June Newsletter 2022

June 03, 2022
News and Updates


This month, the College Employer Council (CEC) will begin Full-Time Support Staff negotiations. In this edition of CEC’s newsletter, we introduce the Full-Time Support Staff Management Bargaining Team. We also provide updates on the most recent CEC benefit webinars, and the status of the full-time academic bargaining. Follow the CEC on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay informed in between newsletters.

What's Going On?

Webinar Recap: Benefits emerging trends and updates

Webinar Recap: Sun Life's Plan Sponsor Services (PSS) – Group Benefits Administration (GBA) tool

CEC hosted a webinar on emerging trends and updates to provide an overview of various current topics in the administration of the CAAT Group Insurance benefits, such as:

  • Benefits coverage updates
  • Administrative exceptions
  • Reminders to employees
  • Gender diversity

A recording is available on the CEC website here.

CEC and Sun Life co-hosted a webinar about how the use this online tool to record, update, and manage benefit information in PSS, as follows:

  • Plan Member Information
  • Billing & Reports
  • PSS Troubleshooting tips
  • Important Reminders

A recording is available on the CEC website here.

Bargaining Update

Academic Bargaining

On March 17, 2022, CEC and OPSEU CAAT-A bargaining teams agreed to enter into unconditional binding interest arbitration with William Kaplan. Full details on the type of arbitration and terms agreed to are available here.

Currently, both parties have met with arbitrator Kaplan for a preliminary meeting and have scheduled dates for mediation in September 2022. Arbitrator Kaplan has mandated a media blackout until a decision is reached.

Part-time Support Bargaining
Last year, the CEC and OPSEU support bargaining teams met for only two days before coming to an agreement. The new collective agreement has been finalized and is now available on the CEC and OPSEU websites.


Full-Time Support Bargaining
This summer, the CEC will be meeting with the OPSEU Support Staff bargaining team to negotiate a new collective agreement. Throughout the spring, CEC conducted consultations with stakeholders at the 24 Ontario public Colleges to collect feedback on the current collective agreement in preparation for bargaining. This feedback will inform how management approaches negotiations. OPSEU provided notice to bargain on June 2, 2022. The two teams will be meeting on scheduled dates in June, July, and August to reach an agreement before the current collective agreement expires on August 31, 2022.
The Full-Time Support Staff Management bargaining team consists of 11 individuals who will represent the 24 Ontario public colleges in negotiations with OPSEU. The Colleges' Bargaining Team members are selected based on their subject expertise and experience, past work on joint provincial committees, and continuity with past and future rounds of negotiations. Additionally, they represent small, medium, and large Colleges while maintaining a regional balance.

Full-time support staff management bargaining team

Meet the Full-Time Support Management Bargaining Team

Pascal and Rick

Pascal Bessette, Chair, Vice-President, Human Resources and Organizational Culture, Collège La Cité 

Rick Webb, Vice-Chair, Director Human Resources and Corporate Communications Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology

Pascal Bessette has worked with Colleges for over 18 years, serving in the capacity of Vice-President, Human Resources and Organizational Culture at Collège La Cité since July 2017. Prior to joining La Cité, he held human resource positions with the French Catholic School Board in Toronto, during which time he served as a member of the management bargaining team. In 2019 and 2021, Pascal chaired the management bargaining team to negotiate the collective agreement for the Part-time Support Staff group. In 2014, Pascal was also part of the management bargaining team for the Full-Time Support Staff group and is currently the Management Co-Chair of the Support Staff Employee/Employer Relations Committee (EERC) – Full-Time and Part-Time groups.

Rick Webb has been with Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology since 2004. He has served on numerous provincial committees and was previously the Co-Chair of the Human Resources Coordinating Committee. He has been a management member of the Support Staff EERC since 2007. Furthermore, he has been a member of three Support Staff bargaining teams for management in 2008, 2011, and 2018. Rick is an active community member, serving as the community appointee on the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Board and Chair of the Police Services Bargaining Committee.

Christine and Kim

Christine Blake, Associate Vice President, Students, Seneca College

Kim Watkins, Vice President, Corporate Services, Mohawk College

Christine Blake has been with Seneca College for over 23 years, first as Manager of Student Services, then as the Director of Student Services, Dean of Students, and Dean of Academic Learning Services. Christine is currently the Associate Vice President, Students, working with the college's main student and academic learning services. She has worked in partnership with the Seneca service teams to develop resources and supports to help students succeed. Christine was a member of the 2014 management bargaining team and is currently a management member of the Support Staff EERC.

Kim Watkins was appointed Vice President Corporate Services in December 2020. She oversees a dynamic portfolio that includes information technology, human resources, facilities, finance, and ancillary services.

