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What’s the difference between an NR1 and an NR2 appointment?

By Romy Kozak, KFA Member-at-Large

Learning the local lingo is always a key part of getting to know a new place, and KPU certainly has its fair share of acronyms and jargon specific to (what one now-retired Fine Arts instructor fondly called) “Planet K.” Two potentially opaque terms used frequently by KFA members are “NR1” and “NR2”, which refer, respectively, to Non-Regular Type 1 Faculty Appointments and Non-Regular Type 2 Faculty Appointments (and/or, in both cases, the faculty members that hold these positions). But what exactly are NR1 and NR2 appointments, and how do they differ?

Keeping track of all the differences can be quite demanding, so here’s a handy summary of the main ones:

NR1 NR2
Permitted only “for specialized requirements, experimental offerings, timetabling anomalies, substitution, vacation replacement, short-term emergencies, work that is not expected to be ongoing” or workload that does not meet the NR2 threshold (50% annualized) (CA 1.05 d. i.) Issued when there is a reasonable expectation of at least 50% workload (e.g. four 3-credit courses, or equivalent number of weeks) in forthcoming year (assessed as of August 1)
A search process per Article 4.04 occurs to add faculty to the Qualified Faculty List; the Dean then appoints faculty to specific courses from this list A search process per Article 4.02 typically occurs for each appointment (searches for multiple positions may be combined)
Contract issued for one term (or less), specifying course(s) to be taught Letter of appointment for one year, specifying percentage of appointment (any increment between 50% and 100%)
Paid according to Article 10, at a per-course rate Paid according to the Article 9 salary scale, factoring in individual faculty member’s previous relevant work experience and degrees
Paid out in semester(s) teaching is done Paid out over the year-long term of the contract, including vacation/PD semester
Additional NR1 contracts may be issued. If these result in ≥50% annualized   workload (e.g. 4 courses or more within a year starting September 1), faculty   receive a 32% ‘top-up’ (in lieu of benefits) on all courses taught that year (per   Article 1.05 d) iii). Work added later to initial appointment percentage paid on salary scale +25% for the period in which the additional work is performed (usually one term) per Article 1.05 d) iii). (The +25% is in lieu of additional benefits, which remain pro-rated to the percentage of the original contract.)
No benefits; some sick leave compensation may be available per Article 15.07 Includes benefits (extended health, dental, short-term illness, long-term disability, accidental death and dismemberment, group life insurance), pro-rated if applicable
No vacation or PD time entitlements Includes vacation and PD time entitlements, pro-rated if applicable
Limited access to PD funds: no personal PD (Article 16.04); pro-rated or otherwise limited access to divisional PD funds (Article 16.01) in most areas (see https://yourkfa.ca/resources/) especially as any funds awarded must be used during term of contract); contract length also inhibits access to 0.6% awards (Article 16.05). Better access to PD funds, including personal PD (per Article 16.04), divisional PD funds (per Article 16.01) and 0.6% PD funds (per Article 16.05). Some divisions pro-rate the amount of Article 16.01 funds according to appointment percentage; 0.6% awards are rare as recipients “are expected to continue their employment at KPU” (16.05 3.c))
No service work expected (would be unpaid labour) Service expected (e.g. department, Faculty, University committees)
NR1 work amounting to a workload of 50% or more in two consecutive years fulfills the requirements for eligibility for regularization per Article 1.05 (e). (Regularization also requires a reasonable expectation of at least a 50% annualized workload in the subsequent year.

Two consecutive NR2 contracts fulfill workload requirements for eligibility for regularization per Article 1.05 (e). (Regularization also requires a reasonable expectation of at least a 50% annualized workload in the subsequent year.)

 

For most faculty, moving from an NR1 to an NR2 position marks a very positive step in their career trajectory. In most respects, NR2 appointments are far preferable to NR1 appointments: they guarantee at least 50% annualized workload, are paid on the salary scale (factoring in past work experience and degrees, etc. per Article 9.02), and include vacation, PD time and benefits such as extended health and dental. For a small number of faculty moving from substantial amounts of NR1 to an NR2 appointment, however, there may be some drawbacks and/or implications in terms of cash flow to consider before accepting the NR2 position. This is especially relevant to part-time (e.g. 50%) NR2 positions and to faculty placed at Step 3 or lower on the Article 9 salary scale. If you’re in this situation, be sure to contact a KFA representative for further information; we can be reached at https://yourkfa.ca/contact/, or via the email addresses listed at https://yourkfa.ca/about/executive-representatives/.

PD/Vacation Facts for Faculty Members Teaching in Three Semesters

by Diane Walsh, KFA Vice President, Grievances

Scheduling vacation and PD time can be a challenge for those who teach in all three semesters, and even knowing what the parameters are for doing this can be a challenge. The provisions in our Collective Agreement around vacation and PD time are found in Article 12, and there is some language for faculty members who teach in all three semesters.

