CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

C-sections cost over 60% more than vaginal births

Nearly one in four Canadian babies delivered by C‑section in 2002–2003 April 26, 2006—Hospitals typically spend over 60% more to care for a mother who has a caesarean section birth than they do for a mother who has a vaginal delivery, according to a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). In 2002–2003, average hospital costs ranged from about $2,800 for vaginal deliveries to $4,600 for C-sections and $7,700 for major procedures, such as hysterectomies and surgical repairs following delivery. Canada’s C‑section rate was 24% in 2002–2003, up from 17% in 1992–1993. “While many more women have vaginal deliveries than have C-sections in Canada, the mix is shifting over time,” says Jennifer Zelmer, Vice-President of Research and Analysis at CIHI. “Changes in birthing practices clearly have important implications for mothers, their babies and their care providers. This report shows that these trends may also affect how much hospitals spend on obstetrical care.” Giving Birth in Canada: The Costs, the final report in CIHI’s three-part series on having a baby in Canada, also shows that about one of every ten dollars that hospitals spend on care for patients with overnight stays goes toward childbirth and newborn care. Hospitals outside Quebec and rural Manitoba (for which comparable data are not available) spent about $821 million on pregnancy and delivery stays in 2002–2003 (6% of total inpatient spending) and $361 million on newborn care (4% of total inpatient spending). These totals do not include most professional fees paid to physicians or midwives through government insurance plans. Spending on hospital care for newborns Hospital costs for newborn care tend to vary depending on the baby’s health and the care required. Relatively few babies weighing less than 750 grams (about a pound and a half) are born each year (less than 0.1% of hospital births, outside of Quebec and rural Manitoba in 2002–2003). However, these infants stayed an average of 113 days in hospital, and the hospital cost for their care was almost $118,000 on average. In contrast, about 6 in 10 newborns are delivered vaginally with a normal birth weight. These babies stayed an average of two days in hospital, and their care cost about $800 each in 2002–2003. Babies who need extra care or monitoring are sometimes cared for in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Hospitals spent $9,700 on average to care for babies admitted to NICUs in 2002–2003 (based on data from 27 hospitals). About 13.6% of babies were admitted to a NICU in that year, up from 12.6% in 1994–1995 (excludes those from Quebec and rural Manitoba). “Newborns are more likely to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit than in the past,” says Dr. Jan Christilaw, an obstetrician/gynecologist at British Columbia’s Women’s Hospital and Health Centre and a member of the report’s Expert Advisory Panel. “In some cases, preventive or early intervention strategies before and during pregnancy may reduce the need for this type of care.” - MORE - Variations in funding across Canada All provincial and territorial health insurance plans cover medically necessary hospital and medical care during pregnancy and childbirth, although in some cases mothers and their babies may need to travel for care. Public funding of other services varies across the country, sometimes even within a province or territory. For example, coverage for expanded prenatal screening for inherited disorders and for in-vitro fertilization differs between jurisdictions. Likewise, midwifery services are publicly funded in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Some other provinces regulate midwifery, but families have to pay for the services out-of-pocket. In Alberta, where midwifery services are not usually publicly covered, typical costs are about $2,500 for such services. According to Statistics Canada, midwives provided care for 3% of mothers with children aged 0 to 11 months across Canada in 2000–2001. More report findings
  • Women are spending less time in hospital when giving birth than they did 20 years ago. In 1984–1985, the average length of stay for all deliveries was over five days. This dropped to three days in 1994–1995. More recently, this trend has stabilized somewhat. The average length of stay in 2003–2004 was about two days for vaginal births and four days for C-sections.
  • Physicians provide the majority of obstetrical services in Canada. In 2002–2003, physicians received $154 million from government fee-for-service payment plans for obstetrical services (excluding therapeutic abortions), about 1.3% of government payments for all physician services. Vaginal births accounted for 78% of such fee-for-service payments to family physicians and general practitioners who provide obstetrical care, and 58% of payments to obstetricians/gynecologists.

About CIHI: The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly available. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a common approach to Canadian health information.

CIHI’s goal: to provide timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI’s data and reports inform health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health.

Providing Workplace Injury Information to Union Does Not Violate Federal Privacy Law, Board Rules

The Facts:
When the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents (PIPED) Act became applicable in 2004 to the provincially-regulated private sector in provinces that have not enacted their own substantially similar legislation, Ontario employer E.S. Fox Ltd. stopped giving the union representing its employees written notice of workplace accidents as required under the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company's position was that to do so would be a violation of the federal law. The union complained to the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the employer’s failure to provide the required information was in breach of the provincial law.

