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I. Introduction

On October 19, 2000, the Conservative government of Mike Harris introduced Bill 132 into the Ontario Legislature. This proposed legislation would:

  • introduce private for-profit universities into Ontario;
  • allow the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to delegate important responsibilities to an administrative board;
  • clear the way for a fundamental restructuring of colleges and universities;
  • allow inspectors a wide range of powers to investigate the administration of awards, grants and student loans;
  • criminalize students whose T4 returns and OSAP forms do not match.

CUPE sees Bill 132 as a serious threat to working people in Ontario. It will entrench a two-tiered post-secondary education system according to the demands of corporations.

As University workers, CUPE members see Bill 132 as part of a concerted effort on the part of the government and corporations to:

  • lower our wages;
  • undermine our working conditions;
  • increase the number of temporary workers who have few benefits and insecure contracts;
  • eliminate unions in the new institutions;
  • move our jobs in public institutions to non-union contractors.

Yet, the threat is not just to us in our workplaces. The Harris government is very clear about its goals for the restructuring of the PSE system:

The Objective of the post-secondary education program is to offer high quality programs of instruction that enable students to graduate, to obtain employment and to develop a secure financial future.1

This vision is meant to transform the educational experience into a market-driven activity. In this vision, students are not meant to become “critical thinkers” but loyal employees. A privatized education is not for human fulfillment, for curiosity, for creativity. After all, the “private” post-secondary experience is not meant to contribute to society, but to the economy.

From our perspective, as university workers, the Harris agenda does not acknowledge that universities and colleges are communities of learning, sites for the production of knowledge and workplaces as well. They are not corporate training centres.

This paper will locate Bill 132 along the pathway to privatization. It will also present our analysis of ten issues raised in the Bill itself.

II. The Path to Privatization

Bill 132 introduces private universities, but we are already well down the path to privatization. We continue to fight-back against these efforts at privatization, but it is not an easy struggle. We are united in the conviction that “Our Universities Work Because We Do”.

Restructuring of work started us down the path. As a result we face pressures to increase our workload, insecure jobs, lower wages and decreased benefits. At the Schulich School of Business at York University, for example, non-union lecturers work in a highly unionized environment.

CUPE demands that our work be recognized for its contribution to the university. As part-time sessionals and TAs, we teach 40% of the courses in many institutions. As service workers, we keep the university running. CUPE demands that our collective rights be respected, an end to precarious work, benefits for ourselves and our families, a living wage and good working conditions.

Partnerships are further along the path. For example, under the Ontario government’s “R&D Challenge Fund”, public research money is allocated to universities only after they have identified a private partner. As well, R&D firms are given tax cuts in exchange for associating with a university.2

CUPE demands that corporations pay their fair share of taxes in support of the public good.

CUPE demands that the struggles of working people inform the research agenda of our post-secondary education institutions. Our needs, rather than corporate needs, ought to shape the kinds of knowledge produced there.

Joint ventures are encouraged by the Super-Build project. These investments leave existing buildings without funds for maintenance. The Harris government does not wish to acknowledge the exorbitant costs of deferred maintenance caused by years of under funding. Under funding of public universities is not necessary. It is one of the tools governments are using to privatize the post-secondary education system.

CUPE demands that public investments be protected and that unsafe workplaces get the resources necessary for their long-term upkeep.

Build-Own-Operate-Transfer operations are further along the privatization pathway. BOOT operations allow private companies to benefit from new infrastructure by building, owning and operating university buildings and then transferring older assets back to the colleges or universities after 20 years or so.

In other jurisdictions, these “lease-back” arrangements have proven to be very expensive for the public purse. In Nova Scotia, the government has stopped private developers from building schools in this way because of the cost.3

CUPE demands full disclosure of efforts to bring “lease-back” arrangements to our colleges and universities. We also demand full accountability for the gap between projected and actual costs of these operations.

Long-term leases already exist. For example, the Ivy school at Western leases a building from the university for $1 /year.

CUPE demands the end to such public subsidies for private corporations.

