BUFA filed a grievance in late January regarding the Administration’s return-to-campus plan, on the basis that the plan, much of which was put in place to address the reality of the Delta variant, was insufficient in the Omicron environment. As such, we claimed a violation of the collective agreement, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its requirement to take “every precaution reasonable in the circumstance” to prevent the transmission of disease in the workplace.
As the term progressed, and COVID-mitigation measures were lifted across the province, our grievance took on greater importance. Last week, the Administration informed us that it too was seriously considering lifting its vaccination mandate at the end of the winter term, something 76% of you told us was premature on their part, as well as lifting its masking mandate, with which 60% of you disagreed.
On March 30th, the Parties met in front of mediator/arbitrator Paula Knopf and arrived at a settlement to the grievance, which includes the following:
- The continuation of the current vaccination and masking mandates past the end of the winter term
- The University must share with BUFA the information and documents it is relying on to amend and/or revise its vaccination policy and/or masking requirements moving forward
- The impermissibility of amending or revising any aspect of the above mandate without first negotiating such with BUFA
- If the above-noted negotiations fail to yield an outcome satisfactory to BUFA or if the requisite negotiation does not take place, BUFA will have automatic recourse to the mediator/arbitrator Knopf to resolve that complaint
- The Administration will provide, on an expeditious basis, KN95s to all BUFA members who wish to wear a KN95 mask while on campus
- Further, the Administration will provide, on an expeditious basis, KN95s to any member of the Brock community (including students) who wish to wear a KN95 mask while on campus
- If BUFA contests the interpretation or application of any of the above measures, BUFA will have recourse to mediator/arbitrator Knopf to resolve the complaint
The BUFA Executive would like to thank members who provided important feedback to us and wish to assure you that we have worked diligently since we filed the grievance in January to steer the Administration in the right direction with regard to providing a safe campus for everyone.
We will continue to provide updates to the membership with regard to accessing university-provided KN95 masks and relevant information with regard to any of the above as it becomes available.