Faculty Labour Negotiations FAQs

Updated: October 20, 2017, 2:45 p.m.

Faculty at Ontario’s 24 colleges, including George Brown, started to strike on Monday, October 16. George Brown recognizes that students, staff and the College community have questions and concerns about the strike.

Please check this FAQ page for more information about how the strike could impact you, along with our labour negotiations page.​

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ABOUT THE FACULTY STRIKE:

1. Why is there a strike?

 

The College Employer Council, representing all 24 colleges in the province, including George Brown, and the Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU), the union representing faculty at all Ontario colleges have been negotiating the terms and conditions of their contract, collective agreement, before it expired Sept. 30. The two bargaining teams were not able to reach an agreement by the deadline, and the union called a strike to begin Monday, October 16, 2017.

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2. How long is the strike expected to last?

 

We still hope a strike can be averted. But if it does proceed, no one can predict how long a work stoppage will last.

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3. What are the issues in contract negotiations between Ontario colleges and faculty?

 

Information about the negotiations can be found on the website of the College Employer Council (the Council) at www.thecouncil.on.ca. The Council negotiates collective agreements on behalf of Ontario Colleges, including George Brown.

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4. Who exactly is on strike?

 

All full-time and partial load faculty, represented by OPSEU at all 24 provincially-funded Ontario colleges, are on strike.

At George Brown College, we have 557 full-time and 455 partial-load faculty members who are part of the union that is striking.

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5. Are support staff and administrators on strike?

 

No. Support staff and administrative staff are not involved in this collective bargaining and will continue to work through the faculty strike.

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6. How will I be updated on what's going on?

 

Regular updates on the collective bargaining process will be posted on the George Brown website at www.georgebrown.ca/labournegotiations. Program offices will have information specific to each program area available. Find contact information here.

It is also expected that the news media will provide updates.

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7. How much notice will I receive before classes resume? (UPDATED)

 

In the event of a settlement, students will be provided with two business days’ notice before classes resume (i.e. if a settlement is reached on a Friday, classes will resume the following Tuesday.)

Please visit our website regularly for the most up-to-date information - https://www.georgebrown.ca/labournegotiations/.

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WHAT'S OPEN AND CLOSED DURING THE STRIKE

1. Will George Brown College's campuses remain open during the strike?

 

Yes. All campus locations will remain open to provide students access to services. Services such as student service centres, peer tutoring, child care, libraries, athletic and recreation, deaf and hard of hearing services and facilities like labs and study areas will continue to be available to students. Details as they become available will be posted at www.georgebrown.ca/labournegotiations.

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2. Will Student Association services be open during the strike?

 

Student Association programs and services will operate as usual for the benefit of George Brown students. Food vendors may choose to close at their discretion.

During the strike the following SA offices will be open:

Casa Loma Campus
142 Kendal Ave. – Room e100
416-415-5000 Ext. 4730

St. James Campus
200 King St. E. – Room 147
416-415-5000 Ext. 2455

Waterfront Campus
51 Dockside Dr. – Room 033
416-415-5000 Ext. 5360

Office Hours:
Casa Loma, St. James and Waterfront
Monday to Thursday – 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday – 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information regarding the Student Association, please visit http://studentassociation.ca or facebook.com/runyourfuture

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3. Will George Brown's Assessment Centre be open during the strike?

 

Mature applicant admissions and placement testing will continue uninterrupted. But accommodated testing and Blackboard testing are considered to be part of course delivery and therefore we are unable to deliver such testing in the event of a strike. The Assessment Centre will maintain its usual hours of operation. Visit the Assessment Centre webpage at www.georgebrown.ca/assessment for information and updates on hours and service.

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4. Will the Library Learning Commons be open for research, study and open access computing?

 

Yes. The Campus Library Learning Commons will continue to offer service in the following areas: the on-site use and borrowing of books, the on-site use of periodicals and media, reference and research support, the uses of individual and group study facilities, and access to open access computing, scanning, printing, photocopying and computer help. Web access to electronic resources will be maintained.

