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Ontario’s colleges and the union representing faculty are set to meet virtually Thursday ahead of a threatened strike by professors and other academic staff on Friday.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s college faculty bargaining team says if real progress is being made, they are willing to extend the strike deadline.

The union representing professors, instructors, librarians and counsellors had told colleges they will go on strike Friday if the institutions don’t agree to binding interest arbitration.

As university strikes ripple across Canada, inflation and pandemic work conditions are shaping negotiations

The College Employer Council says it will agree to final offer arbitration, which allows an arbitrator to simply choose between one final offer or the other.

One of the key issues is workload, and the colleges say while the union’s specific demands cannot be met because they would violate existing legislation, they are committed to a workload review and making changes based on recommendations.

The union recommended its members reject the colleges’ final offer in January, listing key issues as workload, the contracting out of faculty work, and benefits for part-time faculty.

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