Presenting the 2017 Opseu-CAAT Academic bargaining team

After a very democratic process and 2 days of meetings delegates from each of the colleges voted in a bargaining team that will represent us in upcoming negotiations.

Pictured from left to right:  Nicole Zwiers (L354/Durham), Mona Chevalier (L470/La Cite), Ed Toivonen (Alternate, L655/Cambrian), our own JP Hornick, Shawn Pentecost (L415/Algonquin), Ravi Ramkissoonsingh (L242/Niagara), Kevin MacKay (L240/Mohawk), and Darryl Beford (L110/Fanshawe).


We have a good mix of colleges and experience represented.   Let’s all wish them strength and wisdom.

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Let’s Make a Deal: The Colleges and McDonald’s

All 24 of Ontario’s public colleges have entered into an agreement with The McDonald’s Corporation to accept employee training for McDonald’s managers as academic credit for college business programs….   Comprehensive credit transfer between public colleges and corporations in a bi-lateral articulation agreement represents a significant departure from prevailing North American norms and standards in public higher education.

To find out more, read the full article from Fanshaw College’s (local 110) web-site.

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Scholarship winners

After a long evaluation process we are ready to announce the scholarship winners.  Before we do we’d like to let you know that there were 90 applicants for the general scholarship and 15 for the aboriginal scholarship.  The decisions were not easy to make.

Thank you to all who applied.




Ngawang Khedup – 2nd. Year Activation Gerontology
RECOMMENDED BY: Maura Bascom, Professor Activation/Gerontology

Anna Salgado, ASL –English Interpretor Program
RECOMMENDED BY:  Nancy Travis Blanchard – Professor ASL/English Inter. Program

Matthew Beem – 2nd. Year Business Admin
RECOMMENDED BY:  Lori Futterer, Professor, School of Business

Tiana Norn – SSW Program
RECOMMENDED BY:  Chris Caron – Counsellor – Academic Upgrading

Hellen Gladue – Special Event Management
RECOMMENDED BY:  Emmanuel Rey, Professor, Hospitality & Tourism

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Faculty Productivity – perspective from New Zealand

CAUT (the Canadian Association of University Teachers) is sponsoring a lecture in Toronto (New College at Uof T) on March 1st with Dr. Sandra Grey, president of the Tertiary Education Union in New Zealand. She’ll be talking about efforts in her country to measure “faculty productivity” and what her union is doing to push back.

Read about it here


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Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts is excited to give you a sneak peak of the 31st annual Festival, set to take place from May 1 – 14, 2016 at various locations across the GTA. The full line-up of all events will be announced shortly.

Stay tuned to our website for more information!

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State of the Ontario College System – a presentation by Lynn Dee Eason, President of OPSEU Local 613 representing faculty at Sault College to the Ontario Government

The Ontario government has been conducting pre-budget consultations. The following are the comments made by our good friend and colleague Lynn Dee Eason, President of OPSEU Local 613 representing faculty at Sault College. Her remarks provide a great synopsis of the current state of the Ontario college system today.

Submission of Lynn Dee Eason to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

Please click here.

Highly recommended!


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General Membership Meeting Feb. 17th @4PM

 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2016  – 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
 @ St. James Campus; 200 King Street East; room SJA 217A
 social to follow:  6PM at The Jason George 100 Front St. E.
AGENDA:Election of Delegates/Alternates to OPSEU Convention (April  15 & 16 & Regional Meeting) and to Toronto and York Region Labour Council; Resolutions and Constitutional Amendments; Treasurer’s Report; Divisional plan discussion for Mobilizing and Negotiations; SWF Discussion;
Tom Tomassi,
President, OPSEU Local 556
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OPSEU student scholarship/bursary

As faculty at George Brown College and members of OPSEU Local 556, your local union dues support five $1000 scholarships/bursaries for full time students that can demonstrate a financial need.  These scholarships/bursaries are made possible through your local union dues deduction.   As directed by the local membership, three of the five scholarships/bursaries are dedicated to full time aboriginal students and the other two are for the full time student population at large.

To apply for any of these scholarships/bursaries, the student is to forward a brief essay outlining:
–        which scholarship/bursary they are applying for (i.e. Aboriginal or General)
–        provide a brief description of their background
–        list the program and year of study that they are currently enrolled in
–        outline the reason(s) for applying for the scholarship (financial need will be given top priority)
The letter of application must have an attachment from one of their Professors that contains a brief endorsement.
The complete documentation is to be forwarded to:

The application must be received by March 25, 2016 and only the successful applicants will be notified.  Applications received after March 25th will not be considered.

Your cooperation in ensuring our full time student population is aware of these scholarships/bursaries is greatly appreciated.  Please note that the application must be accompanied by a brief endorsement from one of their Professors.

All information and applications received will be kept confidential and will be appropriately disposed of once the successful applicants have been chosen by the committee.

