Table of contents
- Support for Laurentian University Faculty Association
- Evaluations of senior administrators amid the COVID-19 pandemic
- Ian Linkletter and Proctorio’s SLAPP
- International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism
- Changes to our health plan provider
- T2200/T2200S forms
You have no doubt heard about Laurentian University’s insolvency issues and their move to file for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangements Act (CCAA) which has come amid collective bargaining with the Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA). The APUO, along with every other faculty association in Ontario, is alarmed by this unprecedented move. We are particularly troubled to learn:
- of the degree of resource mismanagement by Laurentian University’s Central Administration including the use of researchers’ grant funding to cover operating costs;
- the Government of Ontario failed to act sooner despite its longstanding knowledge of accruing deficits at Laurentian University;
- the Government of Ontario continues to refuse to provide Laurentian University with the necessary resources for it to continue serving Francophone, Indigenous, and northern communities in Ontario.
In addition to underscoring the importance of pursuing democratic, transparent, and accountable decision-making at Ontario universities, this situation highlights the consequences of decades of public funding claw backs to the post-secondary education sector. Protecting the long-term viability of our universities requires federal and provincial governments to commit to increasing public funding for post-secondary institutions.
We invite APUO members to show their support for our colleagues at Laurentian University by sending a letter to both the provincial and federal governments demanding funding to secure Laurentian University’s future. Sign here.
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) is also asking Ontario faculty association members to participate in a social media week of action, during which they are encouraged to express their solidarity for members of the Laurentian University community by using the hashtags #HumansofLU and #FundLU to share stories of how Laurentian’s strength comes from the people who choose to teach, conduct research, work, and learn at Laurentian.
Evaluations of senior administrators amid the COVID-19 pandemic
In the light of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the APUO Executive Committee has decided to suspend its Policy Statement of Assessment of Senior Administrators for the 2020-2021 academic year. The APUO maintains such assessments would not likely provide a fair evaluation of Deans given the unique challenges with which we have all had to contend since March 2020. We will however continue to survey members and to collect faculty-specific data about on-going challenges brought on by the pandemic. The information gained from your participation in our surveys has been crucial in both identifying faculty-specific deficiencies and in our negotiations of Letters of Understanding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dean assessments for 2020 and for previous years are available at the following link.
Ian Linkletter and Proctorio’s SLAPP
Proctorio, an academic surveillance platform has launched a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) against Ian Linkletter, an Ethical Educational Technologist at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Ian Linkletter is a vocal critic of this platform and the privacy concerns associated with its use.
In December 2020, the APUO made a $1 000 donation to Ian Linkletter’s defense fund. For more information about Ian Linkletter’s legal proceedings, please consult the following link.
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism
The Academic Alliance Against Antisemitism, Racism, Colonialism, and Censorship in Canada (ARC) is raising awareness about the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA)’s global efforts to see the adoption of their working definition of antisemitism across all levels of government and a wide range of institutions, including those in the post-secondary education sector.
The IHRA’s definition reads as follows:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
As explained by the ARC, “the contentious aspect of this definition is not this brief 38-word definition, buts its accompanying 11 illustrative examples of antisemitism,” which appear “more intent on silencing critics of Israel than it does halting antisemitic threats from far-right white supremacists.”
In the light of the concerns raised about the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism, the APUO adopted the following motion:
The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) unequivocally supports the academic freedom of its members. This freedom includes the right to pursue research and open inquiry in an honest search for knowledge that is free from institutional censorship, including that of the government. While the APUO opposes antisemitism and all forms of racism and hatred, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism poses a serious threat to academic freedom at the University of Ottawa. The IHRA definition of antisemitism misconstrues antisemitism to include a broad range of criticism of the State of Israel. The IHRA definition thus undermines important anti-racist and decolonial initiatives in Canadian educational institutions. It can also be used to censor political speech and restrict the academic freedom of teachers and researchers who have developed critical perspectives on the policies and practices of the State of Israel. Such targeted attacks will have a chilling effect on academic freedom of our members in the classroom, their research, and in campus politics more broadly.
Similar motions have been adopted by the Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and many faculty associations and unions throughout Ontario and Canada.
A letter campaign has been launched by the Academic Alliance Against Antisemitism, Racism, Colonialism, and Censorship in Canada in partnership with Independent Jewish Voices, which members can view here.
Changes to our health plan provider
In the fall, members should have received a notification from the University’s Human Resources that our health plan provider switched from ManuLife to CanadaLife. This change should have no impact on our coverage. If you have submitted any claims to CanadaLife that have been rejected but which were previously covered by ManuLife, we encourage you to communicate with Patrick Taylor Patrick.Taylor@uottawa.ca, Senior HR Benefits Specialist, at our University’s Human Resources department to rectify the situation.
The University of Ottawa has assured us that any such mistakes will be redressed with CanadaLife.
T2200/T2200S forms for income tax purposes
On Monday February 8, the University’s Human Resources Department sent an email with directives for the reimbursement of expenses associated with working from home. Depending on your specific situation, you may not need a T2200/T2200S form to claim the maximum allowed amount when filing your taxes.
We invite members to consult the University’s email for further instruction, or to communicate with the Human Resources department at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
 The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism and Canadian Universities and Colleges – What You Need to Know p.1 https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5f52a48dcce98340e25350e2/t/602445c3f0a21322c2e327f9/1612989891845/ARC+-+IHRA+Handbook+%28English%29.pdf
 Ibid, p.1-2
 Ibid, p.17