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Academic Strike - FAQs for INTERNATIONAL Students

Frequently Asked Questions for INTERNATIONAL Students

RE: Academic Strike

October 19, 2017

OPSEU CAAT Academic Union began a strike on Monday, October 16, 2017 across Ontario Colleges, including Confederation College. Classes for all academic programming at Confederation have been cancelled for the duration of the strike. Many college services will remain available.

Confederation College will ensure that our students have the opportunity to complete their year. It is important to note that no student at an Ontario college has ever lost their year due to a strike. 

FAQs for International Students

  1. What is a strike? Is this common in Canada?
  2. Is this only happening at Confederation College?
  3. What is happening at Confederation College during the strike?
  4. Does this affect English for Academic Purposes (EAP) students?
  5. What impact will the strike have on my academic year?
  6. Will I be able to apply for a study permit extension, work permits and visa during the strike?
  7. Will I be able to work full-time off-campus during the strike?
  8. What will happen to my co-op position or field education, clinical or work placement during the strike?
  9. I am a student employee at Confederation College through SUCCI’s Campus Employment Service. Do I need to come to work during the strike?
  10. What will happen to the application and admission process for the January, May and September 2018 semesters during the strike?
  11. What happens if I want to come to campus during the strike?
  12. Will Thunder Bay Transit buses still arrive on campus?
  13. Can I still access Blackboard?
  14. Is there any testing on-site at Confederation College during the strike?
  15. Can I get a refund?
  16. How long will the strike last?
  17. How will I be informed that the strike is over? Will I get advanced notice before academic programming (classes) start up again? What will happen after the strike?
  18. How can I stay up-to-date on what’s happening at Confederation College?
  19. What if I have more questions?

 

What is a strike? Is this common in Canada?

A strike is a legal process in Canada which can only occur with proper notice and is governed by labour laws. When a strike occurs, striking employees form a picket line at the entrance of the employer’s property in a show of solidarity to peacefully put pressure on the employer to negotiate working conditions and wages. Confederation College is working with local union representatives to ensure the safety of students and staff coming into the college. We anticipate that this strike will be peaceful and non-violent.

Safety is of utmost concern for Confederation College. Please be patient and respectful when entering the College and crossing picket lines. Refer to the Picket Line Protocol for more information.

Is this only happening at Confederation College?

No. The union represents full-time and partial-load faculty members at all of the 24 Ontario community colleges and the strike will take place across the province, at every public college.

What is happening at Confederation College during the strike?

Below is a summary of what students can expect for the duration of the strike:

  • All academic delivery has ceased at Confederation College. This includes Workforce Development/Contract Training, Continuing and Distance Education, Co-op and Work Placements, Apprenticeships, Academic Upgrading, and International, Collaborative and Dual-Credit programming. This means that all classes have been cancelled until further notice.
  • Regional campuses and all Thunder Bay campus buildings will remain open unless otherwise notified. Reduced hours may be in effect and will be communicated in advance of any changes to operating hours
  • The SUCCI Wellness Centre – Minowaadiziiwin, Health Centre, Children and Family Centre, Follett Bookstore and Northwest Employment Works (NEW) will remain open for the duration of the strike.
  • Sodexo (food services) will remain open in the Ryan Hall Cafeteria of the Shuniah Building at Thunder Bay’s main campus. All other locations have been closed for the duration of the strike. Reduced hours are in effect for Ryan Hall as follows:
    • Monday-Friday, 8:30am-6:30pm
    • Saturday and Sunday, 11:00am-6:00pm
  • Recreational programming will be offered by SUCCI, the International Education Centre and CICE.
  • SUCCI, APIWIN, the International Education Centre, Paterson Library Commons and computer labs will remain open for students.
  • The public is advised not to use Confederation College’s roadways for through traffic.
  • Those coming to campus should expect delays. Please be patient and respectful when entering the College and crossing picket lines. Refer to the Picket Line Protocol for more information.
  • City of Thunder Bay Transit stops have been temporarily relocated outside of the main entrances for Confederation College. See the temporary transit locations.

As new information is available, updates will be posted to the dedicated webpage: www.confederationcollege.ca/academic-strike.

Does this affect English for Academic Purposes (EAP) students?

Yes. The strike affects all students at the College, both Canadian and International students, regardless of their program. No classes are being held during the strike.

What impact will the strike have on my academic year?

Our first priority remains our students’ learning. We will do whatever we can to ensure that each student is provided with the opportunity to complete the academic year. It is important to note that no student at an Ontario college has ever lost their year due to a strike.

Study permit holders are required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to remain registered with a Designated Learning Institution while in Canada. During a strike, you may want to continue your studies independently by completing homework assignments and continuing with your textbook readings and research projects. You may also stay in contact with your classmates. Faculty will not respond to any e-mails or inquiries during the strike. Student services and the International Education will remain open during a strike.

 

Will I be able to apply for a study permit extension, work permits and visa during the strike?

