Current News In BC PSE


Weekly News Roundup


Join CUFA BC each week for a roundup of news in BC’s post-secondary sector

Disclaimer: This circulation is an aggregation of current news. The information provided is from original news sources and doesn’t reflect the views of CUFA BC or its member associations.
Week of September 11-15, 2023

Five BCGEU faculty agreements ratified under Shared Recovery Mandate

Five BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) faculty agreements reached at the common table under the Province’s Shared Recovery Mandate have been ratified by the board of the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (PSEA). These agreements cover nearly 950 BCGEU faculty members, most of whom teach vocational programs. Parties to the BCGEU vocational faculty common table include the following five locals at these institutions: Camosun College, Coast Mountain College, Northern Lights College, Okanagan College, and Selkirk College.

BC | BC Gov News


Faculty across the province are recognized by the Royal Society of Canada

Congratulations to the incredible researchers who were inducted into the Royal Society of Canada! The researchers, who work in the fields of social sciences, humanities, library sciences, engineering, human and social development, education and medical sciences, join as new RSC fellows and members to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. The society’s peer-elected recipients are chosen for their academic excellence and their remarkable contributions to the arts, humanities and sciences, and to Canadian public life.

BC | SFU | UBC | UNBC | UVic


TSSU holds vote to unionize research assistants

One of the initiatives the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) has been campaigning for is unionizing SFU’s research assistants (RA). The SFU administration claims RAs are not considered employees, and are therefore unable to unionize. TSSU has since engaged in a card signing campaign for RAs. Each signed card represents a declaration from an RA that they are willing to be a member of the union. Over 1,350 cards have been signed and submitted to the Labour Board, where the vote is still pending. The Peak interviewed TSSU organizers, Catherine Dubé and Yameena Zaidi, who explained the significance of the card signing campaign.

BC | The Peak


UVic: Building capacity for conflict

Workplace conflict is a fact of life. We all have to navigate it—either as someone in conflict, or someone supporting others through it. And even when it’s healthy it’s almost never comfortable. Luckily, UVic Human Resources has teamed up with colleagues across campus to better understand conflict at UVic and develop the tools you need to manage and resolve conflict as it arises. The conflict project team has been working since September 2021 to assess UVic’s approach to workplace conflict and create customized resources to support employees in navigating conflict productively and shifting conflict culture at UVic.

BC | UVic


UBC launches the Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism Enhancement Fund

UBC is launching a new fund to help support its ongoing commitment to advancing equity and anti-racism across the university. The Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism Enhancement (StEAR) Fund is open to all students, faculty and staff. A total of $300,000 is available this year to support campus community-led projects. Applicants may submit a proposal for funds between $500 to $10,000 per project. To be eligible for funding, projects will seek to advance racial equity, disability equity and/or equity in relation to sexual and gender identity (with consideration of intersectionality).



Tsleil-Waututh Nation & SFU sign agreement to advance reconciliation

Representatives from səlilwətaɬ (the Tsleil-Waututh Nation) celebrated the signing of a Relationship Protocol Agreement with Simon Fraser University at a September 6th ceremony held at SFU’s Burnaby campus. The agreement marks a formal commitment from both parties to work together, strengthen their relationship and advance reconciliation. SFU also recently marked the renewal of a three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU with the Squamish Nation and continues to demonstrate a commitment to developing meaningful partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities as a whole.



Many people have biased perceptions of EDI leaders: study

For the past decade, companies across North America have paid more attention to supporting equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). This has prompted many organizations to create a leadership role fully dedicated to advancing EDI. But a new study from the UBC Sauder School of Business shows many people have deeply held beliefs about who should be an EDI leader, and they are rooted in racial stereotypes. Dr. Paluch says leaders need to understand that discrimination is often built into employment systems. Once they’re aware of those biases, they’re more likely to bring in accountability measures and standardize hiring practices. They also need to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion; see EDI leaders as central to the management team; clearly define their roles; and compensate EDI leaders equitably.



Celebrating 60: Welcome to the 2023/24 academic year at Okanagan College

Okanagan College President, Dr. Neil Fassina, released a message welcoming everyone back to campus and profiling the 60th anniversary of the college. 

BC | Okanagan College | Video


BCcampus releases micro-credential toolkit for B.C. post-secondary institutions

Post-secondary institutions in B.C. are now equipped with a comprehensive toolkit to navigate the emerging world of micro-credentials, with information specific to this province. Made possible with funding from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, the BCcampus Micro-credential Toolkit for B.C. includes 17 standalone chapters that cover introductory material, implementation, collaboration, and learning design for micro-credentials, an innovative approach to competency-based learning. BCcampus will host an introduction to the toolkit on September 19 at 11:30am.

