Strike Information for Students

CBU does not want our valued faculty to go on strike. A strike would be devastating to our students and our community. However, CBU respects CBUFA’s right to choose to strike and CBU is in the process of preparing in the event there is a strike. The below FAQs are meant to help students prepare in the event a strike is called.

If you have a question you would like to submit to be added to the FAQs, please email labour@cbu.ca.

Click here to view a list of classes that will move ahead during the strike. 

General Strike FAQs

A strike is a stoppage of work, a refusal to work or to continue work, by employees in a specific union. A strike may take different forms, but generally, it is a refusal to work in a way that is designed to slow down, disrupt or stop operations. A strike is organized by a union, in this case CBUFA, as a form of protest in an attempt to force the employer (CBU) to agree to their demands.

No. We do not expect you to choose a side. We understand this is a stressful situation and students may feel obligated to express their support for one side or the other. CBU respects your right to support the faculty association or to choose not to voice support to either side. 

The University’s latest proposal, for a three-year term, ensures the salaries of CBUFA members among the highest in the Nova Scotia university sector. The updated proposal includes:

  • A total general increase of 8% over the next three years (3%, 2.5%, and 2.5% per year) in addition to existing annual step increases; and
  • Adding additional steps as permanent increases to the following salary scales to ensure similarity with other primarily undergraduate institutions in Nova Scotia: Lab Instructor (6.4% increase), Senior Lab Instructor (5.5% increase) and Librarian II (2.6% increase).

CBUFA’s counterproposal on salaries included a total increase of 14% over the next two years (7% per year).

To view the full-sized PDF version, click here. 

Unfortunately, we have no way to know how long CBUFA will choose to strike. We remain hopeful that an agreement can still be reached.

It is possible that the provincial government will get involved if the parties still cannot come to an agreement and a strike has gone on for a length of time. The next step would be mediation, which is a non-binding tool used to help parties reach a settlement.

If a mediator is still not successful, or the government does not appoint a mediator, the parties may appoint an arbitrator. The arbitrator will listen to both parties and then decide how to resolve the issues. The parties must accept the arbitrator’s decision, even if they are not happy with it.

The University’s latest proposal, for a three-year term, ensures the salaries of CBUFA members among the highest in the Nova Scotia university sector. The updated proposal includes:

  • A total general increase of 8% over the next three years (3%, 2.5%, and 2.5% per year) in addition to existing annual step increases; and
  • Adding additional steps as permanent increases to the following salary scales to ensure similarity with other primarily undergraduate institutions in Nova Scotia: Lab Instructor (6.4% increase), Senior Lab Instructor (5.5% increase) and Librarian II (2.6% increase).

Full details of this financial proposal can be found at this link.

To provide context for recent settlements in the post-secondary sector, please see other Atlantic Canadian recent settlements:

  • Acadia University – four-year term, 2% per year, divided into 1% each six months plus a wage reopener in the fourth year.
  • Dalhousie University – Three-year term, 3%, 2.5%, and 2.5% increases per year with adjustments to ranks.
  • St. Thomas University- three-year term, 2%, 1.95% and 1.95% increases per year.
  • Université Ste-Anne – three-year term, 3%, 3%, and 2% increases per year.
  • University of New Brunswick – three-year term, 2.5%, 2.5% and 2.5% per year with a $1,000 signing bonus.
  • NSCAD – four-year term, 2%, 2%, 3%, and 2% increases per year.

CBU believes in offering competitive compensation. CBU faculty are fairly compensated in relation to other undergraduate institutions in Nova Scotia, as demonstrated by a comparison of 2022 CBU faculty salary scales.

CBU can afford to increase the wages of faculty members by the amounts offered in CBU’s proposal. CBU must be fiscally responsible due to the unique situation in Cape Breton. There are major investments that CBU needs to make in campus infrastructure (new buildings including modern lab and classroom spaces), housing initiatives, strategic health initiatives and campus planning. These investments are transformational for our students, our faculty and the community. They will offer innovative solutions to current issues and get all of our students back on campus. 

CBU can offer a fair, competitive salary to faculty and invest in solutions that impact students and the community. We cannot increase wages beyond the standard in the sector while also making the much-needed investments in places where students will benefit.

CBU does have a surplus and intends to invest that money directly in places where students will benefit. This includes campus planning, campus infrastructure (new buildings including modern lab and classroom spaces), housing initiatives, and strategic health initiatives.

