June Newsletter

June 08, 2021
Newsletter : news and updates header

June 2021 PDF


The College Employer Council is thrilled to unveil it is undergoing a brand refresh! In phase one, updates include a new website URL along with changes to the front-facing portion of the site.  Additionally, the CEC has a new logo and will be transitioning being referred to from "The Council" to "CEC" as part of its evolution as an organization. While this is a significant visual change for the CEC, the core beliefs, values, and commitments to the College sector have stayed the same.

This month, the newsletter shines a spotlight on the CAAT-A Academic bargaining team. Made up of 12 individuals from small, medium, and large Colleges across Ontario. They have more than a combined 220 years of classroom, labour relations, legal, and human resources experience, including participating in many College committees. Read more below.

What's going on?

CEC News IDEL Days

The CEC is launching its brand-new website! You can now visit to keep up to date on labour relations and bargaining information.  New sections on the site include a glossary of terms, case studies, and FAQ. Phase two of the website which includes the secure portion behind the login will soon be underway.  Additionally, the CEC is excited to reveal its new logo which visually represents the move to being known as the CEC as well as the strength of its commitment and interconnectivity to the College sector employers, employees, and students.

College HR Professionals: check out Board Effect this month. CEC has added a memo and FAQ on the new paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) days to provide your college with guidance on administering this leave. You can find it in the Emerging Issues folder. 

Please note, The Ministry of Labour has recently confirmed this period will be extended to September 25, 2021.

bargaining team

Bargaining Update

The part-time support staff collective agreement is currently still undergoing negotiations. 

The academic CAAT-A collective agreement negotiations will start once notice to bargain is provided in July 2021. In preparation for bargaining, the team conducted consultations with all 24 Colleges. This included members from human resources, apprenticeship, student services, equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) teams, finance, and academic services. Currently, the bargaining team is meeting on a regular basis to discuss key learnings from the consultations and the best ways to implement necessary changes. 

This year's CAAT-A Academic bargaining team is made up of 12 individuals who will represent the 24 Ontario public colleges in negotiations with OPSEU. Members of the Colleges’ Bargaining Team 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.

Meet the CAAT-A Academic bargaining team below.

Laurie and Stephanie

Laurie Rancourt


Senior Vice-President


Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning

Stephanie Ball


Executive Dean

School of Justice, Emergency Services and Interdisciplinary Studies

Durham College

Dr. Rancourt has more than twenty years of experience in the Canadian Community College system and is currently the Senior Vice-President Academic at the Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning.

Prior to taking on this role at Humber, she was the President and CEO at Northern Lights College (NLC) in British Columbia. NLC is B.C’s Energy College, emphasizing programming that supports the Oil and Gas and evolving Clean Energy industries. At NLC, Laurie undertook a comprehensive strategic planning process. Under her leadership, the college saw increased enrolments in strategic areas and was designated by the Ministry of Advanced Education as the B.C. Center of Training Excellence in Oil & Gas.

Laurie also worked at College Boreal, as Vice-President, Corporate Services, and before that she was the Academic Vice-President. Prior to her executive roles, she began her career at Cambrian as a sessional professor. Then she worked at Boreal first as a faculty member and then in a variety of management positions such as Coordinator of Health Science Programs, Dean of Community Service Programs, Manager of Job Connect Offices, and lastly as Registrar.

Laurie is a College graduate holding a Diploma in Medical Radiation Technology from Cambrian College. A strong advocate and participant in lifelong learning, she has pursued several additional credentials since completing her college diploma. She now holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Toronto, a Masters of Arts Integrated Studies – Work, Organization and Leadership degree from Athabasca University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Science from Laurentian University.

Stephanie Ball is the Executive Dean, School of Justice, Emergency Services, and Interdisciplinary Studies at Durham College. She taught for several years in the School of Justice at Durham College before becoming Dean of the School in 2005. Since then, her managerial responsibilities have grown to include Emergency Services and Interdisciplinary Studies and she has had experience as Interim Dean of the School of Media Art & Design. 

Stephanie served for several years as a management representative on both Academic Union College Committee and Workload Monitoring Group at Durham. Additionally, she was the Vice-chair of the 2017 Management Bargaining Team and a member of the academic EERC.

Prior to coming to the College, she spent eight years as the Executive Director of the Durham Community Legal Clinic (DCLC) after eight years practicing law as a partner in a law firm in Oshawa, Ontario.

She is a past member of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, where she had governance responsibilities, as well as adjudication responsibilities, and a past member of the Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunal during which time she chaired over 400 hearings.
She has volunteered extensively in the Durham Region Community, assuming senior executive roles with volunteer boards.

Stephanie has a B.A. from the University of Toronto and an LL.B. from Queen’s University.

Leslie and Ian

Leslie Casson

Associate Dean

School of Justice Studies &Applied Arts

St. Lawrence College

Ian Wigglesworth

Associate Vice-President


George Brown College

Leslie has served as Associate Dean of the School of Justice Studies & Applied Arts at St. Lawrence College since 2016.

She leads an eclectic team of full-time and contract faculty teaching in justice, design, arts, access, and pathway programs. Their sensibilities are as diverse as their areas of expertise, and together with the faculty, Leslie has built a collegial community of practice.

As an Associate Dean, she hears first-hand the priorities faculty have for their students and for their own working conditions and goals. She also faces daily the administrative pressures of fluctuating enrolments, budget shortfalls, and the changing local and systemic factors that push and pull at colleges across the sector.

