The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
An arbitrator appointed to work out a deal between Ontario’s 24 colleges and their faculty after a five-week strike this fall has awarded the union members a 7.75- per-cent pay hike over four years and a $900 return-to-work payout.
The college professors and instructors, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, were ordered back to work by the province last month after the longest strike in their history.
Announced Wednesday, the arbitrator’s award on salary increases is what the College Employer Council had included in its final offer.
The union had also sought academic freedom for instructors to determine course content and how those courses were taught in consultation with management.
On this issue, the arbitrator stated professors had “the right to enquire about, investigate, pursue, teach and speak freely about academic issues without fear of impairment to position or other reprisal.”
But this issue as well a staffing ratios between part-time and full-time instructors has been handed to a task force that has a broad mandate to explore ways to ensure “colleges thrive as quality academic institutions going forward.”
The task force has also been asked to make recommendations on “appropriate staffing models,” including precarious work; academic governance structures and intellectual property issues; accessibility and student success, including student mental health and labour-market readiness; and what funding would be needed to “support the delivery of quality education and training in the Ontario college system to ensure that it is innovative, relevant and responsive.”