Yes. The International Education Centre is open during the strike and will continue to provide assistance to registered students.

Several settlement workshops are scheduled over the next few weeks. These will continue to be offered. Please watch your College e-mail for details.

Will I be able to work full-time off-campus during the strike?

No. You may continue to work part-time during the strike as long as you are registered as a full-time student and have a valid study permit. No full-time work is permitted during the strike as it would not be considered a scheduled/regulated break.

Double check your documents (passport, study permit, work permit) for expiry dates as they may need to be extended. For help with this, please contact the International Education Centre, which remains open during the strike.

What will happen to my co-op position or field education, clinical or work placement during the strike?

All of these activities have ceased for the duration of the strike. This means students should not attend their co-ops and work placements. Employers have been communicated to directly to advise them of this.

I am a student employee at Confederation College through SUCCI’s Campus Employment Service. Do I need to come to work during the strike?

Yes. Student employees are expected to cross the picket lines and come to work during the strike. Your work may be reassigned and if you currently report to a faculty member, you will be notified of who to report to in the event of a strike.

Please be patient and respectful when crossing picket lines, and refer to the Picket Line Protocol for more information. 

What will happen to the application and admission process for the January, May and September 2018 semesters during the strike?

The International Education Centre is open during the strike and will continue to process all applications for the January, May and September 2018 semesters.

What happens if I want to come to campus during the strike?

You are welcome to come to any of our campuses during the strike to access our buildings and available campus services. If coming to campus, you should expect delays. Faculty will likely hold signs and form a picket line at the entrances to the College. They may ask you to wait a few minutes before crossing and entering campus, and may talk to you about the strike.

If you decide to cross the picket line, we ask that you be patient and respectful in doing so. Please also refer to the Picket Line Protocol for more information. 

Below is a summary of campus services that remain available during the strike:

  • Regional campuses and all Thunder Bay campus buildings will remain open unless otherwise notified. Reduced hours may be in effect and will be communicated in advance of any changes to operating hours.
  • The SUCCI Wellness Centre – Minowaadiziiwin, Health Centre, Children and Family Centre, Follett Bookstore and Northwest Employment Works (NEW) will remain open for the duration of the strike.
  • Sodexo (food services) will remain open in the Ryan Hall Cafeteria of the Shuniah Building at Thunder Bay’s main campus. All other locations have been closed for the duration of the strike. Reduced hours are in effect for Ryan Hall as follows:
    • Monday-Friday, 8:30am-6:30pm
    • Saturday and Sunday, 11:00am-6:00pm
  • Recreational programming will be offered by SUCCI, the International Education Centre and CICE.
  • SUCCI, APIWIN, the International Education Centre, Paterson Library Commons and computer labs will remain open for students.

Will Thunder Bay Transit buses still arrive on campus?

No. Buses continue to operate, but will not come directly on campus. City of Thunder Bay Transit stops have been temporarily relocated outside of the main entrances of Confederation College. See the temporary transit locations.

Can I still access Blackboard?

Yes. Blackboard will remain accessible to students throughout the strike. For any courses that were unexpectedly turned off, Blackboard access has been restored. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Please contact us at strike@confederationcollege.ca should you have any further difficulties accessing your Blackboard course(s).

Is there any testing on-site at Confederation College during the strike?

No. Testing is part of our academic delivery and therefore has ceased for the duration of the strike.

Can I get a refund?

We sympathize with students who are frustrated with the strike. The idea of a refund presumes that students will not receive their academic year. Our first priority remains our students’ learning. We will do whatever we can to ensure that each student will have the opportunity to complete the academic year. It is important to note that no student at an Ontario college has ever lost their year due to a strike.

How long will the strike last?

We do not know how long the strike will last. We should be given at least a couple days’ notice for a return to work/study and will communicate immediately with students should that notice be received. A return to work/study plan will be developed upon completion of the strike.

How will I be informed that the strike is over? Will I get advanced notice before academic programming (classes) starts up again? What will happen after the strike?

We should be given at least a couple days’ notice for a return to work/study and will communicate immediately with students should that notice be received. A return to work/study plan will be developed upon completion of the strike. Among other factors, this plan will depend on the duration of the strike, which we cannot anticipate. That said, while we are unable to confirm how any particular program would be affected in a specific sense, please be assured that we will ensure our students have the opportunity to complete their academics. No student at an Ontario college has ever lost their year/program due to a strike.

How can I stay up-to-date on what’s happening at Confederation College?

As new information is available, updates will be posted to the dedicated webpage: www.confederationcollege.ca/academic-strike.

What if I have more questions?

You are encouraged to ask questions throughout the strike. If you have questions, please e-mail strike@confederationcollege.ca or contact your Dean.

Please also check for updates on the dedicated webpage: www.confederationcollege.ca/academic-strike. The FAQs will continue to be updated and any news regarding the strike will be posted there as well.