UMFA Scholarship for the advancement of Labour Rights

Value: $2,500
Number: One
Scholarship Qualifications: Open to a student who:
1) is enrolled part-time or full-time in any year of study in any faculty,college, or school at the University of Manitoba;
2) has achieved a minimum degree grade point average of 2.5; and
3) is interested in advancing the rights of organized labour in Manitoba,Canada, and/or internationally.*

Submit completed applications by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The application form can be found here:

*In order to demonstrate how they meet criterion (3), candidates are required to submit to the Financial Aid and Awards office an essay, maximum 2,500 words, which includes (a) the student’sarea of study, and (b) the importance of advancing labour rights in the province of Manitoba,Canada, and/or internationally. Adherence to normal academic standards, including those regarding plagiarism, is expected. Questions related to the structure or content of the essay shouldbe directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Recipients may be invited to publish the essay on UMFA’s website, newsletter, or in other public formats, but this will be done only with the permission of the author.

June 11, 2020


 Court upholds right to collective bargaining, strikes down Public Services Sustainability Act

Manitoba’s labour movement has won an important victory for workers and their Charter-protected right to collective bargaining, Manitoba Federation of Labour president Kevin Rebeck announced today on behalf of the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS).

“Today’s ruling clearly shows that the Pallister government’s heavy-handed law violates the right to collective bargaining for 120,000 Manitobans who work in the public sector,” said Rebeck.

Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice McKelvey ruled that the Pallister government’s Public Services Sustainability Act and its actions to impede collective bargaining in the province are a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and workers’ right to collective bargaining. Today’s ruling confirms that the Public Services Sustainability Act is unconstitutional. 

“We said all along that this government was violating the rights of workers, and that Manitoba should allow the tried and tested process of collective bargaining to take place in the public sector,” added Rebeck. “Now, workers and employers can get back to the bargaining table when it becomes safe to do so without the threat of this unconstitutional legislation hanging over their heads.”

Rebeck added that he was glad to see the ruling so strongly struck down the government’s law and rejected its legal arguments, cautioning that the Pallister government needs to stop interfering with collective bargaining in the public sector with further unconstitutional legislation. He noted that workers throughout the public sector have been working under expired contracts for years, and are now facing the additional challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I want to thank Manitoba’s labour movement and our great legal team for this substantial victory for working people,” said Rebeck. “Manitoba’s unions will always be there to fight for workers’ rights on the job, and this legal victory represents another step in the pursuit of workplace justice.“

As was agreed at the beginning of the trial, the court will now set further dates to determine what financial and other remedies will be payable to the union plaintiffs by the government, including compensation for legal costs.

– 30 –

Media Contact: Andrew Tod, 204-391-0063 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*The electronic file of the court decision is too large for email, but can be provided in several smaller files upon request.

The Partnership to Defend Public Services represents more than 110,000 workers who are members of: AESES, CUPE, General Teamsters Local 979, IBEW 2034, IBEW 2085, IBEW 435, Operating Engineers of Manitoba Local 987, LALA, MAHCP, MGEU, MNU, MTS, PIPSC, UA Local 254, PSAC, UFCW 832, UMFA, UNIFOR, USW 7106, USW 7975, USW 8223, USW 9074, UWFA, WAPSO IFPTE Local 162, BUFA, IATSE Local 63, UBC Local 1515, PCAM, and the MFL.


UMSU and UMFA: Post-Secondary Education is an essential service

UMSU and UMFA proudly stand in unison declaring post-secondary education an essential service. We reject in the strongest terms the recent decision to consider up to a 30% cut to post-secondary funding in Manitoba, and jointly call for the federal government to resist overtures that will shift public sector salaries from Manitoba provincial payrolls to the federal government. 

Instead, we call on the federal government to support post-secondary education directly through targeted funding to universities.

 We call on the provincial government to follow the lead of other provinces to fund front line workers in the COVID-19 crisis AND support other workers in the public sector. The Province of Manitoba should also follow the federal government’s example and provide students with assistance rather than eroding the quality and availability of post-secondary education.

Said UMSU President Jakob Sanderson, “This government, unlike the thousands of struggling Manitobans it’s elected to represent, will not starve. It will not go bankrupt. Instead of handwringing over the deficit it should be prioritizing investments in people.”  

Added the president of UMFA and accounting professor Janet Morrill, “Government deficit spending -not tax cuts -can dramatically boost economic growth particularly during a recession/depression. In contrast, the impact of the current plan of public sector cuts is estimated to COST billions in the long run due to the drop in provincial GDP, tax revenue and labour income.”

Students and the citizens of Manitoba will need their post-secondary educational institutions to be prepared for them this fall more than ever. That education needs to be affordable, accessible, and of high quality.

For media inquiries please contact:
Jakob Sanderson: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Janet Morrill: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Winnipeg, MB, April 30, 2020

MOFA demands accountability, investment in PSE
Rally called for May 1, 12pm – MB Legislature

Demand for public education has increased because of the pandemic’s effects on the economy, with faculty members reporting summer enrollments that appear to be higher than in years past.

In a time of fiscal crisis we need investments, not cuts, to public services to ensure we come out of this recession with a head start on recovery.