Section 52(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act provides that “[i]f a person is disabled from performing his or her usual work or requires medical attention because of an accident, explosion or fire at a workplace, but no person dies or is critically injured because of the occurrence, the employer shall, within four days of the occurrence, give written notice of the occurrence containing the prescribed information and particulars to … [the health and safety] committee, the health and safety representative and the trade union, if any…” Ontario Regulation 213/91 prescribes that a notice under s.52(1) of the Act shall set out the name, address and type of business of the employer; the nature and circumstances of the occurrence and the bodily injury or illness sustained by the worker; a description of the machinery or equipment involved; the time and place of the occurrence; the name and address of the worker involved; the names and addresses of all witnesses to the occurrence; the name and address of any legally qualified medical practitioner by whom the worker was or is being attended for the injury or illness; the name and address of each medical facility, if any, where the worker was or is being attended for the injury or illness; and the steps taken to prevent a recurrence.

At the same time, however, s.4.3 of Schedule 1 of the federal PIPED Act provides that “[t]he knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate.” Section 2(1) of the provides that “'personal information' means information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of any employee of an organization.”

Section 4(1) of the PIPED Act provides that “[t]his Part applies to every organization in respect of personal information that (a) the organization collects, uses or discloses in the course of commercial activities…” The Act defines “commercial activity” as “any particular transaction, act or conduct or any course of conduct that is of a commercial character, including the selling, bartering or leasing of donor, membership or other fundraising lists.” Finally, s.7(3) provides that “an organization may disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual only if disclosure is…(i) required by law”.

The Arguments:
The employer argued that, when it obtained the information required by s.52(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, it was collecting information in the course of a commercial activity within the meaning of s.4(1)(a) of the PIPED Act, and therefore it was prohibited under the federal law from disclosing this information to the union without the consent of the individual employee involved.

The employer contended that, if the union wanted the information contemplated by section 52(1), it could either obtain the worker’s consent to permit the company to release this information or else obtain the information directly from the worker. It maintained that it could not itself seek a worker’s consent to release information to the union because this could constitute interference by the employer in the affairs of the union.

The union replied that personal information can be disclosed without consent under the PIPED Act when the disclosure is required by law, as it was in this case by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The union also argued that, if a worker’s consent was required in order for the company to disclose the information that it was required under s.52(1) to provide, then the provincial law clearly placed the onus on the employer, not the union, to obtain that consent, because it was the employer that was legally obliged to provide the information to the union.

The Decision:
Board Vice-Chair Susan Serena ruled on behalf of a three-member panel that the PIPED Act did not preclude or exempt the company from providing the union with the information required under s.52(1).

With respect to section 4(1)(a) of the PIPED Act, which renders the Act applicable to personal information collected, used or disclosed in the course of commercial activities, Serena held that “the collection, use or disclosure by an organization of the personal information of its employees solely for employment-related purposes cannot reasonably constitute a ‘commercial activity’ under any logical interpretation of that phrase. The mere fact that an organization carries on a commercial activity cannot, on its own, render the collection, use or disclosure of employee personal information for employment-related purposes into a commercial activity.” Therefore, Serena held, the employee information that the employer collected with regard to workplace occurrences related to health and safety was employment-related information that was not subject to the PIPED Act.

Even if this interpretation were incorrect, Serena also determined, “[t]here can be no dispute that subsection 52(1) of the [Occupational Health and Safety] Act specifically directs the company to disclose the information at issue to the union.” Since s.7(3)(i) of the PIPED Act permits disclosure of personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual where the disclosure is “required by law,” Vice-Chair Serena held on behalf of the Board that the employer clearly was obliged to provide the information at issue to the union in compliance with the provincial legislation.

John Illingworth: Section 4(1)(b) of the PIPED Act in fact distinguishes personal employee information from other information collected in the course of a commercial activity, stating: “This Part applies to every organization in respect of personal information that … (b) is about an employee of the organization and that the organization collects, uses or discloses in connection with the operation of a federal work, undertaking or business.” However, because s.4(1)(b) expressly limits the applicability of Part I, in respect of employee information, to federally regulated workplaces, personal employee information collected, used or disclosed by a provincially regulated employer is not subject to the requirements of the PIPED Act

As the Ontario Labour Relations Board stated: “The mere fact that an organization carries on a commercial activity cannot, on its own, render the collection, use or disclosure of employee personal information for employment-related purposes into a commercial activity. Furthermore, if subsection 4(1)(a) of PIPEDA is intended to include the employment-related collection, use or disclosure by an organization of the personal information of its employees, subsection 4(1)(b) of PIPEDA (under which Part 1 of PIPEDA applies to the personal information of the employees of federal works, undertakings or businesses) would be unnecessary. (See: Re: McKesson Canada and Teamsters Chemical, Energy and Allied Workers Union, Local 424, 136 L.A.C. (4th) 102, G.F. Luborsky). Therefore, assuming that the company was only collecting, using and disclosing the personal information of the employees who are the subject matter of this application for an employment-related purpose, the Board concludes that PIPEDA does not apply to this information.”