Minority Interest means that the public role diminishes to a minority share of the enterprise, while the corporate interest becomes the majority! In post-secondary education, we have seen the introduction of privately funded institutes on public campuses. Queen’s University MBA program is one example. Other institutions have increased the percentage of income derived from private funds dramatically over the past few years. Rich institutions have become better off even as public money has dried up. This has not meant that university workers have benefited, however.

Smaller institutions become more vulnerable to the pressures of privatization, with the result that CUPE members, who are paid a small fraction of total budget, face a downward pressure and threats of possible institutional failure if they do not comply.

CUPE demands that that the hollowing out of our public post-secondary institutions be halted. The special interests of corporations are no substitute for the public interest.

Not-for-profit institutions funded by outrageous tuition fees and private endowments are permitted under Bill 132. Former education Minister Betty Stephenson has long advocated the opening of a private non-profit university in Queensville. In the past, we have objected to the opening of these “Harvards of the North” because they are fundamentally elitist. With Bill 132, we would see the introduction of such institutions.

CUPE demands that the Harvard model be absolutely rejected.

Franchises are well down the path of privatization. CUPE members already work in franchises on university campuses where we have fought employers’ demands to undermine our collective agreements and eliminate unions altogether. Sodexho-Marriott, a food-service provider in many Ontario universities and one of our employers, operates for-profit prisons in the United States. Unions and students have formed coalitions to oppose these U.S. operations. We expect these same corporations to attempt to privatize student residences in the near future.

CUPE demands an end to this sort of chipping away of our public education system.

CUPE demands that students be permitted to study in an environment not defined by the market. Rather than fast-food franchises, advertisements in the toilet stalls, corporate sponsored classrooms, curriculum shaped by the “common sense” of business, for-profit residences, corporate-run labs, dangerous infrastructure, buildings cleaned half as often as they should be, “re-run” television courses, on-line teaching assistants half way around the world, CUPE believes all students are entitled to a high-quality, public education system organized around the principles of social solidarity.

Equity Divestiture means the selling-off of public assets. CUPE is opposed to any attempt on the part of this government to turn public institutions into privately owned colleges and universities. We see this as a real possibility as a result of Bill 132.

CUPE demands public re-investment of the budget surplus in our post-secondary educational institutions.

Private for-profit universities and colleges will be set up for business should Bill 132 pass in the Ontario Legislature. This means that post-secondary education corporations will be responsible to their shareholders who will want to see a return on their investment.

A for-profit education will be expensive, anti-union and business-driven. We have seen much of this already, but Bill 132 will legitimize the changes already made, institutionalize them and push the process even further.

CUPE demands that private for-profit post-secondary institutions be absolutely rejected. We believe the people of Ontario deserve much better than this.

III. Bill 132: Our Analysis

Ontario’s post-secondary education system is already well down the road to privatization as a result of this government’s efforts. From our perspective, there are ten important issues to address.

Bill 132 permits corporations to apply to open private for-profit PSE institutions. Once private institutions are part of the PSE system, international trade laws would prevent Ontario from “discriminating” against foreign corporations and keeping them out.

Bill 132 allows the Minister to delegate important public responsibilities to an un-elected Board. Contrary to the government’s assertion, the proposed legislation does not prevent public resources being used by new private institutions.

Bill 132 consolidates a process of streaming students that is now begun in secondary school. It deflects attention away from accessibility issues by introducing inspectors to monitor PSE institutions. At the same time, it turns low-income students into criminals for violating the rules regarding student loans.

Bill 132 entrenches a corporate-driven definition of quality into the PSE system. It promotes a hierarchy of institutions, and it allows PSE administrators to contemplate further job reductions and cutbacks to service delivery.

1. Allowing Corporate “Persons”

In the current legislation, the definition of who is allowed to apply to set up a university is defined at the beginning of the Statute. According to legal practices, the individual “person” who enters into a contract may be an individual human being or an individual corporation.

In general, “person” includes a corporation and the heirs, executors, administrators or other legal representatives of a person to whom the context can apply according to law4

This definition is what applies unless there is some limitation on it. Until now, the government has limited the definition of what sorts of “persons” may be known as universities and colleges.

