The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is welcoming the findings and recommendations of an independent investigation into long running disputes involving three clinical faculty members, Dalhousie University’s School of Medicine, and the Capital District Health Authority.
An independent committee of inquiry appointed by CAUT examined the cases of oncologist Michael Goodyear, cardiologist Gabrielle Horne, and medical chemist Bassam Nassar. Disputes arose over their rights to criticize the actions of colleagues, advocate for changes in medical treatments, and determine with whom they would collaborate in their medical research.
The committee’s report found there was a systemic failure in the policies and procedures governing the relationship between Dalhousie University and the then Capital District Health Authority.
“The conflicts that arose were fueled by fundamental flaws in the affiliation agreement between Dalhousie and Capital District Health,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “The agreement leaves clinical faculty vulnerable because it fails to recognize and defend the fundamental importance of academic freedom.”
The report calls for a fair settlement to be reached in the outstanding claims by Drs. Horne and Goodyear. The committee also recommends that Dalhousie and the recently formed Nova Scotia Health Authority negotiate a new cooperative affiliation agreement, and that the rights of clinical faculty be better protected.
“Clinical faculty have been excluded from the Dalhousie Faculty Association because the Nova Scotia Trade Union Act prohibits licensed physicians in the province from being members of a trade union,” noted Robinson. “This means that clinical faculty don’t have the same protections and rights as other faculty at the University, and they don’t have the right to form their own union to represent their interests. The lesson in the report for the provincial government is that it should immediately take steps to amend the Trade Union Act to allow licensed physicians to be members of a trade union.”
The independent committee’s report is available online at: www.dal-cdhainquiry.ca
CAUT is the national voice of 68,000 academic and general staff at more than 100 universities and colleges across Canada.
Angela Regnier, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-601-6304 (cell)