FTEs are below 76%. Those at sufficiently high FTEs are eligible for merit pay and sabbaticals. Several years ago, UTFA identified the need for thorough revision of the outdated policy that covers part-time appointments. It may be found here.
I am currently UTFA’s lead in negotiations with the University administration on this policy. Part-time faculty comprise two main groups. One group, labelled “non-tenure part-time,” for want of a better title, number approximately 130 and hold rank titles indistinguishable from those of their colleagues in the tenure stream. Some, appointed over twenty years ago, have progressed through the ranks to full professor—without tenure or security. A second, larger group of part-time faculty (approximately 220) are in the teaching stream. Their title is Lecturer. We are pursuing greater security for appointed part-time faculty, and we would like to see part-timers in the teaching stream hold the same professorial titles as those who are full-time. Through surveys and through discussions with part-time faculty, we have discovered serious workload and salary issues. To a person, the members of this stream work well beyond their contracts. Their salaries are suppressed for two main reasons: teaching stream faculty, and especially those on precarious contracts, are not encouraged to negotiate their starting salaries, and part-time faculty are not fairly compensated through merit increases.
For a variety of reasons, just over 50 tenured faculty have dropped to part-time. UTFA and the Administration are also looking at the parts of the part-time policy that govern these appointments.
I wish to acknowledge the excellent support and sound judgment of the Part-Time Policy Negotiating Team: Michael Attridge, Kass Banning, Claude Evans, and Brian McDonagh. Our team is fortunate to have the legal help of UTFA counsel Heather Diggle and Emma Phillips of Goldblatt Partners.
Merit Pay “policy”
Merit pay or PTR (progress through the ranks) “policy” resides in the form of provostial instructions in an online manual used by academic administrators. Judging from cases UTFA has dealt with in the grievance portfolio, it would appear that not all unit heads read or follow these instructions on how to assess and distribute merit pay. In addition, some of the instructions are highly problematic. Those members who are cross-appointed, or who are part-time, or who are librarians are particularly disadvantaged by the weaknesses and lack of clarity in the PTR instructions. Last year, with the input of members of UTFA’s Executive and Council and the assistance of legal counsel, I drafted language that would clarify, strengthen, and improve those instructions from the perspective of our members. UTFA circulated this draft to members in the form of a survey, and the response was positive. UTFA is negotiating changes to the merit pay instructions at the salaries/benefits table. We are not attempting to overhaul the merit pay system, even though many of our members are deeply unhappy with it. The redesign of merit pay is a worthy, years-long project that UTFA should certainly undertake in the future.
We hope to make progress on the current merit pay instructions at upcoming mediation sessions in early January. I would like to thank Terezia Zoric, Helen Nowak, Emma Phillips, and Heather Diggle for their excellent work on this file.
Greetings from the grievance portfolio!
We have been having a very busy year. The demand for our core work of advising faculty members and librarians on matters related to their employment continues to be at a historic high, and grievance staff and I have been working hard to assist our members. In addition to this work, we have been intensely involved in salaries, benefits, pensions, and workload bargaining, cross-committee collaborations, and complex policy negotiations as set out below.
Gender Salary Gap
Led by me and Cynthia Messenger, since 2016 UTFA’s staff and consultants have devoted substantial time and attention to investigating the gender salary gap at the University of Toronto. This work has included a rigorous and comprehensive statistical analysis, a half-dozen focus group meetings, and detailed qualitative research. UTFA has found evidence of a persistent, systemic, and significant gender salary gap that affects our members, and has filed a draft Association grievance (i.e., policy grievance) as the first step in seeking redress. The grievance seeks to go beyond what was done at most other Canadian Universities (one-time payments) and aims to put in place a process designed to actually remedy the root causes of the gender salary gap. In December 2018 and January 2019, the grievance will go to mediation before William Kaplan.
Throughout 2018, Cynthia and I have worked closely with the grievance portfolio to compile qualitative research and produce a 57-page brief in support of this mediation. In preparing this brief, UTFA identified the four determinants of faculty and librarian salaries at the University of Toronto:
- the negotiation of starting salaries
- annual Progress-Through-the-Ranks (PTR) increments
- the negotiation of market-retention salary increases
- across-the-board (ATB) salary adjustments
UTFA’s analysis showed that each of these factors contributes to gender bias in salary determination. UTFA also found that rank is correlated with higher salaries and is also a highly gendered variable. Further, UTFA discovered that precarious positions (e.g., part-time and CLTA appointments) are gendered, and that conventional measures commonly used in the assessment of merit (e.g., outside offers, citation counts) are tainted by discriminatory bias. UTFA also determined that a phenomenon called labour segregation lowers salaries in female-dominated units and in units that do “women’s work,” and found evidence that there is also likely to be a significant salary gap for members of other equity-seeking groups.
