According to its audited financial statements, our university is reporting a financial surplus of $41.7 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This surplus, along with the approximately half-billion-dollar surplus accumulated over the past decade, represents, in part, services not rendered to our university community. For the APUO, such a sizable financial surplus raises several questions, especially amid a global pandemic.
Last autumn, our support staff colleagues went on strike on the heels of the Central Administration announcing a record-breaking $91.8 million surplus for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Then, just before the strike was set to begin, an additional $36 million surplus  was announced. The Support Staff of the University of Ottawa (SSUO) had to strike in the middle of a global pandemic in order to retain fair and equitable working conditions including wage increases, health benefits, retirement allocation, maternity/parental leave, and a commitment by the Central Administration to fill vacant SSUO positions. The financial statements and surplus for the fiscal year 2020-2021 make clear the hardship caused to the entire university community by the Central Administration’s uncompromising approach with the SSUO at the bargaining table was both unwarranted and wholly avoidable.
The $41.7 million surplus also is an affront to the APUO members, part-time professors, teaching assistants, technicians, and students who find themselves having to contend with the fallout of the Central Administration’s poorly thought-out large-scale roll-out of bimodal courses. In the light of the ever accumulating pedagogical inadequacies demonstrated by this flawed undertaking, we encourage in the strongest possible terms the Central Administration to reconsider its decision to increase the number of courses to be taught in this format in the winter 2022 term. The 2020-2021 financial statements confirm that our institution has the means to create small course sections, as has been consistently advocated by the Inter-union coalition, and to provide community members with the main options of in-person or remote teaching and learning, with the bimodal/hyflex/hybrid teaching format being limited for experimental purposes to a maximum of 10% of course offerings.
2020-2021 was a tumultuous year for everyone at the University of Ottawa. If, in the face of a global pandemic, and with the accumulation of financial surpluses over more than a decade, the Central Administration is unwilling to make the necessary investments to ensure the best possible learning experience for students and to maintain fair and equitable working conditions for all its workers, we cannot help but ask: When will it ever be?
 See past APUO communication for details about our university’s past financial surpluses over the last decade: https://apuo.ca/the-university-of-ottawa-record-breaking-financial-surplus-and-its-impact/
 See, 2018-2019 Financial Statements: https://www.uottawa.ca/ressources-financieres/planification-financiere/sites/www.uottawa.ca.ressources-financieres.planification-financiere/files/financial_statements_2018-2019.pdf
 See, 2019-2020 Financial Statements : https://www.uottawa.ca/financial-resources/financial-planning/sites/www.uottawa.ca.financial-resources.financial-planning/files/2020-04-30_university_of_ottawa_fs_eng_online_1.pdf