The Nego Owl: No 548

Issue 548
February 11, 2020

Contact
dtu@dtu.qc.ca
514.931.8731 x 1799
fax 514.931.0761
www.dtu.qc.ca
Dawson College, Room 8A.11
3040 Sherbrooke West
Westmount, QC.
H3Z 1A4

DTU Executive
Émilie Richer
(president)
Brian Seivewright
(vp-internal)
Mélanie Beck
(vp-external)
Diana Glennie
(secretary-treasurer)
Louisa Hadley
(grievance-officer)

Administrative Assistant
Elisabeth Leone

We invite you to drop by our office in 8A.11. We can answer questions regarding workloads, seniority and priority, schooling and work experience documentation, and anything else related to working at Dawson. In particular, before turning down work we encourage you to come and discuss the implications with us. You can also call us at local 1799, or email us at dtu@dtu.qc.ca with any questions.

General Assembly
20th February, 2020 at 3:30pm
Boardroom (5B.13)

Négo Consultation
Precarity and Continuing Education

Where are we in the négo process?

Recall that we decided, in early Fall, to provide the government with general themes for our demands at the sectoral table and that the specifics of our demands would follow in ‘waves’. Following the government’s refusal to participate in an innovative simultaneous deposition of both parties’ demands, the themes were submitted to the government on October 31st. Our negotiating team then met with the government on December 16th to discuss the government’s counter proposal. We translated and annotated the government’s demands, see here.

Within FNEEQ, we are currently in the process of developing and consulting on the demands to be presented to the government. The first wave of demands, which were addressed at a GA last semester, dealt with two themes: professional autonomy; and employment, work organization, and labour relations. The current, second wave, concerns remuneration, precarity, and cont-ed issues.

Local unions are currently consulting their membership on this second wave of demands. Because of time constraints and an imposed deadline of Jan 31st for feedback, we opted to consult our membership on the topic of remuneration via a survey. The results of the survey were presented to the Executive Council, who passed a motion recommending the adoption of all demands related to remuneration that were submitted by FNEEQ. The results will be discussed at the upcoming General Assembly on Feb. 20th. We will also be consulting you on the other two topics of the second wave, namely precarity and cont-ed, at this GA.

Central and Sectoral Tables

Negotiations for our working conditions are divided into two tables: the central table and the sectoral table. The central table regroups several union federations under the CSN banner; these include, public school teachers’ unions, nurses’ unions, as well as our federation, the FNEEQ. Issues relating to salary increases, retirement, and parental leaves are discussed at this table. The sectoral table addresses specific issues covered by our collective agreement, such as pay structure (e.g.: number of pay echelons), as well as provisions for regular sector and cont-ed sector teachers.

Survey Results: Remuneration

The following graph highlights how our members prioritized the demands relating to remuneration: each part of the chart below represents the percentage of members who chose each demand as their top priority.  

Pay Equity for Cont Ed: Clarifications

A majority of the FNEEQ unions agree that the disparity in the working conditions between cont-ed and regular day must be addressed in this round of negotiations. One of our priorities is to address the lack of pay equity between day sector and cont-ed teachers by having cont-ed work remunerated according to CI. The estimated cost of this demand for the entire network is $33 million/year – a reasonable amount when compared to our other demands.

Second Wave of Demands: General Assembly (20th Feb)

Precarity

  1. Improve provisions for the hiring and contracting of non-tenured teachers.
  2. Reduce the number of years of seniority giving a non-tenured teacher from the college priority on poste or a charge such that it is equal to that of a MED from another college.
  3. Facilitate access to Employment Insurance for non-tenured teachers.
  4. Lower the minimum CI required for full-time work and add the necessary resources.
  5. Introduce provisions for income security for non-tenured teachers.
  6. Improve the conditions for acquiring tenure for teachers who have benefited from parental leaves or who have been absent due to a disability.
  7. Specify that all courses serve to create postes.
  8. Allow non-tenured teachers with a full-time semester workload to have access to voluntary workload reductions and those with a full-time annual workload to have access to deferred salary sabbatical leaves.

Continuing Education

  1. Remunerate continuing education equitably by calculating individual work loads (CI) and providing teachers with associated benefits. (Estimated cost: $33 million/year)
  2. That a single hiring committee make hiring recommendations for both Regular and Continuing Education. When the discipline is not offered in the Regular sector, stipulate that the selection committee consists nonetheless of a majority of teachers.