Article 12.12 (e) addresses a faculty member who “voluntarily elects to teach in three semesters” and for these members, “vacation time will be scheduled intermittently throughout the academic year, taking operational requirements into account.” Article 12.12 (a) says that vacation days “are intended to be 24-hour days free from scheduled contact hours; however, faculty may choose to take partial vacation days.”

12.01 (a) states that faculty are accountable for 10 months of the year, but this doesn’t mean that the two months of non-accountable time must be continuous. 12.01 (d) states faculty are assured of 21 days PD time, and 12.01 (e) specifies how faculty members should propose PD activities. Nothing in these articles would preclude a member working in three semesters from being able to schedule PD days throughout the year.

Carryovers might be problematic, in that there might be a challenge finding enough days, but that’s a problem for faculty teaching in two semesters, too.

While it can be challenging to schedule, our Collective Agreement language is clear that all faculty members, including those who teach in three semesters, should get their full allotment of vacation and PD time. If there is an issue, then then there is provision for the member to carry over their PD and vacation days. Members should note that PD carryovers are *not* normally paid out but are waived if they can’t be taken the following year, whereas vacation is normally paid out if it can’t be taken the following year.

(For a somewhat more comprehensive look at PD / vacation provisions in our Agreement, please see https://yourkfa.ca/newsletter/getting-to-know-your-collective-agreement-vacation-and-accountable-time/  )

What Can We Grieve?

By Diane Walsh, Vice-President, Grievances

The KFA is charged with the responsibility, as representatives of the membership, to defend our working conditions. Filing and pursuing grievances is an important part of that mandate. When there is a difference between treatment of faculty and what we believe is correct according to our employment rights, then we follow the grievance processes under our Collective Agreement.

We can grieve the provisions of our Collective Agreement (of course) and we can also grieve all of our other employment rights, job rights and other rights under the law that are related to employment.

This includes our Employer’s written policy.

This also includes any unwritten workplace practices that have come to be relied upon by faculty members.

This also includes provisions of provincial and federal law that pertain to employment rights, such as the Labour Code, Human Rights legislation and the Charter, and the Employment Standards Act. (Where our rights under the Agreement are superior to the Employment Standards Act, our Agreement supersedes it.)

In summary, we can grieve:

  • A direct violation of the Collective Agreement
  • A wrong interpretation of the Collective Agreement
  • A violation of University Policy
  • A violation of past practices
  • A violation of law including federal or provincial laws that concern our employment rights

One or more of these must be violated in order for the KFA to be able to file a grievance.

Finally, if there is doubt whether an issue is grievable or not, we consult our professional advisor, our Staff Representative at the FPSE.

Election Season at KPU

By Panteli Tritchew, Member-At-Large

ELECTION SEASON AT KPU

Spring is in the air, and it’s election season at Kwantlen Polytechnic University! While our elections may lack the drama of Sanders versus Clinton or Trump versus Cruz, nonetheless, faculty need to be aware of election requirements arising out of our Collective Agreement.

Specifically, there are four faculty positions referenced in the Collective Agreement which require elections:

  1. Departmental Search Committee representatives—annual elections
  2. Departmental Chair position—every 3 years or when vacancy arises
  3. Departmental Professional Development representatives—every two years
  4. Faculty Education Leave representatives—every two years

While the transition dates and cycles between incumbents and newcomers vary from department to department and Faculty to Faculty, elections for these positions most typically occur at the end of the “traditional” academic year, in the April, May, and June timeframe(s), but with Kwantlen’s trimester schedule, these election timeframes may well vary.

DEPARTMENTAL SEARCH COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES

As per Article 4.02 of the Collective Agreement, Departmental Search Committees perform critical work at KPU.  They provide specific expertise on subject and instructional matters, review and assist with the preparation of the job posting(s), review all written applications, compile the interview list, conduct interviews and prepare a short-list with rationale and recommendations for hiring.

Article 4.02 (a) Formation of a Search Committee states that “The Search Committee shall consist of up to 4 members: one designated by the University President or his/her designate and 2 or 3 elected annually by the discipline/program.” (Occasionally, there are special circumstances such that the KFA will grant variances to the composition of the Search Committee.)

As per Article 4.02 (c), all regular and non-regular type 2 faculty members who are part of the discipline(s) are eligible for membership on the Search Committee.

As April, May and June are typically the periods with the heaviest Search Committee activity, departments are encouraged to have clear guidelines regarding the beginning and end of terms for faculty who serve on Search Committee and to conduct elections accordingly.