Presumably, the reason that the provisions of the PIPED Act that relate to employment information are expressly limited to federal undertakings, and are not applicable to provinces which have not enacted “substantially similar” legislation, is constitutional in nature, insofar as legislative jurisdiction over employment matters (except with respect to federally regulated industries) is vested by the Constitution in the province.

Case Name:
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers and its Local 736 v. E.S. Fox Limited

Ontario Labour Relations Board
Susan Serena, Vice-Chair, and John Tomlinson and Alan Haward, Members
January 11, 2006
[2006] O.L.R.D. No. 107 (QL)
Full Text:,736-v-ESFox.pdf

Petition to get Stephen Lewis for Nobel Peace Prize

Stephen Lewis

This is a link to a petition asking The Nobel committee to consider Canadian statesman and humanitarian Stephen Lewis for the 2007 Nobel Peace prize.

Stephen Lewis is the UN Secretary General's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He is working to obtain drugs for the treatment and prevention of this devastating disease and for financial assistance for those that are left to care for the children of those taken by it.

Stephen Lewis has visited those people. He has wept with the children that have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. He has consoled and supported the grandmothers that are attempting to rear these children. He has advocated for women's rights ... and for the rights of workers in the sex trade .. and for the provision and use of condoms ... and for medications needed for their treatment. He advocates constantly with tenderness, intelligence and a saintly zeal that is profoundly moving.

Stephen Lewis merits recognition. It would be a benefit not for him but for his cause. This well deserved recognition would put him and Africa in the media spotlight and give added visibility and vigour to this worthy campaign for change in the lives of the poor and marginalised people on the continent of Africa.

We ask the committee to seriously consider Stephen Lewis for the Nobel Peace prize in 2007.

Please sign this petition ... and share this posting with all your friends and colleagues.

Board of Governors call for nominations: Non-academic employee members

An election will be held to nominate a full-time, non-academic employee to a position on the York University Board of Governors. The term of office is two years, beginning on July 1, 2006. The election will be conducted by mailed ballot, distributed to all full-time non-academic employees at their University workplace addresses.

Nominations are invited of full-time non-academic employees who have a record of at least five years of service at the University. Nominations are now open and will close at noon on Tuesday, May 9, by which time all nominations must be received at the University Secretariat, S883 Ross Bldg., Keele campus.

To obtain a nomination form or further information about the board, the election process or eligibility, contact the University Secretariat at ext. 55012, or visit the University Secretariat Web site.

Monday, April 24, 2006

University of Miami - Staff ofn Hunger Strike

Every once in a while (actually more often than that) we get an appeal from
workers which makes you sit up and really take notice.

The hunger strike now taking place at the University of Miami, in the United
States, is one of those times.

It's all over the front page of LabourStart and has been for the last two
weeks. But it was the videos (now showing on that
really did it for me.

Janitors, housekeepers and groundkeepers at the university have been demanding
what is a simple, basic human right -- the right to join a union. Their
employer is threatening them and intimidating them, and the university is
refusing to lift a hand to support them in their struggle.

They are demanding that former Clinton administration official Donna Shalala,
who is president of the university, intervene in the dispute and tell the
company (called UNICCO) to recognize these workers' right to form a union.
Shalala is stubbornly refusing.

They have gone on a liquids-only hunger strike -- both the workers and a half
dozen university students. Civil rights leaders, politicians and labour
leaders have rallied to their cause. The workers are laying their very lives
on the line for dignity at work. Already, several have been hospitalized.

They are asking us to do two very simple things:

1. Go right now to this page --

-- and send off your message to Donna Shalala.

2. Forward on this email to everyone you know, especially students and others
at universities. Publish it on your blogs and websites. Print it out and hang
it on bulletin boards. Reproduce it in your newsletters.

Help us mobilize thousands, and then tens of thousands, to overwhelm Donna
Shalala with emails of protest in the next few hours and days.

These workers must not feel that they are alone. They have the support of the
entire international labour movement behind them. Let us show them that today,
right now.

Solidarity forever!

Thank you.

