Announcements and updates from TUFA

Greetings Colleagues,

Silence can be deceiving – TUFA and our affiliates have been working hard these past few months to ensure that the faculty voice inform institutional responses to the COVID crisis. At this point, we would like to hear from our members directly and to that end will be arranging a series of townhall meetings for the end of the month. Meantime, please note the following in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. COVID-19 and the Impact on Research – Thursday, May 21, 11:30 am to 1:00pm EDT

Our national affiliate, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), will be hosting an online forum discussion with the Tri-Council on funding measures to address the impact of the pandemic on research. To participate in the forum, please register now at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oVWAsWyNTMW-cRhs1dxcPQ.

The following Tri-Council representatives are scheduled to participate:

§ Dominique Bérubé, Vice-President, Research, SSHRC

§ Dr. Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC

§ Dr. Danika Goosney, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate, NSERC

§ Adrian Mota, Acting Associate Vice-President, Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics, CIHR

Questions for the panelists may be submitted in advance to education@caut.ca.

2. National Survey for Members on the Impact of COVID-19

The CAUT is seeking to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the working lives of staff at universities and colleges across the country. This information will be used by CAUT and member associations to inform our policy and advocacy work. To this end, CAUT has requested that local associations circulate the following link to their National survey for members on the impact of COVID-19. The survey is entirely voluntary and open to those who were working at one or more Canadian post-secondary institution (universities, colleges, and polytechnics), in March of this year. The survey consists of approximately 30 questions—some multiple-choice and some open-ended—that should take approximately 15 minutes to complete and will be open until June 8, 2020.

3. CAUT Bulletin goes online

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ monthly publication, theCAUT Bulletin, has temporarily moved to an online-only format − beginning with its April 2020 edition. The complete CAUT Bulletin is available on the CAUT website here.

4. OCUFA Policy paper on COVID-19 (attached)

Our provincial affiliate, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association (OCUFA), has prepared the attached policy paper, “COVID-19 and the academy: What will the pandemic mean for faculty associations and their members?”. Members can continue to access Academic Matters, OCUFA’s Journal of Higher Education from the OCUFA website.

5. TUFA relations with the Employer

TUFA members serving on the CAUT Executive and OCUFA Board are staying closely informed of developments across the province and country and we are reflecting this information back into our engagement with the employer. TUFA representatives to Joint Committee are now meeting with the Employer on a weekly basis to ensure that our members’ concerns and interests are fully contemplated as the University continues adapting to COVID-19. The Association has signed several agreements with the Employer to account for the impact of the pandemic. These include, the suspension of Student Experience of Teaching surveys for the winter semester, extension of certain deadlines agreed to in the 2019-2022 collective agreement, and roll-over of Professional Expense Funds and Flexible Benefit accounts where warranted. These MoA have been posted to the Agreement page on our website under the heading “Covid-19 Adjustments.”

6. The pandemic’s impact on students

A survey commissioned by CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) shows a significant number of students are reconsidering their plans for university and college in the fall, citing lost income, limited financial support, and concerns about the quality of remote learning. The survey was conducted with 1,100 high-school and post-secondary students in Canada, aged 17 and older, from April 23 to May 1, 2020. The sample includes 300 graduating high-school students and 800 post-secondary students. For those who are interested, Statistics Canada has also released the results of a survey on the Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on postsecondary students.

In Solidarity,

Dirk and Marcus

Dirk Wallschlaeger, President

Marcus Harvey, Executive Director