Universities exist in an ever-shifting and challenging environment. On the fiscal front, they face caps on tuition fees and enrollment, while demographic changes exacerbate the fiscal pressures. At the same time, universities are among the most unionized institutions in Canadian society. Social media has also changed the framework in which universities operate. From e-learning to reputational management concerns, universities wrestle with issues such as student misconduct, mental health, and concerns about sexual consent. Within this milieu, institutions strive for academic excellence while remaining true to the academy.
Our Universities Group has served the university sector for over 50 years and has a unique understanding of those challenges—and the nature of the academic environment in terms of both its governance and its mandate.
We work with a number of different groups within each university, depending on the type of engagement, including:
- boards of governors/trustees
- executive officers (presidents, provosts, vice-presidents of human resources and deans)
- university councils
- student affairs
- human rights and equity offices
- bargaining teams
We help universities proactively address a wide range of issues. These include:
- academic matters such as tenure appeals and academic freedom
- governance and executive compensation
- labour matters including collective bargaining and grievance arbitration
- policy and procedure reviews
- employment standards
- litigation including wrongful and constructive dismissal claims
- freedom of information and privacy
- human rights including advising on issues of discrimination and accommodation
- occupational health and safety and the Workplace Safety Insurance Board matters
We represent universities in a variety of forums, appearing before arbitrators, labour boards, human rights tribunals, academic tribunals, courts of law, student appeals bodies and other internal committees.