The University Pension Plan (UPP) is Ontario’s new multi-employer pension plan for university employees. It has been developed by a consortium that includes the Council of Ontario Universities (representing employers), OCUFA, CUPE and other employee representative groups. Three universities—Queen’s, Toronto, and Guelph—are lined up to be the first participants, with a transfer from their current plans scheduled for 2019. If those transfers proceed smoothly, it is likely that other universities will be encouraged to join the UPP in the future.
On November 16, FAUW hosted Professor Mary Hardy (Statistics and Actuarial Science) for a talk in which she described and critiqued the UPP in terms of affordability, risk, fairness, and adequacy, and reviewed the case for and against membership of the UPP from the perspective of UW (and Laurier) pension plan members and retirees.
We’re happy to make a video of the talk and the slides available to help inform our members and other university employees.
Continue reading “What you should know about the Ontario University Pension Plan (video)”
The Board is pleased to announce upcoming changes to your benefits. Here’s Alan Macnaughton, Pension and Benefits Committee liaison to the FAUW Board with the details.
The University Board of Governors has approved dental plan enhancements effective January 1, 2019.
The 2018–21 salary settlement between the University and FAUW provided funds for an approximately 15% increase in the amount the University spends on health and dental plans combined for non-retired faculty members. The negotiations for other employee groups provided for a similar increase. This was a precedent-setting negotiations outcome; we’ve never negotiated an increase in benefits funding before.
Following procedure, the University’s Pension and Benefits Committee was responsible for deciding how to spend the money. The settlement provided only that the funds should be directed to areas with “broad participation.” The Committee decided on dental plan enhancements, and on October 30, the Board of Governors ratified this decision. The new rules apply to anyone covered by the dental plan, not just faculty (UW has the same pension and benefits plan for all employees).
The most important component of our dental plan is the coverage of basic costs—preventative treatments such as regular oral examinations, x-rays, fillings, extractions, root canals, and periodontal scaling. Presently, the plan reimburses 80% of the cost of these expenses as set out in the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) fee guide from two years ago (to a maximum of $2,193 per covered person). With the plan enhancement, coverage will be based on 95% of the ODA’s current fee guide. This is effective for treatments starting in January 2019. Continue reading “Your Dental Benefits are Increasing in January”
This is the second in a series of book reviews written by FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group.
Cote-Meek, Sheila. Colonized Classrooms: Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education. Fernwood, 2014. 175 pp.
—Shannon Dea, Department of Philosophy
Earlier this year, in the days and weeks following the devastating one-two punch of the acquittals of two White men on trial for the murders of Colton Boushie and Tina Fontaine, many post-secondary educators asked themselves how they should respond in the classroom. To discuss the topic, CBC Radio One turned to Sheila Cote-Meek, whose 2014 Colonized Classrooms addressed the matter square-on.
Sheila Cote-Meek is a professor of Indigenous Relations, and Associate Vice President of Academic & Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University. In Colonized Classrooms, she reports on and extrapolates from her doctoral dissertation, for which she interviewed fifteen Indigenous university students, faculty members and Elders. Cote-Meek uses Indigenous, post-colonial, feminist, and critical race scholarship ranging from Frantz Fanon and bell hooks to Gregory Cajete and Laara Fitznor to frame and expand upon what she learned in those interviews. Continue reading “Trauma in the Classroom for Indigenous Scholars: How Should We Respond? (book review)”
The Responsible Investing Working Group (RIWG) released its report to the University community for the first time on Thursday, May 31, as part of the agenda package of the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting happening in only a few days (Tuesday, June 5). The agenda contains a motion to endorse and implement the report recommendations.
This working group was formed in response to the strong interest and advocacy of some UW community delegations. It was tasked with making recommendations on whether and how to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into decision making for the investment of the university’s endowments and your pension funds.
Our members are keenly interested in how their pensions are managed. In a March 28 blog post, we said we would “seek input from members and formulate a response” when the report was released.
As I hope you will understand, FAUW is unable to keep our commitment to you. Four working days is not enough time for the FAUW Board to read and understand the report and then gather feedback on it from our members. As such, we requested that this agenda item be for information only at the June 5 BoG meeting, thereby delaying the vote until the next meeting, in October. This request was denied.
Continue reading “Responsible Investing Working Group Report Going to Board of Governors on June 5”
On Wednesday, May 16, a coalition of student and employee groups at Laurier, Waterloo, and Conestoga hosted a debate on post-secondary education issues with provincial candidates in the Waterloo riding. We’d like to thank Kimberly Ellis-Hale from the Laurier faculty association in particular for her leadership in organizing this event.
The participating candidates were:
- Green Party: Zdravko Gunjevic
- Liberal Party: Dorothy McCabe
- New Democratic Party (NDP): Catherine Fife
- Progressive Conservative (PC) Party: Dan Weber
You can watch a recording of the debate on the Laurier Students’ Union Facebook page (even without a Facebook account).
Don’t have time to watch? Here are a few highlights of what each candidate said about their party’s stance on key PSE issues. Note that this is hardly an exhaustive summary of the conversation.
Continue reading “Missed the Waterloo Debate on Post-Secondary Education? Watch it Here”
This is a guest post submitted by a member. For FAUW’s position on this issue, please see our recent blog post on the Responsible Investing Working Group.
—David DeVidi, Philosophy
The global movement to divest from fossil fuels has been growing on our campus since 2015, initially driven by undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty members are now organizing to support students in their call to the administration to withdraw our endowment and pension investments from fossil fuels and re-invest in a low carbon future. This post outlines the reasons for divestment and the progress toward it—globally and on our campus—and welcomes you to get involved.
Available data indicate that our university has invested at least $68 million in fossil fuels, in companies like BP, Total, Exxon/Imperial Oil, and Royal Dutch Shell that have been leading contributors to the climate crisis. There are pressing environmental and ethical reasons to withdraw our support from these companies. There are also reputational costs to consider: it is difficult to present Waterloo as an innovative, socially responsible university concerned with advancing environmental sustainability if our investments say otherwise.
The financial case for divestment is also very strong. A PhD student in our School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) program estimated that our university lost approximately $20 million over the 2011-15 period by investing in fossil fuels as opposed to having a low-carbon portfolio. These significant losses mirror the ongoing devaluation of fossil fuels as the global community decarbonizes to align with the 2015 United Nations’ Paris Agreement. Continue reading “Faculty Members Advocate for Divestment from Fossil Fuels”