CAUT

CAUT condemns Heritage report on copyright

(Ottawa – May 17, 2019) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is alarmed by recommendations released this week by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage regarding copyright law in Canada.

The report, though produced by a committee mandated to take into consideration the broad range of stakeholder interests — including creators, the public, educators and students — focuses entirely on the interests of big publishers and their lobby groups.

“The report puts the financial interests of publishers over the rights of students and teachers,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson.

The report makes a number of contentious and alarming recommendations, including rolling back fair dealing rights, extending copyright term, and increasing damages for infringement (even for accidental and minor, non-commercial violation of copyright), while also creating several new rights and payments for publishers.

“Restricting user rights is no way to genuinely support independent Canadian creators, and would have a significant negative impact on scholarly communications and the exchange of knowledge,” Robinson says.

He notes the report demonstrates little understanding of the legal development of fair dealing — the existence and parameters of which have been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada — and ignores the reality at Canadian schools, universities, and colleges across Canada.

“Students and schools are paying unsustainable and unfair amounts of money to publishers. Fair dealing is a necessary carve-out that allows appropriate sharing for educational purposes, yet this too is under attack,” Robinson says. “The claim that fair dealing has anything to do with publishers’ declining profits or the struggle that some creators face in making a decent living is demonstrably false. The recommendations should be rejected in favour of a more balanced and fair approach to copyright law.”

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (cell)

CAUT Statement on the 100th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike

(Ottawa – May 15, 2019) Today marks 100 years since the commencement of the Winnipeg general strike, when most of the city’s workers — about 30,000 private and public sector employees — walked off the job in an organized but unprecedented protest over dismal working conditions, low wages and the lack of a right to a collective voice.

Six weeks later it was over, but not before the federal government had ordered the arrest of eight strike leaders, and riots on June 19, “Bloody Saturday”, resulted in the deaths of two strikers and injuries for many others when mounted police rode into crowds gathered at Market Square and used clubs and guns to quell the unrest.

“The Canadian Association of University Teachers stands with other unions in Canada to honour the memory of this ground-breaking strike and of the people who fought for rights we often take for granted today,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Today, workers are facing a resurgence of anti-unionism that threatens to erode or eliminate the power of collective action which was so hard-won by those before us — a threat we must stand together to guard against, just as workers did 100 years ago, despite the precarity of their situations.”

The strike was a defining event in the history of Canada’s modern union movement and served to highlight the plight of the working class, and drive growing solidarity. It spawned the birth of the first mandated minimum wage, leading the way for unionization of workers, improvements in employment and social conditions, and ultimately to recognition by the Supreme Court of Canada of the right to strike as essential to a meaningful process of collective bargaining protected by Canada’s Constitution.

Remembering Vic Catano

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Vic Catano, who passed away on May 10, 2019. As a leading academic staff association activist, he contributed enormously to advancing college and university workplace rights. His loss will be keenly felt; his legacy will continue.

Honoured in 2009 with CAUT’s Donald C. Savage Award, Vic’s work as a chief negotiator on the Saint Mary’s University collective agreement set a standard that associations across the country, big and small, continue to incorporate and build on. Again and again, CAUT has turned to that language for use in its model clauses and bargaining advisories.

As a leader, he dedicated time and energy to serving as President of CAUT, President of Saint Mary's University Faculty Union, and countless other committee positions.

Dr. Catano was a Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. Over time he also served as a Special Lecturer at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, an Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie University, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Canadian Forces Personnel Applied Research Unit, President of the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia, President of the Canadian Society of Industrial / Organizational Psychology, and Chair of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations’ Independent Board of Examiners.

Beyond these specific achievements, Vic also leaves a record of personal warmth, compassion, and deep commitment to the cause of workplace justice. Our responsibility to his legacy is to continue his work.

CAUT Statement on the National Day of Mourning 2019

(Ottawa – April 26, 2019) This April 28, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) stands solemnly with unions and employee associations across Canada to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

It is saddening to note that the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reveal that in 2017, 951 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada, an increase of 46 from the previous year. 

Especially devastating is the fact that among these deaths were 23 young workers aged 15-24.

It is inexcusable that these types of workplace tragedies are not just continuing year-on-year, but even increasing in numbers. The trauma experienced by the friends, family members and co-workers of killed or injured workers is horrendous.

On this Day of Mourning, CAUT urges provincial and federal governments to closely examine why so few employers are held to account in meaningful ways; to invest in training for police and crown prosecutors to enforce workplace safety; and for provincial labour ministries, police forces and other involved authorities to improve collaboration so that workplace deaths can be minimized, and present and future generations of workers protected.

Budget 2019 takes small steps to improve access to post-secondary education

(Ottawa – 19 March 2019) Today’s budget makes some welcome investments in learners, but does not take the bold steps needed to ensure that all Canadians can access affordable quality post-secondary education opportunities, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“We welcome today’s investments to improve access and affordability to post-secondary education, however, we need stronger federal leadership to ensure Canada’s knowledge advantage,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “It is time for a multilateral framework on learning.”