Eric Lee of Labourstart

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Injured Workers' Day - 1 June

an open letter to Premier McGuinty from:

The 23rd Annual Injured Workers’ Day is fast approaching and as preparations are made, there have been numerous requests from injured workers to have June 1st proclaimed in the legislature as Injured
Worker’s Day.

This year once again, injured workers will be in the gallery at the legislature on June 1st. While they appreciate that the whole month of June is dedicated to Seniors, they do not understand why one day of the year could not be dedicated to injured workers.

This seems like a reasonable request to us.

We are therefore requesting that you in your capacity as Premier formally proclaim June 1st as Injured Worker Day.

This will mean a lot to the injured workers we serve and their families.

ARCH Alert for April 2006

In the last issue of ARCH Alert we said that we would outline in this issue why
ARCH's experience in human rights has led us to believe that reform is
necessary. We have decided to wait for the Government's proposals before
undertaking a detailed analysis. However, we believe that a significant
contribution that ARCH Alert can make at this point is to feature the insights
and experience of Catherine Frazee on this important topic. We are very
appreciative that Ms. Frazee was willing to speak to us about human rights
issues for this special issue of ARCH Alert.

Ms. Frazee is Co-director, Ryerson RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research
and Education. She was Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights
Commission from 1989 to 1992, and a part-time Commissioner from 1985 to 1989.
As the Ryerson website states, she also is "a committed activist who has
lectured and published extensively in Canada and abroad on issues related to
disability rights, disability culture and the disability experience."
Given Ms. Frazee's experience, we felt that ARCH Alert's readers would learn a
great deal from her opinion about the important issues that need to be addressed
in any reform of the Ontario human rights system.

Federal Monitoring System Underestimates Work-Related Injury and Illness

Newswise - The current national surveillance system may miss two-thirds of the total number of occupational injuries and illnesses, suggests a study in the April Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Dr. Kenneth D. Rosenman and colleagues of Michigan State University, East Lansing, combined four data bases to identify work-related injuries and illnesses (resulting in more than 7 missed work days) occurring in Michigan from 1999 through 2001. The results were carefully matched to data from the national surveillance system for occupational injuries and illnesses, maintained by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A total of 79,400 occupational injuries and illnesses were identified by the four combined data bases. In contrast, the BLS data base estimated that approximately 30,800 injuries and illnesses occurred during the three-year study period. Thus the BLS system failed to account for 61 percent of work-related injuries and illnesses.

An additional "capture-recapture" analysis--performed to identify cases missed by the combined data bases--suggested that the true total was 868,200 injuries and illnesses. Based on this figure, 68 percent of occupational injuries and illnesses were missed by the BLS system.

The BLS data base performed somewhat better in identifying occupational injuries, as opposed to illnesses. The accuracy of estimates varied by industry--the BLS data base captured 94 percent of injuries and illnesses for agriculture, compared with 45 percent in the transportation, communications, and electrical services industries.

The BLS is responsible for compiling accurate statistics on all "disabling, serious or significant" occupational injuries and illnesses. Previous studies have suggested that the current surveillance system--which uses a sampling strategy, rather than a census approach--misses some percentage of cases. In response to a 1987 study showing an undercount of work-related deaths, the BLS instituted a census system to gather more accurate data on occupational fatalities.

"Based on the results of our analysis we estimate that the number of work-related injuries and illnesses in Michigan is three times greater than the official estimate derived from the BLS annual survey," Dr. Rosenman and colleagues report. Whereas BLS statistics suggest that work-related injuries affect 1 in 15 Michigan workers per year, the new results suggest that the true rate is closer to 1 in 5.

Several factors likely contribute to the undercount--the BLS system excludes government workers and the self-employed, and employers and employees may perceive disincentives to reporting. A census approach, like that used to monitor work-related deaths, could improve reporting of injuries and illnesses as well. The investigators conclude, "A more comprehensive surveillance system for work-related injuries and illnesses would be useful to inform decision making on the allocation of public health resources to occupational health and safety...and to prioritize, target and evaluate both public health and enforcement activity to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses."

ACOEM, an international society of more than 5,000 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.


Last year, pallbearers carried 322 Ontario workers to their graves as a direct result of workplace conditions. Another 357,555 claimed compensation for work-related diseases. Missing from the official record were an estimated 6,000 workers killed by cancer, lung disease and other ailments, all attributed to toxic substance exposures in their workplaces.

In 1988, a resolution introduced into the Ontario Legislature by the Ontario NDP, recognizing April 28 as a Provincial Day of Mourning, passed unanimously.