She has chaired and/or contributed to a variety of college and provincial committees, including sitting on the Academic Union College Committee since 2017.  Leslie started at St. Lawrence College in 2007 as a writing teacher and musician - roles that require astute listening, clear and strategic communication, and improvisational skills in equal measure. These skills informed her teaching practice as a Communications professor, and they continue to shape her work as an academic leader and administrator.

Ian joined George Brown College in 2010 as Chair of the School of English as a Second Language (ESL) and in 2018 was appointed Dean, Centre for Preparatory & Liberal Studies. He became Associate Vice-president academic in 2019.

Ian has participated as a member of various union/management committees in the College including the Workload Monitoring Group (WMG), the College Employment Stability Committee (CESC), and the Academic Union College Committee (AUCC).

He began his teaching career in Japan followed by teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at the University of Toronto and later moving to the administrative side to lead a large faculty team.

He spearheaded the creation of the post-secondary English for Academic Purposes Program and led 15 Colleges in the creation of an EAP articulation agreement – the first of its kind in Ontario – that created a new pathway for students to enter post-secondary study. Ian also worked with the Educational Resources Department to establish George Brown’s International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Centre. 

He has a B.A. from York University, a TESL certificate from the University of Toronto, a B.Ed. from Trent University and a M.Ed. (Information Technology) from a joint program at Memorial and Cape Breton universities. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto in the Higher Education Community College Leadership program.

Jeannine and Goranka

Jeannine Verdenik

Executive Director

Organizational Effectiveness

Confederation College

Goranka Vukelich

Executive Dean

Community Services

Conestoga College
Jeannine has 25 years of experience in human resources and labour relations. Having worked in the aviation industry prior to joining the education sector, for the last 19 years at Confederation College she has served on both Academic and Support Staff Union College Committees having led grievance settlement negotiations for both bargaining units.

A lifelong learner, Jeannine is a Confederation College graduate (Human Resources Management - 1996) and holds two advanced degrees, a Master of Education (Post-Secondary Leadership - 2010) from the University of Toronto and an LLM (Alternative Dispute Resolution - 2014) from York University.
Goranka joined Conestoga College as the Chair of Community Services in 2007. She is a Management member of the Academic EERC and she has co-chaired the Academic Union College Committee at Conestoga since the Fall of 2017.

Prior to joining Conestoga College, Goranka worked as professor for nine years in the Ontario college system at Mohawk College and Canadore College. She also worked as Director in the Nova Scotia Government. Additionally, she taught at Concordia University for five years.

Goranka is the author of several publications on education including the book: Walking The Talk: Early childhood educators’ beliefs, practices and professional identity (2014).

Goranka has a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from Ryerson University, a Masters in Human Growth and Development and a PhD from Concordia in Education.

Graham and Peter

Graham Lloyd


College Employer Council

Peter McKeracher

Vice President

Labour Relations

College Employer Council

On August 1, 2019, Graham was appointed as CEO of the College Employer Council (CEC). 
Previously, he was employed with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, Ontario’s milk marketing board, where he held several senior leadership roles including most recently its CEO. 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 25 years of experience, he brings a significant skillset in advocacy, strategic planning, governance, communications, 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 the negotiation of complex agreements and programs.

Prior to the dairy industry, Graham spent many years teaching courses on negotiations, advocacy, and civil procedure at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Graham has a B.A. from McGill University and an LLB from the University of Ottawa.

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 since 2011. Prior to joining the CEC, Peter was the Director of Staff Relations at Algonquin College, managing labour relations with both 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. 

Peter has a B.A. from the University of Toronto and MBA from the Rotman School of Management, an LLB from York University Osgoode Hall Law School and an LLM from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Trish and Abby

Trish Appleyard


Labour Relations

College Employer Council

Abby Radovski



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 resource, 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 spent 6 weeks 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 newly appointed 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 10 years of diverse communications experience having worked with clients in different sectors such as education, finance, consumer goods, and health. Prior to 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.

Abby is a certified TESOL/TEFL teacher and taught English in Spain for three years before entering the communications industry.

Abby has a B.A in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Windsor a post-graduate in Corporate Communications from Seneca College and her TESOL/TEFL from Oxford Seminars.

Christiane and Tim

Christiane Émond

Human Resources


College Employer Council

Tim Liznick

Legal Counsel

Hicks Morley


Christiane has been a consultant for the College Employer Council for more than 25 years. Her considerable experience in collective bargaining includes having taken part in the past eight rounds of academic negotiations. Prior to joining the Council, Christiane worked on the French-language College Initiative at the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities and as a Chair of the French Centre at George Brown College.

Tim Liznick is a labour and employment lawyer in Hicks Morley’s Toronto office. Tim provides advice and representation before the courts and a wide range of administrative tribunals and boards to public and private sector employers on matters concerning all facets of employment.
Tim appears as counsel for employers before boards of arbitration, the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, and other adjudicators in a wide range of labour arbitrations, employment law and education law matters. Tim regularly acts as a negotiator for clients in collective bargaining. Tim has also worked extensively on matters involving the use and abuse of electronic data systems including computer and internet-related misconduct. Tim chairs the firm’s Colleges Sector Practice Group.

Tim is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, Queen's University, and York University.

If you would like to submit a College or employee spotlight for inclusion in upcoming issues of this newsletter please send an e-mail to