The Library Learning Commons at all campuses will continue their normal hours of operation. Students at the Ryerson Campus will be able to use of the Academic Resource Centre. Visit the Library Learning Commons website for further information and updates on hours and services.

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5. Is the International Centre open?

 

Yes. The International Centre will be open as usual and staff will be available to International students to answer any questions.

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6. Will Peerconnect be open for students?

 

We will continue to provide one-on-one support, wayfinding and content from our workshops at Peerconnect, but hours and staffing will be reduced during a strike. Hours of operation at all campuses, including Ryerson, will be Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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7. Will counselling and accessible learning services be available for students? (UPDATED)

 

Counselling and accessible learning services will be available during a strike, but with reduced hours and staffing. Counselling will be provided for walk-ins only, and will not be booking appointments. Hours of operation for both services will be:

Casa Loma Campus – Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
St. James and Waterfront Campuses – Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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8. Will the Student Association Events continue during a strike?

 

Yes, Student Association Events will still continue.

For information regarding Student Association sponsored events, please visit http://studentassociation.ca/ or facebook.com/runyourfuture or contact the Student Association directly.

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9. Will the WAVE clinics be open?

 

In the event of a strike, all client appointments will be canceled. Clients with an existing booking will be contacted to inform of the cancellation. The WAVE Clinic Reception will remain open between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily Monday to Friday.

As soon as the strike is resolved, regular clinic operations will resume and appointments will be rescheduled. Please contact WAVE Clinic Reception at 416-415-4547 with any questions.

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10. Will the Tutoring and Learning Centre (TLC) be open for students? (UPDATED)

 

The TLC will remain open during the strike, with reduced hours and reduced tutor availability.  Online tutoring will continue.

Hours of operation for the week of October 23 – 27 include:

TLC St. James, 200 King St. E. Room 430A
Monday - closed
Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TLC St. James, 200 King St. E. Room B155 (in the Career Centre)
Monday - closed
Drop-in Conversation Circles: Tuesday to Friday, 3 – 5 p.m.

TLC Accounting, 290 Adelaide, Room 119
Monday, Tuesday and Friday - closed
Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

TLC Waterfront, Room 538 (Library Lower Level)
Monday - closed
Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TLC Casa Loma, Room C344 (in the Library)
Monday - closed
Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TLC Ryerson
Closed all week

For updates related to the TLC services, please visit http://www.georgebrown.ca/tlc. For tutoring session availability, please go to our booking page at www.georgebrown.mywconline.com.

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ABOUT THE PICKET LINE AND ACCESSING CAMPUS BUILDINGS

1. What are faculty on strike doing outside of the college?

 

The faculty members on strike are picketing. Picketing is a form of protest commonly used by unions in which people congregate, in what is called a picket line, outside a place of work. Often, this is done to dissuade others from going in ("crossing the picket line"), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause. Pickets normally endeavour to be non-violent.

During the strike, you will likely see faculty members form a "picket line" outside college buildings holding signs and giving out information to people entering or leaving the building.

As you approach George Brown, you may be asked by picketers to stay away from the college or not "cross the picket line", in support of their strike. Students are entitled to enter the college to access the services they need. Picket captains for both the college and the union will be available to help ensure you can enter the building without incident. All staff, who are not on strike, have an obligation to continue working and a right to enter the building.

Keep the following tips in mind as you enter the college:

  • Allow yourself additional time to get to school;
  • Be polite;
  • Remain calm;
  • Always act in a safe and responsible manner;
  • Use your best judgment to safely cross the picket line onto George Brown's campuses.

If you are uncomfortable crossing the picket line:

  • Use an alternative entrance or exit at the college;
  • Ask one of the college's picket captains to help you;
  • Wait a few minutes until the picket line moves on, and then enter or exit;
  • Arrange to come and go with a friend or colleague.

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2. What should I do if there is a picket line?

 

The college respects faculty union membership's right to exercise the option to strike and picket. We also firmly believe that our faculty will respect your right as a student at our college to enter our buildings.

