Update on UVic Shortfall

As you may have heard, UVic has announced a 17.5 million-dollar shortfall for the current fiscal year (April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023).  On September 8, 2022 the other CUPE local Presidents and I met with Kane Kilbey and Kristi Simpson to have a conversation, where they assured us that they plan to have this dealt with by April 2023.  UVic is not allowed to run a deficit without approval of the government, and has the ability to address it.  Other Universities such as; UBC, SFU, TRU, UNBC and RRU are all experiencing a similar shortfall.

This shortfall appears to be due to the lower enrolment numbers, including domestic students, over the last two years.  There is a 2 – 3 month backlog of VISA applications to enter Canada to be processed. It is estimated that 220,000 international students are effected by this visa delay.   In comparison, the UK currently has a 5-day turnaround on the same visa’s. 

To address this shortfall, the university has announced a hiring hold; this will be a key way to address the shortfall since 80% of the budget is staff wages.  Departments have also been asked to hold off on equipment purchases as an additional measure.

In our meeting, we were assured the following:

·         This will not impact the wages that will need to be met through negotiations.

·         This will not lead to any layoffs.

·         We did share concerns about contracting out due in part to the hiring hold. Kane and Kristi advised they have the means to get through this with adjusting budgets within departments.

The meeting ended with us asking about hiring that would still need to happen based on critical needs, as we were short staffed before this shortfall happened. They said they have set up a process to address those hires.

In Solidarity,
Kirk Mercer

President CUPE 951, University of Victoria