Classes are cancelled at Algonquin College and La Cité Collégiale today as faculty members begin strike action.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union announced 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians began strike action at 12:01 a.m. Monday after a deal was not reached.

"Unfortunately, Council refused to agree on even the no-cost items, such as longer contracts for contract faculty and academic freedom," said OPSEU spokesperson JP Hornick in a written statement. "This leaves us with no choice but to withdraw our services until such time as our employer is ready to negotiate seriously."

The College Employer Council, representing college management, has called the strike "completely unnecessary," saying the union's demands would add more than $250 million to annual costs.

In a message to students, Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen said "we had remained hopeful that this situation could be resolved, but unfortunately this was not the case."  Algonquin College says the campus will remain open, but all classes are cancelled except continuing education classes after 6 p.m.  Students scheduled to be on a clinical placement will also have the placement cancelled.

Algonquin College says the strike action will not affect the student residence, and computer labs, study spaces and meeting rooms will remain open. More information is available for students on the Algonquin College website