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ACIFA: Working for You

ACIFA is a member-driven organization. It takes most of its direction from Presidents’ Council, a gathering of all Association presidents and ACIFA’s executive, held three times a year. An Executive Council oversees regular operations and carries out the direction of Presidents’ Council. An Annual General Meeting is held in conjunction with the ACIFA conference each May or June.

We do much more than gather: we lobby on behalf of 13 Alberta post-secondary member associations, provide labour relations support, and address professional affairs issues. 

Our ACIFA: Working for You document outlines many of the ways we support our members.

Political Lobby on PSE issues

  • Political Lobby on PSE issues

    • In-house Activity

      • ACIFA participates regularly in government’s consultative processes on post-secondary issues and makes submissions as new initiatives appear

      • ACIFA attends government’s annual budget consultations and makes recommendations on PSE funding

      • ACIFA President and staff meet regularly with the Assistant Deputy Minister and periodically with the Deputy Minister and Minister

      • Presidents’ Council provides occasional opportunities for direct conversations with Ministry staff to learn about initiatives and raise issues of concern

      • ACIFA has new direction from the membership and Presidents’ Council to improve and sharpen its lobby efforts; a major focus this year will be on setting up training opportunities to develop lobbying and communications skills for local associations

Public Interest Alberta

ACIFA is a contributing member of Public Interest Alberta ( “Public Interest Alberta (PIA) is a province-wide organization focused on education and advocacy on public interest issues. PIA exists to foster in an understanding of the importance of public services, institutions and spaces in Albertans' lives, and to build a network of organizations and individuals committed to advancing the public interest.”
PIA is a non-partisan organization supported by a variety of labour and community stakeholders which runs publicity campaigns, encourages individuals and communities to communicate more effectively with government on vital issues, and advances the profile of public services and the idea of the public good
PIA includes post-secondary representation on its board and develops annual campaigns in support of PSE, with ACIFA participation

Collective Bargaining Support

o ACIFA has a full-time Labour Relations Officer (LRO), whose role is to offer bargaining, mediation and grievance support; he spends much of the year meeting with local associations as an advisor and participant in bargaining, grievances and arbitrations for members
o The LRO’s role in arbitrations creates significant cost savings for member Associations
o The LRO also acts as an important clearing-house of bargaining information since he has the most current and comprehensive view of bargaining issues across the province in both colleges and universities; it is clear that administrations and boards communicate with each other, and ACIFA is able to counter-balance those channels during bargaining
o Training is available for grievance officers and negotiators
o ACIFA retains a large library of Collective Agreements and bargaining information
o ACIFA hosts a province-wide Negotiations Advisory Committee where chief negotiators convene to understand trends in PSE
   labour relations and share issues and strategies in an open and frank environment

Professional Development

ACIFA hosts a province-wide Professional Affairs Committee bringing together Professional Development reps from each member institution; current emphasis on teaching and technology is expanding quickly to include research opportunities and responsibilities, and scholarship of teaching and learning


oPresidents’ Council (meeting three times a year) allows association presidents to share issues and develop strategies for addressing common concerns
oACIFA Climate Survey tracks institutional climate in colleges and institutes across the province and provides important longitudinal information about faculty perceptions of their institutions; the Climate Survey is monitored by government, administrations and Boards of Governors and has a clear impact in institutions with poor ratings
oACIFA meets regularly and works with CAFA, our counterpart organization of Alberta university faculty associations, on matters of mutual interest, including making joint submissions to government as appropriate
oACIFA is moving towards better liaison with other provincial organizations representing students and the colleges’ boards/administrations to find common ground and explore possibilities of working together in future

Spring Conference

o ACIFA facilitates a large annual professional development conference
o Dozens of sessions and hundreds of participants, with a variety of academic, professional and social offerings
o Features excellent keynote addresses on essential issues
o Provides an opportunity to celebrate the successes of colleagues across the province through awards programs
o Hosted by member associations in rotation, normally at one of the mountain resorts

Canadian Association of University Teachers

oIn 2008, ACIFA joined CAUT as a Federated Member. CAUT ( “is the national voice for academic staff … representing 65,000 teachers, librarians, researchers and other academic professionals and general staff, CAUT is an outspoken defender of academic freedom and works actively in the public interest to improve the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada.”
oAs a federated member, ACIFA now has closer ties to the other large college faculty federations in B.C. and Ontario, and is a direct participant in national debate and lobbying on PSE issues
oCAUT is directly involved in some of the most important and complex national debates around PSE and faculty/labour rights, providing legal and practical support and maintaining an academic freedom fund to support member associations
oCAUT hosts regular short conferences on a variety of professional subjects
oCAUT membership gives ACIFA members associations access on a cost basis to all of CAUT’s training opportunities including workshops to support negotiators, executives and association presidents; CAUT can also deliver some support locally on a cost basis; these opportunities often provide up-to-the-minute information on trends and concerns
oCAUT maintains a national database of collective agreements, model articles on key issues, and policy statements shaped by wide experience in PSE issues and controversies

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