Pickets endeavour to be non-violent. During a strike, we expect the picket lines to be reasonable and respectful. Picketers may want to provide you with information regarding the strike. Keep the following tips in mind if attending school during a strike.

  • Allow yourself additional time to get to school;
  • Be polite;
  • Remain calm;
  • Always act in a safe and responsible manner;
  • Use your best judgment to safely cross the picket line onto George Brown's campuses.

If you are uncomfortable crossing the picket line:

  • Use an alternative entrance or exit at the college;
  • Ask one of the college's picket captains to help you;
  • Wait a few minutes until the picket line moves on, and then enter or exit;
  • Arrange to come and go with a friend.

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3. What happens if staff members not associated to the union choose not to cross the picket lines?

 

All employees who are not members of the faculty union will be expected to be at work as scheduled.

If part-time/sessional faculty and/or support or administrative staff (those who are not on strike) chose not to attend work, they will not be paid.

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4. Is picketing legal?

 

Picketing is legal, as long as it is carried out peacefully and lawfully. It is also legal for a member of a picket line ("a picketer") to communicate to those who enter the premises.

George Brown respects our faculty union membership's right to exercise the option to strike and picket.

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5. Are there illegal picketing activities?

 

Yes. It is an offense for picketers to:

  • Use force, threats, or threatening gestures;
  • Block access to premises;
  • Conduct themselves in such a way as to constitute a nuisance at law or an unlawful assembly;
  • Trespass on College property;
  • Interfere with students who want to enter our buildings;
  • Interfere with employees who wish to work by the use of force or threats;
  • Use any signs or placards that contain libelous materials.

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6. What is a picket captain?

 

It is a picket captain's job to ensure the picket lines are operating legally and safely. There will be both union and college picket captains on-site in the event of a strike. The college picket captains are available to help students in need of assistance.

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7. How will I recognize a college picket captain?

 

The college picket captains will be clearly identified and are available to help you if you require assistance.

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8. Will parents of George Brown daycares need to cross the picket lines with their children?

 

Parents and children may need to cross the picket line to gain access to the building at Casa Loma Campus. In the past, there have been cordial discussions with the union whereby they recognize and respect that children and their families need to be safe. Families may experience disruption and delays at the parking lot. We encourage parents to look for alternative parking during the strike.

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WHAT THE STRIKE MEANS FOR CLASSES & ACADEMICS

1. Are teachers cancelling any classes during the strike?

 

Yes. All classes will be cancelled for the duration of the strike, except Continuing Education classes, which will continue.

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2. Will part-time, non-unionized faculty members be teaching any classes so they can continue during the strike?

 

As all classes (except Continuing Education) will be cancelled for the duration of the strike, the non-unionized, part-time faculty members in the full-time programs will not be teaching any classes. They will be assigned to activities such as:

  • supervising tutorials/labs
  • coaching students one-on-one where applicable
  • producing curricula/lesson plans

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3. Will continuing education classes be cancelled during the strike?

 

No. Continuing education classes will run as scheduled. Continuing education teachers are not on strike.

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4. Will online courses be cancelled during the strike?

 

If online courses are part of a full-time program, they will be cancelled during the strike.

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5. Will classes at Ryerson and/or Sunnybrook be cancelled? (UPDATED)

 

All George Brown College Early Childhood Education (ECE) classes are cancelled for the during of a strike. ECE continuing education classes and Continuing Education workshops will run as scheduled.

If you are a collaborative BScN student (S118) please follow the instructions that were sent to you via email on Sunday, October 15th. For additional updates, please visit http://www.ryerson.ca/nursing/strike-information for detailed information about classes and placements.

All Continuing Education classes at Ryerson will continue as scheduled. The Academic Resource Centre at Ryerson will be open.

Classes at Sunnybrook will be cancelled for the duration of the strike. All labs at Sunnybrook will be closed.

Students are welcome at any of the Library Learning Commons to keep up with their project work and readings.

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6. Will Students lose their academic year because of the strike?

 

The College will work closely with faculty upon their return to minimize this risk. George Brown will do everything it can to ensure that students will not lose their year. In two previous labour disruptions with faculty, no students lost their school year due to a strike.

