Hello OCADFA Members!

Some news and updates to chase away the February blues.

WTF! Flow.  

Our Flow Committee recently met with VPAP Langill to discuss Flow. We made our concerns clear: As sections are cut and classes enlarged, sessional job loss will occur- how will sessional appointments take place? We all know precarity is a priority issue for our community and the focus of our upcoming bargaining discussion.  Flow will impact and inform bargaining.    There was a vigorous discussion about ‘microcredentials’ that was productive.  Flow will create more demand for TAs.  We know the current TA system is woefully under-regulated.  There is no direct policy of recruitment, supervision or fair renumeration.  Smaller programs like MAAD need flexibility. Flow cannot be a ‘one-size fits all’ steamroller. Finally, studio-based learning is the cornerstone of OCAD U – there was consensus that this must be protected as we go through Flow.  The meeting was productive and pointed to the need for more open channels.  We know our institution is facing fiscal challenges.  Flow stems from that.  It is unnecessary to sugar-coat Flow.  We can openly critique Flow. We must.  We are on the frontlines and know what the delivery will look like. Please send your thoughts, question and fears to me here.  We will be organizing another public event for you to meet with each other on Flow this semester.

Bargaining will soon be underway.  

Our Negotiations Committee is interested in hearing from you.  Our Negotiations Committee is comprised of : Eric Steenbergen (Negotiations Chair, FoA Tech), Tanner Nielsen (FoLASSIS, TA), Mary-Eileen Wennekers (FoLASSIS, Sessional), Dan Panasyev (Contract Tech), Annie Tung (FoD, TIS), Bill Leeming (FoLASSIS, Tenured) and Min Sook Lee (FoA, Tenured).  We are going through bargaining prep sessions with OCUFA and CAUT.  Our CAUT session takes place on Wednesday Feb. 12th from 9:30-4:30pm, and is a training that is open to all OCADFA members. If you are interested in taking part, if you have concerns or questions please email our Negotiations Chair, Eric Steenbergen as we want to keep channels open at all times.

In the Grievance Corner.

Associate Professor Richard Hunt is our new interim Grievance Chair. We had previously announced Associate Professor Suzanne Stein had agreed to take on this role, but due to schedule conflicts,  Suzanne was unable to do the work.  We are grateful to Richard for stepping up the challenge. Richard teaches in the Faculty of Design and has extensive experience in senior level positions at OCAD U.  The position of Associate Grievance Chair will remain temporarily vacant as Assistant Professor Camille Isaacs has taken on the role of interim Head Librarian.  In June 2020 Camille will reassume her position as Associate Grievance Chair.

Is your multi-year contract set to expire soon and you need to know what the renewal process looks like? Has your Dean called you in for a meeting ‘concerns’?  Are you wondering whether you are entitled to severance? Do you have a question about how course allocations or sabbaticals?  We are here to advocate for your rights under the MoA and will be there for you.  Connect with interim Grievance Chair Richard Hunt.


It’s apparent to me from conversations, patterns of grievances and complaints, that we need to do some work on equity.  There are issues that still remain unresolved from the CLTA job losses that took place at the same time as the priority hires.  I have heard resentment and comments made by members that suggest equity is discrimination in reverse.  ODESI’s recent equity survey had the lowest participation rate amongst faculty.  This is a problem that needs serious redress.  Amongst ourselves, our membership needs to have honest conversations about race, equity and power.  OCADFA is committed to fighting for equity and justice  – we will be taking steps to create space between members to make both real and relatable to your own experience in the world and in the workplace. 

Solidarity with Education Workers in Ontario to Protect Public Education

Flying Squad Action: Friday Feb. 7th 11am to Noon at Orde St. Public School

As you know education workers across the Province are taking job action to fight Doug Ford’s cuts to public education. OCADFA’s Flying Squad will be in action on Friday Feb. 7th 11am to noon. At Orde Street Public School  (18 Orde St. Just south of College and east of McCaul)

Meet up at OCAD Lobby at 11 am and we will walk over as a group.  Please contact Maria-Belén Ordóñez for more info.

Affiliation U.

Since November 2019, the OCADFA Affiliation Committee  has been working hard on researching what affiliating with a larger union would look like. We are weighing through the benefits, costs and political scenarios.  We have met with CUPE, PSAC and had informational discussions with OPSEU Local 567 which represents librarians, administrative & academic staff, techs and other contract workers on campus.  We will soon be releasing a recommendation to our membership supported by our research.  No doubt affiliation would be historic. Currently not a single FA in the country is affiliated with a national union. Times are changing. Universities do not look like what they did in the ‘50’s, ‘70’s or even the ‘90’s.  Faculty Associations have changed too. And they’ve remained the same.  Is OCADFA’s current internal structure up to the job of handling grievances, bargaining and building membership engagement and political advocacy on dominant issues in our sector?  This article by Stephanie Ross & Larry Savage, “Faculty associations at the crossroads” succinctly sums up the challenge: 

Several decades of neoliberal restructuring have fundamentally transformed universities, and in order to effectively confront the challenges that lie ahead, faculty associations will need to undergo their own transformations. In the process, they will have to rethink their approaches to representation and advocacy. While change never comes easily, the stakes are far too high for faculty associations to remain complacent.”

OCADFA is unique because we are comprised of diverse labour categories. Not a single FA in the country includes Tenured faculty and TAs in one bargaining unit.  We can represent the new face of organized labour on campuses. We can do this as an autonomous union, the way that we have since 1965 or we can change.  Arguably we can restructure internally without affiliation as well.  Your OCADFA BoD is deeply engaged with these questions.  We take the job of representing our members equitably and fiercely to heart.  More on the question of affiliation will come your way at the end of this month.


We’d like you to get involved in the work we are doing.  We have working committees: Flow, Affiliation and Grievances.  We also have some that are dormant waiting for activation. Do you want to get involved in communications, advocacy or building social ties amongst our members? 

We are stronger with you. Get in touch with me at  HERE.

In solidarity,

Min Sook Lee