Article 7 President to President Blog

Dear Members,

On March 19th, 2024, representatives of the ULFA Executive and UofL Board met for a regularly scheduled ‘Article 7’ meeting. These are quarterly (or more frequent by mutual agreement) meetings of the two parties to discuss high level topics not directly related to grievances or other day- to- day labour- relations matters. 

While in the past we have not reported on these through our blog, in an effort to further improve transparency with the ULFA Membership, and to keep our Membership informed on important issues facing academic staff, ULFA plans to provide brief updates on these meetings moving forward. This is the first of such update blogs.

At Article 7 meetings, each party provides a list of agenda items in advance of the meeting, and then alternates taking the lead on their respective topics for discussion. The list of topics for this Article 7 meeting included:

ULFA Topics

  • ULFA Blog of this Article 7 Meeting

  • UofA Private International Recruitment

  • Updates re post-Waterloo security measures and Uleth Security Personnel?

  • Update on the University Veterinarian?

  • Politician Meeting Updates

  • CAFA Awards

  • Training Module Updates?

  • Update on AI Teaching Centre Group?

  • Update on the hiring cycle for academic staff?

Board Representative Topics

  • Provincial Budget Update

    • Rural medical education progress update

  • Sustainability Plan

  • Administrative Searches/Reviews

  • Enterprise Systems Open Houses

  • Strategic Planning


While much of the meeting involved an exchange of very high level views, concerns, and  observations about third parties (for example, about the provincial budget, meetings on both sides with politicians, etc., the CAFA awards), there were a few noteworthy discussions:

Provincial budget

There was a discussion of the provincial government’s commitment to further shrink public funding from 47% of the budget to a targeted 42%, and the sizable amount in the recent Provincial Budget that is earmarked for the expansion of a private, for-profit post-secondary sector. Concerning the expansion of international enrolment, the UofL has been provided with a quota of up to 2650 attestation letters for international students to receive study permits. These numbers do not include any students arriving via the Navitas/UICC arrangement.

This Blog

The ULFA team has mentioned a desire to blog about these meetings for some time; at the March 19th meeting we informed them of our plan to  start with this meeting. There was some concern on the Board side about whether blogging about these meetings would compromise their informal and frank nature; the ULFA side agreed that we would primarily focus on the topics under discussion at a high level. As a courtesy, ULFA is sharing a draft of this blog with the Administration for comment. 

Senior Administration Searches/Reviews

There were three reviews/searches underway on the date of the meeting: AVP Research/Dean of SGS, Dean of A&S, and VP Finance. The VP finance search is going more slowly than originally expected and may not be completed before September. The other two reviews were on their original schedule. ULFA published a reminder about the opportunity to comment on the reviews at the time; the deadline in each case has now passed. 

Updates re post-Waterloo Security Measures and Uleth Security Personnel

Doug Mackie, the U of L’s former Chief Safety Officer, recently resigned from his position at the university. His duties have been temporarily assigned to several others while the Board reviews whether the position needs to be revised before a new person is hired. Nolan Meyer (Emergency & Security Manager) and Michelle Helstein (Provost & VPA) are working with most items staff might face, and Kathleen Massey (AVP-Students) is covering the items concerning student safety. VP Finance Nancy Walker is continuing a more systematic review of safety and security procedures at large, in part as a result of the attack at Waterloo last year.

Update on University Veterinarian

Hiring a replacement for the University veterinarian has proved more difficult than initially hoped due to the complexity of the role in terms of both veterinary specialisation and administrative duties. While the search continues, the university has contracted for medical services with two community veterinarians, who will be working with ULFA Member, Maurice Needham. 

Strategic Planning

The Board side thanked the ULFA Executive and all members of the academic staff who attended the strategic planning session. They shared that additional meetings were planned with community stakeholders and student groups and that the online survey remains open.

Update on Hiring Cycle for Academic Staff

In response to the provincial budget and potential uncertainty with regard to foreign student numbers, the Board has decided to release 50% of the planned hires for this coming year this spring, with remaining announcements to follow, depending on the financial situation, next  October/November.