April 28 was declared a National Day of Mourning in 1991 by Bill C-223, An Act Respecting a Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace.

According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), commemoration activities are now held in nearly 100 countries. The Day of Mourning is now truly a global event.

April 28th allows all Canadians and people throughout the world to pay respect to those working people who have died or suffered injuries and diseases on the job. While we mourn the dead, labour and all people must dedicate themselves to fight for the living and prevent this terrible and unnecessary toll.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Quebec Bill 142 Freezes Incomes of University Workers

The collective agreements of Québec's five hundred thousand public sector
workers (health, social services, primary, secondary and college education,
and civil servants) expired in June 2003. Most unionized workers have
applied pressure tactics, including legal strikes, which in no way put the
population at risk or threatened essential services.

In December 2005, the government arbitrarily terminated negotiations and
imposed a decree, Bill 142. This law excludes from negotiation salaries,
insurance, retirement plans, and parental rights. It imposes a 2-year salary

Quebec public sector workers are asking for your support. In less than 30
seconds you can send a message to the Premier of Quebec demanding that they
be treated with respect and in accordance with international conventions
regarding trade union rights.

To send your message go to:

Supreme Court Secret Trial Banner Project

On June 13-15, the Supreme Court of Canada will be tackling some of the most important civil rights questions in years when it hears the cases of the secret trial security certificates. Many activities are planned leading up to that week and during the hearings in Ottawa. There will be a Freedom Caravan from Toronto to Ottawa, many vigils and demonstrations in Ottawa, and much more.

The Supreme Court has a large lawn which we would love to fill with messages of support from across the country, and are hoping folks can join us in encouraging schools, churches, human rights groups, union locals, and other community organizations to contribute. Especially for those unable to be in Ottawa that week, we are hoping folks can contribute through the making of simple banners (marker on bedsheet always works well!) that can be sent to us and then displayed on the lawn.

For example, a banner could read:
CAW Local 502 Says Stop Secret Trials
St John's United Church, Moncton: Free the Detainees
Stephen Harper High School: No Deportations to Torture!

If you would like to make a simple banner but are stuck for what to say, let us know and we can provide more suggestions. Please let us know by email if you plan to send along a banner (

Completed banners need to be received no later than May 31 at:

PO Box 73620, 509 St Clair. Ave. West
Toronto, ON M6C 1C0

Thanks so much!

Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada

York University Employee Pension Information Session

Employee pension information session

York University’s Pension & Benefits Office will present its fourth annual pension information session on Friday, April 21. The same presentation will be offered at two different times: 12 to 1pm and again from 1 to 2pm. The sessions will be held in the Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Bldg., on the Keele campus. All members of the York community are invited to attend the presentation.

Presenters include Terisa Ducharme, associate director, pension & benefits, Human Resources & Employee Relations Department; and Leona Fields, manager, pension fund, Finance Division. Ducharme will highlight key features and benefit calculations for the York University Pension Plan and discuss the initial pension amount calculation for the year following retirement from York. Fields will present an overview of the York University Pension Fund's investment policies, investment managers and asset mix. She will also discuss the fund's investment results and the annual fund return calculation.

Those interested in attending the fourth annual pension information session should e-mail their questions to the presenters prior to the meeting at

Monday, April 10, 2006

CUPE Local 3913 at University of Guelph

News from CUPE Local 3913

The University and the Board of Governors have ratified the Tentative Settlements reached last Friday between your Union, Local 3913, and the University of Guelph.

Our members, both Unit 1 (TAs) and Unit 2 (Sessionals) have also ratified their respective Tentative Settlements in a vote held Wednesday and Thursday.

We now have New Collective Agreements that will expire on August 31st, 2008.

Once we finalize a copy of each one, we will post it on our web site while we wait for the hard copies to be printed. Attached is the highlights as presented to the members at the special meeting.

We thank you for all your support.

Now accepting submissions: "Being at Work" Poetry

Work in the hustle and bustle of the now is central to the human experience, yet rarely do we sit back and think about how work has come to define our being.

In an attempt to explore this notion we are challenging experienced and beginner poets to submit poetry that captures their work life experiences.

We're looking for poems by people about the work they personally do or have done, paid or unpaid, blue- or white- or no-collar. And for poems about the work of looking for work, and about how our hours at work affect the rest of our lives. In an attempt to reach people from all walks of life we have organized two contests; one contest for experienced poets and another contest for everybody else.

