Friday, August 16, 2013

Special Joint Advisory Committee Process Update Statement

Special Joint Advisory Committee Process Update Statement, July 2013

In recent months, representatives of the University of Toronto Governing Council and the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) have been engaged in formal discussions regarding modernization of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) governing the relationship between the two parties.

Specific topics being considered in addition to changes to the MoA include tenure and promotion policies; appointment policies for teaching stream faculty and faculty whose expertise lies in the integration of their professional practice with teaching; and the role of faculty and librarians in academic planning.

These discussions originate in a mediation agreement signed in April of 2012 establishing a Special Joint Advisory Committee (SJAC) to review the strengths and weaknesses of the current framework agreement (i.e., the MoA) between UTFA and the Governing Council of the University, and to consider ways to modernize it. The MoA was originally established in the late 1970s and prescribes the formal role of UTFA in representing faculty and librarians at the University. It has played an important role in the life of the University. The MoA features a collective bargaining process for addressing compensation matters, including independent arbitration for these matters if the parties are unable to reach voluntary agreement. It also articulates a set of primarily academic policies that are neither subject to arbitration nor to any prescribed negotiating process under the MoA, but that may only be changed by mutual consent of the Governing Council and UTFA. 

Formal discussions commenced in early April of 2013 and we have been meeting regularly since that time. Discussions have been substantive and collegial and we are committed to continuing the process. Now, owing largely to scheduling difficulties over the summer, the two sides have agreed to adjourn talks until September. The parties have also proposed to extend the original September 2013 deadline for the SJAC process to April 1, 2014 to allow time for a complete discussion of all the issues and options to take place. Formal agreement to the extension is pending.

By mutual agreement of UTFA and the Governing Council, The Honourable Frank Iacobucci has agreed to serve as a facilitator in the SJAC process, should such assistance be necessary. Mr. Iacobucci is a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, former Dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and former Interim President of the University of Toronto.

The parties would like to extend thanks to the faculty and librarians of the University as well as to Deans for their input to this process and for their patience. Questions may be directed to and to

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