In the Degree Granting Act, the definition of “person” is limited as follows:

1. In this Act “person” includes a sole proprietorship, partnership, unincorporated association, unincorporated syndicate, unincorporated organization or trust;5

This is a limited definition, which does not include corporations. The government wants to repeal this Statute.

In the proposed Bill 132, the Definition of “person” is not mentioned. This is the technical means through which private institutions would be allowed in post-secondary education. “Person” in this case will revert to the broader definition to include corporations.

Furthermore, Bill 132 does not prevent unincorporated (and other) persons defined above from applying for a “consent”. This would suggest that the legislation opens the way for public universities to become private.

2. Private Universities and International Trade in Services

Bill 132 leaves the people of Ontario wide open to challenges brought before the World Trade Organization. Under the rules of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), once a government gives up control over a public sector, that sector becomes subject to the rules of free trade. If Bill 132 passes, from now on the government must accord foreign “persons” the same rights, advantages and subsidies as their own national companies. They cannot discriminate. In the language of free trade, this means that the government must accord foreign corporations “national treatment” or risk being brought before the WTO or subject to a NAFTA challenge.

British Columbia has had private universities for a decade. These were introduced, however, before NAFTA and the GATS were negotiated. The introduction of private universities now would reflect the changes to international trade law made since 1994.

Provincial jurisdiction has no merit in international trade law, so if the WTO were ever to rule against Ontario’s use of an “unfair trading practice” in education, Canada would have to ensure that Ontario complies, or risk heavy trade sanctions against which ever sector the Tribunal decided would ensure compliance.

At the moment, the GATS is up for re-negotiation at the WTO. At this point, it appears that governments are preparing to open up free trade in services more than we could have even imagined only a few years ago. 6 The Harris government is gambling on the idea that once instituted, these changes to post-secondary education will be irreversible given the global context.

From CUPE’s perspective, political decisions are never that final, but this would be a very, very difficult decision to overturn in the future.

3. Accountability and University Governance:

4.1 (1) Any power or duty conferred or imposed on the Minister under this or any other Act may be delegated by the Minister to the Deputy Minister or Training, Colleges and Universities or to any other person employed in the Ministry…

(3) … the Minister may authorize a person to whom a power or duty is delegated to delegate to others the exercise of the delegated power or duty…

Our commitment to democracy has often called us to challenge our Members of Provincial Parliament to represent the working people of Ontario. We elect our representatives. The government becomes responsible to the legislature as it carries out its duties. Ministers are also responsible for what goes on in their Ministry. CUPE calls on the government to be accountable to the citizens of Ontario, not just during elections, but throughout its term.

With Bill 132, the Minister gives away certain powers. For example, a deed or contract signed by an un-elected delegate “has the same effect as if signed by the Minister”. (4).

In the past, universities and colleges could grant degrees or operate a university on the authority of an Act of the Legislature (Degree Granting Act, 2(e)). If this Bill passes, an Act of the Legislature OR the consent of the Minister is required.

Under Bill 132, the Legislature does not have to approve of any applications for private universities. Where is the accountability in this scenario?

If a request comes to the Minister, the “Quality Assessment Board” will consider the request and then make a recommendation to the Minister. The Minister cannot approve any application that the Board does not recommend. Furthermore, this un-elected Board is permitted to establish criteria to apply in reviewing applications.

There is no mention of what happens in the unlikely event that a request is made via an Act of the Legislature. This would suggest that the charters of existing public PSE institutions are grand parented, but new ones will not be created.

With Bill 132, the role of the Legislature and Ministerial responsibility is both diminished. Post-secondary education is primarily the responsibility of the Provincial government, but key powers are about to be handed over to an administrative board.

How will the voice of working people be heard on this issue?

Who will sit on the Board? What interests will be represented there?

Will the voices of employers determine what criteria will be used to evaluate applications for new institutions?

To what extent would these new education profit-takers be accountable to the student union and trade unions on campus. 7

At the moment, Ontario campuses have internal governance structures in which different members of the university and broader community may sit on Boards of Governors and Senate.