Dawson Mobilization Activities Under Way!

Dawson has launched its mobilization activities related to négo. There are currently two campaigns on Continuing Education, which is one of the themes in the upcoming round of consultations.

Dawson’s own Cont Ed Mobilization Committee have developed a “Night and Day” campaign to highlight the inequities between Cont Ed and Day teachers. The campaign was launched with a postering initiative last week, which was met by the College taking down posters. As we stated in our memo, the Union does not need the College’s approval to put up such posters. We encourage you to show your support for our Cont Ed teachers by displaying the poster on your bulletin board and/or office door. We have colour copies available in our office (8A.11). Join us in showing the College that we won’t be silenced in our fight for equity for our Continuing Education colleagues!

The FNEEQ have also launched a campaign around Continuing Education – they have released a short video, which we have posted on our Facebook page, as well as a series of posters. If you would like a copy of the posters (available in English and French) come by the office!

Highlights (or, low-lights) from the government proposal

A few notable points from the government’s offer — for the full, detailed annotation of the government’s offer, see here.

  1. The government wishes to increase the max CI from 85, which would  reverse the gains of the last round of negotiations, in 2015-16 (section 4.1, p. 12).
  2. Another gain from the last negotiations was the creation of cont-ed charges, which at Dawson (at the DTU’s insistence) have been solely allocated for the creation of charges in Cont-Ed. The government proposal would redirect these funds to serve purposes other than the equitable remuneration of Cont-Ed work (section 1.1, p. 5). 
  3. Currently, a grade review committee must include, among other members, the teacher whose grade is under review. The government proposes that this should no longer be the case (section 6.5, p. 17). The government claims this fits better within the principle of natural justice, but how can that be when the teacher in question is excluded from the process? 
  4. The government proposal’s emphasis on program committees is neither trivial nor innocent: it would shift professional and disciplinary authority away from departments (i.e., teachers) and transfer it towards a body in which teachers may not have a majority (section 2, p. 7). On a related note, the government is asking that teachers no longer have decisional roles on professional development committees but instead have a “strictly consulting role” (section 3.5, p. 11).
  5. Finally, a concern with misleading language in the document, especially the terms “flexibility” and “innovation” (see annotation to section 1, p. 4): what this amounts to, in practical terms, is primarily that colleges would have greater control over hiring and firing of teaching faculty (see, for example, section 3.2, p. 10) as well as more freedom in the allocation of resources.
We have evaluated the CPNC’s demands. If you’d like to provide your own assessment, we have extra ungraded copies in the office.

Continuing Education Mobilization Committee

On Monday, February 3rd, the Continuing Education Mobilization (Mob) Committee held their first meeting of the winter semester. On Wednesday, we launched a poster campaign to raise awareness about the disparity between the day and cont-ed sectors. Although these beautiful posters (featured above) received a lot of attention, they were swiftly removed by the College. Want to show your support for Cont Ed teachers? Come get a poster from the DTU office (8A.11).  Look out for more mobilization actions in the coming weeks. If you are a Continuing Education teacher and you’d like to get involved, you can send an email to Isabelle Johnston at dtuconted@gmail.com or just come to our next meeting in the Rose Lounge on March 3 at 4pm. We hope to see you there!

Why the CSN rejects the government’s proposed “Consultation Forums”

One of the government’s proposals for these negotiations is to create three “discussion forums” addressing issues of (1) employee health and wellness, (2) academic success (a forum from which cegep teachers were excluded), and (3) accessibility of long-term care at home.

Crucially, while these forums are in session, collective agreement negotiations would be suspended. This effectively creates a parallel, less transparent process during our negotiation period. 

The CSN, with the majority of the other centrals, has opted to boycott these forums, not only because they effectively circumvent, disempower and delay our legislated negotiation process, but also because we already have proposed solutions to the problems that the forums are supposed to tackle: they are in our bargaining demands, which the CSN gave to the government on Oct. 30th.

The CSN maintains that the only appropriate place to negotiate solutions to the structural problems in our public services is at the negotiation table. 

A concern about the push to create new CECs

There is a topic in the government’s offer that raises significant concerns and which we would like to bring to the attention of DTU members: the establishment of Centres d’études collégiales (CECs), which are in effect extensions of existing cegeps to a new campus, sometimes very far from the main campus. 