BC | Announcement Register for Event | Toolkit


BHER Announces 3 additional work-integrated learning partnerships focused on green skills

The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is pleased to announce the addition of three new work-integrated learning (WIL) partnerships with post-secondary institutions, with support from the Government of Canada. University of Alberta, Luther College at University of Regina, and the University of Victoria join BHER’s growing list of WIL partners committed to equipping students with the green skills needed for their careers, while supporting Canada’s transition to a net-zero economy. The new partnerships announced today will build capacity for 150 small- and medium-sized companies and not-for-profit organizations to undertake community-engaged projects supporting the transition to net-zero

BC | National | BHER


B.C. labour movement’s decline has yet to bounce back, professors say

It’s been a year of high-profile strikes and negotiations between employers and unions across North America, but two professors from the University of Victoria say B.C.’s labour movement’s decades-long decline has yet to bounce back. Union membership rates have been declining since the 1980s in Canada as well as other countries, he said, but more recent snapshots suggest that people “by and large support labour movements, unions, and job action” more than they would have even five years ago. Justin Wiltshire, assistant professor of economics at UVic, said that he doesn’t think that B.C.’s slower wage growth can be linked to declining collective agreement coverage rates, but he believes that changes in the Employment Standards Act have caused negative outcomes for workers.



UBCO ordered to pay $50K to former student in sexual assault discrimination case

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the University of British Columbia Okanagan to pay $50K to former student Stephanie Hale for the way it handled her allegation of sexual assault, report CBC and CTV News. In a 132-page decision, the tribunal found that UBCO’s investigation method caused Hale harm to the point that she could no longer participate in the process. UBCO responded to the tribunal’s decision in a statement, indicating that it is reviewing the ruling and has already taken “a number of crucial steps” to better address allegations of sexual misconduct.



Colleges and Institutes Canada Appoints Pari Johnston as President & CEO

Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) announced the appointment of Pari Johnston as its incoming President and CEO, effective December 4, 2023. A senior executive with 25 years of experience, Pari’s hallmark is building strong external relationships and high-impact, high-touch teams. She currently leads Genome Canada’s federal advocacy, policy and corporate partnership strategy as Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs. Prior to this, Pari held several increasingly senior positions at Universities Canada, serving most recently as Vice-President, Policy and Public Affairs.

National | CICan


Caps on student visas

Higher Education Strategy Associates’ Alex Usher blogs about the federal government’s recent suggestions of capping student visas. Usher summarizes key points from government, including the federal government’s active role in courting international students through accelerated immigration incentives, and addresses the complex reality of implementing caps. Usher says: Over the past few weeks, a weird idea has been emanating from Ottawa: a hard cap on student visa numbers.  This is a pretty foolish idea, as even a cursory examination of the issue will show.  It’s not entirely impossible – there is a narrow way to make it work – but I absolutely do not trust the present federal government to pull it off.

National | HESA


Statistics Canada released data related to the Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs Survey

Statistics Canada released data related to the Tuition and Living Accommodation Costs Survey. This release includes information on tuition and compulsory fees for undergraduate and graduate degree programs by field of study and student status in Canada. Data are available at the national, provincial and territorial levels. To further explore 2023/2024 tuition fees for degree programs in a visual format, refer to the comprehensive data visualization tool “Elementary to Postsecondary Student Education Dashboard: Enrolments, Graduations and Tuition Fees.”

National | Announcement | Data Visualization


Weekly News Roundup


Join CUFA BC each week for a roundup of news in BC’s post-secondary sector

Disclaimer: This circulation is an aggregation of current news. The information provided is from original news sources and doesn’t reflect the views of CUFA BC or its member associations.
Week of September 18-22, 2023

SFU Faculty Association September Bulletin

The SFU Faculty Association published its September Bulletin to the membership. The report includes a welcome message from President Kumari Beck, a collective bargaining update, an update on the SFU President’s renewal committee, as well as information on the Alumni Association and Collegial Governance open letter, SFUFA communications, a call for feedback on research ethics policy, and more.



UNBC Vice-President to chair panel on diversity in academic research

Individuals from marginalized groups continue to be underrepresented in postsecondary research institutions from across Canada. This is despite efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion by post secondary research institutions in the country. The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has formed an expert panel to address these issues and Wendy Rodgers, UNBC’s vice-president (academic) and provost, will serve as chair of the expert panel. The panel will ask, “What is the state of knowledge regarding measures that organizations in Canada and around the world are implementing to achieve equity, diversity, and inclusion in the post-secondary research system?”