Best Regards,
Tom Tomassi, President
OPSEU Local 556

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Note Takers in Classrooms replacement by recordings

To all faculty:

George Brown College has recently switched from peer note takers to a third-party app, Note Taking Express (NTE). NTE is an Alberta-based company that allows students to audio-record classes using their app; then send the recording to the company; and have an unnamed person on the other end create written notes based on the recording.  The notes are then sent back to the student within 72 hours.  Many of you have contacted us with concerns about your classes being recorded.

There does not appear to have been a general announcement to faculty, nor was there any discussion with the faculty union about potential concerns and issues prior to Disability Services making this change.  It is also unclear whether this was directed or approved by the Vice-President Academic.

Instead, professors are learning that their classes are going to be recorded from students turning in their accommodation forms.  The existing College policy states that this type of recording cannot be done without the consent of the faculty and students in the class; however, we are now being told that consent is no longer required, and that College policy is going to be changed to allow for non-consensual recordings for accommodation purposes.

The use of this software raises a number of issues for faculty and students, and we wanted to make you aware of some of our concerns:

Electronic copies/recordings made of in-class lectures or notes can end up anywhere online.  For faculty, the concern is that recordings could be used for discipline, or could easily be taken out of context.  For students, the inability to control the spread of digital recordings of classroom discussions they are involved in violates their right to privacy.

The common practice in the professional media industry is that any public recording needs the consent of those being recorded.  This is particularly important in a classroom, where professors and students discuss issues that are personally, politically, or socially sensitive.  If any recording is to occur in the classroom, it should have the express written consent of the faculty in question, as well as the other students in the classroom.

Recording a classroom drastically changes the kind of interaction that will take place in that classroom.  Teachers will change the style in which they teach, students will be less likely to participate, and conversations will be stifled that may have otherwise occurred.  In classes that deal with sensitive or controversial issues, or are encouraging critical thinking, the impact of recording is substantial, and significantly impairs the effectiveness of the learning environment.

Faculty or students may not want to be recorded, as recording is anxiety provoking.  For faculty, this creates an unsafe workplace, and is a Health and Safety issue.  For students this violates the College’s responsibility to provide a safe learning environment.

It is unclear what parameters around storage, privacy, and intellectual property rights are in place in the College’s contract with Note Taking Express.  There has been no information about how long the recording will be kept, for example, nor where it will be stored.  While under George Brown College’s current policies, the recordings should be the intellectual property of the faculty, it is not clear that those policies will apply to these recordings, nor that they will remain robust in protecting faculty’s course content.

As faculty, we are absolutely committed to providing accommodations for our students to ensure an equitable learning environment for all.  We are not against our students having peer notetakers in our classes, nor are we unilaterally opposed to classes being recorded where it makes sense in terms of curriculum delivery, and has the consent of all involved.  Indeed, we would prefer to work with Disability Services and the VPA on policies and procedures that benefit our students and faculty.

The College and faculty need to accommodate students, but it is up to faculty to decide, in consultation with Disability Services and individual students, which forms of accommodation are most academically appropriate.  There are several options here: peer note-takers, faculty sending notes to students who require accommodation (where appropriate), faculty giving students print copies of notes, meeting with students for extra help, incorporating shared note-taking into evaluation, or recording.  Indeed, the College receives significant funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities for the purpose or providing appropriate accommodations to students.

Finally, on a separate but related note, we have recently become aware of commercial course content sites, particularly One Class ( and Course Hero (, that are recruiting students to send their class notes in to the site (in exchange for honoraria such as coffee cards), then selling those notes back to other students in the class.  We know that GBC faculty and classes are present on these sites, although these sites are not condoned or promoted by the College.  The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has issued a bulletin on their concerns here:—commercial-course-content-web-sites.pdf.  We encourage you to read the fact sheet, and to scan these sites for notes or other materials from your classes.  While we cannot prevent students from using these sites, knowing how they’re used allows us to adjust our curriculum and evaluation methods.

We have scheduled a meeting with the College for September 23rd to review your/our concerns with them, and to seek clarification and further information.  We will update you on new developments following that meeting.

If you’d like more information about Note Taking Express, the commercial course content sites, or want to express your concerns, please contact the faculty union at x2200 or

In solidarity,

Your faculty union executive

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Labour Day Parade – Monday, September 7th, 2015

Join OPSEU Region 5 at the 2015 Labour Day Parade!

When: Monday , September 7, 8:30 a.m.

Where: University Ave (east side, just south of Dundas St.)

  • Invite your OPSEU colleagues
  • Bring your family, kids, and friends
  • OPSEU T-shirts and free admission to the CNE for all OPSEU members marching with us
  • Prize for the OPSEU local with the best turn-out
  • Snacks and drinks for markers along the route (bring your own water)
  • Rides available for those with mobility issues (Note: Spaces are limited. Email us early to reserve your seat at

For more information, please see the Parade Poster.

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