contract faculty campaign

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Colleges at 50

| May 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Ontario’s public college system turns 50 this year. As Ontario celebrates that milestone, OPSEU’s College Faculty bargaining team looks at the priorities of college presidents, and proposes a different path, one that invests in students and faculty first.

Twitter Day of Action March 3 for Contract Faculty

| February 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Tweet, Post, Comment, ReTweet #Fairness4CF

On March 3, faculty, students, staff, and concerned citizens from across Ontario will engage in a day of action on Twitter to raise awareness about the need for fairness for contract faculty.

Throughout the day, university and college community members will be invited to send their Boards of Governors or College Employer Council a message about their priorities for the institution, including improving contract faculty working conditions and the quality of education offered to students.

Ontario college faculty and supporters should send your messages to the College Employer Council and its chair, Linda Franklin and Minister of Advanced Education for the Ontario government, Deb Matthews:


For Seneca, tweet @SenecaPresident

The hashtag to use is: #Fairness4CF

Sample messages:

#Fairness4CF Fairness for contract faculty means equal access to benefits.
It’s time for respect! @CollegesOntario

#Fairness4CF Faculty working conditions are students learning conditions.

#Fairness4CF Contract faculty deserve equal pay for work of equal value, job security, and access to benefits.@Deb_Matthews

You can also post these messages on your Facebook and/or post to Contract Faculty Forward Facebook:

Our contract faculty colleagues need your support. Tell the Council and the Ministry that part time faculty deserve fair treatment.

Seneca Executive Compensation Feedback

| January 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

As you may know, the Province has introduced a new framework for determining executive pay at Ontario’s Colleges. In response, the Seneca College Board of Governors has developed compensation guidelines for Seneca Senior adminstrators, located at:

This proposal would give the Seneca College President a maximum salary of $494,000, and Vice-Presidents a maximum salary of $328,000. Those figures would represent a salary increase of over 19% for the President’s current salary, and an increase of over 25% from the Vice-President Academic’s 2015 salary.

By way of comparison, faculty salaries have increased on average less than 0.75% since 2011.

The Board of Governors has asked you to provide feedback (at the above webpage) on their proposed Executive Compensation guidelines, by 4:00 P.M., on Sunday, January 29. Your elected Local 560 officers urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to communicate your opinion about the most appropriate way to measure and compensate the performance of Senior administrators at Seneca College.

To summarize the Board of Governors’ guidelines (further summaries can be found in the newspaper articles linked below), they propose to base the salaries of Seneca’s President and Vice-Presidents on the median salaries of proposed comparator groups throughout the broader public sector. However, in the proposed Executive Compensation guidelines, the vast majority of comparators appear to earn significantly more than the Seneca senior managers currently earn. For example, the President of Humber College (who earned $36,000 more than Seneca’s President in 2015) is listed as a comparator, while the President of George Brown College (who earned $38,000 less than Seneca’s President) is not.

Other comparators include the senior administrators for such institutions as major hospitals (e.g., the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, with a 2016 President’s Salary of $738,565), the LCBO (2016 President’s salary: $459,178) , and MaRS (2015 CEO Salary: $507,269). A complete list of the proposed comparators can be found on the Executive Compensation Program document, linked to the page above.

According to the proposed guidelines, 20% of the President’s salary, and 15% of the Vice-Presidents’ salary would be “at risk based on annual performance”. The guidelines, however, fail to identify any standards by which these executives’ performance might be measured. We encourage you to communicate to the Board of Governors what you consider to be appropriate metrics to measure the performance of Senior Executives. By way of example, Darryl Bedford of OPSEU Local 110 at Fanshawe College has proposed the following list:

  • Percentage of funding that is spent on student learning
  • Improvement in the student to teacher ratio
  • Improvement in the Non-FT to Full-Time faculty ratio
  • Verified implementation of collegial governance processes and comprehensive academic freedom