Salary equity is close to the hearts of many in the UTFA membership and leadership. I’m working closely with Keith Adamson (Chair, Membership Committee), Roy Gillis (Vice-President, University and External Affairs), and Azita Taleghani (Chair, Equity Committee) and our respective committee members to plan and conduct an ambitious, multi-faceted outreach campaign to support UTFA’s grievance on this important issue.
Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs)
In June, William Kaplan released his arbitration ruling on the use of SETs at Ryerson University. In that dispute, Mr. Kaplan was asked to decide whether and to what extent SETs should be used in employment-related decisions, such as promotion and tenure. Extensive expert reports were presented by the Ryerson Faculty Association and went largely undisputed by the University administration. Mr. Kaplan concluded, “Insofar as assessing teaching effectiveness is concerned—especially in the context of tenure and promotion—SETs are imperfect at best and downright biased and unreliable at worst.” He also censured the practice of reducing SETs to averages: “The evidence is clear, cogent and compelling that averages establish nothing relevant or useful about teaching effectiveness. Averages are blunt, easily distorted (by bias) and inordinately affected by outlier/extreme responses.” Given this ruling, UTFA has taken steps to evaluate the questions posed to students in course questionnaires and the way the results are used. Watch for updates on this issue in the coming months.
Mr. Kaplan’s decision is especially timely given the analysis that the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) has been conducting of the use of SETs, also referred to as Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching (SQCTs), over the last two years. It has been gratifying for me to bring my own expertise to this important project as the human rights expert on this working group, whose report will soon be publicly available. In the interim, please see OCUFA’s briefing note on this subject.
Divisional Guidelines for the Assessment of Effectiveness of Teaching
During the 2017–2018 academic year, numerous academic units made amendments to their divisional guidelines for assessing teaching effectiveness, which were subsequently approved by Governing Council. These amendments flow from negotiated changes to the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments (PPAA) and from the introduction of the newly negotiated Policy and Procedures Governing Promotion in the Teaching Stream. An ad hoc committee of the UTFA Executive, spearheaded by Kass Banning (Chair, Teaching Stream Committee), along with grievance staff, has been studying these amended documents to ensure they remain consistent with the negotiated criteria for promotion, tenure, and continuing status reviews. Our analysis has revealed that the language in these documents often changes the negotiated criteria, creates confusing standards, and elevates the bar for teaching in the tenure, continuing status, and promotion reviews. UTFA intends to engage with the Administration and may possibly file an Association grievance to address these concerns.
Working with me on the ad hoc committee for this initiative are Executive members Kass Banning (Chair, Teaching Stream Committee), Claude Evans (Chair, Appointments Committee), and Cynthia Messenger (President). In the current academic year, UTFA expects a number of additional units to amend their divisional guidelines. If your unit’s divisional guidelines are being amended, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that UTFA can ensure they accurately reflect negotiated policy.
Transparency around Asbestos
In late 2016, an asbestos removal project began in the Medical Sciences Building. There was at least one serious containment failure, which released asbestos-containing dust and debris outside the containment area. The grievance portfolio provided advice to at least thirty different members with health and safety concerns. UTFA also filed a group grievance relating to this situation, seeking the establishment of a joint task force to examine asbestos-related issues at the University, the retention of a mutually agreed upon environmental consultant to advise regarding the appropriate testing methodology for asbestos, and other remedies. The University of Toronto’s Health and Safety Policy requires that “where reasonable, the University will strive to exceed the legislated requirements by adopting the best practices available to protect the University community and to promote a positive health and safety culture.” In light of recent studies on the risks of asbestos, the Netherlands recently revised its legislation to require that asbestos exposure be limited to a level that is significantly lower than the standard being used by the University administration. UTFA has called upon the Administration to be a leader on health and safety by holding itself—as University policy requires—to a higher standard than the one it is currently using. The grievance will be heard by the Grievance Review Panel beginning in September 2019.