The official purpose for creating CECs is to make post-secondary education more accessible in remote and rural areas, which is supposedly the reason why new CECs are allowed greater flexibility in hiring. However, in practice many CECs compete with existing CEGEPs in those same areas, which are struggling with decreasing student numbers and small cohorts. Furthermore, disciplines have seen their priority lists divided, a separate one for each campus. Moreover, the creation of CECs has the potential to create difficulty for teachers who may be asked to teach at both campuses. This topic will certainly be a point of contention between the unions and the government which is asking for more “flexibility”.

The Owl Hoots: No 547

Dawson Contingent heading to the Climate Strike!

Issue No 547
October 22nd, 2019

Contact
dtu@dtu.qc.ca
514.931.8731 x 1799
fax 514.931.0761
www.dtu.qc.ca
Dawson College, Room 8A.11
3040 Sherbrooke West
Westmount, QC.
H3Z 1A4

We invite you to drop by our office in 8A.11. We can answer questions regarding workloads, seniority and priority, schooling and work experience documentation, and anything else related to working at Dawson. In particular, before turning down work we encourage you to come and discuss the implications with us. You can also call us at local 1799, or email us at dtu@dtu.qc.ca with any questions.

DTU Executive
Émilie Richer
(president)
Brian Seivewright
(vp-internal)
Mélanie Beck
(vp-external)
Diana Glennie
(secretary-treasurer)
Louisa Hadley
(grievance-officer)

Administrative Assistant
Elisabeth Leone

Upcoming Dates

25 Oct: Pub Night
6 Nov: PDF Application Deadline
7 Nov: Retirement Information Session
15 Nov VWR Application Deadline (Winter 2020)

26 Nov: General Assembly at 4pm in 5B.13

Earth Action Day

It was great to see so many members of the Dawson Community united for a common purpose on September 27th. The DTU Executive would like to extend a special thanks to those teachers who animated workshops on climate-related topics: Anna-Liisa Aunio (Sociology), Gina Granter (English), Fiona Hanley (Nursing), Yann Lamontagne (Mathematics), Émilie Richer (Mathematics), Brian Seivewright (Chemistry), and Wendy Thatcher (English).

Come and join your fellow teachers at Pub Night! In the spirit of the recent Earth Action day, we encourage you to bring your own glass or mug.

Check your Seniority!

We recently sent a Memo (email dated Oct 15th) explaining how to check that your seniority has been correctly calculated in the ‘Seniority List, 2018-2019’ that the College published on 15th October.

It has been brought to our attention that some Continuing Education teachers who missed classes due to sick days have not received seniority for those classes. If you are a Continuing Education teacher and you took a sick day in 2018-2019, you should verify that you have been credited with these hours in your seniority. You should also note that short-term substitution (occurring in the first 10 days of a teacher’s absence) does not count towards seniority.

If you are having difficulties calculating your seniority or you think there has been an error, please contact the DTU as soon as possible. Teachers have 20 working days to request a modification to the Seniority List before it becomes official.

PDF Application

For your request to be considered at the next meeting of the Professional Development Fund Committee, submit it by 6th November at room 8A.11 or by email (pdfsecretary@dawsoncollege.qc.ca). We ask that applications be submitted prior to the date of the proposed activity. The Committee will be meeting to review applications the following week.

Voluntary Workload Reduction – Winter 2020

The deadline to apply for a Voluntary Workload Reduction for Winter 2020 is November 15th. As you may know, a new process for VWR was implemented this year. If you have participated in the program before, the new process may mean that you are paid differently than you had been in the past for a similar workload – this is why we strongly recommend that you come and see the DTU if you have any questions about the process.

Nego 2020 Update – General Assembly 26 November

The Bargaining Projects for both the Central and Sector tables have been adopted and will be deposited to the government on 31st October.

The “List of Issues” that was developed to guide the sectoral negotiations was also adopted at the Regroupement Cégep. Now begins the important process of prioritising the demands. The local unions are being asked to determine the priorities for each theme, with consultations being done on two or three themes at a time

We will be holding several General Assemblies in the upcoming months, the first of which will be on November 26th at 4pm in the Boardroom (5B.13). Attendance at General Assemblies is particularly important during negotiations as members play a crucial role in determining the DTU’s negotiation priorities, which are then communicated to FNEEQ. Come on out and have your voice heard!

