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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Vancouver, BC, April 5, 2023

Faculty were shocked to learn Monday April 3rd that year 1 and 2 of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at Okanagan College is being shut down. Nursing faculty were called to a meeting at 5pm after their full workday and informed of the closure with potential severance options and little other information. These same faculty were standing in front of their students teaching again 15 hours later after this devastating news. Faculty had asked if their union should be present but were told the involvement of the Okanagan College Faculty Association (OCFA) was not needed in the meeting. The College released a statement to the entire community on Monday announcing the closure and stating that the internal processes for abandoning a program would be followed retroactively.

Union President Sharon Mansiere responded:
“We were shocked the College made this announcement that has stunned and devastated our Nursing faculty. This is a very successful program that consistently transitions BSN nursing students into our province’s post-secondary registered nursing streams exactly as community colleges are supposed to do. The program has wait lists several times its capacity. We have been actively bargaining in good faith with the College. There were specific items related to the BSN program discussed in negotiations. At a time when the province is recommitted to filling nursing vacancies and guaranteeing nurse to patient ratios coming out of the pandemic it is puzzling why our college would lose this program.”

“It’s also incredibly discouraging that the leadership of the college has made the announcement in advance of the collective agreement and legislative process required in our contract and in the College and Institutes Act. Our collective agreement and Education Council are not inconveniences to be ignored by the province and college as they see fit. They are the legal contract our members should be able to count on in the employment relationship.”

FPSE President Brent Calvert added:
“This announcement is part of a pattern of our institutions and Post-Secondary Employers Association (PSEA) ignoring the letter and spirit of academic governance enshrined in our collective agreements and excluding the voice of faculty. It would appear that the Ministry of Post Secondary Education and Future Skills (PSFS) informed the college of its decision last week. The manner in which this announcement was handled also flies in the face of good HR practices and respect for institutional autonomy. Our members were given an assurance at the onset of bargaining that no significant changes in staffing and programming were planned. We will be asking tough questions of the province and the PSEA about when this decision was made and why the collective agreement, along with the legislated roles of the Board of Governors and Education Council were bypassed. We will be providing OCFA with all the necessary resources to ensure that the rights of their members are respected.”

Sharon Mansiere | President, Okanagan College Faculty Association
ocfa.president@gmail.com | 250-328-2206
The OC Faculty Association represents more than 300 faculty members of Okanagan College. It serves to maintain and promote the professional status of the members of the Association, to regulate relations between faculty and OC through collective bargaining, and to function as a trade union pursuant to the laws of British Columbia.

Brent Calvert | President, Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C.
president@fpse.ca | 778-318-2943
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) represents the faculty/staff at 20 public and private colleges and universities in British Columbia. FPSE and its member locals have been serving the needs of BC's post-secondary educators for over fifty years, providing resources and support and advocating for workers' rights and benefits since the College Faculties Federation first formed in 1970.

About FPSE

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 4 private sector institutions.