Let’s Get Science Right!

(Ottawa — 21 August, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is launching a national campaign to call on the federal government to act on the recommendations of its Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science and invest in basic research.

“Canadians see the benefits of basic research every day. It saves lives, improves our understanding of the world, helps solve problems and strengthens our future, “said CAUT President James Compton. “Investing in scientific research is investing in our future.”

The Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science, chaired by David Naylor, delivered its report in April 2017. Its chief recommendation is to increase funding by 1.3 billion over four years.  The Panel noted that Canada has failed to keep pace with other countries and is losing opportunities to strengthen our knowledge and talent advantages.

 “Over the next months, CAUT will encourage the government to adopt the recommendations of the Naylor Report, including its call to increase support for basic science,” added Compton.

To get involved in the campaign, visit



CAUT disappointed with Federal Court copyright ruling against York University

(Ottawa – 12 July 2017) In a setback for balanced copyright, the Federal Court has sided with Access Copyright in a court case against York University.

The case centred on the question of whether copying practices at York were subject to an Access Copyright tariff, and whether copies made within York’s fair dealing guidelines meet the test of fair dealing under the Copyright Act.

“We are very disappointed with the decision, and believe the court erred on the application of fair dealing and the mandatory nature of the tariff,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “We hope the decision will be appealed and that we will have an opportunity to intervene.”

Robinson says fair dealing allows the use of copyright-protected works, without permission from or payment to rights holders, if the material is used for research, education and other specified purposes, and meets certain fairness standards.

“It’s important that the education community work to preserve the principle of fair dealing and the rights of users to use copyrighted material for education and research,” Robinson added.


Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers

(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530


CAUT seeks to intervene in SCC cases involving Trinity Western

(Ottawa— 29 June, 2017)  The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has filed a motion before the Supreme Court of Canada to intervene in two appeals involving Trinity Western University (TWU).

The appeals spring from cases originating in Ontario and British Columbia between the university and those provinces’ law societies, both of which have rejected TWU’s attempts to gain recognition for its Christian law school. The British Columbia Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the Law Society of British Columbia, while the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld denial of accreditation by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The appeals are expected to be heard together at the end of November this year.

An Ad hoc inquiry conducted by CAUT in 2009 concluded that parts of the university’s policy allowed for “unwarranted and unacceptable constraints on academic freedom,” and recommended that TWU be placed on a list of institutions “found to have imposed a requirement of a commitment to a particular ideology or statement as a condition of employment.”

“Universities violate academic freedom when they require academic staff to commit to a particular ideology or statement of faith as a condition of employment, and it’s on this basis that CAUT is interested in joining the cases,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson.

TWU has filed an objection to CAUT intervention while CAUT’s response states that allowing it “will provide a fresh and useful perspective” in the hearing of both appeals.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers

(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

CAUT Statement on National Aboriginal Day

(Ottawa— 21 June, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) marks National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2017 against the backdrop of the150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.

It is an appropriate moment to reflect upon both the countless contributions of Aboriginal Peoples, and also the historic wrongs committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has documented the many pressing issues still requiring attention, and its report points to the critical role education policy can play in supporting the reconciliation process.

Indigenous rights, including the right to education, are inherent rights enshrined in Treaties, the Canadian Constitution, and international agreements. CAUT is committed to restoring, renewing, and regenerating Indigenous practices, languages, and knowledge.

On this year’s National Aboriginal Day, CAUT asks governments to provide new resources to support Aboriginal students to access post-secondary education, and urges academic staff associations and universities and colleges to support Indigenizing the academy by working together to establish equitable policies and practices that involve Aboriginal Peoples and Indigenous Knowledge in all aspects of campus life.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers

(o) 613-726-5186 (c) 613-222-3530

CAUT stands by Louise Briand

(Ottawa — June 6, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) vehemently condemns the unfair and disrespectful treatment Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) faculty representative Louise Briand is being subjected to by the institution’s board of governors.

In a letter addressed to the chair of the UQO board of governors’ Governance and Ethics Committee, CAUT has highlighted the fact that the institution has a duty to respect Professor Louise Briand’s academic and political freedom as well as her freedom of expression.

In CAUT Executive Director David Robinson’s words: “We ask that you recognize the invaluable contribution of members of the board of governors from the university community as well as that of the permanent observers representing professional and support groups.”

CAUT represents over 70,000 academic staff across Canada.


Quebec Court protects researcher confidentiality

(Ottawa – June 1, 2017) A Quebec superior court judge has retracted his own ruling from last January that required a Université du Québec à Montréal professor to violate the confidentiality of research participants.

In a case in which the Canadian Association of University Teachers intervened, Justice Marc St.-Pierre ruled May 31 that the circumstances of Maillé’s promise of confidentiality met the four criteria of the “Wigmore” test for determining whether a communication is privileged.

