URFA President's Message on U of R Budget Cuts

Good after­noon, members —

I am reach­ing out today to address the recent bud­get cuts at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na and the impact we know this is hav­ing on URFA members. 

Since it was announced sev­er­al weeks ago that bud­get cuts were to be made across the uni­ver­si­ty, every­one has been hold­ing their breath as we wait­ed to dis­cov­er what that real­ly meant. 

Now we know that these cuts have meant a 5% reduc­tion across unit bud­gets, that sev­er­al mem­bers have had their employ­ment dis­con­tin­ued at the uni­ver­si­ty, and a 4% tuition increase for students.

The sit­u­a­tion is evolv­ing, and it is unclear what fur­ther impacts we can expect over the com­ing weeks. 

In par­tic­u­lar, URFA is con­cerned about the impact the cuts will have on ses­sion­al con­tracts and the num­ber of vacant posi­tions across the uni­ver­si­ty — includ­ing what this will mean in terms of work­load increas­es for the mem­bers who remain and how small depart­ments may be dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly affected. 

To be clear, it is URFA’s posi­tion that these cuts were avoidable. 

We have been call­ing on the provin­cial gov­ern­ment for months to step up and pro­vide the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na with the increase in fund­ing need­ed to pre­vent cuts, job loss­es, and tuition fee increas­es. As a pub­licly fund­ed insti­tu­tion, it is our government’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to ensure that the uni­ver­si­ty has the fund­ing it needs to pro­vide a fair work­ing envi­ron­ment for fac­ul­ty and staff, and an enrich­ing learn­ing envi­ron­ment for students. 

As a mem­ber of URFA and as your pres­i­dent, I remain com­mit­ted to advo­cat­ing for job secu­ri­ty, bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, afford­able edu­ca­tion, and strong pub­lic universities. 

Over the past months, I have spo­ken out in the media many times to raise aware­ness about the impact of these cuts on our mem­bers, and have met direct­ly with U of R Pres­i­dent Jeff Kesh­en, the Min­is­ter for Advanced Edu­ca­tion Gord Wyant, and Oppo­si­tion Crit­ic MLA Jen­nifer Bowes to dis­cuss our concerns.

But as union mem­bers, our col­lec­tive voice is our great­est strength to achieve last­ing change. 

I urge you to add your voice on this issue by writ­ing to your MLA and the Min­is­ter of Advanced Education. 

The min­is­ter can be reached at minister.​ae@​gov.​sk.​ca and you can look up con­tact infor­ma­tion for your MLA here.

Many of you have already reached out to express how con­cerned you are about these cuts. Thank you for shar­ing your thoughts and expe­ri­ences with me. 

As we wait to see what fur­ther impact these cuts may have, please know that URFA is work­ing to sup­port the mem­bers who are being affect­ed by dis­con­tin­u­ances, and that we will con­tin­ue our ongo­ing advo­ca­cy for a sus­tain­able increase to post-sec­ondary funding. 

If you have any con­cerns, a per­son­al sto­ry to share, or ideas for actions you’d like to take on this issue, please get in touch at urfa@​uregina.​ca.

In sol­i­dar­i­ty,

Britt Hall

URFA Pres­i­dent