MOFA: Vaccine mandates at Manitoba universities a step forward towards a safe return to campus

Aug 19, 2021 | News

The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) is pleased to see that Manitoba’s universities are moving forward with a vaccine mandate for faculty, students and staff as part of the return to on campus instruction. Today’s adoption of a vaccine mandate comes after MOFA affiliates and their members at each public university in Manitoba came together to push for a policy to protect faculty, students and staff at Manitoba’s public universities.

“This would not have happened if not for pressure from faculty and their representatives. And we are delighted that a strong, clear message from faculty was heard by university administrators who eventually reached the correct decision,” said MOFA President Scott Forbes. “Faculty and students who make up the core of the university have mutual interests such as a safe learning and working environment for everyone. There is a lesson to be learned by the government of the day which is that you can’t run a university without consulting with and listening to faculty and academic staff.”

Yesterday, the Executive Council of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) joined the University of Winnipeg Faculty Association (UWFA), Brandon University Faculty Association (BUFA) and the l’Association des professeurs et professionnels de l’Université de Saint-Boniface (APPUSB) in endorsing a vaccine mandate as part of the return to campus. UMFA spokesperson Michael Shaw is looking forward to more details of the University of Manitoba’s policy announced today.

“While we are pleased with today’s announcement, we are looking forward to hearing more details in regards to robust compliance processes,” said Shaw. “We hope that the University of Manitoba can continue to consult with faculty on best practices to keep our campus and community safe.”

The University of Winnipeg has indicated that they will be mandating proof of vaccination. Once a student, staff or faculty member has been verified, they will receive a sticker for their identification card that will allow them to access the campus.

“I want to thank all of the UWFA members on campus who pushed our administration to adopt a strong, coherent position on this issue,” said Peter Miller, UWFA President. “Today is a victory made possible by our members coming together to protect the interests of our students, staff and community.”

Earlier this week, the Brandon University Faculty Association adopted a motion in support of a vaccine mandate on campus. The unanimous motion elicited positive feedback from BUFA members.

“Our members are quite happy to have our association take this position and for Brandon University to listen clearly to our advocacy in this instance, which will protect faculty, staff and students on campus,” said Gautam Srivastava, BUFA President. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the value of working together with faculty associations to achieve real results for our membership and the broader community. We are going to continue to push for a full vaccine mandate at Brandon University.”

MOFA represents over 1,500 faculty and academic staff at the University of Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, Brandon University and Université de Saint-Boniface.