FPSE Standing Committee Reports - Fall 2018

Decolonization, Reconciliation and Indigenization Committee – Justin Wilson

DRIC has been diligently working on finalizing the terms of reference/intersections of some rather difficult content. As co-chair of the inaugural committee, I am pleased to report that our deliberations have been guided by the principles of academic/cultural freedom, collegiality and intercultural communication. In our last meeting, our committee drafted the following mission statement:

As a FPSE advisory committee, we honour and respect the cultural identity, self-determination, sovereignty, and traditional ways of knowing for Indigenous peoples in learning teaching and research environments. We walk together with all our relations for present and future generations. We aim to build a foundation of mutual respect and balance between different ways of knowing and understanding. Our aim is for people of every background and experience to create a positive future together.

Over the past several months, we’ve intentionally discussed the content and challenges facing faculty desirous of putting the Truth and Reconciliation Calls

to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to work in meaningful/participatory ways. One can imagine this work has not been without its challenges, yet the LFA’s support has helped generate the rewards of solidifying a strong foundation that our association(s) can feel proud of and celebrate our collective achievements. For example, our HRSIC in promoting Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization or the BC Pulling Together: A Guide for Indigenization of Post-Secondary Institutions of which I helped draft the curriculum/teaching sections (see https://bccampus.ca/2018/09/06/bccampus-indigenization-professional-lear...) or Daryl Smith facilitating intercultural communication best practices at the FPSE annual general meeting. A thanks goes to everyone for helping pull together.

Going forward the committee will be prioritizing its work plan and we welcome your thoughts, suggestions and/or areas of concern including identifying what role FPSE can assist our local with as it pertains to (a) Indigenous faculty working conditions, (b) development of a compendium of wise practices our faculty can draw from and (c) recognition and rewards for teachers/community scholars that help us celebrate the hard work and achievements being done to educate our future scholars. All my Relations…

Disability Management and Rehabilitation Committee – Tanya Lewis

On Oct 12 & 13th, 2018, DMRC met at FPSE headquarters. Representatives from 10 different colleges attended in addition to the Executive Representative (2nd Vice President, Leslie Molnar) and Staff Representative (Zoe Towle).  Over the course of six hours we discussed best practices for assisting members with the process of applying for and returning from Short Term and Long Term Disability.  We also discussed challenges with creating supportive work environments that could minimize the need to apply for STD (or WBC).

At Langara, of course, we are not part of the Common Agreement that most of the other locals signed on to, so have a different insurer and thus, different issues with the STD/LTD application process.  We also enjoy a largely harmonious relationship with Human Resources—which is not the case at all locals--so my participation at DMRC was mostly as an observer rather than as an active participant.

Although some of the conversations the meeting generated were useful to members, I do wonder whether we could minimize the inconvenience and expense of twice-yearly DMRC meetings by convening one of those meetings electronically, and by providing concrete training at annual in-person meetings.

Education Policy Committee - Stephen Phillips

The EPC spent much of its late November meeting reviewing information gathered from locals on the recruitment and admission of international students and on the support services offered to such students at BC colleges.  In the near future the Committee will develop a survey for locals to use to gauge the experience of faculty with internationalization.  It is hoped that such information will assist the EPC to develop policy proposals on international education that may be helpful to member institutions.

Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee - Bradley Hughes

The HRISC here at Langara, with the support of the LFA Board) has invited Munroe Craig of Karmik and Garth Mullins of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users for a workshop on preventing opioid overdoses using a Naloxone kit. The first session was held on November 19. If you missed it, you can get details about the next session from Lisa Hale, lihale@langara.ca.

In the spring term the HRISC is organizing a speaker tour and book launch for the FPSE book Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual for Decolonization. We will send out details to LFA members as soon as they are finalized.

Non-Regular Faculty - Niall Christie

At its mid-September meeting, the NRFC passed a motion for next year’s AGM calling on FPSE to fund a conference on the impact on BC’s post-secondary system of the increasing number of unprepared domestic and international students as well as the growing reliance of institutions on offshore funding. Discussion also centred on the work of the Joint Committee on Secondary Scales. That committee has completed its work but is unable to offer recommendations owing to the fact that FPSE and employers’ representatives failed to reach agreement. Employers simply do not see any benefit to be gained from increasing the wages of NRF. Accordingly, PC has recommended a bargaining strategy to locals for 2019 that includes the advancement of non-regular rights (especially the elimination of secondary scales). 

On October 24th I hosted a booth in A Building foyer as part of Fair Employment Week, a national effort to draw attention to the plight of sessional lecturers in Canada. We handed out 500 leaflets and collected 123 signatures on a Pledge of Solidarity, which we then forwarded to CAUT. Thanks to Scott McLean and the LFA for their support, and to Janet Douglas, Alison Curtis, and Stephen Phillips for helping out on the day.

Pension Advisory Committee - Bryan Breguet

The PAC met in early November. The financial health of the College Pension Plan remains very good with an average return (net of fees) of 9.8% over the last 5 years. The capitalization of the fund surpassed $5 billion last June.

In a discussion regarding investments in companies involved in the exploitation of fossil fuels, PAC reiterated its preference for socially responsible investments that don’t impede the mission and decisions of BC Investment (BCI), the firm that manages our pension fund. In tandem with its SRI sub-committee, PAC will need to clarify what they want and expect from BCI regarding the impact of global warming on the risk management of the fund.

Finally, the Pension Corporation has produced two workshops designed to help members prepare for retirement. Entitled “Approaching retirement” and “Making the most out of your pension,” the workshops are available to colleges on request. Faculty are strongly encouraged to attend these workshops before retirement as the information given is really useful.

Status of Women - Melissa Roberts

Much of SWC’s fall meeting was devoted to motions debated at last spring’s FPSE AGM and referred back to the SWC for further study. One motion concerned SWC’s request for FPSE to support $10-a-day childcare campaigns. Another dealt with FPSE’s continued financial support for the “Be More than a Bystander” campaign run by Ending Violence Association of BC and the BC Lions. After hearing a presentation by the “Be More than a Bystander” campaign folks, the SWC struck a sub-committee to gather further information with a view to reaching a decision next spring.

SWC chose two representatives to be part of a Presidents’ Council/SWC subcommittee tasked with drafting a survey to inquire into the status of women in the workplace. Having a methodology background, I was asked to work on this alongside the SWC rep. from KPU.

I am interested in putting together a Status of Women committee here at Langara. If anyone is interested in this, please email me at mroberts@langara.ca.

Workplace Health, Safety, and Environment - Valerie Lloyd

At its September meeting, WHSE conducted a review of the Committee’s terms of reference.  Among the recommendations to be made to Presidents’ Council, WHSE proposes that its mandate be broadened to address the workplace hazards facing “vulnerable and at-risk individuals.” Following discussion of the nature and purpose of WHSE’s formal responsibility for the environment, members created a sub-committee to study and report on this neglected aspect of the Committee’s mandate. I am one of eight members of the sub-committee. Meanwhile, WHSE approved a motion calling on FPSE locals to recognize the April 28 National Day of Mourning, a day that commemorates workers killed or made ill by their work.  Members also endorsed a motion calling on FPSE to urge the province to make the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace mandatory for all workplaces in BC.  Finally, WHSEC recommends that FPSE urge the Minister of Labour and the Workers’ Compensation Board to accept key recommendations of the recent Petrie report on the WCB, Restoring the Balance: A Worker-Centred Approach to Workers' Compensation Policy (March 31, 2018).