Measures to improve access in Budget 2019 include lowering interest rates on student loans, expansion of the graduate scholarship program, and new funding streams for Inuit and Metis learners and minimal increases for First Nations students.  

Budget 2019’s signature investment in skills training for working adults improves upon existing tax and EI programs for learning, but raise similar questions in terms of their distributional impacts.

The last top-up of federal investment in core funding for colleges and universities was in Budget 2007.

CAUT represents over 72,000 academic staff working in 125 universities and colleges across Canada.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (cell)

Statement on the Terrorist Attacks in New Zealand

(OTTAWA -- 15 March, 2019) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) expresses profound grief and extends deepest condolences to the families and victims of the horrific terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We condemn in the strongest terms possible the racist ideology and hatred that motivated the attacks.

We urgently call upon our elected political leaders and officials to take immediate actions  to counter the rise of far-right extremism and hatred, and to speak out without equivocation against all those who support or promote racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.

Flying, driving pickets from across Canada show support for striking FUNSCAD members

(Ottawa – March 8, 2019) CAUT Defence Fund flying and driving pickets are in Halifax today in solidarity with members of the Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD), marking their first week on strike.

"NSCAD enjoys a significant budgetary surplus, student enrollments are up, and academic staff have taken on additional duties and workload,” said CAUT president James Compton. “Despite these facts, the Board of Governors continues to demand four more years of belt-tightening from our members at the expense of students' learning experience. It's time for the Board to do the right thing and support the core mission of the college."

"From across the country, academic staff stand united with our colleagues at FUNSCAD,” said Defence Fund president Ted Binnema. “Today, colleagues from northern British Columbia to Newfoundland, are honoured to walk the picket line with FUNSCAD members in Halifax. We will continue to support them until they get a fair deal from their employer. The wall of solidarity is strong."

Academic Staff at NSCAD have been working without a contract since June 30, 2018. FUNSCAD, which represents about 95 full and part-time faculty and librarians, started bargaining last September and went through conciliation. In January, members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike vote.

See FUNSCAD’s website for updates and to send letters of protest to the president and board of governors of NSCAD.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (cell)

 

CAUT Statement on International Women’s Day

(Ottawa — March 8, 2019) This International Women’s Day, academic staff unite with women across the country and around the world to celebrate achievements of women and the advancements that have been made towards gender equality.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) celebrates the collective gains made over the years, but we also recognize that much more needs to be done and that there are still barriers for women in the academy, particularly Indigenous women and women from equity-seeking groups.

The CAUT report Underrepresented and Underpaid: Diversity and Equity among Canada’s Post-Secondary Education Teachers highlighted some of the remaining obstacles for women academics including the fact that they are still underpaid and overrepresented in lower ranks, and in short-term contract positions.

A national survey of 2,600 contract academic staff (CAS) conducted by CAUT also found that women CAS work more hours per course per week than their male colleagues, and are more likely to be in low-income households. These issues must be addressed so that women can participate fully in the academy.

The next federal election will be in the fall. It is time for all political parties to commit to providing the policy and funding to ensure equity in our colleges and universities.

FUNSCAD on strike

FUNSCAD on strike

(Ottawa — March 1, 2019) Members of the Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD) set up picket lines this morning after negotiation with their employer reached an impasse.

“We have spent months trying to get the university to bargain productively for a fair and equitable collective agreement,” said FUNSCAD President Mathew Reichertz. “Our requests are reasonable and affordable. We want a fair and more equitable settlement that will bring our working conditions closer to parity with teaching staff and librarians at other Nova Scotian universities.”

Academic Staff at NSCAD have been working without a contract since June 30, 2018. FUNSCAD started bargaining last September and went through conciliation. In January, members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike vote.

“FUNSCAD has the full support of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and its 72,000 strong membership across the country,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “We are hopeful that a quick resolution to the strike is possible if the university administration returns to the bargaining table.”

In 2016, in order to help NSCAD deal with a difficult fiscal environment, FUNSCAD members agreed to roll over the terms of their previous contract, suspend limits on the reduction of numbers of full-time faculty, and accept wage increases well below cost of living. NSCAD is now forecasting a significant budgetary surplus and student enrollments have increased.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 72,000 academic and professional staff in 125 colleges and universities, colleges, and institutes across the country.

For more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour, Director of Communications, 613-293-1810 or dufour@caut.ca

Let’s support FUNSCAD

The Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD) is seeking your help in their efforts to avert a strike.

Bargaining began last September, but after 18 bargaining sessions and two days of conciliation, the administration has offered little to address the issues of major concern to academic staff. Consequently, FUNSCAD members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike should progress in negotiations cease.

In 2016, in order to help NSCAD deal with a difficult fiscal environment, FUNSCAD members agreed to roll over the terms of their previous contract, suspend limits on the reduction of numbers of full-time faculty, and accept wage increases well below cost of living. Today, NSCAD has posted a significant budgetary surplus, student enrollments are up, and faculty have taken on additional duties and workload. Nevertheless, the Board of Governors is continuing to demand four more years of belt-tightening from FUNSCAD members.

There is still time for the Board to act to avert a strike. You can help by taking action now. Visit their website to send a letter to NSCAD’s President and Board of Governors urging them to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.