Table of Contents
- uOttawa 2023-2024 Budget
- Reminder: Article 28 – Vacation Leave, Holidays and Absences
- Concerns Over New Research Funding Guidelines and CSIS on Campus
1) Budget 2023-2024 d’uOttawa
On May 29, members of our campus community joined together outside of Tabaret Hall to voice their concerns and frustrations with uOttawa’s 2023-2024 Budget as the Board of Governors was meeting inside to vote on it. In spite of the widespread opposition to the Central Administration’s austerity agenda, the Board of Governors voted to approve the 2023-2024 Budget.
On May 30, the Central Administration held a Budget Town Hall meeting to respond to the continued criticisms about the lack of transparency and collegiality surrounding both the latest round of programming and service cuts, and the 2023-2024 Budget itself. This meeting, like those about the 2022-2023 cuts, was foremost a venue for the Central Administration to attempt to justify, yet again, its austerity measures. Contrary to the assertions of the Central Administration, the scheduling of this meeting one day after the 2023-2024 Budget had already been approved can hardly be construed as evidence of transparency.
Budgeting is an exercise of identifying priorities and making choices. For 2023-2024, the Central Administration has opted to allocate 3.4% ($49.7M) of its total operating expenditures ($1 453.2M) to professional fees and contractual services and to, yet again, have the campus community bear the brunt of budget and service cuts that directly constrain our ability to successfully carry out our university’s academic mission.
The Central Administration’s disproportionate spending on professional services and contracting is hardly a new phenomenon. The information in the table below compares the sums spent by uOttawa to the total amount spent by all Ontario universities. In the most recent year for which comparable data is available, 2021-2022, uOttawa’s expenditures on this line item accounted for 14.2% of the total amount spent by all Ontario universities combined.
The amounts allocated year-after-year to this line item combined with the Central Administration’s steadfast refusal to provide any information about the parties it is contracting, and for what purposes, raises serious concerns about the place of our university’s academic mission in the Central Administration’s list of priorities.
Budget Expenditures on Professional Services and Contracting (2019-2024)
|Year||Expenditure||Percentage of uOttawa Operating Budget||Percentage of total spend of all Ontario universities on these items|
A second rally calling against the cuts and for a collegial and transparent budgetary decision-making process was held by the APUO, other campus unions, and students’ associations in front of Tabaret Hall on June 21. This well attended protest coincided with the first meeting of the Board of Governors since the passing of the 2023-2024 budget. We thank all the APUO members who turned out to make their voices heard.
2) Reminder: Article 28 – Vacation, Holidays and Absences
The APUO is aware that Workday’s welcome page makes reference to a “request absence” form. In order to avoid any confusion about the negotiated process for requesting various types of leave, the APUO is reminding members of Article 28 in our Collective Agreement.
Article 28 covers vacation leave for all Professors and language teachers (article 28.1), vacation leave for librarians (article 28.2), holidays (article 28.3), and availability and authorized absences (article 28.4).
Please be advised that, contrary to what the language currently used in Workday suggests, you are under no obligation to ‘request’ vacation leave.
For Faculty Members, Counsellor Members, and Language Teacher Members, this is specified in Article 28.1.5, which states:
A Member may take vacation leave at any time(s) provided:
(a) she notifies her Dean in advance of each vacation period;
(b) the vacation will not interfere with the Member’s assigned duties as included in the Member’s workload pursuant to article 22
This also is the case for Librarians, as outlined in Articles:
28.2.4 A Member may take vacation leave at any time(s) provided that she notifies her immediate supervisor in advance of each vacation period. Vacation leave may be taken in one or more parts.
28.2.5 Vacation leave on specified dates shall not be refused without serious reasons. The University Librarian may [refuse] vacation leave on certain dates if there is no way to compensate adequately for the Member’s absence without considerably reducing the quality of service to the university.
To date, most of the other unions on campus have been inundated with questions, complaints, and other expressions of concern about Workday from their respective members. The APUO, by contrast, has only received a handful of queries. We encourage members to share with us their experiences – both positive and negative – about the transition to Workday.
If you have any questions about, or encounter any other issues relating to, the Workday transition, please contact the APUO at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Concerns Over New Research Funding Guidelines and CSIS on Campuses
In February 2023, the federal government announced that Canada’s federal research granting councils would be adopting enhanced guidelines regarding security risk assessments for research collaborations “that involve conducting research in a sensitive research area.” Since the implementation of the new rules, academics across Canada have shared concerns about the impact of the new regulations on university research. According to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), the new rules are having a disproportionate impact on projects involving partnerships with Chinese institutions and/or academics who are of Chinese descent.
At CAUT’s 94th Governing Council meeting, Executive Director, David Robinson, advised delegates that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has been contacting institutions and academic staff. He cautioned against Canadian academics speaking with CSIS officials without first consulting with both their union or faculty association, and CAUT.
Any APUO member who is contacted by CSIS is advised to promptly contact us at email@example.com.
 See, Council of Ontario Finance Officers (COFO). COFO Financial Report of Ontario Universities.http://couprod.tgtsolutions.com:94/customized-reports.aspx
 See item 3 of Highlights from CAUT’s 94th Council : https://www.caut.ca/bulletin/2023/05/highlights-cauts-94th-council