Strike toolkit: Students in four units can return to class Monday

This toolkit is a daily compendium of news and links relating to the strike by Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903, which represents teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants at York University. The strike began on Nov. 6. For immediate information or to report picket line issues, call the Strike Hotline at 416-650-8420.

Senate Executive approves classes: Students in four separate areas will be able to resume classes on Monday, Jan. 26 under decisions made Wednesday by the Executive Committee of York’s Senate. They are:

  • students in the School of Administrative Studies in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies;
  • undergraduates in the Schulich School of Business;
  • students in the Faculty of Education’s Pre-Service Full Time Consecutive Program, for which the Ontario Teachers’ Federation has lifted its suspension of practica;
  • students in the Master of Public Policy, Administration & Law Program in Atkinson.

Units involved have given undertakings that there will be no replacement of work done by CUPE 3903 instructors, and in the case of the Education students, that remediation will provide for the later resumption of courses taught by CUPE 3903 instructors. 

Students who choose not to participate in resumed classes will continue to receive the protections and accommodations set out in Senate legislation.

For further infomation on Senate policies, see the York Secretariat Labour Disruption Information page

Senate Executive’s special message: The Executive Committee of York’s Senate has issued A Special Message to the Community on Remediation and Accommodation. It notes that previous communications have emphasized academic integrity, fairness to students and timely information. "This special message has been prepared in response to questions raised by members of the community about the meaning of fairness to students and as a reminder of the accommodations available."

The bulletin elaborates on the principles of fairness and lists in detail the accommodations available for students during the labour disruption and when classes resume.

General information

Academic activities, including classes and exams, have been suspended for the duration of the strike, with some exceptions. For full details, students and others should go to the York Secretariat Labour Disruption Information page. For updates on negotiations, please visit the Negotiations Update page. 

The University is open and employees not represented by CUPE Local 3903 are required to come to work.

Public transit services are still available. However, bus stops are at designated areas outside picket lines. For more information and a map of bus stops, see the Transportation Services Web site. The Keele-Glendon shuttle continues to operate.

Information and regular updates will be posted on the York home pageinternal home pageFaculty & Staff page and Current Students page, and in YFile, Ylife and the My student portal. A series of FAQ and information pages is listed at the bottom of this page. 

Previous bulletins

Senate update on academic remediation: The Executive Committee of York’s Senate has made significant updates to its statement on Academic Remediation: Accommodations, Adjustments and Modifications. Among many points, it notes that unless there is a ratified settlement to the strike by Jan. 3, 2009, it will not be possible to resume suspended classes on Monday, Jan. 5.

It also expands on plans for academic remediation, including:

  • The fall term will have a maximum additional 13 days of instruction for courses that meet Mondays to Fridays. These classes will bring the total number of class meets for these courses to the equivalent of 11 weeks. Depending on the timing of the resumption, it may be necessary to schedule classes on days of the week when they are not normally held.
  • The formal fall term examination schedule will be compressed from 18 days to 12 days.
  • The reading week originally scheduled for Feb. 16 to 20 is cancelled.
  • The winter term will have a maximum of 55 days of instruction, and a compressed examination schedule of 12 days.
  • Accommodations will be made in cases where the revised examination schedule results in conflicts.

Further reductions in the length of term can only be authorized by the full Senate, the statement notes. 

See the full statement here. It is posted with other Senate communications on the York Secretariat’s Labour Disruption Information page.

Status of deliveries: Procurement Services has asked the community to refrain from contacting the off-campus warehouse to determine the status of deliveries. Warehouse staff are working diligently to process received shipments, and status calls impede their ability to turn shipments around quickly. 

Full details of delivery arrangements can be seen at the Procurement Services page.

Nursing student remediation: Two cohorts in the School of Nursing at York University will restart course work on Monday, Dec. 15. The two cohorts – certain students in the Collaborative Program and the Internationally Educated Nurses Program – are in a unique position as they must be prepared to write the Canadian Registered Nurses Exam on Feb. 4, 2009. These two cohorts were each uniquely funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and its Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration under the understanding that they would complete degree-licensing requirements by the beginning of 2009.

Successful completion of the Canadian Registered Nurses Exam is part of the licensing requirement. Reviews, preparations and evaluations will be conducted by full-time faculty, members of the York University Faculty Association.

The remediation plan will permit the completion of course work for students in Nursing 4110, Nursing 4111, Nursing 4150 and Nursing 4910.  It does not apply to any other nursing courses.

The Executive Committee of York’s Senate approved the remediation plan, put forward by the dean of the Faculty of Health and endorsed by the School of Nursing executive and the vice-president academic & provost, on Tuesday, Dec. 9. The deans of all York Faculties have, together with the chair of Senate, agreed that this is appropriate in light of current circumstances.

See York’s media release here. For information on Senate policies, see the York Secretariat’s Labour Disruption Information page. 

