Current News In BC PSE


Weekly News Roundup


Week of October 18 – October 22, 2021

Fair Employment Week: Make It Fair for Contract Academic Staff

At CUFA BC, we stand in solidarity with contract faculty. Make it fair. Fair Employment Week (FEW) is taking place from October 18 to 22, 2021. Read about events with UBC Faculty Association Contract Faculty. Fair Employment Week is CAUT’s annual campaign to raise awareness about precarious employment on campuses and support local organizing to improve the working conditions of contract academic staff.

National | UBCFA CAUT Make It Fair | CUFA BC on Twitter


UBC Faculty Association fall general meeting

Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 2:00 pm
UBC Faculty Association will host its fall general meeting on October 28 at 2pm with a discussion on preparations for Bargaining presented by Dr. Elizabeth Hodgson, Chair of the UBCFA Bargaining Committee



UVic Faculty Association to host forum for chairs and directors

The UVic Faculty Association will host forums on November 8 & 10 to discuss material gathered from the upcoming Chairs & Directors bargaining survey and to add other suggestions to help develop the bargaining mandate. Faculty Association President, Lynne Marks, and Chairs & Directors portfolio holder, Chris Bose, will also be there to answer questions and to hear from you about workload issues and other challenges you may have. More details will be sent out at a later date.



Petition to increase COVID-19 transparency on post-secondary campuses garners almost 1,000 signatures

Several UBC community members have signed a petition to urge the Government of BC, the Ministry of Advanced Education and the BC Public Health Office to increase transparency around COVID-19 cases in post-secondary institutions. Chris Alemany, a member of the Vancouver Island University Faculty Association, said he created this petition due to the lack of communication about cases on campuses after classes had started, especially as BC is in the midst of its fourth wave.

BC | Ubyssey


BC university staff and students ask for more clarity around COVID-19 protocols

University staff and students in B.C. are asking for more clarity around COVID-19 exposures, rapid testing and remote-learning support one month into an in-person fall term. Currently, none of the universities in B.C. have mandated vaccines for students, faculty, or staff, and exposure notices within universities are not posted publicly by health authorities. Those who do experience symptoms at Metro Vancouver’s biggest universities — the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University — are not able to access on-campus rapid testing unless they have previously declared themselves unvaccinated or refused to disclose their vaccination status. A petition, signed by multiple faculty associations and unions, wants the province to start publicly listing COVID-19 exposures at universities throughout B.C.



Liberal Advanced Education Critic MLA Coralee Oakes addresses equity at BC’s research universities

Liberal Advanced Education Critic MLA Coralee Oakes spoke to a private member’s bill Motion 16 Women’s Equality in Workforce, raising issues of equity within BC’s research universities. “When government sets its research priorities, it may inadvertently disadvantage women because they are less represented in the disciplines government prioritizes.”

BC | Facebook | CUFA BC on Twitter


Amendments strengthen access to information, protect people’s privacy

British Columbia is taking important steps to strengthen B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) to deliver better, more inclusive services to people, businesses and public-sector organizations. These changes will apply to public post-secondary institutions.

Highlights of the proposed amendments include:

  • updating FOIPPA’s data-residency provisions so public bodies can use modern tools while continuing to protect personal information;
  • enhancing public-sector privacy protections and increasing accountability by implementing mandatory privacy-breach reporting;
  • introducing a modest application fee for non-personal freedom of information (FOI) requests; and
  • demonstrating the Province’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, reconciliation and equity by increasing information sharing with Indigenous Peoples, adding Indigenous cultural protections and removing non-inclusive language.

