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Back-to-work legislation ends college strike



Back-to-work legislation was passed by the Ontario Legislative Assembly on Sunday, ending the five-week-long college union strike and resuming classes this week. 

Parliament voted 39 to 18 for Bill 178 to pass, sending college faculty back to work at 24 public campuses across the province.

The University of Guelph-Humber said in an email to students that college courses will resume on Tuesday and end on Dec 11.

University courses, resuming on campus as of Monday, will still end on the originally scheduled Nov 29, said Vice-Provost John Walsh in the email sent out to students just past 3 pm on Sunday.

All exams for GH university and college courses will be held from Dec 14 to 22, with the winter semester scheduled to kick off as planned on Jan 8, 2018.

In regards to pre-strike travel plans, the vice-provost requested students speak to their academic advisor for accommodations.

Walsh said “academic support services will help you get back on track as soon as classes resume” with more information on the student support webpage.

Information regarding tuition refunds will be available on the University of Guelph-Humber updates page.

“It will be wonderful to have you back in class, and I wish you success in your program and in your future,” read the email from Vice Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr John Walsh.

Humber College noted the end of the strike via a tweet just past 4 pm, encouraging students to read the latest modifications to their academic calendar online on the updates page.

College strike ends

The first two readings passed in the provincial parliament on Saturday, resisted by the Ontario New Democratic Party for what they called unfairness to the union workers.

Member of Provincial Parliament Cindy Forster made clear that while she was “happy students will return” to classes, it was “the worst way to accomplish that.”

“Our college system is broken [and] our students are stressed. Where’s their compensation?” she said in a tweet.

“While we are relieved students will be back in class this week, back-to-work legislation is not the resolution CSA advocated for,” said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance, in a news release.

Although the CSA was supportive of faculty voting in favor of the forced vote held by the Ontario Labour Relation Board last week, the provincial student organization advocated for binding arbitration, or a more permanent agreement between colleges and faculty.

“Had OPSEU and CEC agreed to our request of binding arbitration, a deal could have been reached at the bargaining table over a week ago. This is disappointing for all parties involved,” reads the CSA statement.

When an agreement could not be reached between the College Employer Council and the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union’s CAAT Academic for a deadline, the longest college faculty strike ever in the province kicked off on Oct 16.

Some 500,000 full and part-time college students, including peers at the University of Guelph-Humber and over 12,000 faculty have been cut off from campus classes since the strike started.

Guelph-Humber closed down campus classes during the strike with administration saying that the institution could not offer all of its programs in full as some courses are taught by Humber College faculty.

More details to follow. Image 1 of Queen’s Park from previous files. 

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