Dear colleagues, 

Yesterday, the government tabled its 2024 Budget. AASUA is unsurprised to see Danielle Smith continue to impose scarcity on the post-secondary education sector. At a time when the province is excelling financially, but so many Albertan families are struggling, Smith’s reckless disregard for higher education remains deeply concerning. 

Despite the government’s $367M surplus, the funding it will contribute to post-secondary institutions for 2024 hardly accounts for inflation and population growth. It has earmarked only an additional $54 million for 2024, in essence a cut. 

Further, the government announced its expectations for institutions to supply 58% of their own funding by 2026-27, up from 53% in 2022-23. This is an abdication of the government’s responsibility to contribute to excellent, accessible, and public higher education in Alberta. Instead, Smith is reaching into the pockets of present and future students to make up the difference. Members can view the budget in its entirety here

This budget acts as an early warning for the coming months. We know the government will be involved in our upcoming contract negotiations, as they have been in the past. 

What this also means is AASUA will have a concrete path to respond to this manufactured austerity and the threat it poses to the high-quality public education we deliver at the University of Alberta. The only way forward is to take action and show our resolve by standing up for our work, and for our students, who have time and time again been the causalities of these reckless cuts. 

We can’t allow our political leaders to cover their ears and tune out the voices of educators, researchers, and those in need of an affordable, world-class education. 

What’s comforting is we do not stand alone. We stand with the many, many Albertans who understand the value of public education in our province. 

For over a year, AASUA has been preparing to advocate for improved working conditions for academic staff at the U of A. We are highly prepared for the work that lies ahead in this round of bargaining.  Next week, we are scheduled to exchange opening proposals with the Employer. Please keep your eyes peeled for updates to your inbox. 

Notably, in our last round of negotiations University Administration said they were prepared to lock us out of our ualberta email accounts. 

To make sure we can always contact you no matter what happens in bargaining, please go to and supply us with an alternate, non-ualberta email address and phone number. 

This budget does not bring good news for our university community, but we have anticipated this outcome, just as we have also planned to bargain a better path forward. 


Gordon Swaters
AASUA President