New Members Orientation

What is OCADFA?

The Ontario College of Art and Design Faculty Association is a legally constituted association formed in 1965 to protect the rights and improve the working conditions of full and part-time faculty and academic staff in the College and is the only body that can negotiate terms of employment with the College. The Association is a member of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations and the Canadian Association of University Teachers.


How is OCADFA operated?

All faculty and academic staff employed by the College are eligible for membership in the Association. All faculty hired since September 1991, must be members as a condition of their employment. The members elect the Executive that consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and four members-at-large who hold their positions for limited terms. The Executive is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Association. It reports regularly to the membership and seeks the advice and direction of the members at membership meetings.


What is the mandate of OCADFA?

As outlined in the Association’s Constitution, our mandate is to further the welfare of the Ontario College of Art & Design University and its academic staff, and to encourage and promote conditions, which in the view of the Association, will provide for the most effective teaching at the OCAD U.


How does the Association fulfill its mandate?

The Association fulfills its mandate primarily in three ways. First, it negotiates a Memorandum of Agreement with the College. The Memorandum of Agreement is a legally binding document that governs the terms and conditions of employment for all academic staff. Second, the Association monitors the College’s compliance with the Memorandum of Agreement, and may file grievances where it believes that the College has violated the Memorandum of Agreement. Third, the Association acts as spokesperson for faculty and academic staff on issues of concern to them at the College.


What is the Memorandum of Agreement?

The Memorandum of Agreement is a legally binding document that affects all faculty and technicians at the College. It contains clauses regarding salaries, benefits, working conditions, access to jobs, equity, grievances, seniority, bumping rights, procedures for determining permanent status, etc. In addition, the Memorandum of Agreement outlines a procedure for negotiation of changes to any of the terms and conditions in the Memorandum of Agreement.


What happens if conditions at the College change? Do these things stay the same?

No. The Memorandum of Agreement is a living document. Since at least 1985, it has changed at every negotiation according to the needs of the Association.


How are changes made to the Memorandum of Agreement?

Members of the Association bring their concerns in writing to the Executive. The Executive, with advice from the Association’s legal counsel, determines if the changes that are requested will result in fair and equitable treatment for all the Association’s members. Once the package of proposals is finalized, they must be negotiated with the College. The Faculty Association selects its negotiating committee and the College selects its own negotiating committee. The two committees then meet in an attempt to agree on changes to the Agreement. If the two committees agree on a package of amendments, then the Association brings the amendments to a membership meeting for ratification, and the College takes the amendments to College Council for ratification. If the members and Council ratify the package, the Memorandum of Agreement is modified in accordance with the agreement. If either group does not agree, the Memorandum of Agreement stays the way it is.


Does the College ever ask for changes?

Yes, they do.


What if the Association and the College are unable to agree in negotiations?

The Memorandum of Agreement provides that any disputes can be taken to mediation. An outside mediator is appointed to help settle the matter. The mediator looks at all sides of the issue and makes a recommendation to the parties which is binding unless rejection by a two-thirds majority of Council


Doesn’t legal advice cost money:?

Yes it does. Legal expenses, whether they are for mediation, grievances, advice or negotiations, are paid for from the fees collected from the membership.


Why should I belong to the Association and pay fees. Don’t I get benefits anyway?

The Association negotiates with the College for all the academic staff whether they are members or not. However, if you are not member, you cannot vote either for or against any of the issues that are raised regarding the terms of your employment. You are not able to nominate or vote for the Association’s executive or sit on the Executive. It you have grievances regarding any aspect of your employment, you may be obliged to pay for any legal costs incurred.


Can’t I just go to my Chair or the Academic Dean or the President and tell them what I want?

Individuals cannot negotiate terms for their employment inconsistent with the Memorandum of Agreement. That would be in violation of the Memorandum of Agreement.


If I am not a member of the Association, do I have to follow everything in the Agreement?

Yes. Non-membership does not exclude you from complying with the document.