In recent years the “community” represented by Boards of Governors has tended to be the business community. Nevertheless, are we to expect that Boards of Directors will become the ultimate instance of accountability in the university governance structure? What form of governance does this government envision for the new institutions?

Who has input into the decisions that are made at DeVry Institute at present? Does the Toronto Business School have workers and students as voting members of its central governing bodies? Hardly. Is there any reason this would change in a for-profit university? We actually need more democracy in our universities and colleges, not less.

The most important people in Canada do not sit as directors on multi-national corporations. Neither are the people of Canada simply taxpayers. We are citizens and we demand the fulfillment of our rights as citizens, including the right to a fully accountable education system created in the public interest.

4. Public Money for Private Interests

Subsection 8 of the proposed legislation states:

The giving of a consent does not entitle the person to whom the consent is given to any funding from the Government of Ontario.

But neither does it prohibit it.

Public funds can be allocated indirectly to private educational institutions, thus draining public resources, by means of:8

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans;
  • Millennium Scholarships;
  • Tax Incentives;
  • Student Loans programs;
  • Publicly funded research awards to faculty;
  • Public infrastructure, such as libraries;
  • Public goods and services made available by municipalities at discounted rates;
  • Requirements that public educational institutions partner with private concerns as a condition of funding.

If Bill 132 passes, subsidies to private educational institutions will also be extended in the form of:

  • Accumulated knowledge about service delivery developed by the public sector;
  • Research networks and intellectual communities developed over generations through public support;
  • Restructuring carried out by governments preparing public services like universities and colleges for privatization first and foremost by under-funding and subsequently, by freezing wages, down-sizing, contracting-out, increasing workload and de-unionization;
  • Years in which any commitment to social equality was undermined by policies that widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

5. “Streaming” students

We are concerned that many children whose families won’t be able to pay for the high cost of university education will not expect they are welcome, and will not end up in the “university” stream in secondary school.

According to a previously released Ministry document, the legislation is meant to:

…bring the university system more into line with the range of choices now offered in elementary and secondary schools and colleges.9

For working people, these statements are very important. First of all, we need to reflect on what “ranges of choices” are now offered in students’ early years.

  • In grade nine, students in Ontario have to choose between “academic” and “applied” streams (with some choice of “open” courses);
  • Students who are deemed “abstract” thinkers can choose the academic stream. Students who are considered “practical and concrete” thinkers can choose the applied stream;
  • To change streams, students have to do approx. 30 hours of “crossover material” in each course. Given teacher workloads, this would probably happen without teacher supervision, perhaps in the summer;
  • In grades 11-12, students choose between “university”, “university/college”, “college”, “workplace” and a very few “open” courses.

One of the great tragedies for the young people of Ontario comes from a new emphasis on “streaming” secondary education. Are we to expect that children of working families will be streamed according to their class, race, ethnicity or gender?

As Rick Graham, a CUPE member who works at the University of Western stated:

The government is leading us down the path of the privateers and it’s a real shame for the people. Because we’ll miss out on the greatest minds. Our kids won’t be able to go here and a lot of poor people are geniuses.

How will students, teachers and parents decide who is capable of “abstract” thinking or “practical and concrete” knowledge? Dividing education up this way robs many people of the opportunity to explore abstract thought, while giving enormous privileges to many of those who do. Dividing “abstract” from “practical” thinkers makes it less likely that knowledge production will meet the needs of working people. With this vision, training objectives shift away from workers’ needs towards the employer’s agenda.

The problem for corporations will be, of course, that working people can and do resist the hierarchy that puts “abstract thinkers” into “management problem-solver” positions and “concrete thinkers” into the category of “loyal employee”. CUPE members know that “Our Universities Work Because We Do”.

6. Inspectors and Intrusions: Safeguarding “student investments”

There is a very real possibility that students of private PSE institutions students will lose their money or not have access to their transcripts should these educational business ventures fail. The government’s position is that it can safeguard students’ investments by mandating a new role for inspectors.

Instead of allocating sufficient funds to public institutions, the government is attempting to shore up public support for a very dubious enterprise by reverting to an eighteenth century vision of the role of government as being nothing more than a night-watchman protecting legal contracts with its coercive power.

