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Academic Freedom and Contract Academic Staff

CAUT Policy Statement

Every member of the academic staff, including contract academic staff, has the right to academic freedom as defined in the CAUT Policy Statement on Academic Freedom. All academic staff employed by post-secondary institutions across Canada require academic freedom to fulfil their professional responsibilities, regardless of the nature of the contractual arrangements they may have with their institution.

The limitations of a contract for academic work, including teaching, research, and service, do not justify any limitation, dilution, or diminishment of the academic freedom of the member of the academic staff contracted to do this work.

Language explicitly recognizing academic freedom as essential to the effective performance of academic work should be used wherever possible in contracts governing the performance of this work. The use of such language discourages (where it cannot prohibit) misunderstanding and exploitation of academic labour. Such language offers a common ground on which to address difficulties that may arise during the fulfillment of a contract for academic work.

The academic freedom of contract academic staff should not be pre-empted by job advertisements that explicitly exclude research, creative activities, or other scholarly work from the assigned duties and expectations, or that attempt to define teaching in reductive or inappropriately prescriptive ways.

Given that Contract Academic Staff engage in academic work, the employer should recognize and respect the academic freedom of those who do such work.

Approved by the CAUT Council, April 2015.
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2022.