DEPARTMENTAL CHAIRS

The roles and responsibilities of Departmental Chairs and Coordinators are too numerous to mention here and fall outside the scope of this article, but needless to say, they perform critical work in maintaining the ongoing operations of faculty departments at KPU.

As per Article 4.05(b) of the Collective Agreement, there are several key points for faculty to be aware of as we come to the end of the academic year:

4.05 (b) Whenever a vacancy arises for a chair it shall be filled by the following process:

(i) all faculty members of the discipline(s) or program(s) or closest related discipline(s) or program(s) shall be eligible to vote for chair;

(ii) all regular faculty members of the discipline(s) or program(s) or closest related discipline(s) or program(s) shall be eligible to be elected as chairs;

(iii) the chair shall be elected for a three-year term;

4.05 (f) A chair or coordinator may serve for a maximum of two consecutive three year terms

With Kwantlen running on what is essentially a trimester basis and the need for an orderly transition from one chair to another chair, it’s important for departments to have clearly defined beginning and end terms for department chairs and to conduct elections accordingly.

The Kwantlen Faculty Association routinely provides one of our Table Officers or elected representatives to act as Chief Election/Returning Officers for departmental chair elections if departments wish. We are pleased to assist with these important elections, so feel free to contact Kyla Rand to arrange for assistance with your departmental chair elections.

DEPARTMENTAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVES

Article 16 of the Collective Agreement provides guidelines for the allocation of professional development funds among the eight “groupings” of departments which are closely aligned with Kwantlen’s eight Senate Faculties. Each grouping is required to have a Professional Development Committee. The Professional Development Committee is responsible drawing up guidelines for the disbursement of professional development funds and reviewing faculty applications for the use of such funds.

Article 16 (b) requires that the members of the Professional Development Committee for each group are to be elected in February/March every two years so that the new committee takes effect on April 1, which aligns with the beginning of the new fiscal year. Departments should hold these elections as closely as possible to these dates. One of the elected members is elected as the Professional Development Chairperson.

Article 16 (d) requires that one member of each Professional Development Committee be elected to serve as that group’s representative to the Educational Leave Committee for two academic years.

FACULTY EDUCATIONAL LEAVE REPRESENTATIVES

Our Collective Agreement provides faculty for the opportunity to apply for educational leave. Educational leave is defined as a period of paid leave that allows regular faculty to apply for a period of time (one semester or two semesters) to be freed from their regular duties in order to pursue educational or personal development goals. The provisions regarding educational leave are covered in Article 14.0 of the Collective Agreement.

As per Article 14.18, “The Educational Leave Committee shall be composed of one representative elected from each professional development committee, and the administrator responsible. The elected representatives shall serve for two academic years with half of the members being elected in alternate years. The chairperson of the Committee shall be elected by and from the Committee and shall serve for one calendar year.”

Election(s) Summary

In summary, the Collective Agreement has provisions that both entitle and obligate faculty to hold elections, including

  • annual elections for departmental Search Committee representatives, departmental Professional Development representatives, and Faculty Education Leave representatives
  • departmental Chair positions, every three years (or as required)

If you have questions about any aspects of the Collective Agreement leave provisions regarding departmental representative election requirements outlined in this article, please feel free to contact me.

Panteli Tritchew

Member-At-Large, Kwantlen Faculty Association

Cautions and Caveats About Taking Leaves

By Panteli Tritchew, Member-At-Large

“Relax, said the night man,

We are programmed to receive.

You can check-out any time you like,

But you can never leave.”

 

Kwantlen isn’t the Hotel California—you can, in fact, leave. More importantly, you can come back.

From time to time, faculty may find themselves in a position such that they want to take a period of time away from Kwantlen. How they are paid, how pension and benefits are applied and how seniority accrues all apply differently depending on the type and duration of the leave.

There are numerous implications to consider and several important decisions to make before a faculty member takes leave, and this article highlights some of the key considerations as defined in the Collective Agreement.

THREE MAIN TYPES OF DISCRETIONARY LEAVES

On a macro level, there are basically three categories of discretionary leaves faculty are entitled to take under the Collective Agreement:

  1. Leaves of Absence Without Pay (Articles 13.02 and 13.05)
  2. Educational Leave (Article 14)
  3. Other Discretionary Leaves (Articles 13.03, 04, 08, 09, 10, 11,and 12)

Generally speaking, all leaves will fall into the category of either paid leaves or unpaid leaves. It is important that faculty are aware of the pay, seniority, pension and benefits implications of going on one of these types of leaves.

Note: A subsequent KFACTS article will deal with Leaves Due to Illness (Article 15, Health and Welfare) and Maternity or Parental Leave (Article 13.07).

Implications on Full-Time Equivalent Service While On Leave

Full-Time Equivalent Service is defined “as the length of service with the Employer from the date of the first appointment with the Employer” and that Full-Time Equivalent Service includes service on the types of approved leaves noted above (Article 1.05).