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7. What can I do about assignments during the strike?

 

Students can use college facilities to continue learning and complete assignments outside of formal day classes during the strike. This will assist students when classes resume.

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8. My professor has assigned my class projects to complete during the strike, am I required to do this work?

 

It is recommended that you keep up to date with your reading, assignments and projects for the duration of the strike.

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9. I have an academic appeal underway. What should I do now that there is a strike?

 

During the strike, academic appeals, as well as other dates and deadlines related to your studies, will be postponed until the strike is over, or adjusted depending on the length of the strike. Please note that this does not include fee refunds, as the deadlines have already passed.

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10. I'm a part-time student who intends to graduate after this term. What should I do?

 

If you think you qualify to graduate at the end of the Fall term, you need to complete an Application to Graduate form which is on the college's website. If you are a full-time or Apprentice student, and registered in the final semester of your program, you will be graduated automatically once you complete your program requirements.

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WHAT THE STRIKE MEANS FOR FIELD EDUCATION, APPRENTICESHIPS & APPLIED RESEARCH

1. Will my apprenticeship program continue during a strike?

 

During the strike, current apprenticeship classes will be suspended. The college will assess the impact of the strike on upcoming apprenticeship intakes and notify students.

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2. What will happen to my field education, externship, clinical or work placement during the strike?

 

Field Education will continue for students in the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, except at the Chefs' House and Café. If you are scheduled for field education at the Chefs House or Café your learning requirements will be addressed with other study and learning opportunities, to be made up at the end of the strike.

Work terms (co-op or internship) in the Centre for Business will continue. The Centre for Business will communicate to students and employers directly, or you may contact the field education office at (416) 415-5000 ext. 2143 or coopinfo@georgebrown.ca.

For other divisions, please confirm directly with your division field education office regarding field education, clinical and work placements.

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3. Will I still get to work on my applied research project during the strike?

 

Applied research activities that are not class-based will continue during the strike. Project team members are advised to contact their Project Manager for further instruction specific to their project.

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4. Will my trip abroad (international travel) proceed?

 

Please confirm directly with your academic program office.

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5. Will the part-time Educational Assistant (EA) Apprenticeship program continue?

 

Yes. Classes will continue as normally scheduled, as are all other continuing education programs and courses.

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ABOUT FEES, FINANCIAL AID AND ADMISSIONS:

1. Will fee refunds be available? (UPDATED)

 

We sympathize with students who are frustrated that a strike has been called by OPSEU. 

The notion of a refund, or rebate, presumes that students will not receive their academic year.  But no Ontario college student has ever lost their academic year because of a work stoppage.  We fully expect that students will be able to complete their academic year once the strike has ended.

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2. Will OSAP be affected since students are not in class?

 

Although we do not have this information yet, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development will provide relevant details regarding the impact on OSAP for affected students, which will be posted on the college website.

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3. What is happening to the application and admission process for the January, May and September 2018 semesters?

 

The Registrar's Office, Admissions Office and International Centre will be open and continue to process all applications for the January, May and September 2018 semesters. If supplementary admission requirements such as auditions or interviews are required for your program during this time, you will be contacted by phone or email, and provided with specific instructions. If you have any questions, please contact admissions@georgebrown.ca or call the Contact Centre 1-416.415.2000 to speak with an agent and have your inquiry directed to the appropriate Admissions Officer.

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4. What is happening to the application and registration process for Apprentice intakes in winter and spring 2018?

 

The Registration Office will be open and will continue to process all registrations for these intakes. Questions can be directed to ApprenticeReg@georgebrown.ca.

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5. Will the Winter semester start on the date published in the calendar on George Brown's website?

 

At this point, we do not anticipate a delay in beginning the Winter 2018 semester. It is recommended that students register, as planned. If changes do occur, the students will be notified by the college so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

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6. Should I still pay for next semester by the deadline or wait to see what happens?

 

Yes. No dates have been altered as of yet. Depending on the length of the strike, the college will post any changes at www.georgebrown.ca/labournegotiations.