“We are extremely pleased that the judge chose to uphold researcher-participant confidentiality,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “The decision confirms that it is in the public interest for researchers to conduct their work with a promise of anonymity to study participants.”

The case involved the work of then graduate student Marie-Ève ​​Maillé, who interviewed 93 people in 2010 about a controversial wind farm being built in the Arthabaska region of Quebec, and promised them anonymity.

After local residents launched a class action lawsuit against wind farm company Éoliennes de l'Érable Inc., Justice St.-Pierre ruled last January that Maillé, now an adjunct professor in social and public communications, must disclose the names of people who took part in her research.

Maillé requested a review of the judgment after receiving a letter indicating she could be held in contempt of court for refusing to comply.

Robinson notes that this latest judgment builds upon a 2014 case involving academic privilege and researcher-participant confidentiality, also from the Quebec Superior Court.

In that instance, CAUT funded a legal challenge on behalf of two University of Ottawa criminology professors resisting police efforts to obtain records related to a study about male escorts. One of their subjects was accused murderer Luka Magnotta.

Justice Sophie Bourque denied Montreal police access to taped interviews the professors had collected, upholding for the first time the rights of researchers to protect confidential information necessary for their academic work.


CAUT seeks release of Esmail Abdi

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Iranian leader Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei to ask for immediate release of Mr. Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association.

CAUT seeks release of Esmail Abdi

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written to Iranian leader Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei to ask for immediate release of Mr. Esmail Abdi, General Secretary of the Tehran Teacher Trade Association.

“The blatant disregard for Mr. Abdi’s rights to freedom of association, expression and the right to travel contravenes the central tenets of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a convention to which Iran is a signatory,” wrote CAUT executive director David Robinson.

Mr. Abdi was singled out for his leadership role and legitimate participation in trade union activities, apprehended on false charges and sentenced to six years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where he’s been on a hunger strike since April 30.

Mr. Abdi’s condition is reportedly deteriorating, and he is not allowed to communicate with a lawyer or family members. CAUT’s letter calls for all charges to be dropped and for his immediate release.


CAUT requests urgent return of Dr. Hassan Diab

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is dismayed that Canadian citizen and former Ottawa resident Dr. Hassan Diab remains imprisoned in France after his extradition there in 2014.

Until 2007, Diab engaged in the life of an academic, conducting research and teaching sociology at Ottawa-area universities, but was arrested by RCMP in 2008 after French authorities accused him of involvement in a 1980 terrorist bombing in Paris.

The allegations against him are based on secret unsourced evidence and what many view as deeply flawed handwriting analysis. Diab continues to deny involvement in any terrorist activity.

CAUT urges you to sign the petition calling upon the Government of Canada to work towards the immediate granting of bail for Dr. Diab and securing his urgent return to his family and home in Canada.


CAUT’s 2017-18 Executive Committee

At the 82nd Council meeting of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, delegates elected officers for the next year.

President James Compton and Vice-President Brenda Austin-Smith were re-elected. Also re-elected to another term were Peter McInnis (St. Francis Xavier), Chair of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee; John Kingma (Laval), Representative-at-large (Québec); Kelly Anne Meckling (Guelph), Representative-at-large (General); and, Kevin Kane (Alberta), Representative-at-large (General).

Four new members were elected to the Executive Committee: David Newhouse (Trent), Representative-at-large (Aboriginal); Sarika Bose (UBC), Chair of the Contract Academic Staff Committee; Pat Armstrong (York), Co-Chair of the Equity Committee; and, Blanca Navarro Pardinas (Moncton-Edmunston), Representative-at-large (Francophone).

“I’m looking forward to working with our new executive over the next year as we continue to defend academic freedom and push for better funding for post-secondary education and research, and better working conditions for all academic staff,” said CAUT President James Compton.

Below is the complete list of Executive Committee members for 2017-18.

President: James Compton – WESTERN ONTARIO (UWOFA)

Past President: Robin Vose – ST. THOMAS (FAUST)

Vice-President: Brenda Austin-Smith - MANITOBA (UMFA)

Treasurer: Yalla Sangaré - SAINTE-ANNE (APPBUSA) 

Chair, AF&T: Peter McInnis - ST. FRANCIS XAVIER (ST.FXAUT)

Chair, CBEBC: Terri Van Steinburg- KWANTLEN (FPSE)

Chair, L&A: Carla Graebner - SIMON FRASER (SFUFA)


Co-Chair, Equity: Pat Armstrong – YORK (YUFA)

Co-Chair, Equity: Wesley Crichlow - UOIT (UOITFA)

Representative-at-large (General): Kelly Meckling – GUELPH (UGFA)

Representative-at-large (General): Kevin Kane – ALBERTA (AASUA)

Representative-at-large (Aboriginal): David Newhouse – TRENT (TUFA)

Representative-at-large (Quebec): John Kingma – LAVAL (SPUL)

Representative-at-large (Francophone): Blanca Navarro Pardinas - EDMUNSTON (ABPPUM-CE)