Should you want to offer your feedback on Seneca’s Executive Compensation Program, in addition to the articles linked below, you might wish to consider any of the following points:

  • Since 2014, hundreds of contracts for teaching faculty that would previously have been Partial-Load were made Part-Time, depriving those faculty members of work hours and extended health benefits. At the time, Seneca’s President wrote a letter to faculty justifying that decision, citing among other reasons “eroding government support”, “the issue of resources”, and “fiscal restraint at Queen’s Park”.
  • According to Provincial KPI measurements, since 2012, Seneca’s student satisfaction rate has dropped by 3.9%, our graduates are now the least satisfied of any GTA College’s, and the satisfaction rate of their employers has similarly dropped by 2.6%.
  • Following recent cuts to classroom hours, research conducted by Local 560 concluded that Seneca College programs consistently offer fewer classroom hours than the minimums published in the Ministry’s Ontario Qualifications Framework.

The Board of Governors notes that “it is important that an executive compensation program is appropriate, accountable and effective”. We agree, and encourage you to share your thoughts at the above webpage, on the issue of how to determine appropriate compensation, and how to ensure the accountability and measure the performance of Seneca’s Senior Executives.

We further further invite you to e-mail a copy of your comments from a non-Seneca e-mail address to We welcome the opportunity to publish some of your comments anonymously, to foster a genuine conversation among the 1,100 members of Local 560, about the value that Seneca College places upon its different employees.

Yours in Solidarity,

Jonathan Singer
President, Local 560

Article Links:

Simona Chiose, “Ontario Colleges Could Increase Executive Pay by More than 50%” (Globe and Mail, Jan 17)

Kristin Rushowy, “College Presidents Could Get Massive Pay Hikes to Match Other Public Sectors” (Toronto Star, Jan. 18)

Mark Regg Cohn, “College Presidents Make a Play to Overpay Themselves” (Toronto Star, Jan. 20)

CAAT Faculty Support CFS Day of Action on Tuition

| November 2, 2016 | 0 Comments


Ontario college faculty represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) are throwing their support behind today’s Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) National Day of Action, which aims to keep colleges and universities public and accessible to all.

“Faculty are deeply worried about the quality of education in the face of funding cutbacks and creeping privatization,” said RM Kennedy, chair of OPSEU’s College Academic Division. “We stand with the CFS in highlighting the need for proper government funding. Without it, we see college administrators looking to trim budgets by replacing in-class contact hours with self-directed learning. In other cases, faculty are increasingly marginalized from academic decision-making, with administrators unilaterally deciding how courses should be delivered, and even what grades should be assigned.

“Without academic freedom, and a protected role for faculty in academic decision-making, we are seeing too many decisions made based on what’s best for budgets, rather than what’s best for students.”

Faculty Offices at King Campus

| September 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

20160914_141425Faculty in Garriock Hall were blindsided in late summer by orders to immediately pack up their office contents for a move to other offices. Apparently construction was planned for the current office location, but nobody bothered to tell affected faculty. Further, there has been no information about whether this is temporary or a new cost-savings measure for a college that seems to be so cash-strapped it has to solicit donations from students and employees to complete building construction.

King faculty had to give up days of vacation to do this last-minute work, and others returned to campus after their holidays only to find their possessions and files had been packed and moved without their involvement. To date, we have not received confirmation that the vacation days given up by faculty to do this unplanned work will be compensated for, as they should be.

Despite the urgency conveyed to faculty that they had to pack and move soonest, to date no construction has taken place at the old offices. They are being used as storage. Moreover, personal items and furniture still have not been moved. Was there really the need to move faculty out at all? The college certainly felt no need to provide faculty any measure of respect in the process.