Implications on Seniority Accrual and Pay Scale While On Leave

As per Article 13.01 (b), seniority and movement up the pay scale are impacted differently depending on whether faculty are on a paid leave or unpaid leave:

  • All paid leaves are treated as continuous employment for the purposes of seniority accrual.
  • Unpaid leaves are treated as continuous employment for the purposes of seniority accrual for the duration of the leave, except for movement up the salary increment scale.

The FTE service, seniority, and pay scale implications for each type of leave are explained further under its respective section.

Implications for Retention of Status While On Leave

As per Article 13.01 (c), faculty on either paid or unpaid leave retain their employment status while on leave.

Regular faculty who return from any Article 13 (Approved Leave of Absence, Maternity or Parental Leave, or General (Unpaid) or Article 14 (Educational Leave) will resume their previous faculty position and duties (or equivalent) without loss of FTE service or benefits.

Implications for Benefits While On Leave

As per Article 13.01 (d),

  • Faculty on any paid leave under Article 13 continue to receive their salary and benefits while on leave.
  • Faculty on any unpaid leave under Article 13 may arrange to pay the costs required to maintain their benefit coverage.
  • Faculty on paid educational leave under Article 14 continue to receive their salary, (adjusted to 80% of salary) and benefits while on leave.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR THREE TYPES OF DISCRETIONARY LEAVES

1.       APPROVED LEAVE(S) OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY (13.05)

The Employer may grant a leave of absence with or without pay to an employee for any reason for up to twenty-four (24) consecutive months (Article 13.02).

Faculty can apply for full or part-time leave of absence without pay for any reason. The application must be made in writing and permission is not to be unreasonably withheld. Faculty who take an unpaid leave should note the following:

  • Salary increments are not applied during the period of the leave without pay unless there are special circumstances.
  • Benefits are not paid for the duration of the leave. (For faculty on part-time leave, benefits are paid on a pro-rata basis, and faculty can pay to have their benefits topped up.)
  • Leave without pay is not considered pensionable service because pension is based upon salary earned, although FTE service does accrue for the purpose of seniority.

Full details of this provision are found in Article 13.05.

2.       EDUCATIONAL LEAVE (ARTICLE 14)

Faculty are entitled to take an Educational Leave for a variety of professional development activities that are mutually beneficial to the employer and the faculty member. Article 14.01 defines Educational Leave as follows:

“Educational leave is a period of paid leave enabling a regular faculty member to be freed from regular responsibilities and to be provided with sufficient resources to enable him/her to pursue educational or personal development recognized as beneficial to the Employer.”

All regular faculty members are eligible for the two options of Educational Leave if certain minimum service requirements have been satisfied:

  • After a period of three years of full-time equivalent service a faculty member may receive four months’ leave (Article 14.05). This entitles them to a six-month period at 80% salary (Article 14.08).
  • After a period of six years of full-time equivalent service a faculty member may receive one year’s leave inclusive of vacation and accountable time (Article 14.06). This entitles them to a twelve month period at 80% of salary (Article 14.06).

Pay and Benefits

Faculty members on educational leave receive 80% of their regular salary.

Additional Monies Caveat: If faculty receive a grant, bursary, stipend, salary or other award which exceeds 20% of salary during the leave period, the Employer will reduce its contribution to the point where the total monies received by the faculty member equal the faculty member’s full-time salary.

Faculty Obligations to Employer

Faculty who go on either a one semester (six month) leave or two semester (one year) leave owe the employer one years’ or two years’ service respectively upon completion of the leave (Article  14.13).

Faculty members are obliged to maintain contact with the Employer through their leave and to confirm their date of return no later than 40 calendar days prior to the agreed date (Article 14.19) and to submit a final report to the President within two months of returning (Article 14.20).

3.       OTHER DISCRETIONARY LEAVES (ARTICLES 13.03,04,08,09,10,11,AND 12)

The Collective Agreement includes provisions for a number of discretionary (or quasi-discretionary) leaves, as outlined below:

Bereavement Leave

Faculty are entitled to five days leave with no loss of pay and benefits in the case of the death of a family member (parent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parents-in-law, children’s spouses, foster parent, step child, foster child, grandparents and any other person living in the same household who is dependent on the employee (Article 13.03).

Jury Duty And Court Appearances

Faculty who are summoned to serve on a jury or subpoenaed or summoned as a witness in a criminal or civil proceeding or who accompany a dependent child for court proceedings are entitled to a leave of absence without loss of pay and benefits (Article 13.04,a).

Faculty who are required to appear in court in their own defence receive a leave of absence with or without pay, depending on circumstances (Article 13.04,b).