BC | BC Gov News | Privacy Commissioner’s Response | Vancouver Sun


SFU’s Cleaning and Cafeteria Staff Should Be In-House Employees

Simon Fraser University president Joy Johnson is currently considering whether the university should end its practice of outsourcing campus cleaning and food services, where workers make less than a living wage, can’t access child-care facilities on campus, receive no top-up to parental employment insurance wages if they have a child and get no tuition discount if their spouses or children attend our university. They can’t even use the libraries. This work is predominantly done by women, workers of colour and immigrants to Canada. The makeup of this group of workers could not be more demographically different than the university’s highest-paid employees. The choice she makes will tell us whether our university will live up to its recent commitments around equity, diversity and inclusion, or whether these words are simply a branding exercise in the market for post-secondary education dollars.

BC | The Tyee


UVic’s new and returning deans

Chaired by Vice-President Academic and Provost Valerie Kuehne, Deans’ Council is a forum of 24 senior academic and research leaders. Among them are deans and unit heads from UVic’s 10 faculties and divisions, and the libraries, who are responsible for leading their units, their unit’s academic programs, and the associated teaching and research. Read more about the new and returning deans, as well as the open searches.

BC | UVic News


UNBC becomes first Canadian university to reveal Indigenous logo and jerseys

It was a project many years in the making. Today, after a long process of collaboration, consultation, and passion, the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves became the first college or university athletic program in Canada to unveil an alternate logo and jersey designed by Gitxsan artist Trevor Angus.



FLO Micro-Course: Current topics for micro-credentials in BC

Dive deeper in this two-week FLO MicroCourse on micro-credentials starting November 15. A selection of current topics in micro-credentials will be offered, discussed, and applied to our B.C. context — for example, how to explain competencies to others in an easy-to-understand way. We will co-create a resource on each topic for others to use in their practice. This course is for B.C. post-secondary professionals interested in or working in micro-credentials at their institutions. We welcome industry partners as well who would like to add their perspective to these current topics.

BC | BCcampus | See also CUFA BC white paper on micro-credentials


OER production series: Find, use and share open education resources

This webinar will take place November 4 and will provide an introduction to how to find, use, and share open educational resources (OER). Are you new to open education and not sure where to start? Or are you just starting your own OER project and wondering where to find other openly licenced materials and what to do with them? This webinar will answer all these questions by providing an introduction to open education and OERs, discussing copyright and Creative Commons licenses, and going over how you can find, use, and properly attribute OERs.

BC | BCcampus


‘A new era’: Stellat’en First Nation and UBC launch medical supply drone delivery project

Stellat’en First Nation has partnered with the University of British Columbia in a year-long study to deliver medical supplies to remote communities using drones. The community will collaborate with UBC on the ‘Remote Communities Drone Transportation Initiative,’ which will work towards developing a scalable model for medical supply delivery to remote and rural communities across the country.

National | Global News | Nation Talk

Government announces student housing, updated library at Coast Mountain College and Selkirk College

Students at the Coast Mountain College (CMTN) Terrace campus have access to more housing and improved facilities with the opening of 108 student beds and a renovated library. Selkirk College students in Castlegar and Nelson will have more access to student housing as provincial funding for 148 beds in two new buildings has been approved.

BC | BC Gov News (CMC) | BC Gov New (Selkirk)


New resource available for mental-health crises on campus

A new tool has been made available for staff and faculty of BC colleges and universities to support students on campus who are dealing with mental-health crises. Let’s Talk about Suicide: Raising Awareness and Supporting Students is a digital resource made available by BCcampus. University of Victoria Student Wellness Centre manager of mental health outreach and training Dawn Schell is the author of the original training that was adapted for the new resource, and she wants to keep the conversations going. She says that there are a number of resources out there available to help in the moment if someone is feeling suicidal.

BC | Nexus Newspaper


Manitoba Government interfered with UManitoba contract talks, court rules

A Manitoba Court of Appeal judge has reinforced a 2020 ruling that found the provincial government “substantially interfered” with contract negotiations five years ago between the University of Manitoba and the union that represents its academics. In an appeal decision published Wednesday, a three-judge panel sided with the province in overturning a Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench ruling that deemed the 2017 wage freeze legislation, the Public Services Sustainability Act unconstitutional.

MB | The Star