In March 2018, as UTFA’s representative, I made oral submissions before the University’s Asbestos Review Panel. UTFA expects the Panel to release its report in the fall. For more information about UTFA’s work on asbestos, please visit our website.
Workload Policy Improvements
I am leading negotiations for changes to the Workload Policies and Procedures (WLPP), and have worked closely with UTFA Council and its committees in drafting the language that UTFA proposed in SBPW bargaining. In response to members’ concerns, our proposals strive to improve collegiality, equity, and transparency, both in the creation/revision of unit workload policies and in how they are applied to individual members. Some progress has been made, but UTFA and the Administration have not yet reached an agreement and will continue mediated discussions in early 2019. If no agreement can be reached, the issues will be resolved through a binding order from the arbitrator.
Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
As you may know, in the fall of 2016 the Administration introduced its Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Although UTFA was consulted prior to the introduction of the policy, some of our concerns remained unaddressed (see UTFA's letter to the Vice-President and Provost). UTFA therefore suggested that the Administration enter into a Letter of Understanding that would clarify some of the rights and obligations of the parties and would be applicable only to faculty and librarians. I am the lead negotiator for the LOU. While significant progress has been made, this issue remains outstanding in the expanded bargaining process and may be discussed in facilitated bargaining in early 2019. If UTFA and the Administration can’t come to an agreement, the issues will be referred to a facilitator/fact finder. Many thanks to Roy Gillis (Vice-President, University & External Affairs) for his assistance negotiating this issue, as well as Azita Taleghani (Chair, Equity Committee) and Matthew Allen (Member-at-Large) for their willingness to join our team.
Members who need assistance with matters related to their employment can contact UTFA confidentially at email@example.com.
Best wishes for the remainder of 2018! I look forward to updating you again soon.
I hope the 2018–2019 academic year has been treating and continues to treat you kindly. Below you will find information and links to keep you up to date with the recent Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload (SBPW) settlements, ongoing negotiations, and future working groups.
Health Care Spending Account
Out of the 2014–2017 SBPW settlement, since July 1, 2017, each UTFA member has had a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) that can be used to cover medical expenses that are beyond what our plan provides. It can also be applied toward the employee portion of health care premiums in the U of T plan. Any unused HCSA funds from the previous year will be carried forward for a maximum of one year. More information on the HCSA can be found here.
Recent Salary and Benefit Settlement
This past spring we reached a two-year settlement with the University administration. This settlement includes wage increases of 1.9% this year and 2% in 2019–2020. In addition to wage increases, significant benefit improvements were secured. The following benefits had allowances or percentages increased: paramedical; vision; audio; dental; staffing at Senior College; maternity/parental/adoption leave; continuous glucose monitoring devices; and psychologist and mental health. The psychologist and mental health benefit was not only increased by 50%, but also expanded to cover MSWs and psychotherapists as mental health providers. We were successful in establishing a paid gender affirmation leave, and in obtaining an increase in the number of annual Days for Librarians from 10 days to 12 days starting July 1, 2018, and 14 starting July 1, 2019. (When these were last increased, on August 8, 2007, they were called “Research and Study Days.”) For full details please review the settlement.
Although the monetary portion of the 2018–2020 SBPW negotiations was settled in the spring, other items on the table remain outstanding. These relate to improvements to the PTR Guidelines (see the report of the President), the Workload Policy and Procedures (WLPP; see the report of the Vice-President, Grievances), and clarifying the salary anomaly process. Under the traditional mediation/arbitration framework, if any of these issues remain unresolved after mediation in early 2019, a binding decision will be made by the arbitrator.
The 2018–2020 round of policy negotiations marks the first time that the Memorandum of Agreement, Article 6, Facilitation/Fact Finding (Sections 29–39), is being used for negotiating policy issues. UTFA has proposed changes to the Policies for Librarians and the Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions of Part-Time Academic Staff (see the report of the President), and is negotiating a new Letter of Understanding regarding the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (see the report of the Vice-President, Grievances). Discussions on the policies affecting librarians, part-time faculty, and sexual violence were each assigned to a side table, where a small group from each side negotiates separately from the main SBPW bargaining table. The proposals will continue to be discussed through to the beginning of 2019, and possibly beyond. If the issues remain unresolved, they can be referred to facilitation and fact finding, and if that does not achieve a resolution, the fact-finder produces a public report with non-binding recommendations.