Faculty who receive these benefits may need to reimburse the Employer all monies paid to them by the court, excepting travel and meal allowances (Article 13.04,c).

Family Illness Leave

Faculty are entitled to leave of absence for up to five (5) days per year without loss of pay or benefits for family illness. A family member is defined as a faculty member’s parent, spouse, child, brother, sister, parents-in-law, children’s spouses, foster parent, step child, foster child, grandparents and any other person living in the same household who is dependent on the employee Article 13.08).

Compassionate Care Leave

Faculty are entitled to a compassionate care leave of absence without pay for up to eight (8) weeks to care for a gravely ill family member. (Family Members for the purpose of this article are defined in Appendix D of the Collective Agreement)

Faculty who are granted a compassionate care leave of absence are entitled to the benefits defined in Article 13.09:

  • Employee benefits coverage continues for duration of the compassionate care leave, to a maximum of eight (8) weeks, and premium payment is on the same basis as if the employee were not on leave.
  • Faculty may buy back pensionable service for part or all of the duration of the compassionate care leave, to a maximum of eight (8) weeks, and the Employer will pay the Employer portion of the pension contributions in accordance with Pension Plan regulations.
  • Compassionate care leave, up to a maximum of eight (8) weeks, is treated as a continuous employment for the purposes of seniority accrual.
  • Additional (unpaid) leaves beyond the 8 week period may be granted at the employer’s discretion, as per Article 13.02 (General Leaves).

Public Duties

At the Employer’s discretion, faculty may receive a leave of absence without pay to an employee to engage in election campaign activities in a municipal, provincial or federal election to a maximum of ninety days.

The Employer will provide faculty a leave of absence without pay to an employee to seek election in a municipal, provincial or federal election to a maximum of ninety days, or, where elected for up to two (2) consecutive terms.

Faculty who receive this leave will pay the Employer’s share of fringe benefit premiums (Article 13.10).

Secondment/Exchange Leave

Faculty may apply to the Employer for secondment/exchange leave in writing. Purposes could include teaching or providing services at another institution, government, or in business/industry.  In an exchange leave, Kwantlen faculty exchange duties with an employee of the other institution.

In an exchange leave, Kwantlen continues to pay the faculty member who has exchanged duties with an employee of the other institution. Employer shall continue to pay its faculty member who has agreed to exchange duties with a faculty member from another institution, and the reciprocal institution is expected to reimburse Kwantlen for the faculty member’s full salary and benefits.

The secondment/leave can be for up to one year, with an extension permissible (Article 13.11).

Deferred Salary Leave

Kwantlen offers a deferred salary leave plan. In a nutshell, faculty may apply to defer a portion of their bi-weekly salary exclusively for the purpose of financing a future leave (Article 13.12).

Here are some highlights from the Deferred Salary Leave Plan.

“The objective of the Plan is to provide the opportunity for all eligible regular employees of the University to plan a leave for educational, recreational or any other personal purpose and to save for what will in effect be an unpaid leave using before tax dollars over a maximum period of five years.”

Some key aspects of the plan include the following:

  • The deferred salary leave plan is subject to provisions of the Income Tax Act.
  • The leave must be completed no later than eighty-four months from start of participation in the plan.
  • Faculty on an unpaid leave from Kwantlen, while the savings accrued in trust are paid out as salary to the faculty member.
  • Seniority continues to accrue for the duration of the unpaid leave, but salary increments do not accrue.
  • Under Canada Revenue Agency Regulations, faculty must return to the University after the leave for a period at least equal to the leave.
  • Faculty may choose to top up their benefits during the unpaid leave.

As there several tax implications arising from the deferred salary leave plan, faculty who are interested should review the specific details of the plan on the MS Word document titles Deferred Salary Leave Plan, located at http://www.kpu.ca/hr/employeeresources/faculty.

In summary, there are several important considerations for faculty who wish to go on leave, and they should ensure that the appropriate article(s) of the Collective Agreement have been reviewed prior to making a decision.

If you have questions about any aspects of the Collective Agreement leave provisions outlined in this article, please feel free to contact me.

This impacts us all: the mysteries of work assignment, de-mystified

By Diane Walsh, VP-Grievances

The assignment of work, especially for non-regular faculty members, can seem like a great mystery, and it is a somewhat complex business. Work assignments are one of the places where the rubber hits the road for faculty members, because this is how we make our living and pay our bills. Work assignments are also critical to becoming regularized, an especially important issue for non-regular faculty members. Anxiety about work assignments can become critical, especially in a climate of relative fiscal insecurity in the institution, where we hear administrators talking about finding ways to save money. How work is assigned also determines who shares in the load of departmental and Faculty-level work. The bottom line is there is a lot at stake for all faculty members, regular and non-regular alike, in how work gets assigned.

