Bargaining Update – August 12: Workload, Academic Quality, Counsellor Class Definition & Equity

OPSEU Local 415

OPSEU Local 415 is the democratically-run body that represents Algonquin College full-time and partial-load faculty (professors and instructors), cousellors, and librarians.

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Today, we presented our preliminary response to the College Employer Council (CEC) team’s initial proposal for a taskforce on workload, along with some of their questions and assertions.

In their presentation yesterday, the CEC team has proposed deferring all workload issues to a three-person taskforce that would report on its findings in February 2023. We believe that such a task force would be unlikely to result in any changes in workload for faculty, and even if workload changes could result from it, such changes would not take effect for years, after the next round of Collective Agreement negotiations.

While the CEC team did not offer any concrete workload proposals other than the taskforce, they did highlight other areas of Article 11 (“Workload”) of our Collective Agreement that they intend to propose revisions to in the future. Based on the areas that they identified for future proposals, and the presentation by CEC team Chair Laurie Rancourt, we suspect that the Employer may intend to propose the following:

  • Creating a two-tiered Collective Agreement in which new faculty would be subject to different working conditions, including teaching on Saturdays and Sundays without additional compensation
  • Exempting faculty members in academic upgrading, apprenticeship, and aviation from the same workload protections offered by the SWF
  • Changing the definition of the academic year to 12 months from 10, which would permit managers to assign vacations at any time of the year
  • Greater management control of what faculty do during professional development periods
  • No or reduced prep time for asynchronous online courses
  • Teaching Contact Hours of less than 50 minutes of instruction time, to permit managers to assign classes of virtually any length
  • No additional time to support the increasing diversity of our students’ needs and skills

Academic Quality

The CEC team stated frankly that they will never agree to our faculty proposals to promote meaningful faculty input into academic decision-making in classes and the college, and misconstrued the history of past attempts to address these issues. In addition, they are once again framing this as a struggle over academic control. They refuse to consider any proposals regarding intellectual property rights, or clarifications of existing academic freedom language. The sole exception around what they are open to consider concerned recognizing Indigenous faculty members’ inherent intellectual property rights over knowledge and practice specific to Indigenous culture(s).

The CEC team suggested that even presenting modified proposals on these ongoing, unresolved issues was somehow offensive, despite this being a normal practice in negotiations. They also described the Union’s proposals as unreasonable, despite the fact that they adhere to current legislation, they address fundamental issues of academic quality and integrity, and they mirror policies that are found in Ontario’s University system and other College systems.

The team will provide a detailed update to Local Presidents and the Bargaining Advisory Committee tomorrow. We will meet with the CEC team again on September 9th and 10th, having agreed to those two additional dates today.

Counsellor Class Definition

The faculty team provided a detailed preliminary response to the CEC team’s proposed counsellor class definition, and indicated that we would respond fully after our upcoming consultation with counsellors.


The CEC team also provided a response to the feedback we provided to them yesterday. The Employer has not acknowledged that systemic discrimination exists in the system and have yet to suggest language to address issues of harassment, bullying, racism and discrimination, but has suggested they would like to identify what can be done this round. We look forward to seeing their proposed language in this area.


We will be launching the updated Report on Education in Ontario Colleges in the coming days, followed by a series of in-depth issue sheets designed to provide further background on key areas of concern. We welcome your feedback, and can be reached at

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