Challenge our unique panel of judges that include Susan Eisenberg, Buzz Hargrove, Maureen Hynes, Ken Neumann and Tom Wayman. For more information on the contest click the following:

Save an 18 year old from Death

an item that we are relaying forward for your action

Nazanin, an 18 year old girl has been sentenced to death because she killed in self-defense her attackers, men who were trying to rape both Nazanin and her young niece. Her story is included in the attached petition. Please help this young woman and add your name to the petition list.

Thank you for your help.

In Solidarity,
Maureen Giuliani &
Shadi Montazer-Golic

Toiling at sweatshop U: Part-time profs are like underpaid, overworked fast food workers

An article regarding the low pay of university sessional instructors.

University of Regina cancelling classes to try to save money

from: CP Wire
Wed 05 Apr 2006

REGINA (CP) The University of Regina is hoping to make up some of an expected $1.8-million tuition revenue shortfall by cancelling classes at two of its federated colleges next year. The news did not sit well with roughly 200 students and faculty who attended a forum about how to credit hours for classes at the faith-based Campion and Luther colleges.

Fourth-year math and religious studies major Nicholas Schonhoffer is enrolled in Campion College and said he doesn't want to see the university take its financial problems out on its partners. "I'm annoyed," he said after the forum wrapped up Tuesday. "I think definitely what happened was an unfair imposition of the university on the colleges. The university made a mistake and now it's trying to fix that mistake by taking from the colleges."

Last month, Campion College voluntarily reduced the number of classes it will be offering in 2006-07, while Luther College was told by the university's registrar's office that it would see class sizes and sections reduced.

The university's financial concerns came to the forefront in 2004-05 when it recognized challenges in its budget, said Ron Byrne, associate vice-president of student affairs.

The problems stemmed in part from a 2002 tuition-sharing agreement signed by the three institutions, he said. The agreement pays Luther and Campion colleges a percentage of tuition paid to the University of Regina based on the number of students registered in their classes.

The colleges are also funded by a provincial grant that is based on how many students are taught.

Since 2002, the colleges increased their teaching credit hours to 31,000 from about 20,000, said Byrne. He added this was unanticipated by the university, which ended up having to pay more to the colleges. "We know it's financially unsustainable and we believe financial stability for all aspects of the partnership is important," he said.

But Ben Fiore, president of Campion College, said the university approved the hiring of additional professors and courses at the colleges. "It's not that we all of a sudden had this plan that we were going to take money and students," said Fiore. "It seemed to be working with whatever plan for growth the university had at the time."

Record for longest University Strike?

This may be a contender for the longest University strike.

Derek Blackadder

Let's not forget the 'other' UPEI professors

The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Wed 05 Apr 2006

During the ongoing discussions of labour negotiations at UPEI, one group of professors has been largely overlooked - sessional instructors.

Sessional instructors are the most poorly paid, the least secure, and the least supported professors at UPEI. 'Sessional' essentially means 'temporary', and sessional contracts used to be offered as stop-gap measures when unexpected needs arose. Nowadays, the university relies on sessional instructors for a significant proportion of its regular course offerings.

According to a recent UPEI document, the university assigns 313 sessional courses over the year - which is equivalent to 40-50 full-time contracts. In the English department, one of two departments in which I teach, 23 of the 52 courses listed in the timetable for the current semester are offered by sessional instructors.

Why is UPEI so addicted to sessional employment? The official buzzword is 'flexibility', but we sessional instructors know what that really means: sessional instructors are both cheap and easily exploited. Here are some facts about sessional instruction at UPEI:
  • There are currently 119 sessional instructors at UPEI - or one sessional instructor for every two full-time professors.
  • Sessional instructors are paid $3,800 for each course taught. If they teach as much as is permitted and available over a year - usually five courses - they would earn $19,000 in a year.
  • UPEI saves $1,262,000 in salaries alone and $1.6 million in salaries plus benefits by hiring poorly paid, 'temporary' sessional instructors instead of full-time faculty (at a base salary of $47,000).
  • When sessional instructors aren't actually teaching (for example, in the summer), they are not paid. Since the sessional 'stipend' covers only the term itself, if instructors wish to prepare their courses ahead of time (and of course they do!), they must do it for nothing.
  • Unlike other faculty members, sessional instructors do not have a professional development allowance to help them attend conferences and workshops and buy books that would support their teaching. Given their low pay, they perhaps have the greatest need for such help.
  • Some sessional instructors do not have offices in which to meet students and carry out their work.
  • Some sessional instructors have been teaching steadily at UPEI for more than a decade, but the university persists in regarding them as temporary workers with whom it has no ongoing relations.
  • Until the Faculty Association became a union, the university refused to allow anyone to negotiate contracts on behalf of sessional instructors.
  • The university refuses to consider sessional instructors as 'faculty' with an interest in the nature of the institution and a voice in its governance. The word 'faculty' in the current collective agreement is specifically narrowed to include only full-time teachers.
  • Because of the university's increasing use of sessional instruction, as
    enrolments have risen, the per student cost of full- time instruction has actually diminished - along with per-student government funding.
  • In recent years, UPEI has massively overspent its budget for part-time instruction - while underspending its budget for full-time instruction.

