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The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) is asking for judicial review regarding raises given to two senior university administrators.

The APUO, which represents 1,250 full-time faculty and librarians, is alleging that raises given to vice-president of research Dr. Mona Nemer and to the dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Jacques Bradwejn violates Ontario’s Broader Public Sector Accountability Act.

“The implication is that we are all affected by the budget, and that we all have a part to play in remedying whatever shortfalls might arise,” wrote APUO president Jennifer Dekker in an open letter to the Board of Governors (BOG). “By that logic, all decisions taken by the central administration regarding vast increases in compensation affect us all.”

The APUO says it’s taking legal action after the university and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Reza Moridi, ignored their complaints. “We had tried three different times to get the information from the board of governors,” said Dekker. “And they failed to respond to us at all.”

According to the Ontario’s sunshine salary disclosure, Nemer’s salary went up by $132,304 between 2012 and 2014, to $392,058. The university says $120,000 of the increase comes from four years’ worth of $30,000 annual stipend for Nemer’s work as a cardiovascular scientist, and was paid as a lump sum.

The APUO, and three other unions representing U of O employees, raised issues with Nemer’s pay increases earlier this summer, when they published an open letter asking for an explanation from the BOG.   

Meanwhile Bradwejn’s salary went up $36,000 between 2012 and 2014, to $422,572, more than what U of O president, Allan Rock earned in 2014.

Dekker said the APUO is often faced with threats of cuts from the university, but also highlighted tuition increases and the plight of part-time professors. “What I find is more important to talk about is the cost of tuition always going up for students and the exploitation of the part-time professors and their wages being so low,” she said.

These salary increases come as the university projects a third consecutive financial deficit, and announced its tenth consecutive tuition hike in May.

The university has confirmed that it has been served, but did not wish to make any further comment at this point.