The Collective Agreement, Article 7.02, provides for “reasonable provision for the environmental conditions of air, light, space and temperature of employees’ work areas in the College.”
cheek-by-jowlfaculty-offices-kingThis may be management’s idea of “reasonable” for a call centre, a sweatshop sales office, or a passel of summer associates at a legal firm, but for faculty who must meet with students, it’s unacceptable. We are told that two “spaces” will be made available to allow faculty and students to have confidential conversations. Outside of that statement proving management gave absolutely no thought to faculty and student needs, it’s not a workable solution. Are we to believe that a distraught student, discussing with faculty the stresses of their assignments or personal challenges, should be interrupted while the professor runs off to determine if one of these confidential “spaces” is free for use?

As one faculty stated, “It is common for students to start talking about dropping a course and, the next second, they are crying and revealing personal matters.” For faculty in the SSW program, they are uncomfortable stressing client confidentiality in the profession when they cannot act accordingly or role model for the students.

It is bad enough that incompetent management has disrupted faculty and breached the college’s own policies regarding privacy and confidentiality of student information, but of greater concern is that it seems King management has absolutely no idea of what faculty do, nor does it care.

Fairness for Contract Faculty

| February 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Contract faculty deserve equal pay for equal work, yet the colleges continue to exploit them by paying as little as possible. Furthermore, our part-time faculty live under a constant threat of losing their positions entirely should they “rock the boat”. These dedicated faculty should be treated with respect and paid accordingly.


Contract Faculty Day of Action Feb 11

| February 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

fairness 4 cfOn every college and university campus, contract faculty, full-time faculty members and students will stand together with signs and leaflets supporting fairness for contract faculty at a location that is symbolic for your campus.

The goal: 1) Visible support on your campus for contract faculty on February 11. 2) A photo record of your action to put together with photos from other college/universities to show our collective strength.

Why: Contract faculty are teaching a growing number of students across the province. At colleges and universities, our issues are the same: Contract faculty are struggling to make a living, with few benefits and little job security. It’s not fair.

It is time for action! It is time to stand together!

ON February 11, 2016 (or even before or after the 11th)

Please send a photo with a message of support for contract faculty.


Get a large piece of paper and a marker


A) Write a support message on the paper. Examples:

‘I Support Good Jobs for Contract Faculty’

‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’

‘Faculty Working Conditions = Students Learning Conditions’

‘It’s tough to put ‘students first’ if you put faculty last’

B) Identify your college or city, and, if you are comfortable, yourself: faculty, student, supporter.

fairnesspeopleSTEP THREE

Take your photo and share it

Twitter: #Fairness4CF


Website: send to

Press Conference: In Toronto at noon, with international and local speakers on fairness for contract faculty highlighting that across the province, we are taking action together.

Is Seneca College Violating Ministry Standards?

| January 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

Seneca students potentially short-changed by over 25% of instructional hours

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities publishes system-wide program standards for all types of programs at Ontario post-secondary education institutions, indicating amongst other things their required vocational standards, essential employability skills, and general education requirements. The distinctions between standards for various levels of academic programs (e.g., diploma, degree, certificate) and the expectations for each type of credential are outlined in the 2010 Ontario Qualifications Framework, available at

One element of the standards for each program is the number of instructional hours required by the province for each particular credential. Given that several programs have seen cuts to instruction hours in the last year (under the auspices of V.P. Academic Joy McKinnon), and in light of rumours of further cuts, it is appropriate to compare the number of instruction hours provided in Seneca College’s various programs to the instructional hours dictated by the Ministry in the Qualifications Framework.

To begin with, the Framework stipulates that the “typical duration” of an Ontario College Diploma program is “four semesters or 1200-1400 equivalent instructional hours”. Let’s do the math to calculate where Seneca’s diploma programs fall in that range of instructional hours.

The Seneca website lists weekly teaching hours for all required courses in all of its programs (including General Education options) for the 2014/15 school year (although curiously, it fails to do so for the current academic year). From these numbers we can arrive at a total of the hours of instruction for each semester.

To do so, we multiply the number of weekly instructional hours associated each each course in a semester, multiply that number by the 13 weeks in which classes are held each semester, and then add two instructional hours per course for exam week.