A grievance is essentially an employee or union association complaint based on experiencing a real or perceived injustice in the workplace. A common strategy in the lead-up to union negotiations is to increase the number of grievances filed to identify where the key issues are. CBU is committed to resolving any and all outstanding issues using the tools in the collective agreement.

Unfortunately, when faculty unions choose to strike, these actions ultimately affect students in various ways. The largest impact is the stoppage of all CBUFA classes (taught by CBUFA members and contract instructors) and services CBUFA offers, including reference letters and faculty advising.

However, most student services remain open. This means students still have access to the campus including the library, common areas, the fitness centre and recreational activities. Students are most welcome to take advantage of these services.

Once the strike ends, we will work toward resuming normal operations as quickly as possible. Details will be provided to the campus community via CBU email as soon as they are finalized.

At a picket line, union members will generally carry signs that show their concerns or issues and may walk in front of campus entrances. Picket lines are not legally permitted to set up on private property. In the case of CBU, all property from the fence line along Grand Lake Road toward campus buildings is private property.

As a CBU student, you have a legal right to cross a CBUFA picket line to enter campus. We understand that any picketing will occur in a lawful, respectful and considerate manner. While this may be uncomfortable for some students, we encourage you to act as you normally would toward those striking. It is legal for those on strike to provide information, but they must allow the normal movement of people and vehicles into CBU.

This is normal and we understand a strike can be a stressful time for students. The Nancy Dingwall Health and Counselling Centre will remain open to students throughout a strike and appointments can be booked by emailing healthservices@cbu.ca. Additional mental health resources are available on our website. 

For international students, CBU has partnered with Guard.Me to offer emergency health services and 24/7 mental health services through keep.me.SAFE, a support service available to help with challenges faced when studying or living abroad. Guard.Me also offers mobileDOCTOR that allows international students to connect with a doctor on your phone or laptop 24/7. Visit CBU’s International Student Health Services page for more information.

The Labour Relations page will continue to be updated with any new developments and will be your main source for accurate and up-to-date information. Important updates affecting students and employees will also be communicated directly through official CBU email. Please pay close attention to your CBU email for all future communications from the University on this matter.

No. The University will not financially gain from this strike. Any salaries not paid to CBUFA members during the strike will be redirected into a form of appropriate compensation for students for the disruption to your studies. 

The Labour Relations page will continue to be updated with any new developments and will be your main source for accurate and up-to-date information. Important updates affecting students and employees will also be communicated directly through official CBU email. Please pay close attention to your CBU email for all future communications from the University on this matter.

If you have questions, please email them to labour@cbu.ca.

Campus, Class & Financial FAQs

No. There are two teaching unions at CBU: CBUFA and NSGEU. Some of our instructors are also non-union employees.  NSGEU instructors are not part of a CBUFA strike.

Some instructors who are not CBUFA members do teach CBUFA classes. During the strike, these classes will also be paused. We understand this may be confusing.

View the full list of classes that will continue. 

Yes, some classes will continue.

There are two teaching unions at CBU: CBUFA and NSGEU. Some of our instructors are also non-union employees.  Classes taught by NSGEU members will continue during a strike.

Classes taught by non-union employees will continue during a strike if they are not CBUFA classes. We understand this may be confusing. Please click here to view the list of classes that will move forward during the strike. 

If your class is taught by a CBUFA member and is cancelled, you are not required or expected to continue with scheduled assignments at this time. When classes resume, an updated syllabus will be provided to ensure learning outcomes are met. You are not expected to continue to study independently.

If your class is taught by an NSGEU member and is moving ahead, you should continue with your assignments as scheduled. Nothing should change for you in this class.

CBU has no intention of restricting access to Moodle or other educational platforms as long as they are used respectfully and appropriately.

You can choose to review any content; however, you are not required to study independently or proceed with readings/assignments of paused classes during the strike.

If there is a strike, we cannot know when classes will resume. Once the strike ends we will work toward resuming normal operations as quickly as possible. The campus community will be notified via CBU email as soon as the details are finalized. Students will be given notice prior to classes resuming.

Yes, you can continue to access campus throughout the strike and student services will remain available. CBU’s is fully committed to continuing business as usual and creating the least amount of disruption for students. Your success is important to us!

The following student supports would be available to students in the event of a strike:

Yes. Some, but not all, members of the library team are CBUFA.

Library Circulation services (study room availability, laptop loans tec.) will continue but in-person and virtual reference (LibAnswers & LiveHelp) and instruction will pause. You are more than welcome to visit and research in the library.

