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Dear U of T Colleagues,

Greetings and warm wishes for a productive academic year in 2017–2018!

Upcoming Event for New Hires

Save the Dates: Holiday Reception and Annual General Meeting

  • UTFA’s Holiday Reception:
    Monday, December 11, 2017, 5–8 p.m., at the Faculty Club.
  • UTFA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM):
    Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 3:30–6:00 p.m. at Innis College. Our End-of-Term Reception will follow the AGM.



UTFA has had a very busy summer and early fall. What follows is a very brief update. We will communicate more detailed information later in the term, as our various projects advance. The list is numbered for ease of reference, and no ranking is implied.

To stay informed on important UTFA matters, subscribe to the UTFA President's Blog.

  1. New University Pension Plan (UPP3 JSPP)
Information on Pensions
  • UTFA is continuing to work with the following partners on the design of a new jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP): the U of T administration, the United Steelworkers, the Queen's University Faculty Association, the Guelph University Faculty Association, and the administrations at Queen's and Guelph.
  • Cynthia Messenger, UTFA’s President, will lead this negotiation. Cynthia has been working with an excellent team of UTFA colleagues, including Jennifer Jenkins, Jody MacDonald, Ken MacDonald, Marcin Peski, Harriet Sonne de Torrens, and Terezia Zoric. Advisors include Cameron Hunter, Susan Deller, and Alyssa Hodder of Eckler Ltd.; Hugh Mackenzie of Mackenzie & Associates; and Steven Barrett, Darrell Brown, and Susan Philpott of Goldblatt Partners.
  • Because three universities are working together, the pension plan project is called UPP3.
  • The plan is intended to be sector wide, and it will be open to other universities. It will also be open to unions other than the Steelworkers.
  • This fall UTFA will post material that will compare pensions in the current defined benefit pension plan with notional pensions in the proposed defined benefit JSPP. These comparisons are encouraging.
  • New timeline: Members will be asked to vote on the new plan proposal approximately one year from now. The new plan could not be up and running before July 1, 2019.
  • An education campaign will begin shortly. Cynthia is co-chair on a Communications Steering Committee that comprises members of the three universities in UPP3.
  • Note: The pensions of those already retired are not affected at all by any change in the pension plan.
  1. Supplementary Retirement Arrangement (SRA)
  • UTFA has made clear to the U of T administration that it will not agree to the new JSPP without an SRA that would provide some additional pension for those with salaries above the current cap of $161,000.
  • Cynthia is leading a team on SRA negotiations later this fall. Members of that team: Jody MacDonald, Ken MacDonald, Marcin Peski, Harriet Sonne de Torrens, and Terezia Zoric.
  1. Salaries/Benefits Negotiations
  • Vice-President, Salaries, Benefits, Pensions & Workload, Ken MacDonald, is our chief negotiator for the salaries/benefits/workload negotiations beginning in early November.
  • Ken is working with the UTFA bargaining team and other colleagues on an innovative array of benefits and policy improvements, including a range of health benefits, a compassionate leave policy, an improved housing assistance policy, and a privacy policy, to name several. Members of the salaries/benefits/workload bargaining team: Linda Kohn, Cynthia Messenger, Katharine Rankin, Kathleen Sheaffer, Kent Weaver, and Terezia Zoric.
  • More information from Ken will be forthcoming.
  • UTFA Council will be asked to approve UTFA’s bargaining positions at its October 17 meeting.
  1. Workload Policy (WLPP) Negotiations
  • Vice-President, Grievances, Terezia Zoric, is leading on WLPP change.
  • Terezia’s Grievance portfolio has dealt with workload complaints from all three of our member streams, including part-time faculty.
  • Terezia is currently seeking feedback from the UTFA Executive, members of UTFA’s standing committees, and UTFA Council on proposed detailed changes to language intended to strengthen the effectiveness of this important policy.
  • UTFA is seeking to protect research time and to ensure fair and transparent distribution of workload.
  1. PTR (merit pay)
  • Please see the President’s blog for information on proposals UTFA will bring forward on a PTR policy in the upcoming round of bargaining.
  1. Appointments Committee Initiatives
  • This year the Appointments Committee, chaired by Claude Evans, will focus on matters concerning part-time appointments and cross-appointments as well as on promotion to the rank of Full Professor in both streams. It will also advise the Librarians Committee on matters concerning their policy.
  1. Librarians’ Policy Change
  • The Chair of UTFA’s Librarians Committee, Kathleen Scheaffer, working with Ken MacDonald and legal counsel from Goldblatt Partners, has engaged in extensive consultation with librarians on proposed improvements to the librarians’ appointments policies.
  • These policy changes, to be negotiated in the upcoming round, will mark an important turning point for academic librarians across all three of our campuses.
  • The librarians’ policies (full-time and part-time) will be the first appointments policies to be negotiated in the new approach to policy change UTFA achieved through the SJAC talks, which also saw significant change for the tenure stream and the teaching stream. In addition, the SJAC process brought about important changes to Article 6 of the Memorandum of Agreement, including the ability to negotiate policy.
  • Please see UTFA's website for more information on UTFA's new means of negotiating policy change.
  • The librarians are resuming a campaign to inform our members of the academic work of librarians. We begin the year with profiles of Whitney Kemble and Helen Kulaplease visit the Academic Librarians site for more information on that campaign.
  1. University & External Affairs
  • Vice-President, University & External Affairs, Linda Kohn, will bring UTSC and UTM Student Union leaders to UTFA Council this academic year to present their initiatives and propose ways UTFA can assist. Top issues include academic and housing needs of international students, equity on highly diverse campuses, fees, fair wages for campus workers, and education to prevent sexual harassment and violence.
  • Call to action! We ask you to communicate with your MP on support for Canadian research: priorities are NOW being set for the next budget. UTFA is working with Evidence for Democracy in calling on the federal government to adopt the recommendations of the Naylor report, Investing in Canada’s Future: Strengthening the Foundations of Canadian ResearchCommunicating with your MP has never been easier—a letter template is supplied on E4D's websiteNote that the Naylor report makes recommendations for all three funding agencies: SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC.
  1. Part-time Policy Change
  • In the upcoming round of bargaining, Cynthia will lead a side table negotiating team that will seek significant changes to the part-time appointments policy, which governs over 200 faculty (not to be confused with CUPE’s Unit 3). Members of the team: Michael Attridge, Kass Banning, Claude Evans, and Brian McDonagh.
  • This fall Cynthia will work closely with the Appointments Committee, chaired by Claude Evans, to bring the proposed policy changes forward to UTFA Council for approval. All of the policy changes are intended to improve working conditions and academic freedom for part-time faculty.
  • Most part-time faculty in other universities are paid per course; the category of appointed part-time at U of T is unusual in Canada.
  1. Sexual Violence Policy
  • Vice-President, Grievances, Terezia Zoric, has been exploring ways to address areas of concern with the new Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, including engaging in ongoing discussions about an accompanying guideline document. She is working on a proposal to respond to gaps in the Policy that relate directly to faculty and librarians.
  • Consultations with UTFA lawyers and Council members began last summer after the introduction of Bill 132, which required all Ontario universities to enact a sexual violence policy effective September 8, 2016. 
  • More information from Terezia will be forthcoming.