The sessional professors whom I know are hard-working, dedicated, bright, and creative. They love meeting students in their classrooms and offices, and they are stimulated and rewarded by their work in their own disciplines. They put their heart and soul into their teaching because
they believe in it - and are all the more demoralized as they see sessional teaching ever growing and never recognized, never fairly rewarded, and never adequately supported at UPEI.

I hope that Islanders will keep in mind the sessional component of university teaching as they consider the levels of public funding for UPEI.

Dr. Kay S. Diviney teaches in the Departments of English and Music at the University of Prince Edward Island.
  • (Information from various UPEI and Faculty Association sources.)

© 2006 Transcontinental Media G.P. All rights reserved.

Ontario must freeze university tuition fees

from:The Windsor Star
Fri 07 Apr 2006

Over 80 per cent of Ontarians believe tuition fees are too high, even with the current freeze. More than 90 per cent of students voted to reduce tuition fees. Yet Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has announced that tuition fees will be increasing by up to 36 per cent over the next four years.

The McGuinty government promised to provide a guarantee that no student will be prevented from attending Ontario's public colleges and universities due to lack of finances.

The five-per-cent tuition increase doesn't support that guarantee.
History proves that university enrolment declined between 1993-94 and 1998-99 when a decade of tuition fee hikes, unsurpassed since 1857, hit middle- and lower-income students whose access this system is trying to guarantee.

Although the McGuinty government promises the doubling of student financial assistance, the fact is that if tuition fees rise by even five per cent each year, then for every dollar allocated to student assistance, more than $1.30 will be clawed back through tuition increases.

In effect, students are borrowing to finance their own student aid program.

Ontario should look to Manitoba, going into its eighth consecutive year of a tuition freeze, to make post-secondary education affordable and accessible. Ontario's tuition hike is just plain wrong.

So what can we do about it? Show the government that the public is really outraged. You can make a difference.

Send a fax or e-mail to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and all members of Queen's Park to let them know that abandoning their promise to freeze tuition for at least two years will cost them your vote.

Brenda McLaughlin

Time to rethink Canadian university tuition fees

Here is an opinion from Institute for Research on Public Policy begging
for a letter to the editor--any takers?

Time to rethink Canadian university tuition fees

orginally from: The Review (Niagara Falls)
Fri 07 Apr 2006

Byline: James Ferrabee

With the first sign of spring, which coincides by chance this year with the first few weeks of a new government, the premiers wanted to grab Stephen Harper's attention when they met him recently to get him to commit more money to post-secondary education. For the premiers, pushing the cause of post-secondary education funding
ahead of health funding represents a significant policy shift. It doesn't mean their financial woes over health spending are settled. But they are signalling that it is not just the health of Canadians that is important. The health of the economy is also at stake, unless more funds are poured into post-secondary education.

Ten years ago the federal government of Jean Chretien, in its zeal to trim the deficit, chopped about $2.2 billion from post-secondary funding. The premiers want to get that funding back as a minimum, then raise the price to the $4.9 billion needed to keep the post-secondary education system running.

With the exception of a few provinces - Alberta being one - post-secondary education is alarmingly underfunded. In Quebec alone, universities estimate the annual shortfall to be $350 million. But also with few exceptions, the provinces are ducking the issue of tuition fees. The reason is the premiers don't want to alienate students
by raising fees.

In effect, provinces like Ontario and Quebec both want low tuition fees and more funding from Ottawa. In this respect, the Quebec government sets the worst example. Its secondary college system, called CEGEP, is free to all students. University fees are set at under $1,700 annually, about one-third those in Ontario. Quebec charges about $3,000 for out-of-province students. Ontario began allowing tuition fees to rise to meet costs, but in the past few years it has capped, also bowing to political pressure. The issue of tuition fees is not easily resolved, because it carries a political cost for provincial governments. But raising the fees - in Quebec for example - by $1,000 a year as a start, would bring in $250 million. And the cost to Quebec students would still be about 60 per cent of that charged to Ontario students.
Whether they are in Quebec, Nova Scotia or British Columbia, Canadian students pay anywhere from one-fifth to one-tenth the tuition American students pay in their state-subsidized universities.