Cont Ed Mob Committee

The Continuing Education Mobilization Committee meets monthly to provide an opportunity for Cont Ed teachers to discuss issues and share possible solutions. As we move forward in the negotiations, these meetings provide an important space for you to share your thoughts on Cont Ed issues. The next Mob Committee meeting will be held on Monday 4th Nov at 4pm in 3F.43. An email invite will go out to all Continuing Education teachers nearer the time – it would be great to see you there

If you are interested in getting involved in Cont Ed issues beyond Dawson, GRASPP is a reseau-wide network of precarious teachers, with an active Facebook page. A recent meeting was held at Ahuntsic College to discuss the FNEEQ’s list of problematics related to precarity and continuing education.

Cont. Ed. Sick Days

Following the changes to the Loi sur les normes du travail (LNT) earlier this year, Cont. Ed. teachers are now eligible to two (2) paid days of absence for medical or family reasons, per academic year. These days are paid at 1/20th of the continuing education income earned in the previous four weeks

Obviously this remuneration scheme is not ideal and forces Continuing Education teachers to choose either to take a sick day and receive a significantly reduced pay or to teach while unwell. Moreover, the amount of pay a teacher receives is variable depending on what point in the semester they are off sick. The DTU has asked the College to consider implementing a more equitable remuneration scheme, but as yet the College is not prepared to go beyond the amounts stipulated in the LNT.

If the College does not get a replacement for your missed class, they may ask you to reschedule the class at the end of semester. You have no obligation to do this as it is additional work above and beyond your contract. However, if you choose to reschedule the class, you will be paid for the additional hours (at your regular hourly Cont Ed rate) but will not receive any additional seniority.

November is Insurance Month

During the month of November, you have the opportunity to make changes to your insurance coverage. Changes will take effect on January 1st, 2020. Note that there have been some recent modifications to the insurance policy which will affect both your coverage and your premiums. You can check out more details here. If you wish to alter your plan, you should contact Allison Freund in Human Resources.

The Owl Hoots: No 546

Issue 546
September 9th, 2019

Contact
dtu@dtu.qc.ca
514.931.8731 x 1799
fax 514.931.0761
www.dtu.qc.ca
Dawson College, Room 8A.11
3040 Sherbrooke West
Westmount, QC.
H3Z 1A4

Welcome back! We hope that the new semester is off to a great start. As always, we invite you to drop by our office in 8A.11. We can answer questions regarding workloads, seniority and priority, schooling and work experience documentation, and anything else related to working at Dawson. In particular, before turning down work we encourage you to come and discuss the implications with us. You can also call us at local 1799, or email us at dtu@dtu.qc.ca with any questions.

DTU Executive
Émilie Richer
(president)
Brian Seivewright
(vp-internal)
Mélanie Beck
(vp-external)
Diana Glennie
(secretary-treasurer)
Louisa Hadley
(grievance-officer)

Upcoming Dates

18 Sept: General Assembly
19 Sept: Cont Ed Cafe
26 Sept: Pub Night
27 Sept: Earth Strike Day

2 Oct: PDF Application
15 Oct: Deadline to apply for Personal Leave for Winter 2020

Administrative Assistant
Elisabeth Leone

General Assembly @ Noon on 18 September

Our first General Assembly of the year will be held on 18th September at noon in 5B.13; lunch will be served at 11:30am. This is an important opportunity for you to provide your feedback on the priorities for the upcoming negotiations as well as on the “Bargaining Projects” documents prepared by the FNEEQ and CSN negotiating teams. The documents are available in English and French on the Négo 2020 section of our website.

Earth Action Day

As indicated in the Academic Calendar, the College has cancelled classes on 27th September to allow students and staff to participate in the “Strike for the Planet” event. In collaboration with the other unions and the College, we are hoping to organize workshops in the morning addressing issues related to climate change. Proposed topics include health, transport, diet, gardening, sign-making and waste, but we would love to hear your ideas! If you have a suggestion for a topic or are interested in animating a workshop, please fill in this form.

After the morning’s activities, we will depart from Dawson to join the march at Mont-Royal.

“You should know” – Cont. Ed.