Kim joined Mohawk as the college's Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Mohawk College Foundation in July 2016. She has also served as Interim Chief Information Officer and Acting Chief Human Resources Officer. Before joining Mohawk, she was the Director of Finance and Controller at Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario. She provided financial leadership to the college and Canadore College Foundation for 12 years. Previously, she worked as the Manager of Corporate Services at North Bay Hydro Distribution and as a senior accountant at KPMG.

A Certified Professional Accountant, Kim holds an MBA from Laurentian University, a risk management certificate from the University of Toronto, and recently completed a Certificate in Human Resources Management.

Kim currently serves as a Trustee on the CAAT Pension Plan Board, sits on the Board of the Hamilton Children's Aid Society, is a member of the Resource and Audit Committee of St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, and is a member of the Customer Council at the OECM.

Michelle and Cathy

Michelle McCollum, Vice President, Facilities and Sustainability, George Brown College

Cathy Viviano, Consultant, Human Resources, College Employer Council

Michelle leads infrastructure planning, facilities, sustainability, and design and construction services at George Brown College. Prior to joining George Brown, Michelle was AVP Facilities and Sustainable Infrastructure at Sheridan College. Michelle has spent over 30 years in post-secondary, municipal government, and education administration in the UK and Canada as a public sector leader, driving key strategic initiatives, capital infrastructure development, and organizational transformation. Michelle holds a Master of Business Administration from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK, a Bachelor of Science from Edinburgh Napier University, UK and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Cathy is a Human Resources Consultant at the College Employer Council (CEC). Previously she worked in Labour Relations for the City of Brampton and Sheridan College. In addition to being a member of the Support Staff management bargaining team, Cathy serves on provincial Support Staff Management Union committees. Cathy holds a Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations from Athabasca University and is a Certified Human Resources Professional.

Graham and Peter

Graham Lloyd, CEO, College Employer Council

Peter McKeracher, Vice President, Labour Relations, College Employer Council

On August 1, 2019, Graham was appointed as the College Employer Council (CEC) CEO.

Previously, he was employed with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Ontario's milk marketing board, where he held several senior leadership roles, including, its CEO. Prior to that, Graham was also the General Counsel at a multi-national Insurer and, prior to that, was a litigator in Toronto.

As a bilingual business leader and lawyer with 27 years of experience, he brings a significant skillset in advocacy, strategic planning, governance, communications, and managing complex negotiations and issues while regularly working with stakeholders, government, and the media.

During his time in the dairy industry, he worked with multiple diverse stakeholders and was actively involved in negotiating complex agreements and programs.

Peter McKeracher has been the Vice President of Labour Relations at the College Employer Council (CEC) since 2019, previously serving as the Director of Labour Relations and Director Academic. Before joining the CEC, Peter was the Director of Staff Relations at Algonquin College, managing labour relations with the Academic and Support Staff locals. He also taught law at Durham College, where he was the President of the OPSEU Faculty local for 18 years.

Trish and Abby

Trish Appleyard, Director, Labour Relations, College Employer Council

Abby Radovski, Director, Communications, College Employer Council

As Director, Labour Relations for College Employer Council (CEC), Trish provides guidance and advice to her clients in the public college sector on a wide variety of labour relations, human resources, and human rights issues. She has previously worked as a labour and employment lawyer before moving to St. Lawrence College, where she was the Associate Director, Workplace Relations.

Trish has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary and a Master of Industrial Relations and Juris Doctor degrees, both from Queen's University. She has worked in Geneva at the International Labour Organization's International Organization for Employers in 2010, where she assisted with drafting a guide to the ILO's conventions. Trish is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario.

Abby is the Director of Communications at the College Employer Council (CEC). Some of her responsibilities include communicating updates on bargaining, promoting positive labour relations at the Colleges, and creating a trusted resource hub for information on collective agreements, benefits administration, and labour relations.

She brings more than ten years of diverse communications experience, having worked with clients in different sectors such as education, finance, consumer goods, and health.

Before joining the CEC, she led an integrated team of digital marketers and creative designers in strategy development, content creation, video production, social media management, issues management, and internal communications.

She volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada in her free time and is an elected Secretary on her condo corporation's board of directors.


Gregory Power, Legal Counsel, Hicks Morley

Gregory Power is a labour and employment lawyer in Hicks Morley's Toronto office, but his practice extends nationwide. He provides strategic, practical, and cost-effective advice to employers from coast to coast on a variety of workplace issues.

In addition to appearing before arbitrators, labour boards, courts, and human rights tribunals at both the provincial and federal levels, Gregory routinely advises corporate transactions, restructuring, and positive employee relations. He serves as the chief spokesperson for local, national, and multi-national corporations embroiled in collective bargaining and has successfully negotiated collective agreements in every province except Quebec.

Prior to articling at Hicks Morley, Gregory was employed with the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers' Council. He advised clients on matters relating to employment standards, labour law, and workers' compensation. He holds an LL.B. from the University of New Brunswick, a Masters of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University in Newfoundland.