Ontario college strike: what does it mean for Ryerson?

(By: Jessica Tucciarone)

It has been just over a week since over 12,000 faculty members across 24 Ontario colleges officially went on strike. With both George Brown College and Centennial College being affected, it leaves questions about what this means for students in Ryerson’s collaborative nursing program.

Ryerson’s collaborative nursing program, launched back in 2000, is a partnership between Ryerson University, Centennial College and George Brown College that requires its students to split their class time between Ryerson and either George Brown or Centennial.

Upon entry to the program, students have a choice to apply to either of the three sites – Ryerson, Centennial or George Brown. Depending on where they get accepted, they spend at least their first two years taking courses at that “home site.” Students who get accepted to George Brown or Centennial then move to Ryerson in their third and fourth year for their classes, with their clinical placements being done through their home site.

With both George Brown College and Centennial College being affected by the strike, what does this mean for Ryerson’s nursing students?

According to Ryerson’s strike information website, students in the program whose home site is Ryerson will not be affected by the strike at all, as Ryerson itself is not affected. Both their classes and placements are continuing as scheduled.

The same is not true for students whose home site is either George Brown or Centennial. All nursing classes held at Centennial and George Brown for students in their first or second year of the collaborative program have been cancelled.

For third year students whose home site is one of the colleges, all of their Ryerson classes will continue as normal. Their clinical placements and conferences have been cancelled. Fourth year Ryerson classes for these students will continue as scheduled, including clinical placements. However, conferences are cancelled.

The strike, which officially began on October 16, comes after the Ontario Public Service Employee Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council failed to reach an agreement during negotiations.

JP Hornick, the vice-chair of the OPSEU college faculty bargaining team, said in a statement with The Dialog, “[The colleges] said absolutely no to everything the faculty had on the table, and they maintained that position the whole time, so we had no choice but to eventually say ‘we have to withdraw our services.’”

Demands that the OPSEU has on the table include more faculty input on academic decisions and heightened job security for both full-time and contract faculty.

How long the strike will go on for is still unknown, but the last Ontario college faculty strike, back in 2006, lasted 18 days.

The two sides are currently not negotiating. 

Continue to check Ryerson’s strike information website for updates and information about the strike.

(Header photo courtesy of Bernard Weil/Toronto Star)

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