2024 Local Elections and Updated Info

At the GMM held on May 30, elections were held to all executive positions in the Local. The contact list for the executive, stewards and other local staff has been updated and can now be viewed here.

Also please note that the 2024 Benefits Booklet is now available and can be viewed here.

CAAT-S FT bargaining bulletin 1: Proposals exchanged

OPSEU College Support|Soutien #Support4Success #SoutenirPourReussir

Message from the Chair:
Bargaining begins – and we corner Doug Ford

Oh, what a week this was! We started the week with an engaging discussion with our #support4success mobilizers on the communication and engagement strategies for this round of bargaining. The energy was incredible and filled the room with excitement and optimism.

Bargaining for the first time since August 2014 felt like riding a bike after a long time not riding. The first few hours prepping for our initial sit-down with the employer, our team ironed out all the rust that we may have accumulated over the past eight years. After six months of consultation, engagement and meaningful discussions, we crafted 40 proposals. These proposals reflect what Full-Time Support staff have told us need to be addressed in a meaningful way by the employer.

Our bargaining team exchanged proposals on June 15. Our opening statement outlined the ever-changing environment at our colleges and the increased demands on support staff for more work with less time and resources. Our incredible resilience, shown through COVID-19, needs to be recognized with dignity, fairness and respect. Dignity, fairness and respect are what we expect from our employer, and we will accept nothing less. We relayed a message that we wanted to have open and productive dialogue across the table.

This round may be difficult, considering Bill 124 and the current political environment, but we are hopeful that we will be able to achieve a good outcome, with your support. We had a chance encounter with Premier Ford in the lobby of the hotel, and we didn’t shy away. We engaged him in a direct, but respectful, discussion around the wage caps, the rising cost of everything, mortgage rates and our diminishing ability to pay our bills.

We told the Premier that if the province continues to put caps on wages, it will force people to leave the colleges, which would result in heavier workloads and create significant gaps in services for students. He listened and committed that his government was going to address issues stemming from Bill 124 for frontline workers, though he stopped short of including college workers or elaborate what he meant.

Whether Bill 124 is in place or not, we will make sure that we hold the employer to task and demand that our proposals be considered in the way we intended, and not turned into unreasonable concessions.

The colleges keep telling us that it is hard to recruit new employees, while they reject our members through job competitions, without offering useful feedback or ways to improve. They talk about equitable hiring practices, yet they treat us like strangers at interviews and ignore our contributions to the students’ success and college growth.

In the next pages, we have summarized our proposals and included the exchange document we gave the employer. We believe in transparency, open communication and accountability to all support staff.

The employer provided topics for discussion. The topics cover several areas in the collective agreement but did not provide sufficient detail. We asked them when we would be able to discuss their proposals in detail and were informed that we would not discuss them until the next bargaining week. This information was a bit disappointing, but we will continue our communication and mobilizing activities.

Our goal is to have newsletters released on each Monday after each week of bargaining.

Stay tuned, and always in solidarity,
CAAT Support Full-Time Bargaining Team

Our proposals

Job competition

It was clear from the survey that fairness in our job competition process at colleges is very important to our members. Members with high levels of experience are struggling to compete for jobs due to the high and strict qualifications around education. One of the proposals put to the employer was a system to equate job experience with the different levels of education.

Click here to see the proposals document and the chart put forward with the equivalencies.

Another issue many locals are reporting is that the hiring process at various colleges for longer-term Appendix D positions is not done in a fair way. There is a proposal to bring the hiring of Appendix D employees in line with the hiring process for all full-time positions.

The bargaining team heard from many colleges that, despite many part-time and Appendix D employees working for years at the college, they struggle to compete for full-time positions. They are often overlooked in competitions that go to new hires from outside the colleges. To help create more equity, the proposal is to give part-time and Appendix D employees access to full-time job competitions.

Job security

Due to the pandemic, many colleges experienced layoffs. It became clear our job security language needed improvement. Many heartbreaking situations surfaced at several colleges where members who had been employed for years at the college finally secured a full-time job and were on probation, but due to the layoff and bumping process, were let go. Our proposal in this round of bargaining is to give members on probation access to vacancies. The bargaining team is also seeking improvements to the familiarization language to ensure employees can move to positions, even if they require some on the job training.


While there is no material change to the total number of vacation days, our proposal is for support staff to earn vacation days earlier. We are also asking to align the vacation calendar with our benefits calendar (January 1 to December 31) and realigning the date to request vacation to November 1 of each year. Aligning the vacation calendar with the benefits calendar eliminates the issue of members’ vacation being reset in the summer months, when they may typically need it most. Currently, the vacation year starts on July 1.

Health and safety

Support staff typically spend more time in labs and other areas in the college, requiring safety devices more often than any other working group. All safety devices required should be provided at no cost to the employee.


