November 18, 1952

“The first meeting of the Carleton College Academic Staff Association was held at 4:15 p.m. in the Audio-Visual Aid Room of the College on November 18, 1952. Twenty-six members of the instructional staff of the College were present.

The meeting was opened by D. Shepherd who with R. Love had been appointed by the staff at the most recent Spring Conference to investigate and report upon the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

The meeting appointed D. Shepherd as Chairman pro-tem and P. Fox as Secretary pro-tem.

Following a review by the Chairman of the activities and aims of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and following a general discussion by those present of the purposes, nature, and aims of a staff association at Carleton College, it was moved by R. Love and seconded by H. Jones that such an association be formed at the College. Passed unanimously.

It was moved by P. Fox that a draft constitution be received for discussion. After some discussion and revision it was moved by G. Wood and seconded by J. Morton that the Constitution as amended be accepted as the Constitution of the Association. Motion passed nem.con.

The date of the next meeting was set for Dec. 2nd. at 4:15 p.m.

A motion by J. Holmes, seconded by S. McKeown, that the temporary committee carry on until the next meeting was passed.

The meeting adjourned at 5:45 p.m.”

The minutes of the first meeting quoted above detail the origin of the Carleton University Academic Staff Association. At the second meeting on December 2, 1952 an executive was elected and the Association was formally constituted. Twenty-one members of the full-time faculty, numbering thirty-nine on campus that year, paid the membership fee of fifty cents to join the Association.

The matters requiring the attention of the Association in its early years are much the same as those which are current still: faculty salaries, teaching loads, conditions of appointment, tenure, income tax, consultation on the appointment of senior academic administrators, assistance for publication of research findings, sabbatical leave, pension and fringe benefits, etc.

In April of 1953 the Association was admitted to affiliation with the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

At the end of the first year of operation the secretary-treasurer was able to report that the Association had ended the year in the black financially with the comfortable bank balance of $6.72.

From the beginning the Administration extended help to the Association by way of assistance with secretarial and other help, supplies and later office space, and relations have on the whole been very good. While this amicable relationship has undoubtedly reduced the load of individual cases requiring consideration by the Association, it has not reduced it to zero. Beginning in the first year and in increasing numbers as the University has grown, the executive has been asked for assistance, usually but not always by the individual involved, in resolving matters at issue between a faculty member and the University or between a faculty member and his or her colleagues.

In 1963 the Association became a member of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations when the latter was established in order to be able to deal more effectively with developments likely to affect faculty and the universities within the Ontario system.

By 1971 the workload of the Association developed to the point where an office on campus became a necessity.

June 18, 1975, CUASA becomes a union – the first academic staff union in Ontario.

The increasing financial pressures of the early 70’s were felt first at Carleton and, following an administrative announcement suggesting that faculty might have to be laid off, members decided that legal protection of terms and conditions of appointment under the Ontario Labour Relations Act should be sought. The question of whether or not academic staff could be unionized under the OLRA (teachers have their own Act) was answered in the affirmative and so, after much work, CUASA became the first academic staff union in Ontario. CUASA enlarged its traditional faculty membership base by including professional librarians and instructor employees in the bargaining unit. Even more work followed to prepare and negotiate the first collective agreement. With all this came a new Constitution, new legal responsibilities and the need for a permanent office and staff to carry forward the policies and objectives of the membership.

In 2020, CUASA celebrated 45 years as an academic staff union.