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ADDITIONAL FAQS FOR STUDENTS

1. Where can students go for more information?

 

We encourage students to check this website regularly for updates.

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2. Will Blackboard and college emails be available to students during a strike?

 

Yes. Blackboard and email services will continue to be available for students. However, you should not expect a response from any full-time or partial load faculty members who are on strike.

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3. If I am a student and I am approached by a journalist, what do I do?

 

George Brown students are not considered official spokespeople of the college or the union, and are under no obligation to act as such. If you choose to speak to a journalist about the strike, consider everything you say as "on the record" and avoid saying anything you do not want quoted. If you do not want to participate, politely decline.

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4. I am an international student, can I continue to work during a strike?

 

In general, yes. Field education in Canada for international students which require an IRCC work permit (e.g., co-op; work experience; externship; clinical) may continue as long as the student remains registered with a full-time status, and possesses a valid study and work permit. Please confirm directly with your academic office about your specific program.

For regular on-campus or off-campus work that is not an integral component of an academic program, international students may continue to work part time as long as they are registered with a full-time status, and possess a valid study permit.

We advise all students to double check all documents (passport, study permit, work permit, temporary resident visa) for expiry dates and possible need to extend.

Questions regarding working in Canada can be referred to international@georgebrown.ca.

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5. What arrangements does George Brown have in place to support international students? Will the college assist students with study permit extensions, etc.?

 

The International Centre will remain open and continue to provide services such as admissions, immigration advising and support for accommodation and health insurance information. International students can continue to use college facilities for learning and to complete assignments during the strike. The Ontario government establishes rules for fee refunds for international students, and any new information will be posted at www.georgebrown.ca/labournegotiations.

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6. I live at The George, and I would like to withdraw and move out because of the strike. How do I do so?

 

Students can withdraw by requesting a Cancelation/Withdrawal Form from the Residence Life Coordinator. The full cancelation policy for residence is found online at www.georgebrown.ca/residence/rates-and-payment-options/.

Students cancelling before November 20 are charged for each day they occupy a residence room, plus a cancelation fee equivalent to 60 days of Residence Fees. Students cancelling after November 20 are charged for each day they occupy a residence room, plus a cancelation fee equivalent to 90 days of Residence Fees.

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7. Are work study students expected to work in the event of a strike?

 

Yes, work study students should continue working during a strike, as long as they remain enrolled as a full-time student.

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ADDITIONAL FAQS FOR SUPPORT & ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

1. Will staff be able to work remotely (ie: from home) during the strike, if they do not want to cross picket lines?

 

Staff are expected to be at the college, as is required for their role.

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2. I've heard a rumour that there is a vacation freeze for support and administrative staff. Is this true? If so, when can we resume vacation?

 

We have not suspended vacations, however, staff and managers will need to make smart decisions on the suitability of vacation during a strike as appropriate for individual roles.

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3. If I am a George Brown College staff person, who is not on strike, and I am approached by a journalist, what do I do?

 

Follow normal operating procedures. Politely note that you are not a spokesperson for the college, but help connect the journalist with one by providing them with the following information:

George Brown's contact for the media is Joyann Callender in the Communications Department. She can be reached at 416-415-5000 ext. 3159.

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ADDITIONAL FAQS FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS

1. Will campus tours still be running for prospective students who want to learn more and apply to the college?

 

Yes. Please go to the www.georgebrown.ca/tours to register.

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2. Will divisional information sessions still be running for prospective students who want to learn more and apply to the college?

 

The following programs will continue to run their information sessions, as scheduled.  All other programs will be cancelled.

Centre for Preparatory & Liberal Studies
Immigrant and Transitional Education – College Teacher Training Program
School of ESL
School of Work & College Preparation – Augmented Education programs (Assistant Cook Extended Training and Construction Craft Worker Foundations Extended Training); Pre-programs; and Academic Upgrading.

Centre for Arts, Design and Information Technology
School of Fashion Studies

Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts
All program information sessions will run

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