“Post-Secondary Education is one of Manitoba’s most important economic drivers, and in times like these demand for education increases”, said MOFA President Scott Forbes. “After decades of underfunding, Mr. Pallister's cuts will make things worse, and at the worst possible time. We should be moving in the opposite direction, so that we can prepare our students for the new, post-pandemic economy.”

Many academics, union representatives, and business leaders in the province have come out against the cuts, announced by the government over two weeks ago.

The media has also reported that experts who created the economic data cited by the government disagree with the government’s statements about the data.

Even more shockingly, the government rejected proposals from the University of Manitoba that would potentially avoid salary cuts and lay-offs yet still meet the government’s financial goals. The University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) confirms this.

In response to this swell of opposition, the government of Manitoba must:

  1. Publicly acknowledge that the province of Manitoba is in the middle of the pack with respect to provincial debt to GDP levels in Canada. Like other provinces, it has the power to invest in the future.
  1. Cancel all cuts to the public sector and fund all the public services necessary to ensure our economy and social fabric will outlast the virus.
  1. Provide a clear plan for economic recovery that acknowledges the need to maintain a vital public sector, including post-secondary education.
  1. Provide detailed information on how much, and where, our tax money is being spent to ensure the health of Manitobans.
  1. Acknowledge that the provincial government is sending mixed messages: in public they claim their cuts are temporary, but in private they say they are permanent, and they refuse proposals that would avoid layoffs.
  1. Instead of diminishing public institutions vital to the economic and social fabric of the province, the government must increase University funding and autonomy!

In support of these demands, MOFA members – professors, instructors, lecturers, librarians, and archivists – will join a honk-a-thon rally organized by Communities Not Cuts at the Legislature on Friday, May 1 at noon.

For more information contact:

Scott Forbes This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
President, MOFA

Orvie Dingwall This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Vice President, MOFA

En Français:

Patrick Noël This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Etienne Rivard This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) statement on the proposed cuts to Manitoba’s public universities

April 20, 2020

On Thursday April 16, 2020, the Provincial government of Brian Pallister directed the public universities to prepare budgets for the 2020/21 fiscal year with cuts to salaries of 10%, 20% and even 30%, to be submitted by Tuesday April 21, 2020. Universities had five days to plan the demolition of institutions that took many decades to build. This is part of Mr. Pallister’s broader policy of reducing the cost of the public sector, a Conservative agenda even prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

We recognize the severity and urgency of this situation and are readily awaiting the opportunity to apply our expertise to find a workable, economic solution. However, we reject Mr. Pallister’s decision to expand austerity during this economic crisis. It is out of step with what is going on in most provinces, indeed across most of the western world, and with recommendations of economists about how to survive a recession.

Those worst affected in the short-term by Mr. Pallister’s decision will be Manitoba’s youth. The job market for 15 to 24 year olds has dried up during the pandemic, and federal aid for Canadians facing financial ruin, while doing enormous good, left out students. A later federal plan to cover 100% of wages for student jobs only works if there are jobs waiting: there are not.

Historically, university enrolments grow during hard times as young people and others displaced from work train and prepare for jobs that will emerge as the economy recovers, sooner rather than later under prudent leadership. Yet at this time when universities are most needed by Manitobans, during an unprecedented economic storm, Mr. Pallister chooses to dismantle the storm shelters, our universities.

Moreover, the proposed levels of cuts will inflict permanent structural damage on our public universities, undermining their capacity to educate and conduct research for decades to come. The provincial government has expressed its desire to impose the maximum 30% cut. At that level, neither Brandon University or the University of Winnipeg can survive as full-fledged universities. The status of Université de Saint Boniface is less clear. The University of Manitoba might survive, but it’s already cut its faculty budgets year after year, and even more budget cuts will make it a shell of its former self. Even a 10% cut will be similarly devastating. This is an attack on public education.

We therefore reject Mr. Pallister’s agenda of cutting expenditures on such essential services during these perilous times: Mr. Pallister himself admitted that cuts to the public sector would cover only a dime of every dollar of deficit financing needed to see Manitoba through the crisis. That level of saving is not worth gutting institutions that are an essential part of the economy and social fabric of Manitoba.

A much better solution is to start reversing the cuts to Post-Secondary Education ushered in since the 1990s. As one University of Manitoba Professor has shown, every dollar in reduction to the deficit could reduce GDP by $1.70 – which means the government’s plans could unnecessarily cost Manitoba’s economy over $200 million. As in Quebec and Ontario, he argues that a better solution is to “break the vicious cycle of reduced spending and income by leaning into the wind and spending more in times of crisis.”

Instead of imposing Draconian and short-sighted measures to solve an immediate problem at greater long-term cost, we urge Mr. Pallister and Minister Eichler to invest in Post-Secondary Education, a solution that will protect our institutions, economy, and the future of our youth.

Contact information:
Scott Forbes
President: Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 204 889-8809
Twitter: @lsf58

Prof. Shiu-Yik Au: “Austerity is the wrong path for Manitoba during coronavirus pandemic: U of M professor”.

MOFA statement p1