Bill 132 would allow inspectors to enter the business premises of any person and post-secondary institution without warrant whereupon no one would be allowed to “refuse to answer questions on matters relevant to the inspection.” (11). The inspector would be able to examine and demand documents, remove and copy documents, remove equipment such as computers and question a person. (5).

We can see the direction this is leading us. The government now expects colleges with students’ loan default rate above a certain amount to pay the costs exceeding the threshold. If students at Loyalist College, for example, default at the 1998 rate of 30.6 %, then the College will have to pay $375,000 in 2001 when the threshold will be set at 25%.10

President of Loyalist College Doug Auld argues the requirement discriminates against colleges in low income, high unemployment areas, or students from low-income families who need to borrow a lot of money and who end up defaulting once they leave the college.

It is unlikely that inspectors will be able to prevent private institutions from declaring bankruptcy. They will, however, be very effective in monitoring the administration of awards, grants and student loans.

Students’ access to student-loans program will be compromised as post-secondary institutions try to avoid the risk of fines associated with high default rates. This is one of the ways in which working people and low-income families will be discouraged from post-secondary education.

As one college student asked from the podium at the Ontario Federation of Students protest against the introduction of the Bill. “If you are an impoverished student, what are the chances you will have a poor credit rating? Pretty good!”.

How dare this government argue it is ensuring a place for every capable and willing student in Ontario’s PSE system!

7. Inspectors and Intrusions: Prosecuting Low-Income Students

As if this was not sufficiently punitive, Bill 132 creates a serious offence for obtaining awards, grants, or student loans to which a person is judged not to be entitled. It threatens students with fines of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of up to one year. Inspectors are given the same powers as those listed above to investigate.

What would turn a student into a criminal? Well, in the eyes of this government a student who receives a scholarship and does not report it as “income” would be breaking the law. Also, because the student assistance is simply not enough to live on, many students have to work more than what is permitted by OSAP. A student who works more than 10 hours per week would be breaking the law. Or, if a student’s income changed after making the OSAP application and the T4 and OSAP application did not line up, an audit would detect it and the student could be charged.

In current legislation, there are already regulations “providing for the recovery of all or any of the money awarded or granted to any student enrolled or purporting to be enrolled in a post-secondary institution who was not eligible for the award or grant or who fails to comply with any of the terms or conditions” 11 In their zealous commitment to “accountability”, current legislation is considered insufficient to tackle the problem.

Once again, the government has created a convenient public enemy. Bill 132 is an attempt by the government to criminalize students in legal terms, as well as, in the minds of Ontarians, instead of taking government¡|s role in supporting public education seriously.

8. Quality Education

Since the Spring 2000, the government has made it clear that the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board is expected “to assess new degree programs’ ”12

How will they do this? Given the intensity of the Program Review process (academic audits) now undertaken in Ontario’s public universities by the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents and the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies, how is this Board expected to monitor new universities after they have been granted a “consent”? One chair and a part-time board of “stakeholders” are unlikely to be capable of ongoing review according to recognized “educational standards”.

But even if the Board is able to convince academics brought up within the public system to sit on their advisory committees, what does the government mean by quality anyway?

The Harris government has decided that quality can be measured by imposing “key performance indicators”. Since March 2000, the government compels PSE institutions to adhere to a certain standard or lose a percentage of their operating grants. For the colleges, standards are based on graduates’ employment rates six months after graduation, employers’ satisfaction with graduates, and graduates’ satisfaction with their education. For universities, performance is measured by graduation rates, employment rates six months after graduation and employment rates two years after graduation.

Operating grants were increased slightly in 2000. For colleges, however, 2% of operating grants ($14 million) was deducted and only allocated according to the college’s performance. Although the differences were slight indeed, this government likes to see winners and losers. As a result, some colleges did lose a percentage of their operating budgets. This percentage will increase to 4% in 2001-2 and 6% the following year.

For universities, 1% of operating budgets are based on performance indicators.