  • Cont’ Ed teachers continue to accumulate seniority while on parental leave, and may be entitled to a partial paid leave.
  • Cont’ Ed teachers are only remunerated for course prep, grading, and contact time. They are not obligated to hold office hours or respond to emails/MIOs.
  • Cont’ Ed teachers are entitled to two (2) sick days per academic year (due to provincial legislation). These days are remunerated at the minimum standard of one-twentieth of the total Cont’Ed pay earned over the previous four weeks.
  • Cont’ Ed teachers at Dawson are eligible to be reimbursed for professional development activities.
  • Cont’ Ed teachers are eligible for Employment Insurance (“unemployment pay”) for the weeks between semesters/contracts.

Cont Ed “Cafe”

The DTU office will remain open late a couple of times this semester to meet and answer questions from Cont. Ed. faculty. Our first Cont Ed evening hours will be held on 19 September until 6pm. Members of the executive will be available to answer questions concerning your rights, sick leaves, contracts, priority, or any other topic you may have wondered about. More importantly, we’ll have a hot pot of coffee ready and some ice cream bars – a little sustenance for your evening class! Come and pay us a visit in room 8A.11.

Pub Night, 26 September

BEER & Wine in Oliver’s
Come and join your fellow teachers at the DTU Pub Night! Since earth day is the following day, this will be a cup-free pub night. We ask that you bring your own glass or mug.

PDF Application

For your request to be considered at the next meeting of the Professional Development Fund Committee, submit it by 2nd October. You can drop your application off at 8A.11 or email it pdfsecretary@dawsoncollege.qc.ca. We ask that applications be submitted prior to the date of the proposed activity.

The Owl Hoots: No 545

Dawson teachers meet representatives from the FNEEQ negotiating team

Issue 545
April 30th, 2019

Contact
dtu@dtu.qc.ca
514.931.8731 x 1799
fax 514.931.0761
www.dtu.qc.ca
Dawson College, Room 8A.11
3040 Sherbrooke West
Westmount, QC.
H3Z 1A4

DTU Executive
Brian Seivewright
(president)
Emilie Richer
(vp-internal)
Mélanie Beck
(vp-external)
Dianna Glennie
(secretary-treasurer)
Louisa Hadley
(grievance-officer)

Administrative Assistant
Elisabeth Leone

Upcoming Dates

PDF Application

For your request to be considered at the next meeting of the Professional Development Fund Committee, submit it by 2nd May. You can drop your application off at 8A.11 or email it to pdfsecretary@dawsoncollege.qc.ca. We ask that applications be submitted prior to the date of the proposed activity.

VWR Deadline

The deadline to apply for a Voluntary Work Reduction is 15th May. You should submit your request in writing to Odette Dubé in HR.

EI Information Session

Are you a Continuing Education or Non-permanent teacher? Did you know that you are eligible for Employment Insurance between contracts?
Join us on Tuesday, May 7th at 4:00 PM in the Rose Lounge (room 7C.5) for a brief information session. A light dinner will be served. Please RSVP at dtu@dtu.qc.ca.

Faculty Vacation Period

The last day of availability is Friday, 14th June. The first day of availability for next semester is Monday, 19th August and classes start on Thursday, 22nd August. Any teacher who plans to be away outside of the official vacation period should request a transfer of availability from their sector dean.

More information about May day activities can be found at https://www.csn.qc.ca/1er-mai/

Recent Gains in Continuing Education

The Union has an agreement in principle with the College regarding seniority for Continuing Education teachers who are absent for medical reasons. Previously, the College had argued that Continuing Education teachers should not gain seniority for hours they did not teach due to illness. In response to Union pressure and a potential arbitration on this issue, the College has agreed to recognise seniority for Continuing Education teachers who are absent for medical reasons. This is an important gain for our most vulnerable colleagues as it protects them from being passed on the seniority list which could have an adverse impact on their career progression.

This provision protecting seniority is even more important in light of the recent changes to the loi sur les normes du travail which guarantees Continuing Education faculty access to two days of paid absence per year for medical or family reasons. While this is an improvement, there is still a long way to go in gaining equity for our Continuing Education colleagues. The Union will be continuing to pressure the College for a real sick bank for Continuing Education teachers operated and remunerated in the same way as for regular day teachers.

