Province steps in, ends weeks long strike
By Sue Tiffin
Published Nov. 21, 2017
Ontario’s longest college strike has come to an end.
The provincial government tabled back-to-work legislation after an emergency weekend debate on Nov. 19 to get instructors back into the classroom on Nov. 20 and students in class the next day, Nov. 21, after five weeks of college faculty strike.
Eighty-seven per cent of striking faculty rejected the latest college offer on Nov. 16, prompting the Ontario government to pass the legislation.
More than 12,000 faculty and 500,000 students have been affected by the strike, which began Oct. 16. OPSEU, representing staff at 24 public colleges in Ontario, and the College Employer Council, which bargains on behalf of the province’s colleges, have been unable to reach an agreement on key issues that include protecting full-time jobs, outsourcing, salaries, job security and academic freedom.
A class-action lawsuit has begun on behalf of students looking for tuition and fee refunds.
Colleges are taking different approaches to ensuring students don’t lose their semester, with some extending the semester and offering longer schedules, online components and Saturday classes.
Students at Fleming’s Haliburton Campus can access updates at flemingcollege.ca/faculty-labour-negotiations or by calling 705-749-5550.