Our Collective Agreement spells out (in a charmingly dispersed set of paragraphs) how work should be assigned.

Regular Faculty Members 

Making our work a lot less precarious is the most important advantage of regularization for faculty members. Regular work is defined in Article 1.05 as ongoing work, so it follows that all ongoing work in the institution should be delivered by regular faculty members. (Please see previous article, “Routes to Regularization,” for more on how non-regular faculty members get regularized and how work is defined as ongoing.)

In assignment of work, regular faculty members have the right to ongoing work at their percentage of regularization. For 100% regular faculty members, this is a right to ongoing full time work, and for part-time regular faculty members, this is a right to ongoing work at their designated percentage of regularization.

Part-time regular Faculty Members

 For part-time regular faculty members, there is a right to access additional work. Article 4.12(a) says that “when additional non-regular work becomes available within a discipline/program, it shall be offered by the administrator responsible to qualified part-time regular faculty in the discipline/program who want additional work,” and this entitlement applies up to a 100% annual workload.

If you are a part-time regular faculty member who wants more work, but you notice non-regular faculty have been hired in your department, it’s worth an enquiry of the dean to see why you were not offered the work in question.

Non-regular Faculty Members

Non-regular faculty members are defined in Article 1.05(d) as “those that do not hold a regular position or who have not satisfied the requirements for regularization in Article 1.05(e).” There are two types of non-regular faculty members and their work and work assignment is defined differently, but the work of all these faculty members is precarious.

Non-Regular Type 2 (NR2) Faculty Members

Article 1.05(d) ii defines an NR2 member as “one who is assigned or reasonably anticipated to be assigned an annualized workload of 50% or greater for a future 12-month period.” This is achieved by means of “bundling” non-regular work and assigning it to faculty so as to ensure they have at least 50% of an annual load.

Having non-regular work in a department bundled into these NR2 assignments is advantageous for the departments, because, according to 1.05(d)(ii),

A non-regular faculty member who meets the qualifications for Type 2 above has the same rights and obligations as a regular faculty member and is entitled to all benefits provided by this Agreement on a pro-rated basis with the following exceptions (Article 6, and Article 7).

Even though it is generally disadvantageous to have too much non-regular work in a department, if courses are bundled and assigned to faculty so as to create NR2 positions, then these members have the responsibility to attend department meetings, perform service work, and so on. This means that we avoid having heavier and heavier workloads foisted on regular faculty members.

Employer Obligations to Assign Non-Regular Type 2 Work

Ensuring non-regular work is bundled into NR2 positions is addressed in the same article, 1.05(d)(ii). By August 1, the Employer must have planned the year in advance to anticipate the work available for each department.  Deans are obligated to first schedule regularized faculty at their annual workload, then offer additional non-regular work to part-time regular faculty members. At that point they must bundle the remaining non-regular work into NR2 positions, as far as possible. 

Furthermore, the article states that replacement of faculty on leave or on long-term disability or alternate duty should be with an NR2 appointment. In other words, this work should not be pieced out on NR1 contracts.

Non-Regular Type 1 (NR1) Faculty Members

An NR1 faculty member is defined in 1.05(d)(i) as one

who is hired for a defined period, to teach specific courses or perform specific work. Non-regular Type 1 faculty may only be hired for specialized requirements, experimental offerings, timetabling anomalies, substitution, vacation replacement, short-term emergency circumstances, work that is not expected to be ongoing or work that does not provide them with an assignment that qualifies for non-regular Type 2 status at the August 1 assessment date. All non-regular Type 1 faculty members will receive salary according to the provisions of Article 10. 

In plainer language, the issuing of NR1 contracts should be as rare as possible and should not become the norm. It is clearly disadvantageous for individual faculty members because NR1 faculty members are not paid on scale, they do not have access to benefits or leaves, and they do not get vacation or PD time.

It is also disadvantageous to departments to have work contracted as NR1 work because NR1 faculty members have no stated requirement to fulfill the responsibilities of regular and NR2 faculty members in departmental or Faculty-level work. Thus, if too many NR1 contracts are issued, heavier and heavier workloads fall on regular and NR2 faculty members.

Where Things Go Amiss

Your KFA office receives copies of contracts and appointment letters, and we have seen some cases where matters have not unfolded as they should. For example, part-time regulars might not be offered additional work before non-regular appointments are made. This should not happen in the normal course of events. Another example of incorrect practice is not offering additional work to part-time NR2 faculty members before issuing NR1 contracts. Yet another way in which things can go amiss is failing to offer non-regular work to members who have 2 or more years’ FTE service before offering non-regular work to members with less than 2 years’ FTE service.

