You Said Education is a Cornerstone of our Democracy: An Open Letter to Kathleen Wynne

Students rallying to support faculty
Students rallying to end the strike at Queen’s Park on November 1, 2017. Credit: C. Bidini

Bob Bolf, President, OPSEU Local 562, sent this letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

November 1, 2017

Dear Premier Wynne,

Now that the College Employer Council (CEC) is back at the bargaining table with the faculty union, I am writing to request that you remedy the shortcomings in how it has been implementing your government’s post-secondary education policy.

Ontario’s college faculty are on strike because the CEC had refused to talk about the faculty union’s demands for improving student education. A province-wide process that asked faculty from all twenty-four colleges about their most pressing needs produced three key demands:

  1. fair treatment for contract faculty,
  2. a stronger voice for faculty in academic decision making, and
  3. creation of more full-time jobs to bring the proportion of precariously employed contract faculty down from 70% to 50%.

Since bargaining began, the CEC steadfastly refused to address any of these demands. To fix the discrepancy between the CEC’s position and your government’s policy of investing in post-secondary education, I request that:

  1. You order the CEC to bring to the bargaining table a more appropriate approach to the educational needs of Ontario’s post-secondary students and future workers.
  2. You make the CEC more accountable to the government, taxpayers, and students of Ontario.
  3. You halt the egregious defunding of post-secondary education in Ontario, which has the lowest investment per student in Canada, and start really supporting the learning of our province’s young people.

Premier Wynne, you have said that you “got involved in politics because [you] believe education is a cornerstone of our democracy.” My family supported you when you first ran for School Trustee under the Harris government. I remember attending meetings at your home at the time.

I have faith that a government with your stated values will do the right thing, and get the CEC back on track at the bargaining table, funding back in our colleges, and students back in the classroom.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Bolf
Humber College Faculty, The Business School
President, OPSEU Local 562
Humber Faculty Union