Continuing Education Mobilisation Committee

The Continuing Education Mobilisation Committee has been meeting regularly this semester to share concerns and discuss strategies for bringing awareness to the precarious position of our Cont. Ed. colleagues. Some of the initiatives that have come out of these meetings, are letter-writing campaigns being organised by continuing education teachers within their departments and a proposed Course Outline statement relating to Cont. Ed. teacher availability. On the recommendation of the Mob committee, the Executive Council have asked departments to consider passing motions to include the statement in their course outlines. This is an important way to signal our solidarity with continuing education teachers and to provide them with some protection against student complaints. As negotiations progress, the committee will become even more central in guiding our mobilisation efforts. We invite all continuing education teachers to get involved. The next meeting is 15th May at 4pm; if you are interested in coming out, please rsvp so we can order enough food: secretary_tresurer@dtu.qc.ca.

Passing of Michel Giroux,
French Department

Nous sommes tristes d’annoncer le décès de Michel Giroux. Lucie et Louise du département de français nous rappellent que “Michel fut un collègue grandement dévoué à tout le département de français et à tous les enseignants de Dawson puisqu’il a été secrétaire-trésorier, puis vice-président du syndicat entre les années 2000 et 2004. Lorsqu’il est parti en congé de maladie, il avait été élu à la présidence du syndicat  pour l’année 2004-2005.”

The Owl Hoots: No 544

Issue 544
March 11th, 2019

Contact
dtu@dtu.qc.ca
514.931.8731 x 1799
fax 514.931.0761
www.dtu.qc.ca
Dawson College, Room 8A.11
3040 Sherbrooke West
Westmount, QC.
H3Z 1A4

DTU Executive
Brian Seivewright
(president)
Emilie Richer
(vp-internal)
Mélanie Beck
(vp-external)
Dianna Glennie
(secretary-treasurer)
Louisa Hadley
(grievance-officer)

Administrative Assistant
Elisabeth Leone

Upcoming Dates

Nego Visit: 9:30am, March 26 (5B.13)

Dawson’s representative on the Negotiating team will be coming to hear faculty’s views on what should be our priorities going into the 2020 negotiations. Every department has been invited to send a rep along; if you would like to join us please rsvp to dtu@dtu.qc.ca

PDF Applications

For your request to be considered at the next meeting of the Professional Development Fund Committee, submit it by 8th April. You can drop your application off at 8A.11 or email it to pdfsecretary@dawsoncollege.qc.ca. We ask that applications be submitted prior to the date of the proposed activity.

Pub Night: 4pm, March 15th in Oliver’s (2C.1)

Come out to Oliver’s for the DTU Pub Night!

We invite you to drop by our office in 8A.11. We can answer questions regarding workloads, seniority and priority, schooling and work experience documentation, and anything else related to working at Dawson. You can also call us at local 1799, or email us at dtu@dtu.qc.ca with any questions.

Environment Committee

The Executive Council are considering forming a committee of teachers to address environmental issues.The mandate of the committee could include raising awareness about environmental campaigns, promoting local initiatives, and mobilisation. If you are interested in getting involved, please let us know.

Profs pour la Planète

Vanessa Gordon, from the Political Science Department, writes about the Profs pour la Planète movement:

Last January 29, I got a curious text from an old friend, Violaine Brisebois-Lavoie. Violaine is a psychology professor at cégep Bois-de-Boulogne:

She provided a link published the day before by a French group who called themselves ‘les enseignant.e.s pour la planète’. It was something about someone called Greta Thunberg and global warming.

Then, that Saturday, I was absentmindedly scrolling down my Facebook feed and there was Greta Thunberg again: whatever she was doing with regards to climate change, she seemed to be doing it right. I looked her up, found her TED talk and listened.

What followed was a very methodical speech, given by a 15 (now 16 year old) girl about how the time had come to engage in civil disobedience to save the planet. More specifically, she called on students to strike until such time as politicians finally take decisive action to prevent climate catastrophe. She’s right.

Looking back at the link that my friend Violaine sent, it was a petition being circulated by French teachers in support of Greta Thunberg. The petition calls for teachers to properly explain the climate crises and support students in their strike efforts.

We decided to launch our own petition, tailored for our Québecois colleagues. We called ourselves ‘Profs pour la planète’. Violaine contacted our French counterparts for permission to use their petition.

She then did a superb job of adapting it to Québois audiences, in collaboration with Maude and Rafaëlle, both experienced activists in their own right, and Violaine put the petition on-line. With feedback from Mathieu, Sari and I helped in translating it to English.

