Passing of outstanding Canadian education unionist

published 19 March 2018 updated 20 March 2018

Education International is sad to learn of the passing of Donald C. Savage, an inspiring educator and committed union leader. He was 85.

Don was Associate Executive Secretary of the Canadian Association of University Teachers(CAUT) from 1970-1973 and served as Executive Secretary from 1973-1997.

Savage was key in the drafting of the 1997 UNESCO Statement on Academic Freedom. That Recommendation, developed with active input from Education International, dealt both with traditional labour rights and with academic freedom. It was the first international statement sanctioned within the United Nations on the rights and responsibilities of university and college teaching personnel.

Don recognised that collective bargaining was one of the ways not only to make compensation gains but also to protect important professional rights, including academic freedom. In recognition of Don’s contributions, CAUT established the Donald C. Savage Award in 1997 to honour outstanding achievements in the promotion of collective bargaining in Canadian universities and colleges.

Don received his BA and the Lieutenant-Governor's Silver Medal for History from McGill University (1954) and a PhD from the University of London (1958). He taught at Waterloo College (now Wilfrid Laurier University), Bedford College of the University of London, and Loyola College (now Concordia University, 1961-70). While at Loyola, Don served as Director of the Centre for African Studies (1967-70) and president of the Loyola Faculty Association (1970).