As many of you know, there is an ongoing dispute between YUFA and the Employer with respect to the interpretation of 18.08.3 of the collective agreement which, in YUFA’s view, gives units the authority to make collegial decisions with respect to the structure, format and mode of delivery. We have attached copies of three recent policy grievances which YUFA has filed regarding this and similar issues.
Many of our members are aware of the terms of the collective agreement regarding their unit's right to decide on the mode of delivery of their courses, and units are making decisions accordingly. In addition, some members have expressed concern with respect to the safety of in-person teaching and may choose to invoke their right to a work refusal under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. These are two separate, though to some extent related, issues.
In fact, the current situation is one in which some members have expressed a concern that factors related to the health and safety situation – including the reluctance that many students have expressed to participate in person – may impede their ability to meet the necessary academic standards and maintain the academic integrity of course offerings unless courses move to remote instruction. In such circumstances, it may be that some units make a collegial decision, having regard to their pedagogic and academic judgment, to determine that some classes originally scheduled to be in-person may need to be switched to remote in order to ensure that members can continue to carry out their academic responsibilities (including their ethical responsibilities to students), at least until those academic standards can be met in-person. We have reminded the employer that in those cases instructors are not “refusing” to work, but rather making necessary modifications in order to ensure that they are able to perform their work safely and in a way that meets their pedagogic and academic responsibilities. These instructors are further acting based on the unit's academic responsibility to decide about the appropriate mode of delivery, as recognized in the collective agreement.
Please contact YUFA at [email protected] if you have any questions.