Table of Contents
- Health and Safety
- Legal Services Available to Members
- Call for Members: Disability Justice Working Group
- OCUFA Grievance/Arbitration Award
- September 26 Rally Against Budget Cuts
a) Campus Safety Update
In the wake of the attack that took place at the University of Waterloo in June, members reached out to the APUO throughout the summer sharing their concerns about campus safety. In early August, the APUO relayed these concerns to the Central Administration requesting uOttawa make an official public statement that expressed solidarity with the University of Waterloo community and condemned the targeted nature of the attack. Noting that a number of Canadian universities had already announced plans to review and reinforce the safety and security measures in place on their campuses, we asked for a similar review process to be initiated in collaboration with all uOttawa campus unions and student associations. Our letter was shared with the University Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, the Psychological Functional Health and Safety Committee, and the Protection and Facilities Functional Health and Safety Committee. In its reply, the Central Administration acknowledged the concerns conveyed by the APUO but nonetheless refrained from issuing an official public statement and remained silent about reviewing existing safety and security protocols.
Throughout late August into early September, many Canadian universities further announced that as a tangible first step they would be removing course location and other information from the public facing portions of their web sites. During this time, the APUO Executive, individual APUO members, and other campus unions mobilized to pressure the Central Administration to implement this and other measures on our campus. On September 7th, the Central Administration finally announced it would be pulling all course location information from the uOttawa website.
At the September 18th meeting of the Senate, Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs, Jill Scott, read into the record a statement about uOttawa’s current efforts regarding campus safety. These, she specified, include:
- The above-mentioned removal of course location information from public facing portions of the uOttawa web site;
- The development of various scenarios by the Office of Emergency Management to ensure emergency preparedness in case of violence on campus; and
- The hosting of workshops by the Office of Emergency Management and the Teaching and Learning Support Services that will be aimed at helping professors be prepared for active threat situations in the classroom.
The Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs acknowledged that these are necessary first steps and that more needed to be done. She further added: (i) the Central Administration is aware of the heightened level of threat facing those who conduct research and who teach in fields that engage with issues of feminist and gender studies, race and antiracism, Indigenous identities, and the rights of all marginalized groups and identities; and (ii) her office is working closely with the Vice-Provost Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence to ensure recommendations pertaining to campus safety reflect the needs of these members.
The APUO applauds this development as a positive step, and we agree about much more needing to be done to adequately address the many concerns our members have shared. The APUO will continue advocating for a comprehensive review of the safety and security measures currently in place on our campus that includes all campus unions and student associations.
b) Report Health and Safety Concerns
The APUO and its Health and Safety Representatives wish to remind members of the uOttawa accident/incident reporting form. This form is used to report workplace accidents, incidents, near misses, and occupational illnesses. Please be advised that members who need to report any of the latter occurrences can use the form by selecting the “Workplace Accident, Incident, Occupational Disease and Near Misses” report type.
The APUO is, of course, available to support members in reporting health and safety concerns.
c) CO2 Monitors
The APUO is continuing our Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Monitors sign-out program for members wishing to measure indoor air quality in their offices, classrooms and/or laboratories. The CO2 monitors are just under 3 inches in size and come with an accompanying guide for use. Members wishing to borrow a CO2 monitor to assess the air quality in their lecture rooms, laboratories and/or offices can do so by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APUO wishes to remind members that should you be facing a civil suit arising from your uOttawa employment duties (including human rights claims or claims that fall outside of the APUO Collective Agreement), you can access legal services by submitting a request to the uOttawa Secretary General, Annick Bergeron, whose responsibilities concerning legal services are outlined in Policy 49.
Members whose request to the Secretary General is denied should promptly contact the APUO.
In September 2021, the APUO launched its Disability Justice Working Group (DJWG). It is comprised of APUO members tasked with:
- identifying priority areas for collective advocacy; and
- making recommendations to improve the APUO’s internal policies and practices relating to accessibility for all disabilities, visible and invisible, as well as individuals who identify as neurodivergent and members of Deaf and hard of hearing communities.
Throughout the past year, the DJWG held quarterly, and more recently monthly, meetings. It is currently working on compiling recommendations for the next round of Collective Bargaining. The DJWG extends an open invitation to APUO members who wish to participate in this work.
We invite members interested in joining the DJWG to contact Nicole Desnoyers (email@example.com).
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) runs an Awards of Distinction program to recognize members of the academic community for teaching, librarianship, journalism, scholarship, and service to their Faculty Associations. One of the award categories is the Grievance/Arbitration award, which celebrates individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the defence of Collective Agreements and advancement of equity through the grievance/arbitration process.
For the 2022-2023 Grievance/Arbitration Award, OCUFA has recognized Natasha Udell, the APUO’s former in-house legal counsel, for her outstanding contributions on grievance and arbitration files at uOttawa. The APUO congratulates Natasha on this achievement. As members may be aware, Natasha recently left the APUO for a new opportunity. We thank her for 14 years of outstanding work and service to the uOttawa community and wish her all the best in this new endeavour.
In response to the Central Administration’s ongoing budget and service cuts, campus unions and student associations have been organizing rallies that coincide with Board of Governors meetings to demonstrate the campus community’s resounding opposition to uOttawa’s budgeting practices. As APUO members know all too well, the latest rounds of cuts have resulted in increased workloads and is negatively affecting the quality of education and research at the university.
To continue these efforts, CUPE 2626 is organizing a Rally Against Budget Cuts outside of Tabaret Hall on September 26 at 4pm to coincide with the first Board of Governors meeting of the Fall 2023 Term. APUO members are invited to attend to add their voices to the calls for transparent budgeting practices that prioritizes our university’s teaching and research missions.
 In order to respect confidentiality, the Working Group’s membership is not made public.