We have a very diverse membership who span the entire province and also live in Quebec. Including all provincial and federal holidays provides inclusivity, allowing members to observe all holidays and to reflect on the importance of the identified holidays. In addition to the public and statutory holidays, we proposed including the last working day off before December 25.

Working conditions

Many colleges decided to implement fully remote jobs, whereby the employee does not have an office space on campus. Our proposal is that the college provides the same office set up in their home as they would receive if working in the office.

Our members have taken on increased workloads. Members want the ability to request a workload monitoring review to recognize imbalances in the volume of work assigned and a commitment from the employer that validates this gap. In the spirit of transparency, we are also looking for the employer to provide reporting on annual departmental overtime and lieu time to further identify workload issues.


All colleges offer tuition reimbursement for dependants, but the approach and the amounts provided are not consistent. Our proposal will provide a standardized approach and will include spouses as well.

Our proposal on access to career counselling services will provide support to members who want to move within the organization.

For those who are required to pay professional annual dues as a condition of their employment, we submitted a proposal for the reimbursement of all fees.

The bargaining team has proposed increases to union time off to allow greater support for our members. A better union-supported membership allows for greater efforts to work collaboratively with the employer to solve problems as they arise.

A major focus for this round of bargaining is the inclusion of language that supports changes to practices and systems to support equity, diversity and inclusion. We want to ensure that our work environments are free from systemic discrimination in all forms, and that we create space for under-represented groups.

With internationalization at the forefront of many colleges, we need to ensure that our staff reflect the same diversity of our students. We are deeply committed to be purposeful in our journey to create the best experience for our students and our employees. As part of Truth and Reconciliation, our team will be having meaningful consultations and reflections with elders to help provide guidance on inclusive and culturally appropriate processes and policies for Indigenous peoples.


The bargaining team is relentlessly working to achieve a fair and equitable wage increase. The proposal is to add a cost-of-living increase tied to the rate of inflation and the Consumer Price Index. This would ensure that support staff would not see their wages reduced by rising inflation.


During the pandemic, it became very evident that the current structure of the leaves contained in the collective agreement are not adequate. The team is driving forward with proposals to increase the number of family care days and to have all days paid.

The team have also tabled improvements to bereavement leave and added personal days to support better work/life harmony.


Your team has also heard you on the need for improvements to our benefits. Our proposals will address mental health and overall wellness, which include:

medical cannabis
dental implants
separate mental health benefit
health and wellness spending account
additional paramedical services and increased maximums
coverage for sleep apnea machines, accessories and supplies

To help ensure and promote equity, we are bringing forward benefit coverage for Appendix D Members.

An expedited dispute resolution process for drug and medical coverage in urgent and emergency situations is being proposed.

Bargaining will have a direct impact on you and the work you do!

Please help us ensure we get important information to you as soon as it’s available: update your information with OPSEU/SEFPO now!

Vaccine Workshop by Prevention Link


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that there is always new information coming from all sorts of platforms. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish real information from misinformation.

View the recording of Prevention Link in conversation with Dr. Andréane Chénier who translated scientific information into plain language and guided us through the work of our immune system, how the body responds to clear infections and how a vaccine supports the body’s natural abilities to heal, and the kinds of vaccines that are on the market right now.

Using this new understanding, you will be able to better advocate for yourselves with your health care providers by asking questions about vaccination that are relevant for your health condition.

This event took place April 12, 2021.

About Andréane Chénier, M.Sc., PhD, CRSP
Andréane is an occupational Health and Safety Specialist and a CUPE National Health and Safety Representative. She also holds a Masters in Immunology and a PhD in Biomolecular Sciences. 

Government announcement: Plan to Reopen Post Secondary

Ross Romano delivered his announcement today alone at the podium.

The Minister announced what he termed a “pilot” of in-person instruction on campus, so 10,000 college and university students can complete labs and/or practicums and graduate.

The pilot would start July 2 and last eight weeks and will apparently “inform” re-opening plans for the fall term. On campus, “in-person instruction” will be required to follow health and safety protocols, including screening, regular disinfecting and cleaning, and physical distancing. Romano said one of the innovative aspects of the pilot will be “peer-to-peer monitoring” by workers or students to ensure physical distancing measures are followed.

Romano did not announce any new funding to help colleges and universities cover the costs of these enhanced measures.

Romano further announced a consultation that will wrap up in August, leading to major policy changes so that colleges and universities can “expand into new markets”:

  • transferability of credits
  • micro-credentials
  • more online learning.

In answer to a question from a CP24 reporter about the potential and concern that faculty and staff have about layoffs Romano said:

  • We don’t know the enrolment numbers yet
  • We hope today’s announcement will give more stability to the sector and to students thinking of putting down an deposit for fall tuition.
  • COVID-19 is a challenging time for everyone and colleges and universities won’t be immune to the challenges, they are “autonomous” institutions who have to do what they feel is appropriate.
  • At the end of the day, “colleges and universities are a business, they are in the business of providing academic services to students and learners”

Just as a matter of background. There are approximately 600,000 “students and learners” in the province. And he quoted 10,000 students as the number requiring lab or practicum hours in order to graduate.