BC | Prince George Citizen


Who is Kevin Hall?

Journalist Sydney Lobe attended the president’s welcome address at the University of Victoria. Lobe also reports on an interview with President Kevin Hall, sharing insights into his vision of the university.

BC | The Martlet


President’s Faculty Lectures put spotlight on SFU researchers making a difference for B.C.

Simon Fraser University researchers making real-world differences to life in British Columbia will share their important work with the community as the SFU President’s Faculty Lectures return Sept 27 through April 30, 2024. The lecture series, co-organized by the President’s Office in partnership with SFU Public Square, shines a light on the research excellence at SFU. Hosted by SFU president Joy Johnson, these free public lectures celebrate cutting-edge research and researchers that engage with communities and mobilize knowledge to make real-world impacts. The theme of this year’s lectures is Making a Difference for B.C.



Provincial Tuition Waiver Program expanded to former youth in care of all ages

People looking to enrol in post-secondary education, who are former youth in care, will benefit from an expansion of the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program, which has launched for the fall semester. The Provincial Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care has been expanded to include all former youth in care, regardless of age. The program is no longer capped on a person’s 27th birthday. This program is also available to those who turn or have turned 19 with B.C. children and family development ministry or Indigenous Child and Family Service Agency legal status, regardless of time spent in care.

BC | BC Gov News


Minister’s statement on Consent Awareness Week

Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, and Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, released a joint statement on Consent Awareness Week at the beginning of Consent Awareness Week in BC. “We hope this week serves as a reminder that gender-based and sexualized violence remains too prevalent in communities across our province […] As a new semester begins at B.C.’s post-secondary institutions, we want to make sure we’re creating the safest environments that are inclusive and welcoming for everyone.”

BC | BC Gov News


Special advisor releases findings on future of football at Simon Fraser University

Special advisor Bob Copeland released his findings on the future of football at Simon Fraser University. In the extensive report, Copeland, the senior vice-president of McLaren Global Sport Solutions, confirms that Simon Fraser has no option to play football in the NCAA or the United States and that returning to play in Canada in U Sports would require a significant investment from the school with no guarantee of a positive outcome. SFU has committed to honouring the scholarships of football players through graduation and indicated that they are provided student-athletes with health and well-being support along with one-on-one meetings. They are also supporting those who are transferring to other programs.

BC | SFU | Report


TRU sees surge in international registration, up 900 students from last year

Thompson Rivers University is seeing a surge in international registrations, with the total international headcount increasing by more than 900 students compared to last year. In a report going to TRU’s senate on Monday, TRU President Brett Fairbairn said international registrations have shown a 27 per cent uptick since last year. International students now make up 49 per cent of the university’s on-campus student body. Meanwhile, domestic registrations are flat, with only 11 fewer registrants and 10 more course registrations compared to the same time last year. 

BC | Castanet


New SFU medical school will include dedicated family doctor program: minister

The new medical school planned at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus will have a dedicated family doctor training program similar to the one spearheaded at an Ontario university, B.C.’s post-secondary education minister told Postmedia News. Selina Robinson confirmed B.C.’s second medical school, set to open in 2026, will include a program specifically focused on family and community medicine. The SFU family doctor program, Robinson said, is modelled after a new program at Lakeridge Health, a satellite campus of Queen’s University in Ontario, which this month launched the country’s first dedicated program for family medicine.

BC | Vancouver Sun


Thousands rally in support and protest of SOGI curriculum in B.C.’s schools

British Columbia’s premier, Official Opposition and human rights commissioner are all backing inclusive education programs as anti-2SLGBTQIA+ marches are planned in the province and across Canada. Posters created by a group called “1MillionMarch4Children” say participants are “standing together against gender ideology in schools” — a reference to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity programs being taught in B.C.’s public schools. Premier David Eby responded Tuesday, denouncing threats, hate and violence against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community “without hesitation.” The statement from Kasari Govender says peaceful demonstration protects democracy and generates debate, but the human rights of the trans and LGBTQ community “is not up for debate.” University administrations, faculty, and union groups across campus shared messages of support of Trans+ and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

BC | Global News | UVic | UBC


MLA Adam Walker ousted from BC NDP caucus, premier announces

Premier David Eby has announced MLA Adam Walker has been ousted from the BC New Democratic Party caucus. In a statement issued Sunday, Eby says the BC New Democrat caucus conducted a thorough internal investigation after a human resources complaint was issued against Walker. He says that the investigation found misconduct on the part of Walker, who was elected the MLA for Parksville-Qualicum in 2020 and is the Parliamentary Secretary for the Sustainable Economy. The statement says he will no longer be a member of the government caucus or a parliamentary secretary, but he remains a member of the NDP. Eby said he can assure the people in Walker’s riding that a formal and thorough process was followed.

