Council of Ontario Universities calls for "greater flexibility" to loosen health and safety standards

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU), which represents the administrations of Ontario’s universities, has issued a call for the Ford government to support “a Safe In-Person Reopening for Students, Staff and Faculty.” In its statement the COU calls for a provincial vaccine certification system to support mandatory vaccination policies. It also urges the government to allow “greater flexibility for capacity limits and physical distancing to help ensure a safe reopening for expanded in-person learning.”

Like other faculty associations, YUFA sees this as a contradictory public health message. As the University of Toronto Faculty Association writes in yesterday's open letter to U of T President Gertler,

"The COU’s call for “greater flexibility for capacity limits and physical distancing” amounts to the opposite of “provincial support for a safe in-person re-opening.” Our members are worried, upset, and angered about being required to teach in crowded classrooms scheduled at full occupancy, greatly exceeding the province’s step 3 limits (which are themselves far from stringent)."

Given serious public health concerns related to the continuing pandemic, YUFA deplores the COU’s use of vaccination mandates as a justification for loosening other health and safety standards that are necessary for the safety of employees and students at Ontario’s universities.

As many members of YUFA prepare for a return to the classroom they are rightly worried about the degree to which the York administration is committed to a safe environment for our community. Please consider attending the Special General Membership Meeting that will be held on Thursday, Sept 2, where there will be opportunity for members to voice their concerns and have input into the approach YUFA will take towards our next stage of advocating for Covid-related safety measures and accommodations.

Thursday, September 2, 2021
SGMM 2pm – 4pm
[Agenda and Zoom Details circulated over YUFA-M]