Well, here we are…week 3 and the strike still doesn’t look like it’s about to end. We understand that you’re getting antsy and have a ton of questions, so here are all the answers we have for you!
Your NCSAC will be continue to bring you all the information you need! In the end, we want what is best for the students and we have their best interests in mind.
BEFORE YOU READ OUR FAQ: Again, we encourage you to study as much material as possible and continue doing as many assignments as you can during the strike.
Question – When will this strike end? (HOT TOPIC)
At this point, there is no immediate end in sight! Both sides need to start talking in order to negotiate a settlement. It does not look as though the faculty strike will end this week. Previous faculty strikes have been 24 days (1984), 28 days (1989), 18 days (2006) and semesters were saved.
Question – December Break weeks (HOT TOPIC)
Niagara College has confirmed that there will be NO CLASSES from December 23rd – January 2nd regardless of the length of the strike. If you are arranging travel plans during the break, please plan accordingly as we are unsure what is happening with the other days during the December break.
There IS A CHANCE that you could be in class during the week of December 18th – 22nd. NCSAC would strongly suggest that you look at adjusting your travel plans if you have booked during this week.
There IS ALSO A CHANCE that you could be in class from January 3rd – 5th.
The longer the strike goes, the more likely it will be that the break weeks are shortened and that you will have class instead of break time. NCSAC will update you on any class adjustments as soon as we hear more!
Question – When the strike is settled, how much notice will I get before I have to be back in class? (HOT TOPIC)
It looks as though you will get at least 2 business days’ notice before you go back. These days would give Faculty and Administration time to solidify their plans on completing your semester. Meaning, if they announce a settlement on a Monday, you’ll likely be in class for Thursday and Friday. Likewise, if they reach an agreement on a Wednesday, you’ll likely be in class the following Monday.
Question – What about exams, test and assignments? (HOT TOPIC)
No, you will not have exams, tests or projects due on the first day back from school. Each academic area will have a plan depending on the length of the strike and the first day back will be used more as an informational, “get back on track” type day.
No, you will not lose marks or be penalized for not submitting projects and assignments over the strike. As always, we encourage you to work forward on your assignments and get as much completed as possible, but we also understand that you can’t learn everything from a textbook!
Question: Will I get a refund of my tuition because of the strike? (HOT TOPIC)
At this point, the focus is on completing the semester. As more information becomes available NCSAC will update you. We understand that you’ve paid for your semester and are afraid you’re not going to get it completed.
Question – What about my OSAP? Will I get more $? Will I lose it for next semester?
There are thousands of students on the program, so you are not alone! You can find any related info on OSAP here from the Ministry.
OSAP understands that this is a special circumstance and we hope that they will do everything they can for students!
Question – At what point do we lose our semester? (HOT TOPIC)
Again, let’s hope this gets settled soon, but that answer is not clear to anyone. It looks as though the strike could still go on for at least a couple more weeks without losing the semester. Previous faculty strikes have been 24 days (1984), 28 days (1989), 18 days (2006) and semesters were saved.
The College remains committed ensuring that students have the opportunity to complete their semester/program and will provide semester completion plans when the strike is resolved (the plans depend on the length of the strike).
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COLLEGE SYSTEM HAS NEVER LOST A SEMESTER OF STUDY! Let’s hope this is the case in 2017.
Question: When we come back, how will I catch up?
Take a deep breathe. Everyone will be in a similar situation and the college will work with you and your faculty, to ensure you have appropriate access to faculty, lab time and key course components to ensure that your learning outcomes are met.
Semester completion programs details will vary by program, but will be guided by the following principles:
- Courses will pick up where they left off;
- Plans will recognize that students need notice before writing tests and completing assignments;
- You will receive the support you require to complete your academic year. Individual needs and circumstances will be taken into consideration for students who require additional support and/or accommodation.
Question – My payment for second semester is due on November 27th. Do I still have to pay it on November 27?
At this point, plan to pay your fees by November 27. If the strike continues, then it looks as though this date will change, but that all depends on when the strike ends.
Question – What is NCSAC doing to advocate for students during the strike?
Your NCSAC is working hard behind the scenes to advocate for you. We are joining the College Student Alliance on Wednesday, November 1 for a #StudentsFirst rally at Queen’s Park. NCSAC also joined 7 other colleges and wrote a letter to the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Hon Deb Matthews and Premier Kathleen Wynne. This letter resulted in a face to face meeting with Hon Deb Matthews and also in person meetings with the College’s bargaining team and a video conference call with the Faculty bargaining team.
We will continue to communicate with both sides to bring you relevant information and do our best to get the answers to the questions you have!
Question: Can I still access Blackboard?
Absolutely! You won’t be able to get in touch with your Faculty, but you will have access to your course material.
Question – Can I still study on campus?
Yes, facilities on campus, such as the Library, Student Centres, Student Commons, will still be open and available. Some facilities will be offering limited services, but because Support Staff are still working, the only major disruption will be classes not running.
Question – During a strike, what else would be open on campus?
NCSAC will keep its offices and operations open with “business as usual” for the strike. Please refer to the College FAQ/website for the latest updates in regards to campus facilities.
Question – I live in Residence, are Residence and food venues still be open?
Yes, Residence and food operations will be available likely with some adjustments to hours of operations. The Core (Welland) and The Armoury (NOTL), along with both Shack locations will be operational.
Question – Am I allowed to contact my instructor if I have questions about assignments?
Faculty will not have access to their @niagaracollege.ca email accounts. Contact with them through that channel will not possible. Faculty are not able to communicate with their students, as that will be considered ‘working’.
Questions – Will there be picket lines to cross during the strike?
Yes, there will be picket lines. We ask that anyone crossing the picket line and wishing to come into the school, does so in a respectful manner. We get it, everyone will be frustrated if there is a work stoppage, but we must remain respectful to each other.
Please click here for specific guidelines to follow when crossing a picket line
Question – What are the Faculty and Colleges negotiating over?
This is a complex question as there are a lot of factors that go into bargaining. NCSAC understands that both sides have demands. The links to both parties are provided below, so please go ahead and educate yourself on the “asks” from both sides:
Faculty Union: https://opseu.org/sector/caat-academic
College Employer Council: https://thecouncil.on.ca/
NCSAC encourages both sides to continue talking and hope for a resolution before the possibility of a strike occurs.
Still have questions?
Please visit the Niagara College “strikeFAQ” page often, as their info will change frequently.