BC | CBC | CityNews


Burnaby post-secondary professor back as BC Utilities Commission CEO

Dr. Mark Jaccard was appointed chief executive officer (CEO) as well as chair of the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) effective September 14. Jaccard is a professor at Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) School of Resource and Environmental Management, and has been on the post-secondary’s faculty since 1988. This will be Jaccard’s second stint in the BCUC’s top seats after serving as chair and CEO from 1992 to 1997, and his mandate will be to regulate energy utilities like BC Hydro, FortisBC and ICBC. Jaccard was awarded the Academic of the Year Award  in the 2008 CUFA BC Distinguished Academics Awards series.

BC | BC Gov News | The Chilliwack Progress | CUFA BC Awards


University of Lethbridge Faculty Association hosts Western Regional Conference

The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) is hosting the Western Regional Conference from October 26-28 in Lethbridge, Alberta. This conference is open to delegates from faculty associations across western Canadian provinces, including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

National | ULFA


CAUT Contract Academic Staff Conference

CAUT will hold the annual Contract Academic Staff Conference on Octoer 20-21 in Ottawa. Join contract academic staff colleagues from across the country as we explore how the voices of contract academic staff should be included in governance and decision-making bodies, and within our academic staff associations. The conference will also be an opportunity to discuss ongoing and emerging issues facing contract academic staff and provide participants with the skills and resources needed to run effective campaigns for change.

National | CAUT


CAUT Fair Employment Week

Fair Employment Week (FEW) is taking place from October 16 to 20, 2023. FEW is CAUT’s annual event designed to raise awareness about precarious employment on campus and to support your local association’s organizing efforts to improve the working conditions of contract academic staff (CAS).

National | CAUT


Reconciliation and indigenization: ‘there’s still a lot of work to be done’

This past August, Universities Canada (publisher of University Affairs) released the results of a survey that assessed the progress being made towards reconciliation at Canadian institutions. Survey results show a majority of respondents are committed to integrating Indigenous knowledge into their programs. Some institutions are just beginning, but many are already well along the reconciliation and decolonization path. More and more universities are also committed to ensuring that Indigenous peoples are prominently represented at all levels of  leadership and throughout the university’s scope of influence.

National | University Affairs


HESA hosts AI Roundtable meeting – Pedagogy and curriculum

Higher Education Strategy Associates will host its fourth AI Roundtable meeting – this time, focusing on Pedagogy and curriculum. This Roundtable meeting will be co-facilitated by our team at Higher Education Strategy Associates, and Grant Potter, Instructional Designer at UNBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. The event takes place on September 26 at 7am in Vancouver.

National | Registration


K. Christie

President Ken Christie is in his second year of a two-year term with CUFA BC. He is the Program Head and a Professor of Human Security and Peacebuilding graduate program at Royal Roads University. Christie is a political scientist, author, editor and international academic who has taught and conducted research at universities in the U.S., Singapore, South Africa, Norway, the United Arab Emirates and Canada. The work he produces is truly interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature. Dr. Christie is also a frequent commentator in the international and national media including television, radio and print on a wide variety of international affairs topics.


ICYMI: Can Governance Survive? The Future of the University

CUFA BC is pleased to announce a national conference “Can Governance Survive? The Future of the University” which takes place in Vancouver on January 18-19, 2024. The conference explores questions about What is the state of university governance today, and can it survive modern day challenges? Is there a defined role for faculty associations in the governance model of today’s university? “This national conference will provide valuable opportunity for faculty, staff, university administrators, government policymakers, and other stakeholders to shape the future of university governance,” says President Ken Christie.

BC | Press Release | Conference Information

The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC) supports high-quality post-secondary education and research in BC. We represent over 5,500 professors, lecturers, instructors, librarians, and other academic staff through the faculty associations at British Columbia’s research and doctoral universities (the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Northern British Columbia, Royal Roads University, and the University of Victoria). The Confederation has been in existence for fifty years and works closely with member faculty associations at each institution. All of our member faculty associations are unionized under the Labour Code of British Columbia.

Our office is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ı́lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and Stó:lō Nations.
CUFA BC Website