June 9, 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 is pleased to see that your government has followed through with a significant investment in post-secondary education contained in the May 11, 2005 budget. This represents a considerable step forward in addressing years of neglect.
As part of the new beginning that this investment represents, I ask you to seize upon this landmark opportunity to correct a long-standing injustice associated with Ontario’s record of post-secondary education funding.
In my March 17, 2005 letter to you, I indicated that 16,000 part-time workers in Ontario’s colleges are denied the legal right to join a union and participate in free collective bargaining.
Considered to be a fundamental democratic right, 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.
This denial of rights is contrary to Canada’s obligations as a signatory to the International Labour Organization’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
The exploitation of part-time workers at the college system is having an impact on the quality of education Ontario students receive. For example, students cannot receive help from faculty outside of class time when that individual is supplementing their income elsewhere. If Ontario is to be a
leader in learning, it must move quickly to address this issue.
OPSEU is once again asking for your commitment towards making the legislative changes necessary to bring justice to these workers.
I look forward to your prompt reply on this issue.
cc. Chris Bentley, Minister of Labour
Rosario Marchese – NDP Training, Colleges and Universities Critic
Laurie Scott – PC Training, Colleges and Universities Critic
Part Time Workers Index