A particularly troubling way things can go amiss is the issuing of too many NR1 contracts. NR1 contracts should be issued only as a last resort, and non-regular work should be bundled into NR2 appointments. When this doesn’t happen, there are a number of consequences. First, heavier workloads fall on regular faculty members and on NR2 faculty members, as described above. Another troubling potential consequence is the increasing precariousness that practice brings to faculty work.

Contingent Faculty Increases

Increasing precarity of faculty work is of concern across Canada. A wide range of articles describe the situation, and any search on “contingent faculty Canada” or “contract faculty Canada” will lead to a wealth of hits on the topic. It is a grim fact that at many institutions across Canada, particularly in Ontario, there has been an increase in the proportion of work performed by contract / adjunct / sessional /contingent faculty and a decrease in the number of regular / permanent / tenured faculty. In a 2014 report, Kevin McKay of OPSEU (Ontario) states,” In the colleges today the ratio of full-time to part-time faculty is approximately 1 to 3. The lack of full-time faculty means less time for dealing with students, less time for course and program development, and a greater challenge to maintain academic standards.” Another interesting report, is the report by Higher Education Quality Control Ontario, “The ‘Other’ University Teachers: Non-Full time instructors at Ontario universities.” While this report is not definitive of the situation in Canada, it does suggest that the numbers of sessional instructors at 4 out of the 5 universities examined in Ontario are increasing, and the report raises questions about the effects of this increase.

Can this happen here? Our Collective Agreement language should prevent this from happening here. However, there is a real financial incentive for administrators to attempt to maximize numbers of NR1 faculty at KPU. NR1 faculty are paid less than NR2 and regular faculty because of the secondary scale that continues to be in place. That’s why it is so important for members to bring any increases in numbers of NR1 contracts to our attention. The bottom line is that when more faculty work is precarious, when the proportion of NR1 faculty increases, we are all harmed, regular and non-regular alike.

If you have questions or concerns about your work assignment or about work assignments in your department, please contact me. Questions or comments about this article? Likewise, please contact me.

What If I Get Sick? Sick Leave, and Short-term and Long-term Disability Leaves

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large

Sick leave and disability leave provisions in the Collective Agreement help protect KFA members’ rights and serve to ensure people are treated fairly throughout their employment, including during difficult times such as illness.

Our Collective Agreement has a number of provisions that deal with sick leave and disability leaves. (Note: KPU is a part of a consortium of colleges and universities that act together to provide benefit coverage in the Post-Secondary system.) This KFActs article will look at how sick leaves work for regular and non-regular faculty members including those members who are over 65 years of age.

Sick Leave

All regular and NR2 faculty members, including post-65 members, have up to 30 calendar days paid sick leave as detailed under article 15.06(a). These days are paid at full salary and benefits, and faculty members are not expected to make up or reschedule classes or other accountable time activities missed. Different departments have different practices regarding replacement and substitution, so please consult with your chair and/or dean.

During this kind of normal sick leave, the Employer can request a certificate from a medical practitioner to confirm you do need the leave, and a medical certificate can be important in other ways. For illnesses or injuries requiring a lengthy recovery period, the medical certificate determines the start point of the 30 days normal sick leave. Your 30 calendar days are deemed to start on the first day of the illness as reported or as indicated by a medical certificate, and these are continuous calendar days including weekends, stat holidays and scheduled vacation days.

It is very important that if you suspect your illness or injury will necessitate you being away from more than a week, you should begin the application process for short-term disability by contacting HR. If it turns out you do not need the short-term disability benefits, there’s no harm done, and if it turns out that you do need the benefits, everything can proceed smoothly for you with no potential disruption in pay.

Vacation time and sick leave is another area that may cause confusion. If a person gets sick or injured before scheduled vacation time and the illness or disability extends into vacation time, the vacation entitlement can generally be carried forward. This is not the case when a person gets sick or injured during vacation. When a person gets sick or injured during vacation, the 30 days sick leave period begins on the first day of the illness or injury as reported by a physician, even if that is within vacation time. For example, let’s say you go on vacation on May 15th and your scheduled vacation ends July 15th.  However, you get sick on May 30th. Your 30 days sick leave would elapse as of June 13th. You then go on short-term disability (at a reduced salary—please see below), even though you would otherwise have been “on vacation” at that time. The vacation time so lost is not recoverable and you cannot carry it forward.

Sick leave for NR1 faculty members

This is different from sick leave for regular and NR2 members, and is covered under 15.07. There is a specific fund established to cover NR1 faculty sick leave, and members can use this fund to cover sick leave up to 30 calendar days. The sticking point is that the fund is first come, first served and if the fund is exhausted, no further funds are available to cover sick leave for NR1 faculty members during that fiscal year. When you are sick, you must notify the dean’s office, and they should be able to explain how to access these benefits.

