LETTER: Educational institutions should be considered as ‘essential services’


THIS letter is from Irby Syed, Grade 11 Student at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Tottenham, Ontario:


THE ongoing labour dispute at York University is hurting some 40,000 students and putting their future at risk. York is offering a tuition credit for the impacted students but that would not bring back the time lost for the students. York Students have had no role in the dispute but, unfortunately, they are the ones who are suffering both academically and financially and their future is at stake. It has even more severe consequences for the graduating students as their job or future studies might be dependent on their on-time graduation. Canadian Universities are no stranger of strikes. But for York, it’s the 6th such strike since 1978. Here is the York’s strike history since 1978.

1978: The York University Staff Association (14 days)

1997: The York University Faculty Association (55 days)

2001: Canadian Union of Public Employees (78 days)

2008-2009: Teaching Assistants and Contract Faculty (85 days)

2015: Teaching Assistants and Contract Faculty again (29 days)

2018: Teaching Assistants and Contract Faculty again (for almost 3 months)

I think our educational institutions should be considered as ‘essential services’ and thereby prohibiting the strikes from happening. The Liberals had introduced a Bill to end the strike, but, unfortunately, it did not get unanimous support from all parties. I request all political parties to work together to pass legislation in order to stop such long strikes from happening again. There should be a provincially assigned binding mediation arbitrator to resolve issues and conflicts in our educational institutions. While I understand and fully support job security and equitable pay increase for the striking staff, I believe a strike is not the answer.