Over 12,000 college faculty at 24 public colleges in Ontario are negotiating a new collective agreement. The outcome of this negotiation could lead to a strike, causing all public Ontario colleges to close for a time, could be 1-3 weeks.
College faculty have a few changes they would like coming out of negotiations. Colleges need more full time faculty, student population has doubled over recent years while faculty has never been increased. They are hoping for greater student and faculty input on the way courses should be run. More counsellors for students to aid with mental health. More job security as contract workers need to re-apply following each semester, not knowing whether or not they will have a job. If these terms are not met a strike will happen.
Faculty does argue that this is not about them getting paid more. Darren Chapman is an economics professor at Fanshawe College and he says it’s more about getting a better education experience for students and faculty. “I’m positive if I asked my co-workers, 95 percent of them would not care whether or not they got payed a cent more” says Chapman.
What does all this mean for students? The most important thing the union has said is that no student has not graduated due to an Ontario college strike. No strike has gone on for longer than four months. The goal is to have agreements met without a strike but if they are not met a strike is necessary. Colleges will be closed for a certain amount of time and no classes will continue until the strike ends. Students may need to make up time during Christmas break or their summer break.
While there are many promises made to students, some are still concerned about their education. Spencer Bekoe is a Fanshawe Student and he mentions it may be a disturbance to his education. “I prepared for school during the summer and now it might be stopped out of nowhere, this will affect how I perform in school.”
Now it’s all about patience. The union has set a date of October 15 as the official date a strike will happen if terms are not agreed upon. We will just have to wait and see.