  1. UTFA Co-sponsored Event in Honour of Homa Hoodfar
  • The event took place Tuesday, September 26, in Spigel Hall at UTM.
  • See UTFA's event page for more information.
  • Many thanks to Mohamad Tavakoli, Chair of UTFA’s Membership Committee, for helping to organize this co-sponsorship.
  1. Mental Health Event
  • Chair of the Librarians Committee, Kathleen Scheaffer, is coordinating an event that will focus on mental health and mental health resources available to members and students on campus.
  • Later in the term, UTFA will provide date and location details.
  1. UTFA is Hiring an Executive Director
  • An UTFA hiring committee that comprises both Council members and staff is in the process of refining the job description and posting for the position of Executive Director.
  • We hope to complete the hire before the end of the academic year.
  1. Website Renewal
  • Members of UTFA Executive and staff have met with a number of web design firms to discuss updating the UTFA website with refreshed design and improved functionality.
  • Mohamad Tavakoli, Chair of the Membership Committee, is leading the effort, with the help of Aylwin Lo, Communications Officer.
  • In the meantime we have continued to make small improvements to our current website, including an increased social media presence on the home page.
  1. Bargaining at St. Mike's
  1. UTFA Representation on OCUFA Committees
  • Vice-President, University & External Affairs, Linda Kohn, and Brian McDonagh will serve on OCUFA's Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee.
  • Vice-President, Grievances, Terezia Zoric, is the human rights lead on the OCUFA Working Group on Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching (SQCT).
  • J. Roy Gillis, Chair of the Equity Committee, serves as UTFA’s representative on OCUFA’s Status of Women and Equity Committee.
  1. UTFA Contributes to Living Wage Victory
  • Leanne MacMillan, CUPE Servicing Representative for CUPE 3261, which represents service workers across all three U of T campuses, addressed the UTFA Council meeting on September 20, 2017. She thanked UTFA for its support in the successful CUPE 3261 campaign to secure a living wage for all its members. Through letters to the Administration and at meetings of the Joint Committee, UTFA continues to advocate for a living wage for all U of T workers.


  • As the only independent, collective advocate for faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto, UTFA is led by a President who is elected by the general membership. Read more about UTFA on our About page.
  • UTFA Council representatives are elected (usually acclaimed) by their unit constituencies.
  • UTFA’s appointed Executive Committee helps manage UTFA’s affairs and carries out duties delegated to it by UTFA Council.

    See UTFA's Executive Committee    

The roles and responsibilities of UTFA’s governing bodies are laid out in our Constitution and Bylaws.


Please contact us at if you have questions or comments on any information in this newsletter.


Cynthia Messenger
UTFA President

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