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Colleges’ plan to boost executive pay fails students

OPSEU College Faculty - collegefaculty.org

Toronto – Ontario colleges are trying to raise the pay of senior executives by as much as 54 per cent, while claiming that tight budgets are keeping them from providing the frontline resources students need.

“Ontario’s colleges receive the lowest per-student funding of any province,” said RM Kennedy, chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)’s College Academic Division. “College presidents should be carefully allocating the limited funds they have, but with these proposals the opposite seems to be true. Instead of putting money on the front lines, where it can do the most good for students, they seem to be trying to funnel as much as possible into their own pockets.”

The colleges’ pay proposals are part of their proposed Executive Compensation Program, developed in line with the province’s new process for setting executive compensation in the broader public sector. Kennedy outlined his concerns with these proposals in a recent submission to Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, noting that shortfalls in provincial funding are made more challenging by administration decisions.

“Through the Executive Compensation Program, we see seven college presidents looking for raises of more than 40 per cent over their 2015 salaries,” noted Kennedy. “Meanwhile, we see a massive growth in the number of administrators – a 77 per cent increase from 2002-03 – while full-time faculty positions continue to go unfilled.”

“The lack of funding for Ontario colleges is a real problem, because it’s threatening their ability to do their jobs,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Colleges provide a critical role in improving access to education for students, particularly those from rural and smaller communities. Unfortunately, these shortfalls in funding are making post-secondary education more difficult to access for everyone.”

The latest news comes at the same time that colleges continue to use public dollars to oppose and delay attempts by part-time workers, some of the lowest-paid staff, to organize for fair treatment.

“These part-time workers are just looking to be treated fairly,” pointed out Thomas. “The solution to the problem colleges face is steady, predictable funding with yearly increases, and a commitment to allocating these precious resources to the front lines where they belong."

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931; RM Kennedy, 416-346-8382