What does the phrase ‘academic tenure’ mean?

According to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) tenure means:

“Tenure constitutes the primary procedural safeguard of academic freedom, and is essential for the maintenance of intellectual liberty and high standards in postsecondary education and in scholarship. It is the means by which academic staff are protected against personal malice or political coercion. Tenure, following rigorous evaluation by peers, ensures secure continued academic employment. Once academic staff receive tenure, they retain that status should they move from one position to another, or from one rank to another, within the institution.” – See more at: http://www.caut.ca/about-us/caut-policy/lists/caut-policy-statements/policy-statement-on-tenure#sthash.1TjD5i9u.dpuf

UofT librarians have the equivalent of tenure what is called “permanent status” and have had this since 1978 when the Policies for Librarians were written. Since the mid-1970s numerous Canadian universities have used the term ‘tenure’ for librarians as well as faculty. The following universities in Canada use the term tenure for the permanent appointment of librarians:

Algoma University
Brock University
Calgary University
Laurentian University
Lethbridge University
McGill University
Memorial University
Mount Alison University
Mount Royal University
Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design
St. Thomas More College
Thompson Rivers University
University of Manitoba
University of New Brunswick
University of Saskatchewan

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