What is the Provincial Task Force?
The Provincial Task Force is a committee comprised of members from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD, but has recently reverted to its former name – Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities), College Employer Council, CAAT academic faculty, CAAT support staff, students, and employers. The establishment of this committee stems from a Letter of Understanding from Kaplan’s Arbitration Decision, and therefore included in the 2017-2021 CAAT-A Collective Agreement.
What is the function of the Provincial Task Force?
The purpose of this committee is to examine the issues surrounding post-secondary education in Ontario (specifically at colleges), such as faculty complement (the ratio of full-time jobs to non-full-time jobs), precarious work, provincial funding of the colleges, student mental health, academic governance and intellectual property.
What progress has the Provincial Task Force made?
The Provincial Task Force started its meetings in early 2018. On Friday, July 13, 2018, however, the Task Force was terminated. Below, is a message from the CAAT-A Divisional Executive regarding this matter.
July 20, 2018
As you may have heard, the newly installed Progressive Conservative government has cancelled the Provincial Taskforce that was mandated by William Kaplan as part of our settlement after we were legislated back-to-work.
This is of major concern to the more than 13,000 full-time and contract faculty, counsellors and librarians in the college system. Our strike and the resulting collective agreement saw, among other things, important advances in job security for our partial load members, the reinstatement of our ability to grieve for more full-time positions, and breakthrough academic freedom language.
However, demands that were central to the strike concerning precarious work, faculty complement and collegial governance now remain unresolved and unaddressed.
Your union leadership – the Local Officers, the Provincial Divisional Executive, and OPSEU Central – are reviewing all available options, including legal challenges, to ensure the work of the Taskforce continues. We have also formally requested to the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities that the Taskforce be reinstated. Please find attached OPSEU President Thomas’s letter to Minister Fullerton.
We remain dedicated to the fight against precarious work and to ensuring that we have a stable faculty complement. And we remain committed to modernizing the governance structures of our colleges to be in line with the international norms of postsecondary education by ensuring that faculty have more say over academic decisions institution-wide.
These issues and our collective voice resonated with the media and the general public in our last round of bargaining and we will be bringing them to the forefront again in the weeks and months to come.
The CAAT-Academic Divisional Executive
RM Kennedy, Martin Devitt, JP Hornick, Pearline Lung, Heather Giardine-Tuck