Policies for Librarians
As the chief negotiator for the Policies for Librarians, I am pleased to relay that since January 2018 UTFA has met with the Administration several times. UTFA and the Administration are working hard to find common ground for how to modernize these policies, which have not been updated since they were established in 1978. The modernization of these policies has the power to illustrate the University’s acknowledgement of academic librarians’ rich history, impactful present, and imperative future here at the University of Toronto.
The 2018–2020 settlement asserts several commitments by UTFA and the Administration to work together on issues of importance to the membership. One of these issues concerns the Child Care Benefit Plan. UTFA and the Administration agreed to discuss streamlining the documentation (receipts, etc.) that members must submit for reimbursement of eligible child care expenses. These discussions will begin in the near future. Another issue is the Faculty & Staff Housing Loan Program. UTFA and the Administration will convene a small group to review this program after the mediation/arbitration process is over. We expect discussions on this issue to start in the new year.
Additionally, the administration has agreed to a small group meeting with UTFA in the new year to discuss privacy language.
Consultations with Members
To ensure that UTFA’s positions in the next round of SBPW negotiations represent our members’ priorities, we will be conducting a salary, benefits, and workload survey this academic year. Additionally, I will be holding drop-in sessions on each campus to give you many opportunities to share your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns. The aggregation of UTFA member input will inform and strengthen our proposals when we next go to the table.
I look forward to connecting with you.
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload
In keeping with my election promises to work on the priority areas of the Tri-Campus Review, academic freedom and free speech, precarious employment, and university governance, I offer a brief overview of some of my activities since I assumed the position of Vice-President, University and External Affairs in July 2018.
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)
As a voting member of the boards of directors of OCUFA and CAUT, I represent the interests of UTFA members in matters of concern for faculty and librarians across the province and country. In September I attended the OCUFA Equity Training Workshop and in November I took part in the OCUFA University Finance Workshop, where participants grappled with issues of university financial sustainability and provincial funding. I also participated in OCUFA’s Advocacy Day 2018 at Queen’s Park. In February, I intend to participate in CAUT’s 2019 Harry Crowe Foundation conference, “Free Speech on Campus.”
CAUT Parliament Hill Day, New Activist Workshop, and Council Meeting
On November 22–25 I attended CAUT’s annual lobbying day on Parliament Hill, its New Activist Workshop, and its Council meeting.
OCUFA Executive Director
On September 21, 2018, OCUFA announced that a new Executive Director had been hired to replace Mark Rosenfeld. Michael Conlon will step into his new position on January 1, 2019, after four years as Executive Director of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC).
Advocacy on Behalf of Precarious and Contract Workers and Low Wage Earners
I have been an active participant in union meetings, demonstrations, and protest rallies organized by Fight for 15 and Fairness across Toronto in opposition to Bill 47. UTFA continues to advocate for fair wages and job security.
In March 2018, Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr announced the commencement of the Tri-Campus Review: “One University, Three Campuses”, which endeavours to better understand the relationships among the three university campuses in order to facilitate academic and strategic planning activities. The five pillars guiding the review are Academic Planning and Academic Change, Graduate Units, Student Services, Administrative Structure, and Budget Relationships.
During the summer of 2018, an online questionnaire was distributed as part of the consultation process. Only one academic administrator per unit was invited to provide their thoughts about academic planning decisions, to “create a shared foundation of knowledge and data for the remainder of the consultation process.” UTFA raised several concerns regarding this process, including the failure to canvass a broad range of opinions. UTFA was successful in having the survey opened to participation by all faculty and librarians and having it remain open until November 30, 2018. We hope that you took the opportunity to contribute your thoughts and experiences to this critical consultation. UTFA will continue to monitor developments and inform members.
OCUFA Statement on Government-Mandated Free Speech Policies
On August 30, 2018, Premier Doug Ford warned universities and colleges in Ontario that they will face funding cuts if they fail to adopt free speech policies that defend controversial speakers on campus. In response, OCUFA released the Ontario Universities and Colleges Coalition’s “Statement on government-mandated free speech policies.” This statement encourages the Ontario Government to reconsider its directive, withdraw its prescribed disciplinary measures and threatened funding cuts, respect the autonomy of Ontario’s universities and colleges, and support the speech rights of students, staff, and faculty.
U of T Survey on Housing Needs
A survey on housing needs for faculty and librarians was distributed this fall by the Office of the Vice-President, University Operations. UTFA has been advocating for more affordable housing for its members and will be following this issue closely.
