UVic Unions Issue Urgent Appeal for Post-Secondary Funding Reform

A coalition of unions representing workers and students from the University of Victoria (UVic) has issued an open letter addressed to Premier David Eby and Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills Lisa Beare, urging immediate action to address the impact of budget cuts and layoffs at UVic.  UVic is set to cut the operating budget by 13 million dollars in the upcoming fiscal year and many departments will face 4-6 % budget cuts. The letter proposes concrete measures to stabilize the post-secondary sector and protect workers and students from the impacts of these cuts.

Expressing grave concerns over the announced budget cuts and associated layoffs at UVic, the letter condemns the devastating effects on workers and families and emphasizes the negative impact on the quality of education and support services for students. The signatories highlight the inherent instability of the current post-secondary funding model, exacerbated by over-reliance on tuition fees, particularly from international students.

Key points raised in the open letter include:

  • The decline in government funding for post-secondary institutions over the past five decades, leading to over-reliance on tuition fees.
  • The detrimental effects of budget cuts on workers, students, and the quality of education.
  • The need for immediate government bridge funding to stabilize the post-secondary system and mitigate the impacts of fluctuating international student enrollment.
  • A call for a funding review of BC post-secondary education with the aim of developing a sustainable funding model that reduces the reliance on tuition fees and reduces administrative bloat.
  • Concrete recommendations for reform, including temporarily allowing post-secondary institutions to operate with budgetary deficits, creating better accountability mechanisms for funding allocated to post-secondary institutions, and changing the Board of Governors composition in the University Act to ensure better representation from within the university community.

The signatories urge the provincial government to prioritize stable and accessible funding for post-secondary education, emphasizing its crucial role in preparing citizens for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

“We call on the provincial government to take decisive action to address the funding crisis in the post-secondary sector,” the signatories state. “Stable funding is essential to ensure quality education and support services for all students and workers.”

The signatories to the letter include CUPE 4163, CUPE 951, CUPE 917, the University of Victoria Faculty Association, the Professional Employees Association (PEA) and the University of Victoria Students’ Society.

The open letter is available for public viewing online at this link.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:

  • Jordana Whetter, PEA Senior Communications Officer; jwhetter@pea.org; 250-385-8791 ext. 210
  • Sam Montgomery, PEA Labour Relations Officer, smontgomery@pea.org
  • Monica Prendergast, University of Victoria Faculty Association Acting President, presidentfa@uvic.ca
  • Corbett Gildersleve, UVSS Executive Director, execdir@uvss.ca

About the Signatories:

The Professional Employees Association is a labour union for professionals. Formed in 1974 to represent the Government Licensed Professionals employed in the BC public service, the union has grown to represent professionals in the education, legal, union and healthcare sectors.

The University of Victoria Educational Workers’ Union (CUPE, Local 4163) represents more than 1500 members. Together, CUPE 4163 members perform more than two thirds of the instruction at the University of Victoria, and includes Teaching Assistants, Lab Instructors, Help Desk workers, Academic Assistants, Second Language Instructors, Residence Life student workers, Cultural Assistants, Continuing and Term Sessional Lecturers, and Music Performance Instructors.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 951, represents the Office, Technicians, Animal Care Assistants and Child Care workers at UVic.

CUPE 917 represents over 700 staff members working at the University of Victoria including trades workers, grounds workers, security officers, facility attendants, equipment operators, custodians, maintenance workers, food service workers, house-workers, and utility drivers that keep UVic running smoothly.

The University of Victoria Faculty Association (UVICFA) is the exclusive certified bargaining agent for faculty (including chairs and directors) and Librarians at the University of Victoria.

The UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) represents all undergraduate students at UVic. Founded in 1964, the UVSS is a social justice-based non-profit run by students, for students, and is separate from the university. The UVSS provides advocacy, representation, services and events for UVic’s undergrads.

Back to News