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Quebec must withdraw bill to amend Université de Montréal Charter

(Ottawa — November 10, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is speaking out against a private bill to amend the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Charter which threatens the principle of  collegial governance and infringes upon fundamental rights and freedoms of academic staff.

The Charter — a private act of Quebec’s National Assembly — governs faculty and defines operational powers at UdeM. The University administration tabled a bill last August to “modernize” the Charter, and the Quebec government has until November 15 to  bring it before members of the National Assembly.

“Under the false pretense of modernizing its Charter, the Université de Montréal administration is attempting to bring an end to collegial governance at the University and make radical changes in faculty working conditions without bargaining,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “This is unacceptable, and Philippe Couillard’s government should nip it in the bud. Collegial governance is the cornerstone of academic freedom and governance in our universities, and cannot be tampered with.”

The bill strips power from the University assembly  and concentrates it in the board of governors’ hands, as well as introduces draconian changes to the board’s composition  by ushering in members of the community.

“The administration  is using subterfuge to concentrate power and change the composition of the board to be overwhelmingly made up of business people who have nothing to do with academia and little understanding of how a university works,” Robinson added. “The bill will act as a Trojan horse not only in Quebec, but across the entire country. It should be withdrawn, because it is not in the public interest and goes against the fundamental rights of academic staff.”

CAUT represents over 70,000 academic staff working in more than 120 universities and colleges across Canada.


For more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour, CAUT Director of Communications — or 613-293-1810