March 17, 2005
The Honourable Mary Anne Chambers
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
900 Bay St, 3rd Flr, Mowat Block
Toronto ON M7A 1L2
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union represents more than 15,000 full-time employees of the province’s Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, including both faculty and support staff.
OPSEU believes the Rae Review offers the province an opportunity to establish a new beginning for Ontario’s post-secondary education system.
As part of that new beginning, the province should seize upon the opportunity to correct a long-standing injustice: An estimated 16,000 part-time workers in Ontario’s colleges are denied by law the right to join a union and participate in free collective bargaining.
Considered a fundamental human right by the United Nations, this legislative restriction has led to discriminatory treatment of these workers by their employer. These workers perform the same duties as their full-time counterparts without comparable rights, benefits and remuneration. What few
rights they do enjoy can be denied without due process.
Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada to deny this basic right to part-time college workers. Further, their counterparts at the province’s universities and school boards are under no similar restriction.
The exploitation of part-time workers at the college system is having an impact on the quality of education college students receive. If Ontario is to be a leader in learning, it cannot effectively undertake reform without consideration of this issue.
This unfair restriction is an embarrassment to the province of Ontario. As part of the sweeping changes recommended by former Premier Bob Rae, the province should move quickly to amend the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act and end this open discrimination against these part-time workers.
Enclosed please find a copy of OPSEU’s recent brief to the Rae Review on collective bargaining rights for community college part-timers.
cc. Chris Bentley, Minister of Labour
Paddy Musson, Chair, OPSEU CAAT Academic Division Executive
Janice Hagan, Chair, OPSEU CAAT Support Division Executive
Part Time Workers Index