J. Roy Gillis
Vice-President, University and External Affairs
Since the summer months, with Kass Banning, Chair, Teaching Stream Committee and UTFA in-house lawyers, I have continued to review the divisional guidelines for the assessment of effectiveness in teaching in promotion, continuing status, and tenure decisions that were put in place during the academic year 2017–18.
I have also continued to serve on the UTFA team negotiating with the Administration with the aim of finding equitable solutions to the problems caused by the out-of-date Policy and Procedures on Employment Conditions of Part-time Academic Staff. The more than 300 UTFA members who have part-time employment suffer hardships because of their precarious status and its consequences in an academic setting, and so improving their situation is very much a priority.
As the May 2018 conference Part-time Appointments at the University of Toronto: Challenges and Strengths was well received and well attended, I have now organized a follow-up 2019 UTFA-sponsored conference. Challenges and Strengths II: Showcasing the Contributions of Part-Timers at the University of Toronto will take place on March 8, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and March 9, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
On Friday, March 8, the keynote speaker will be Karen Foster, who was the lead on the 2017 CAUT national survey on the experiences of contract academic staff and, with Louise Birdsell Bauer, co-authored the recently published report titled Out of the Shadows: Experiences of Contract Academic Staff. Professor Foster currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Rural Futures for Atlantic Canada at Dalhousie University. Her topic will be Class Struggle: Putting Contract Academic Staff in Political Economic Context. Cynthia Messenger, UTFA President, will speak on Negotiating Change for Part-Time Appointed Faculty, and Kristin Cavoukian, Vice-Chair of CUPE 3902, Unit 3, will present on Overcoming the Dignity Deficit: Collective Bargaining for Contract Academic Faculty. A reception at the Faculty Club will follow from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
The conference on Saturday, March 9, will provide an opportunity to part-time faculty and librarians from the three campuses of the University of Toronto to share with and learn from their colleagues in a genial, collegial atmosphere. A call for papers has been issued.
In addition, I am the lead organizer for a workshop to be given by Dr. Amy D’Aprix on Thursday, January 24, 2019, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., in the Main Dining Room of the Faculty Club, on Aging Well: Things to Think about, Plan for, and Talk about to Maximize Your Quality of Life. Amy D’Aprix, MSW, PhD, CPCA, comes from an academic background and is an expert on lifestyle issues relating to caregiving, retirement, aging, and family dynamics. The workshop will be followed by a reception, also at the Faculty Club.
The Appointments Committee met on September 28 and November 2. The November meeting focused on both cross-appointment and part-time appointment issues at the University of Toronto. The Aging Well (January 24) and Challenges and Strengths II (March 8–9) events were also discussed.
Chair, Appointments Committee
Thank you to those who have stepped forward to join the UTFA Librarians Committee. We encourage other members of our community to join the committee and, in fact, any of the other UTFA committees. Please contact the UTFA office to join. Participation is open to all UTFA members. We have a busy year ahead! UTFA and the Administration are currently in negotiations to modernize the Policies for Librarians. For an update on these negotiations, details of the increase in the number of days for librarians to engage in research and study, and a review of the 2018 salary and benefit settlement, see the report of the Vice-President, Salaries, Benefits, Pensions and Workload. The Librarians Committee will be doing lots of outreach in the coming year to ensure that we hear your concerns. Do join us for the coming pension meetings organized specifically for librarians. For those who are new or who have questions about our policies or practices, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Harriet Sonne de Torrens
Chair, Librarians Committee
I was very excited to begin my first term as Chair of the Membership Committee in July 2018. During the fall term, the committee has been working closely with the Vice-President, Grievances, Vice-President, University and External Affairs, Chair of the Equity Committee, and in-house counsel to develop an outreach campaign to support UTFA’s gender salary Association grievance. This campaign will focus on the following objectives:
- To inform UTFA’s members about the steps UTFA is taking with respect to the gender salary gap
- To hear and collect stories from UTFA members regarding their experience of inequity in their professional lives
- To raise awareness among UTFA’s members about the factors underlying gender salary inequities
The campaign will make use of several tactics, including print media, focus groups, a survey, and town hall meetings. Please keep your eyes out for opportunities to get involved.
I look forward to connecting with members as much as possible throughout this year.