The government’s press release is here.

In Solidarity,

Nancy Heath
President, OPSEU Local 245

Local 245 Response to the Furlough Agreement

Almost two weeks ago a resounding number of you came together to vote on the potential for talks between members of our division leadership and College Employer Council (CEC). While the vote was close across the province, the vote resulted in a “No” and talks were declined. Our vote here at Sheridan were #372 NO and 82 YES.

Friday, May 8th, a number of colleges with local “yes” votes began receiving offers of an agreement proposed by CEC, presumably the agreement that they had intended on tabling with OPSEU. We were approached by our Staff Rep on Friday May 8th via voicemail which we only just reviewed.

What we did not know at the time was that OPSEU went forward into discussions without our knowledge. OPSEU Central and College Employer Council developed a template agreement that was sent out to all 24 colleges modifying the agreement we had seen on Friday May 8th. We received a copy of the agreement from OPSEU, not from management, though they do know we received it for review

Your executive met several times over the last two weeks and reviewed the agreement and the situation before us, given that we felt our “no” vote was a strong mandate for us to adhere to the CA. We noted considerable concerns with the agreement, the very least of which gave up many of our rights under Article 15 for any member regardless of seniority and provided little to no additional protections for our already laid off part-timers. Other than that one voicemail left by our Staff Rep, we have not been approached by Sheridan College with a request to consider this “furlough agreement”. It was hinted at to two of our LEC Members in meetings last Thursday and we have called the College on the inappropriate method of trying to broker a deal with us. We are standing behind your “NO” vote and continue to file grievances at the Employer’s failure to follow Article 15 for FT Support Staff.

Your union leaders have been working tirelessly at all hours to work through the information, asking questions, finding answers, walking through various scenarios and attempt to weigh the benefits vs the concessions in all situations. We’ve been working together across the province meeting with other college support staff leaders and OPSEU staff. We all feel strongly that we cannot endorse an agreement which infringes on the rights that exist within our CA.

The attached “Response to the Furlough Agreement” was drawn up by the elected members of the Divisional Executive and Employee Employer Relations Committee to outline the division’s position.

We do not take these discussions lightly, and a plan was in place to discuss openly with you, but unfortunately a copy of the recent furlough agreement was posted online, before we had an opportunity to contact you directly. We do not plan on airing the Local’s issues on Facebook due to the nature of some of the information being shared.

As it stands, we are prepared to continue to uphold the language of the collective agreement and proceed as necessary working with the college. Now more than ever, we need to stand united here at Sheridan and across the province.

In Solidarity,

Nancy Heath
President, OPSEU Local 245

Sheridan Lays Off Support Staff

In these economic times employers have become increasingly concerned about their business, including Sheridan College. Fortunately here at Sheridan we have our two support staff collective agreements. One for our long standing full time unit, and our brand new part time unit.

For those in the full time unit who have been around for awhile, you will recall the dark days of bumping and layoffs. It was the collective agreement that gave the right for the union to be involved in recommending the best course of actions and other important transition benefits. Unfortunately, for our sisters and brothers in our Part Tine unit, the employer declined similar language that the full time unit enjoys. So, here at Sheridan this employer, hid behind their management doors to make their secretive plans to lay off scores of our sisters and brothers.


Our Part Time unit will soon be opening negotiations for the renewal of that Agreement. This experience, I suspect, will lead to greater harmony between our two agreements on employment stability.

At this time, our union is as always, advocating for our sisters and brothers. We have received many requests for updates to our current job stability and the Employer is coming out with requests of our workers to utilize vacation balances. Please contact your steward if you have questions around this initiative and possible options.

We’ve just heard that public schools will not reopen May 4th and stricter travel restrictions are being legislated. We’ll be in this state for some time to come and work to come to mutually beneficial arrangements for our members tasked to support the online classroom, whether ours or their children’s.

Reach out, we’re here to listen,.

In solidarity,

Nancy Heath
President, OPSEU Local 245

Covid-19 Resources


List of Covid-19 resources compiled by your OPSEU Local 245

Frequently Asked Questions: Income support for Canadians during COVID-19

Comparison Document: Federal Benefits During COVID-19

Prepared by OPSEU Research Unit – All information is current as of March 31, 2020


Ontario Providing Electricity Relief to Families, Small Businesses and Farms During COVID-19

For a 45-day period, the government is working to suspend time-of-use electricity rates, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers, who make up the majority of electricity consumers in the province. By switching to a fixed off-peak rate, time-of-use customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates.