I received Statistics Canada’s Daily bulletin this morning, which included data on “salaries and salary scales of full-time teaching staff at Canadian universities, 2010/2011.” The release refers to “final” data, as opposed to “preliminary” data, which was released back in August 2011. However, in this instance, the data really is final as Statistics Canada also announced in this morning’s bulletin that it has discontinued the University and College Academic Staff System, or UCASS, from which the salary data is derived.
This is very disturbing news because UCASS kept track of much more than just faculty salaries. The annual survey collected more than 20 data points that gave governments, higher education institutions and policy analysts an intimate portrait of full-time faculty members in Canada. Among the data collected included gender, age, department, principal subject taught, salary and administrative stipends, sabbatical leave, unpaid leave, province or country of degrees earned, citizenship, and on and on (see the UCASS manual for survey respondents here). Much of the faculty chapter in Trends in Higher Education, published by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, is derived from UCASS data.
There is simply no other single, reliable source in Canada for this information. Individual institutions collect some of it, as do some provincial departments, but it would be no small feat to put it all together in anything resembling the UCASS survey. And I’m not even sure it would be possible, due to potential privacy issues, multiple jurisdictions, etc.
How will we know what’s happening with Canadian faculty from now on? Your guess is as good as mine – and a guess it will certainly be.
Update: I forgot to mention that Statistics Canada’s Education Matters publication, which offers “insights on education, learning and training in Canada,” has also been discontinued. The latest issue was released on May 1, and I suspect that was the last.