We all contacted our colleagues, then our friends working on environmental issues and in the media. We got a bit of coverage, deftly handled by Violaine. As of this reading, the petition has received over 4,000 signatures.

‘Profs pour la planète’ has also:

  • accompanied high school students on their Friday strikes;
  • worked with educators who have met with school boards to come up with resolutions to support striking students;
  • reached out to unsupportive schools and invited them to revise their positions;
  • met with student union representatives as well as representatives of student environmental groups to discuss strategy and offer support;
  • offered advice to fellow teachers regarding how to go about supporting students and the ecological movement;
  • opened up a Facebook group for our project. To date, more than 130 people have joined.
  • engaged with other environmental groups (from social media to university research centers) to help with strategy and share information

In the medium to long term, we will join students for this coming March 15 strike, as well as the September 27 strike. We also hope to develop pedagogical tools to share with our colleagues, and do all that we can to represent teachers who have decided to support students and join the call for civil disobedience.

The ‘Profs pour la planète’ petition is available online, and there is also a Facebook group. The Profs pour la Planète group will be meeting ahead of Global Climate rally on March 15th at 12:30 on the north-east corner of Parc and Duluth.

Fiona Hanley, from the Nursing Department, writes about Health and Climate Change:

Something is profoundly wrong with the way that we have come to live; in the divisiveness we have created between people, nations, animals and nature, and the way in which we continue to relentlessly damage the planetary home that sustains us. Recent dramatic weather events have heightened our sense of the fragility of the ecosystems that have sustained us, and whose resilience until recently we have taken for granted.

As we approach the third decade of the 21st Century we are losing the stability of the earth systems that have allowed humans to thrive and flourish. We have in fact altered the structures and functioning of planetary systems to such a considerable degree that the International Union of Geological Sciences agreed in 2016 to change the name of this epoch from Holocene to Anthropocene, or ‘Age of Humans’.

The world glimmers at night, thanks to our love affair with fossil fuels, the drivers of economic development, which have given us the power to transform our lives, and transform the world. The stars that inspired philosophers and scientists in the search for meaning are now largely obscured.

We have failed to really grasp that the world has undergone radical change, and are only now awakening to the consequences of what some say is a huge out of control experiment on our ecosystems, our populations, our children and our future.

Dramatic events in 2018 marked a turning point for many in the realisation of the significance climate disruption brings to their lives, and that even the wealthiest and most comfortable among us cannot be immune to extreme weather, fire or floods. A sense of loss, anxiety and ecological grief began to take hold in the spirits of many.

Climate change has been called the greatest health threat of the 21st Century (The Lancet 2009), as the earth’s average surface temperature rises in synchronicity with unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions. Direct and indirect health effects result from extreme weather, water and food contamination, droughts, floods, insect-borne and other changing patterns of disease, temperature extremes of hot and cold, acidity of oceans, air pollution, biodiversity loss, and other phenomena. The most recent special report from International Panel on Climate Change warned of the catastrophic effects on ecosystems and human health in a 2°-warmer world.

We also know however that deep evidence-based climate action has the potential for significant health benefits, and that actions designed to reduce greenhouse gases, dependence on fossil fuels, development of alternative energy and transport, have direct effects on human health and thriving.

We are at a turning point where decisions must be made to ensure that increases in global temperatures are kept to 1.5 degrees or below. Canada had a very important role in reaching the Paris agreement, but we are sadly lacking in achieving goals set to reduce emissions, and Canadians have a failing grade, being one of the highest per capita GHG emissions, with significant contributions of the oil and gas sector, transport,

February 2019 saw unprecedented collaboration from major health organizations in a call to action on Climate and Health to demand that all federal political parties in Canada make meaningful and effective action on climate change as central to their party platform in this election year. We have the opportunity to make the changes needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, and ensure a stable future for our youth. We must recognize that climate disruption is a health emergency, and take the measures necessary for the sake of us all.  A good place to start for busy people is the Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World 🙂

Further Reading

If you are interested in finding out more about these issues, Dawson faculty have shared some links that you could check out:

Coalition: Éducation, Environment, Ecocitoyennete
Jonathan Watts, “The Beginning of Great Change,” The Guardian
Le Pacte Pour La Transition
Environement Jeunesse