Student parking extensions: Parking Services has announced modifications to current parking permit procedures for students. Among the key points:

  • Student patrons who elected to retain their fall 2008 parking permits for the duration of the labour disruption will have their permit expiry date extended. This extension will be set to accommodate the revised end date for the fall semester (as determined by the University).
  • The deadline for students to return their December parking permits for a refund will be extended until Dec. 12. All permits must be returned to Parking Services in person or by mail (with a postmark no later than Dec. 12).  Note that Parking Services closes at 1:15pm on Friday, Dec. 12.

Full details are available at the Parking Services Web site.

Residence FAQs for all students updated: Housing Services has updated its frequently asked questions for occupants of both the undergraduate residences and the York Apartments, which are primarily for graduate, married and mature students. The FAQs address such issues as a revised end of the winter term, with a promise of no additional room or rental charges if students need to stay longer, and withdrawal from the University. The FAQs can also be reached through the Undergraduate Housing and York Apartments home pages.

Student FAQs updated: The Division of Students has added a section on academic remediation to its FAQs for students, reflecting the content of the detailed bulletin issued by the Executive Committee of Senate on Dec. 2 (see Previous Bulletins below). The answers to the FAQs follow the Senate bulletin, but also include handy links to other York pages. 

Residence FAQs updated: Housing Services has updated its frequently asked questions for undergraduates living in residence. These note that residences will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 23, 2008 to Jan. 3, 2009 and students are expected to go home or find alternative accommodation. Students can also fill out a form to appeal to stay in residence for the period. As a result of the strike, Housing Services will waive the standard $100 holiday fee for students who receive approval to remain.

The FAQs are posted at the Undergraduate Housing site. 

Senate bulletin on academic remediation: The Executive Committee of York’s Senate has issued a wide-ranging bulletin for students on Academic Remediation: Accommodations, Adjustments and Modifications. It includes important information about courses, dates and assignments; accommodations available now for students who must begin employment or return to another country in January; changes to sessional dates and academic regulations; and other academic information.

Among many other details, it notes:

  • There will be no classes from Dec. 23, 2008 to Jan. 4, 2009 inclusive, and no examinations will be held during that period with the exception that Dec. 23 may be held as a reserve examination day by the Registrar’s Office. The University is closed from Dec. 24, 2008 to Jan. 4, 2009 inclusive.
  • There will be at least 24 hours notice between Senate Executive’s declaration of an end to the disruption and the resumption of classes. 
  • Tests and exams for all courses (including Internet and correspondence) will not be scheduled in the first five calendar days following the resumption of classes.

For the full bulletin, click here. It is posted with other Senate communications on the York Secretariat’s Labour Disruption Information page.

Osgoode students return: The Executive Committee of the Senate of York University has updated its statement on the suspension of academic activities, adding to the list of exceptions: Osgoode Hall Law School courses except those taught by CUPE 3903 instructors.

In a media release, the University says Osgoode will restart classes on Monday, Dec. 1. It says that while the strike impacts all members of the York community, the Osgoode program is in a unique position as it is governed by external regulations set out by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the National Committee on Accreditation. In addition, CUPE instructors teach virtually none of the classes. The failure to restart now would also impact on community legal clinics staffed by Osgoode students, which provide services to low income communities.  

Osgoode students who choose not to participate in the resumed classes will continue to receive the protections and accommodations set out in Senate legislation. The statement is posted with other Senate bulletins at the York Secretariat’s Labour Disruption Information page.

Where to get the bus: Since the beginning of the strike, transit companies have been using designated bus stops outside the picket lines at the Keele campus. They have been returning to campus to pick up and drop off at their regular bus stops after 7pm and on weekends providing there are no picket lines. This will continue. Recently there has been some confusion among both drivers and passengers because picket lines have often ended at 5pm rather than 7pm, or because picketers were gone in the afternoon for a meeting. For consistency and predictability, transit companies will continue to use 7pm as the time to return to campus. For a map of bus stops, route information and customer bulletins, see the Transportation Services Web site.

Senate update on Schulich: The Executive Committee of the Senate of York University has updated its statement on the suspension of academic activities. Titled University-Wide and Faculty-Specific Information on Suspension of Academic Activities: Definition, Extent and Exceptions, it includes reference to undergraduate exchange students at the Schulich School of Business and Schulich students who will be studying abroad on exchange programs in the winter term. They are eligible for early remediation which will permit them to complete their fall term studies (no other students are eligible for this option).

The statement is posted with other Senate bulletins at the York Secretariat’s Labour Disruption Information page.

Fourteen-day notice on courses: On Nov. 19, the Executive Committee of Senate issued a bulletin of Updated Information on Course Remediation. The notice advises that Wednesday, Nov. 19, was the 14th day of the strike. Senate policy deems that a disruption of 14 days means all suspended full year courses will require some remediation – adjustments and/or modifications of terms and regulations – as will fall term half-courses and courses running on more compressed schedules. The exact nature of the changes will depend on the length of the disruption.

