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CUPE Ontario university workers launch WTF campaign to highlight impacts of underfunding, lack of transparency at campuses across province

OTTAWA, Ont. – University workers at Carleton University joined their counterparts at campuses across Ontario to ask: Where’s the Funding? (WTF).

The WTF campaign, initiated by CUPE Ontario’s University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC), aims to highlight both how chronic government underfunding of Ontario’s universities negatively affects quality of learning and campus life, as well as the absence of meaningful transparency requirements for university administrations in Ontario.

“We developed WTF as a light-hearted way to tackle two very serious issues at Ontario universities,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, chair of the OUWCC.

“First, successive governments from all three political parties have severely underfunded post-secondary education in Ontario and, secondly, universities in Ontario aren’t subject to the same sorts of regulations as other provincial agencies in terms of reporting how the funds they receive from governments, students and other sources, is spent,” she added.

The WTF campaign includes a website (, social media presence and a healthy dose of campus interactivity. Students, staff and other members of a university’s campus community will be encouraged to find examples of underfunded campus operations and create photographic records to upload to the campaign’s web page.

“We’re very excited about rolling out this campaign at Carleton University,” said David Simao, vice-president of Local 4600 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“WTF is a great opportunity to really connect the entire campus community to one another and identify the many challenges we face – from outdated lab equipment, to overcrowded classes, to inadequate cleaning, to name just a few,” he added.

OUWCC is the voice of CUPE Ontario’s university workers, speaking on behalf of more than 20,000 members working in a wide range of disciplines at universities across Ontario.


For more information, please contact:

Janice Folk-Dawson, Chair, OUWCC, 519-766-8376

David Simao, Vice-President, CUPE Local 4600, 613-668-9010

Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641