For example, at the University of Vermont - one of the smallest states in the union - the tuition fee for state residents is $10,226 US. Out-of-state students are charged $23,000 US and more for room and board. At the University of Iowa, the cost of tuition for a student living in the state is about $5,500 US. An out-of-state student is charged $16,000 US. At the University of Washington, the in-state tuition is $5,600 US and for out-state students it is $18,000 US.

The tuition at private U.S. universities like Middlebury, in Vermont and Harvard is more than $30,000 US. Although the tuition fees at American universities seem harsh, state and private universities have extensive scholarship programs that cover many
students who cannot afford the cost. The wealthiest Americans also fund their universities generously. One example is the recent announcement from New York University and Columbia University that they would each receive a $200 million donation from a private foundation for specialized research programs.

The premiers are right to put post-secondary education at the top of the national agenda. They are right to try and pry more money out of the federal government for post-secondary education. And, yes, the federal government needs to replenish the funding for universities that was taken away a decade ago. But the issue of raising
tuition fees cannot be avoided, because higher tuition fees would go a long way toward solving the problem of underfunding at Canadian universities. If the provincial governments face up to the need for higher tuition fees, their arguments for getting more money out of the federal government will be very much stronger.
James Ferrabee writes a monthly column for the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Reach him at

© 2006 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Province could add to pot to help pay UPEI faculty

originally from

The Guardian (Charlottetown)

Fri 07 Apr 2006

More cash could be flowing to UPEI to help the university pay for the salary
increases for its 375 professors and librarians.

Education Minister Mildred Dover says she's prepared to consider additional funding to the university, over and above the $1.25- million increase given to UPEI in last week's budget, to help offset the salary hikes agreed to by the university.

The university agreed to pay the professors and librarians an additional 15 per cent over the next five years. The salary hikes were part of a package agreed to Wednesday that ended a 15-day-old strike.

Dover said she doesn't know how much money the university will need to cover the salary increases, but she supports the university's efforts to ensure tuition doesn't increase above traditional levels.

"Although we haven't talked about how much money we can give the university, certainly we're pleased to see the strike is over and we'll be more than willing to work with president (Wade) MacLauchlan to help him through this situation," Dover said in an interview with The Guardian.

"Now, I know we don't have an open chequebook here, but yet we will work with the president to see what we can do to make sure this situation comes to a final, total, successful conclusion."

Over the past decade, the average tuition increase has been 6.3 per cent.
The board of governors at UPEI are now working to finalize next year's budget, which will include tuition rates for the 2006-07 school year.

The UPEI president said the university is determined to keep tuition hikes in line with other years. That leaves the university with only one other source of funding - the province. "We don't see shifting a larger share of the burden to the students,"
said MacLauchlan. "What we would really aim for is to work out a multi-year funding plan and one that is on a scale that allows the university to continue to
have the success that we've had." But the UPEI president said he'd also like to see the federal government step up to the plate with more funding for post- secondary education. MacLauchlan said the final costs of the new contract are still being

The university did experience some savings by not having to pay its professors and librarians over the past two weeks. That money is going to be redirected to student recruitment and enrolment."If you take the total costs of faculty and support and other salaries today, and benefits, it's fully 73 per cent of our budget."
Students spent most of the day Thursday hitting the books and trying to
figure out their exam schedule.

Matt MacDonald, a 19-year-old arts student from Charlottetown, said he's disappointed with how much is being crammed into these final couple of days. "With returning to my morning class (Thursday) at 8:30 we were given a quick review for a test that has been rescheduled to Saturday morning at 8:30 . . . after the review we were given a wrap-up of the last four chapters that were never taught to us," he said. "We covered a mere 65 years of history in a nice 45- minute class. I really enjoyed the 45 minutes dedicated to the Second World War, the Cold War, globalism, nationalism, the Vietnam War, and several themes of the effects of Communism on Europe and several others that I couldn't even gather in the short period of time allocated to it."

Opposition Leader Robert Ghiz said the P.E.I. government has not been keeping pace with the increasing costs of post-secondary education. Quoting from a Statistics Canada report, Ghiz said in 1995-96 the province handed nearly $17,000 per student to post-secondary institution. That's now down to $7,000 per student. The Liberal leader said he's fearful tuition will increase substantially, not only because of the new contract reached with professors but because of the province's serious underfunding of UPEI and Holland College.

© 2006 Transcontinental Media G.P. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

How does a Strike Change Pensions Payments

What happens to your pension if there is a strike? UNISON [in the UK] produced this item to explain. Note that differing Pension Plans are touched differently.