Currently, the library hours remain the same.

Students who live on-campus will be allowed to remain in residence during a strike, and all on-campus dining and food options will remain open for students. The University will continue to operate as close to normal as possible.

Yes. All on-campus dining and food options will remain open for students.

During a strike, CBUFA members will stop performing their work duties. This includes teaching and answering student emails.

CBU takes its responsibility to students very seriously and will do everything possible to ensure students are able to complete their current classes. This may involve special make-up classes or term extensions, but only as a last resort. CBU, in collaboration with the Senate, will work to identify options that will allow students to complete their semester, and for those eligible, to graduate on time.

CBU remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached and that students will be able to complete their courses.

At this time, we cannot determine whether reading week will proceed. This will depend on the length of the strike and date classes resume. An announcement will be made when we know more.

Yes, CBU will continue to host events and other recreation activities for students. Students are always welcome on campus. Our goal is to maintain as much of the student experience as possible throughout the strike. To view upcoming events, please visit cbu.ca/events

At this time, students are encouraged to remain on campus or in the local community as the situation is evolving. On-campus housing services will continue as usual, including food services. The University will continue to operate as close to normal as possible, to avoid additional disruptions to the student experience.

Students will continue to receive government aid (student loan) if they do not reduce their credit hours below the loan agreement they have with the provincial and federal loan agencies.

Students will continue to receive institutional awards so long as they meet the requirements stipulated in their award. CBU will not penalize students for time lost due to the strike.

Yes, you should continue to pay your tuition and fees during the strike. If you miss the February 17 deadline, as per the financial policy, interest will be charged. 

CBU will work with the CBU Students’ Union to determine an appropriate form of compensation for students for the disruption to your studies. If your tuition and fees have not been paid on schedule, you may not qualify for this compensation.

Although CBU is unable to provide a full refund in accordance with our refund policy, we will be providing appropriate compensation to students for the disruption to your studies. There are many factors to consider when assessing any compensation, including the length of CBUFA’s strike, how much instructional time was lost and the extent of the impact on students.

We will work directly with the CBU Students’ Union to determine the best formula to move forward in a way that is fair to students.

​​Unfortunately, at this time nursing placements will be paused as a result of a strike. If you have questions, please contact your Dean for information about your individual placement.

B.Ed. Practicum will continue as scheduled as it is not CBUFA coursework. If your university advisor is a faculty member, they won’t be completing evaluations during the period of a strike.

The practicum seminars will be suspended during the period of a strike.

In-Community courses offered in Nova Scotia (Eskasoni and Millbrook) will be cancelled.

If you are in In-Community courses offered in Tobique, New Brunswick; Listuguj, Quebec; or Gesgapegiag, Quebec your classes will continue.

At this time, changes to the spring semester are not being made. We are hopeful for a resolution well before the end of the winter semester. 

Transit services are not impacted at this time.

Yes, the NSCC Marconi Campus will remain open and will not be affected by a CBUFA strike.

International Student Specific FAQs

This situation is beyond your control and your status as a study permit holder should not be affected. As a result of the strike, you will not face any penalty because you cannot pursue your studies at this time. If you have questions about your Visa or study permit, please contact one of CBU’s International Student Advisors via your Compass Student Account.

You must continue to have a valid status as a student in Canada in order to be able to return to class after the strike is resolved. If you need to apply to extend your study permit during the strike, you will need to include a letter from the Registrar’s Office confirming that the strike has stopped you from attending school and pursuing your studies. The Registrar’s Office can be contacted via email at registrar@cbu.ca If you have questions about your Visa or study permit, please contact one of CBU’s International Student Advisors via your Compass Student Account.

The strike will not affect your work allowances under IRCC guidelines. You can continue as usual.

Future (Prospective) Students FAQs

No. Applications are handled by our Admissions team and will not be affected by a CBUFA strike.

Master of Education in Sustainability, Creativity, and Innovation applications are reviewed by an admissions committee that includes CBUFA members. Those decisions are expected to be made as soon as possible once the strike has ended.

The strike does not affect CBU’s status as a Designated Learning Institution and therefore will not impact your study permit application.

No. Labour actions and strikes are not unusual in Canada, and employees have a legal right to go on strike as part of their negotiation process. We hope to reach an agreement in a timely manner and return to standard operations as soon as possible.

Refunds will only be issued in accordance with our refund policy. Please review the policy for refund criteria.

At this time, changes to the spring semester are not being made. We are hopeful for a resolution well before the end of the winter semester.