Chair, Membership Committee
A resoundingly successful promotion workshop for the teaching stream was held on Thursday, April 19, 2018. The steps for promotion to various levels were set out and clarified, with mention of the new rank of full professor, the interim review process, and advancement to continuing status. A social event followed, allowing seasoned teaching stream faculty to mingle informally with junior colleagues to exchange strategies for success. Those assembled congratulated Teaching Stream Committee member Judith Poë on her upcoming promotion to Professor, Teaching Stream.
Throughout the spring and summer months I continued to work with in-house counsel Helen Nowak to review newly released divisional guidelines for the assessment of effectiveness in teaching, approved by the University administration. An ad hoc committee of Executive members, including Terezia Zoric, Cynthia Messenger, and Claude Evans, helped undertake a systematic comparison of individual divisions’ guidelines in relation to the Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments, the Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions, and the Policy and Procedures Governing Promotions in the Teaching Stream. Our analysis revealed that new divisional guidelines for both the tenure stream and the teaching stream diverged from negotiated policy. Discrepancies were detected that could jeopardize promotional outcomes, across streams. Other areas of concern were also identified: changes and incongruities in criteria; misrepresentation of newly negotiated policy language; the introduction of tables including criteria that do not exist in policy; the invention of new language and standards for promotion; and more sharply defined performance-based metrics in general. While some departures from extant policy are consistent across divisions, others are division specific. An Association grievance is being prepared on the basis of these findings.
Apart from my work as chair of the Teaching Stream Committee, I secured Professor Paul Gilroy to deliver this year’s C.B. Macpherson Lecture. With the help of UTFA staff, I organized the October 30 event over the summer. I’m happy to report that the lecture, titled “Anti-Racism and Planetary Humanism,” met with great acclaim.
I continue to serve on the bargaining committee to advance the cause of part-time teaching stream members, in addition to serving on UTFA’s University and External Affairs, Membership, and Grievance Committees.
The Teaching Stream Committee met on October 19. The members deemed the informal socializing that followed last April’s promotion workshop hugely successful, fostering community among members of this sector of faculty. The committee recommended that a similar model be adopted for this year’s iteration of the workshop, to be held on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
Mapping future objectives, committee members once again voiced concern about a number of unfair practices affecting teaching stream faculty. One such practice pertains to inequities of opportunities to obtain funding for research, whether pedagogical or discipline based. This discriminatory practice could impede advancement for teaching stream members, especially since policy now acknowledges discipline-based research. A subcommittee was therefore struck to investigate and report on the specific challenges teaching stream faculty have faced in applying for—let alone securing— research funds outside the realm of extant, insufficiently funded and narrowly conceived, pedagogical grants. Serving with me on the subcommittee are Matthew Allen, Teresa Kramarz, Yigal Nizri, Scott Rayter, and David Roberts. Some committee members contend that the continuing discrepancy between the two streams in this regard could be a sign of lag: the Administration has not yet implemented the support that would help career benchmarks that are outlined in the new policy to be achieved. The subcommittee will continue its work throughout this year and hopes to present a report by April 2019.
I would like to recognize two teaching stream faculty members who have been named outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Congratulations to Michelle Craig (Computer Science) and Fiona Rawle (Biology, UTM), both of whom hold the rank of Associate Professor, Teaching Stream.
Lastly, I’m delighted to announce the first cohort of promotions, last spring, to the new rank of Professor, Teaching Stream. Hearty felicitations to Professors Bonnie Burstow (OISE), Mark Evans (OISE, retired), Barbara Murck (Geography, UTM), Judith Poë (Chemical and Physical Sciences, UTM), and Irene Wiecek (Management, UTM) for achieving this milestone!
Chair, Teaching Stream Committee
Aging Well: Things to think about, plan for, and talk about to maximize your quality of life
With Dr. Amy S. D’Aprix, MSW, PhD, CPCA, Life Transition Expert
Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 3:00pm to 7:00pm
University of Toronto Faculty Club
Challenges and Strengths II: Showcasing the Contributions of Part-Timers at the University of Toronto
A two day event: March 8 and 9, 2019
Annual General Meeting
Monday, April 8, 2018, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., to be followed by a reception
Watch for dates to be announced for our annual workshops on tenure and on continuing status in the teaching stream, in the weeks following the AGM
Child Care Benefit
Applications will be opened by the Administration on January 21 and will close in mid-March.
Health Care Spending Account
Any 2017-2018 funds not used by June 30, 2019, will be forfeited