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Collective bargaining is an important tool for building a more equitable academy. Academic staff associations have an ethical and legal obligation to ensure that the agreements they negotiate do not discriminate against members and to co-operate with the employer’s efforts to provide reasonable accommodation.53 But the removal of discriminatory provisions is insufficient to overcome the legacy of systemic discrimination that persists in the academy. Realizing equity requires associations to play a leadership role, and to negotiate proactive measures to improve the recruitment, retention, and working conditions of academic staff who are members of Indigenous and equity-seeking groups.

CAUT recommends that associations review their collective agreements to identify provisions that may have a discriminatory effect, and to detect areas in which proactive equity measures could be introduced or strengthened. Although this advisory looks specifically at appointment and promotion language, all other articles -- such as leaves, access to childcare, salary anomalies, anti-harassment -- , should be reviewed with an equity lens. Associations can also play an important role in promoting inclusivity in post-secondary education and initiating projects to recruit, support, and mentor colleagues and students from target populations. While bargaining strong agreement language is essential, it is equally important that the association itself review its own structures and practices to ensure that Indigenous members and members of equity-seeking groups may participate fully in all association activities, including the development, negotiation, and enforcement of collective agreement language.

53 Central Okanagan School District No. 23 v. Renaud, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 970; Starzynski v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [2003] ABCA 246.

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