Ontario Takes Action to Get York University Students Back in Class
Legislation Introduced Today Would Require York University to Resume Operations
Ontario has introduced legislation that would, if passed, enable thousands of York University students to resume their courses. The legislation would put an end to the deadlocked labour dispute and require York University to resume its normal operations.
The proposed legislation governs labour disputes between York University and three bargaining units represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 (CUPE 3903). The legislation, if passed, would require any strike or lock-out at York University to be terminated.
All outstanding issues would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration. York University and CUPE 3903 would have five days to agree on a mediator-arbitrator, or one would be appointed by the Minister of Labour or his designate.
Legislation follows the receipt of a report from William Kaplan noting that the parties have reached an impasse and there is no reason to believe that they will be able to resolve their dispute through free collective bargaining.
- Collective agreements between York University and CUPE 3903 union expired on August 31, 2017.
- The strike by approximately 2,700 workers began on March 5, 2018.
- Approximately 39,500 students have had one or more courses adversely impacted by the labour disruption.
- Students in programs with accreditation standards, like Nursing, Engineering, or Law are particularly vulnerable to the impact of this strike and are in jeopardy of not being able to complete their academic year.
- On April 13, 2018, the Minister of Labour announced the establishment of an Industrial Inquiry Commission (IIC) to inquire into and report to the Minister on this dispute. William Kaplan, an experienced mediator-arbitrator, was appointed as the IIC’s sole member. The report was received by the Minister on May 4, 2018.
“Our government’s priority is to get students back to their courses. We respect and believe in the collective bargaining process. Unfortunately, in this case, William Kaplan, a highly respected and neutral mediator reported to me that the parties have reached an impasse and there is no reason to believe that they will be able to resolve their dispute through continued negotiations. Since both parties were unable to agree on binding arbitration, we have no choice but to act now and get students back in class.”
“We are disappointed that the parties were not able to come together to resolve this dispute in the best interest of thousands of students who have been adversely impacted by this situation. It is now in the public interest for the legislature to take action to end the strike.”