In the words of the government:

This new approach to funding will benefit those institutions that are responsive to student and community needs by providing relevant and high quality programs.13

Imposing these indicators is a vulgar approach to determining the quality of our post-secondary educational institutions that has been roundly criticized. The Ontario Council of Universities Report on Quality Indicators authored by David. C. Smith argued that:

The government’s three mandatory (performance) indicators are a limited, incomplete approach to recording institutional quality.14

Smith suggested that quality, vaguely defined by the government as “general excellence” cannot be measured by counting up indicators such as graduation rates, placement rates and loan default rates of former post-secondary students.

Neither can quality be enhanced if government simply imposes a set of indicators. Rather, Smith suggested, “a competitive and collaborative environment for universities, within a university sector that is funded reasonably in line with competing university sectors”15 is what is required for quality university programs.

Even David Smith, who was not a radical critic, points us towards the importance of public funding of PSE.

9. Towards “a more flexible use of existing facilities”: Academics,

At CUPE, we are very concerned with the way in which Bill 132 facilitates the restructuring of the post-secondary education system as a whole. Not only do we worry about the kinds of programs that will be offered, but we also worry about the implications for jobs.

With Bill 132, the Minister intends to allow colleges to grant BA degrees. As well, the Ministry favours collaborative college-university programs. A 4-year nursing program at Western-Fanshaw was the first to announce this type of program. College nursing programs are being closed. We expect that the 3 year general university degree will be phased out as well, given that there is no longer a 5 year secondary school diploma in Ontario.

As a Ministry document stated back in April:

College applied degrees will be offered in areas where there is a demonstrated employer demand for degree-level applied education and training…16

Under certain circumstances, the Minister would accept applications to turn colleges into universities. (Subsection 4(6), (7). So too could Bill 132 facilitate the merger of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology with Universities.

A leaked October 28, 1999 cabinet document analysed by the Toronto Star last year suggested that the Harris government would amalgamate or merge 21 colleges and universities into 8 new entities. We have not seen this statement made publicly yet, but we know that the government has put in place the legislative framework to permit mergers.

We also know that this same document recommended private universities, cutting funding to universities that do not meet key performance indicators, and targeting low priority programs in favour of a “more cost efficient, competitive, flexible and market-oriented system.”

Since last November 1999, we have seen every one of these initiatives introduced. So then, what evidence do we have that the Tories will not merge colleges and universities?

Are we to expect that fewer institutions will offer humanities and social science programs in favour of applied degrees like the degree in Information Technology that Carleton University and Algonquin College are setting up? Will universities turn increasingly towards professional accreditation, such that arts courses become support courses for the main degrees (writing, logic, general knowledge)?

Are we headed towards the consolidation of a PSE hierarchy in which lecturers and untenured, insecure faculty are expected to teach heavy loads in colleges, college-university programs and universities in smaller communities, while research and graduate studies take place in large institutions, or small private elite institutions?

CUPE’s position is that we will organize in our workplaces and with our coalition allies against this trend.

10. Towards “a more flexible use of existing facilities”: Services

We consider that Bill 132 provides the legislative framework that would create economies of scale in service provision. If, for example, the college and university in a community merge, a private company would probably want to hold the contract for grounds maintenance at two locations under one contract. CUPE would reject any attempt to cut jobs, pit workers against one another, or undermine our collective agreements. Employers must understand that we would organize to oppose such a move.

The administrative “efficiencies” that the government is seeking are not wholly laid out within Bill 132. The private university bill is being introduced just after the announcement of the “Investing in Students Taskforce”. This taskforce, although it is not formally linked to the introduction of Bill 132, is cut from the same cloth. For that reason, we think that it is important to point it out here.

On September 19, 2000 the Government announced that the new Taskforce will be:

examining options for shared services and identifying best practices for administrative functions such as information technology, procurement and data collection.

The Taskforce is chaired by Jalynn Bennett who is a management consultant, member of many corporate boards and formerly a member of the Board of Governors at Trent University.

Just as the academic side of PSE is being brought into line with the changes to the primary and secondary education, as well, the government is looking for ways to institute the deeper privatization of service provision.

