Nova Scotia’s universities could be sanctioned by the association representing Canada’s academic staff if they try to use new powers under the Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) issued letters to each of Nova Scotia’s university presidents warning that any attempt to trigger the act would result in proceedings of formal censure.
“In the event you seek to use the powers in the legislation that take away the right to strike and grant government unprecedented powers to direct and determine research and instructional priorities, CAUT will immediately proceed with censure,” wrote CAUT executive director David Robinson.
The new legislation was passed on May 5, despite objections that the new powers violate constitutionally protected rights and undermine academic freedom.
Censure, as a sanction, is rarely applied by CAUT. It is applicable when a university administration threatens academic freedom and tenure, refuses to bargain in good faith or takes other actions that compromise the integrity of post-secondary education.
CAUT represents 68,000 academic and general staff at 120 universities and colleges across Canada.