Looking at the popular International Business diploma program, we can see that, upon graduation, students are expected to have taken a total of 22 courses, with a cumulative total of 73 weekly instructional hours (or average of 18.5 instructional hours per week).

Multiplying the weekly hours by the 13 weeks of classes per semester plus exam week, it appears that students of the International Business diploma program receive the following total instructional hours:

  • Semester One: 16 hours x 13 weeks + 10 exam hours = 218 instructional hours
  • Semester Two: 21 hours x 13 weeks + 12 exam hours = 285 instructional hours
  • Semester Three: 18 hours x 13 weeks + 10 exam hours = 244 instructional hours
  • Semester Four: 19 hours x 13 weeks + 12 exam hours = 278 instructional hours

The total is 1025 instructional hours15% below the minimum number of 1200-1400 instructional hours for Ontario College diploma programs specified in the Framework.

The 2014/15 curriculum for another diploma program, Police Foundations, saw students taking a total of 22 courses (with a cumulative 65 weekly hours of instruction) over the four semesters, for a total of 845 scheduled classroom hours plus 44 hours of exams… a grand total of 889 instructional hours, or 26% below the minimum 1200 instructional hours specified in the Ministry’s Framework.

Moving on to Advanced Diplomas, the Ministry’s Framework outlines that the typical duration of an Advanced Diploma program should be “Six semesters or 1800-2100 equivalent instructional hours”.

Seneca’s website indicates that, in the 2014/15 academic year, students in the Business Administration – Entrepreneurship and Small Business program were required to take a total of 33 courses (with a cumulative 104 weekly hours of instruction) over six semesters. This would result in a total of 1,352 classroom hours plus 66 exam hours, for a grand total of 1,418 instructional hours over six semesters – 21% or 382 instructional hours below the 1800 minimum stipulated for Advanced College Diplomas by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges, Universities and Training.

Caveats abound: students in co-op programs or field placements receive additional instructional hours, and students in highly technical programs often receive additional hours, whether in a lab or on a shop floor. Additionally, these figures assume an average of 2 hours per course for final exams, which may not be the case for all classes.

However, there are additional causes for concern: students whose classes fall on Mondays receive fewer instructional hours, whether due to holidays or, more recently, “Experience Seneca”.

It is somewhat difficult to identify the precise causes for Seneca’s apparent failure to comply with Ministry directives regarding typical instructional hours for diploma programs. It may be driven by a misguided notion that providing less instructional time for students to learn new material from professors will somehow improve retention and student success.

But the examples above, if correct, suggest that students in several Seneca College programs are denied instructional hours that are deemed appropriate by the Ministry. Several Seneca diploma programs appear to offer students literally hundreds of hours fewer than the Ministry’s Framework directs. These are hours to which we believe students are entitled.

The facts and calculations presented in this article are true to the best of our knowledge and based on information provided on Seneca College’s website. The publishers invite you to send feedback to We will be happy to publish any necessary corrections in our next edition of The Local.

Check that SWF!

| January 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

New terms are often full of surprises — moreso now that we have i3 and some strange college policies to contend with. Faculty are already reporting unusually large class sizes, and uncertainty about how many students they’ll have come first day of classes on Tuesday, January 12.

If you have significantly more students than was estimated on your SWF, or there are other things that don’t jive with what you expected regarding your workload or teaching responsibilities this term, consult with your Chair about these changes, and request an adjusted SWF with updated figures. You may also need additional prep time if large numbers of students in a small classroom requires reworking the way the course is taught. We ask you to make these requests for changes to your Chair, and copy so we can be sure workload is being adequately captured.

Remember that it’s not just about individual faculty overtime, or ensuring the workload is within the maximums provided for in the collective agreement; it’s about getting an accurate picture of the work being done by faculty at the college. This could mean additional jobs for faculty, or the conversion of a part-time position to partial-load.

As we saw last term, there may be changes to your timetable and classes well into week 3, so be prepared for anything. And if it bugs you, let us know.