In this case, the “best practices” recommended by the Education Improvement Commission are instructive. One example: the EIC recommends the experience of one school board that has been able to ensure that all new hires are excluded from the pension plan. Instead, they are given RRSPs, at significant savings to the employer.

The Ministry is on record as “working with institutions to expand capacity through more flexible use of existing facilities.” This is alarming, given the commitment of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) to conduct an “annual evaluation of whether to keep or to contract-out ancillary operations”.

For CUPE members, the COU’s attempt to appear “innovative, responsive, efficient and accountable” as a condition of receiving university operating budgets is a threat. We would like to initiate a public discussion of what a union perspective on “best practices” might look like in Ontario’s universities and colleges.

CUPE’s position is that quality education is advanced through the delivery of public services. Furthermore, CUPE members deserve good wages and benefits with decent working conditions, respect for our right to fair representation, the right to bargain and organize collectively.

These rights will be undermined should private universities open in an anti-union environment. So too will employers attempt to undermine these rights in public universities through further contracting-out and privatization of services.

IV. Conclusion

As citizens, we fought for our rights to public education. A private educational system is unfair to ordinary Canadians.

As workers, we need secure employment, as well as, good wages and working conditions in our university workplaces. Under funding allows corporations to turn our jobs into short-term contracts with fewer benefits for families increased workload lower-pay and a lot less security, ourselves.

As parents, we want our children to have the best our society can offer them. As students, we want an affordable educational system where we will find the space to think critically. Corporations have put their money and influence to work in transforming post-secondary education so those students learn what corporate sponsors want them to learn. As CUPE members, we deserve much more.

We want an educational system that is fully accessible, portable, of high quality, affordable and publicly administered.

We want a legislation that guarantees access, guarantees academic freedom, and establishes a democratic regulation of the post-secondary education system.

At CUPE, we embrace a solidaristic vision of society in which the diversity of the whole community is respected.

As CUPE members, as citizens, as university workers, as students and as parents, we intend to make this provincial government accountable to the whole community, not just a privileged class of profiteers.

1. Ministry’s 2000-2001 Business Plan

2. Office of the Premier, “Notes for remarks by The Honourable Mike Harris, MPP, Premier of Ontario” Council of Ontario Universities Summit, November 19, 1997

3. CUPE National, “Government pushing two tier schooling on Edmonton”, www.cupe.ca/mediaroom/newsreleases 9/21/2000

4. Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990 Vol.5, Chap. H.6-L3., Chap I.11 29(1) p.765

5. “Degree Granting Act, Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990, Chapter D.5”,

6. Scott Sinclair, “GATS: How the World Trade Organization’s new “services” negotiations threaten democracy”, (Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2000), pp.1-16.

7. Thanks to Michael Tremelini, Canadian Federation of Students, for this insight.

8. OCUFA, “Decoys Instead of Dollars for Post-secondary Education: Private Universities in Ontario”, OCUFA Research Report, vol. 1 no. 2, p.4

9. Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, “Backgrounder: Improving the Quality and Accessibility of Post-Secondary Education and Training”, September 2000

10. Steven Serviss, “Loyalist forced to pay for student loan losses”, Online Pioneer, (Loyalist College: Belleville, Ontario. 12/04/1999. www.loyalistc.on.ca

11. Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act, Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990, Chapter M.19, 7(b).

12. Increasing Degree Opportunities for Ontarians: A consultation paper”, April 2000.

13. Ministry, “Backgrounder: Improving the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education and training” September 2000,

14. David C. Smith, “Report on Quality Indicators and Quality Enhancement in Universities: Issues and Experiences” March 2000, Council of Ontario Universities

15. Smith, “Report on Quality Indicators”

16. Ministry, “Increasing Degree Opportunities for Ontarians: A Consultation Paper, April 2000”

17. “Ontario plans $800 million education cuts”, Toronto Star, November 17, 1999.

18. Ministry, “Backgrounder: Improving the Quality and Accessibility of Post-secondary Education and Training”

19. Council of Ontario Universities, Brief to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs 2000 Pre-Budget Consultations”, February 16, 2000.

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