Mail service delayed: Mail will likely reach York recipients one day later than usual, due to a strike at Canada Post by administrative and technical staff. Canada Post is still making deliveries, but trucks are affected by picketing delays. The national strike began Nov. 17.

FAQs: A full set of FAQs relating to the strike, mirroring the list at the bottom of this page, has been posted on various York pages, including the internal and external home pages. The set of FAQs is best bookmarked rather than saved as a file, as it will continue to be updated.

Curtis and Stedman lecture halls closed: Effective immediately, all class and special function bookings for the Curtis and Stedman lecture halls have been cancelled. The lecture halls and classrooms have been closed and locked. There are some offices in these two buildings which will be kept open.

If for some reason a room is required for a function, community members are asked to follow the normal protocol for room allocations and call the Work Control Centre at ext. 22401 during regular office hours or Security Services at ext. 58000 during off hours for access.

Should a settlement be reached and the resumption of classes announced, use of these rooms and lecture halls for academic classes will resume immediately.  For more information, contact Steve Sicluna, manager, maintenance, CSBO, at ext. 55939 or

Delivery of sensitive materials for researchers: In its latest bulletin, Procurement Services says it has made alternative on-campus delivery arrangements for sensitive materials for researchers.

goSAFE to the buses: The goSAFE evening safety shuttle service will now begin at 5pm and will include the transit companies’ designated bus stops outside picket lines. Vans will provide limited service on both the North Route and the South Route from Monday to Friday. For more information or to request special accommodation, call goSAFE at 416-736-5454 or ext. 55454. Online, see the map of transit bus stops and the goSAFE site.  

Evening buses: During the day, transit companies continue to use designated bus stops outside picket lines. However, all transit buses will return to pick up and drop off at their regular campus bus stops after 7pm and on weekends providing there are no picket lines. For specific route information and customer bulletins, see the Web links at the Transportation Services Web site.

Who will use the evening buses? Among others, Seneca@York students, whose classes continue.

Mail: If you’re wondering what to do about sending mail, fear not. Nothing much has changed. Outgoing mail should still be placed in the usual collection place in your unit, where Mailing Services will continue to pick it up.

Incoming mail will continue to be delivered as usual.

Mail, courier and other inbound deliveries are being coordinated through an off-campus warehouse and transferred to and from the Keele campus. 

Couriers: The three principal courier companies – Federal Express, Purolator and DHL – have been informed that any deliveries destined for the Keele campus (regardless of location) should be redirected to an off-campus warehouse. Community members not using these courier companies will be responsible for directly informing other courier companies of the new delivery location and referring them to either Procurement Services (ext. 55143) or Mailing Services (ext. 77598) to obtain the warehouse location.

For courier pickup, people can make their own arrangements or contact Mailing Services (ext. 77598) for more options. Normally, people will be asked to put the package with a completed waybill into their mail collection, and the package will go out the next day. 

Deliveries: For full details about deliveries, see the Inbound Deliveries bulletin on the Procurement Services page.

Event cancellations: A wide variety of events have been cancelled or postponed due to the strike. Before planning to attend any campus events, please recheck the listings at the York Events page or YFile’s Today@York listings (both display the same events). Items for which organizers have contacted York Events ( have been updated to show their status. 


It is important to remember that the picketers are members of the York community. They are engaged in a lawful labour dispute with the University. This is a legal strike and it will result in delays and inconvenience.

In a strike, picketers are legally permitted to:

  • carry signs stating the nature of the dispute;
  • speak to you about their concerns;
  • ask you to join the picket line.

Picketers are not legally permitted to:

  • blockade entrances to the University;
  • use force, threats or threatening gestures;
  • construct physical barriers to block access to the University;
  • engage in unlawful behaviour.

Points to remember when approaching the picket line:

  • Safety is important. Approach the picket line slowly. If you are driving, plan your approach to the University so that you can make a right turn onto the campus. This will prevent you from being caught in the middle of an intersection in case of delays.
  • Whether driving, walking or biking onto campus, be prepared to stop and wait until you can cross through the picket line.
  • Be prepared for delays and remember to keep your calm. It is important to operate your vehicle in a safe and lawful fashion.
  • You should not engage in any confrontation with picketers. If you are not allowed through the picket line, or if you feel threatened, do not attempt to force your way in, immediately withdraw. Do not become involved in any arguments or any type of altercation.

In the event that despite your best efforts you are unable to proceed to your place of work because of the picketing activity, you must immediately contact your manager and contact the Strike Hotline at 416-650-8420.

If you are intimidated, harassed or otherwise mistreated, inform your manager immediately of the time, place and people involved, and steps will be taken to communicate directly to the union and its members that such activity is not lawful or appropriate.  If you are concerned for your health and safety, please contact your manager immediately. You may also provide details to the Strike Hotline at 416-650-8420.

Should you have any other concerns or should any issues arise during the work disruption, immediately contact your manager.

Where to find it
This list is updated regularly