Short-term disability

All regular and NR2 faculty members, including members between 65 and 70 years of age, are eligible for Short-term disability coverage. Short-term disability benefits cover illnesses or injuries that require a recovery period of more than 30 days and up to 21 weeks away from work. (As explained below, illnesses or disabilities that last longer than 21 weeks are covered by long-term disability benefits.)

Transition from sick leave to short-term disability: Short-term disability benefits require an application process, and the sooner you start this, the better. When you first become sick or injured, and if there is any chance the illness or injury may require a period of leave longer than 30 days, we recommend you start the application process for short-term disability leave by contacting HR after the first week of your illness. This will help ensure a smooth transition to short-term disability benefits.

Transition from the 30-day sick leave to short-term disability leave can be somewhat complicated. If you return to work after being sick but then find you can’t manage the return after all, and you go back on sick leave, all the days taken on the first sick leave count towards a single 30-day sick leave period. In other words, the clock doesn’t get reset on the 30 days if you come back to work and then take more sick leave for the same or a related illness. It restarts from the number of days you took on the first part of the leave, and resumes counting forward from that point to the end of the 30 days. Short-term disability begins on the 31st day if you are still unwell.

Once a member has passed the 30 days ordinary sick leave, she or he moves into short-term disability provisions. This is described in Article 15.06 and, as referred to in 15.06 (e), the specifics are described in the Manulife Benefits booklet found on the KPU Human Resources website here.

During short-term disability, salary is covered up to 70% of the member’s normal remuneration, and health and welfare benefits continue unchanged. FTE service continues to accumulate as normal, too.

An important note is that the faculty member must be under the care of a licensed medical practitioner during short-term disability leave, and Manulife reserves the right to review claims by a committee of three doctors. Doctor #1 on the committee is chosen by the claimant, Doctor #2 is chosen by Manulife, and Doctor #3 is chosen by Doctors #1 and #2.

The maximum end point for being able to claim short-term disability benefits is age 65. There is one small wrinkle in that, though. If a member has a short-term disability claim in effect as of her or his 65th birthday, benefits continue through the 21st week of the disability or until the disability ends, whichever comes first.

Exclusions and limitations: There are specific exclusions and specific limitations to benefits. According to the Manulife booklet,

No benefit shall be payable for:

  • a disability resulting from substance abuse, including alcoholism and drug addiction, unless you are participating in a recognized substance withdrawal program;
  • a disability resulting from participation in the commission of a criminal offense;
    the portion of a period of disability during which you are imprisoned in a penal institution.

The short term disability plan does not cover a disability or illness resulting from:

  • war, insurrection, rebellion, or service in the Armed Forces of any country after the commencement of this plan;
  • voluntary participation in a riot or civil commotion except while you are in the course of performing the duties of your  regular occupation

Third-party liability: If the leave is due to an injury involving third-party liability, such as an automobile accident, the pay received is repayable to the Employer upon receipt of a settlement.

Rehabilitation: This is one of the important considerations for short-term disability leave, and the joint KFA-KPU Disabilities Management Rehabilitation Committee (DMRC) works together with the insurer to ensure a rehabilitation plan is made for the individual faculty member to take into account each individual’s circumstances and the nature of the illness or injury. The representatives serving on the committee are listed here.

Long-term disability

All regular and NR2 faculty members, excluding members past the age of 65, are eligible for long-term disability coverage. If the illness of disability lasts longer than the 21 weeks, the faculty member enters into the provisions of long-term disability. Just as you had to apply for the short-term disability benefits, you also must apply for long-term disability benefits. This is covered under Article 15.06 and in the Manulife Benefits booklet, as for short-term disability.

During long-term disability, salary is covered up to 70%, and like short-term disability, FTE accrual and health and welfare benefits continue unchanged. The maximum end point for long-term disability payments is age 65 or earlier, if you retire before 65.

Eligibility: Under the terms of this plan, there are a couple of additional wrinkles around eligibility. To remain eligible, one must be considered to be unable to return to work in your original occupation for a period from the qualifying period plus 2 years. After this 2 year period, “your ability by reason of education, training or experience to perform the duties of a gainful occupation for which the rate of pay is not less than 75% of the current rate of pay of your regular occupation at the date of disability will not be considered totally disabled and will therefore not be eligible for benefits under this long term disability plan.” Also, a member must be resident in Canada. The benefits booklet states:

“No benefits are payable if you reside outside Canada for any period exceeding 90 consecutive days or a total of 180 days in any 365 day period, unless:

  1. you have previously notified and received approval in writing from Manulife Financial; and
  2. you remain under the regular care of a licensed physician deemed appropriate by Manulife Financial; and
  3. proof of the ongoing disability can be determined on evidence satisfactory to Manulife Financial in English or French within 30 days of request.”

Rehabilitation: This is an important aspect of long-term disability and the goal, of course, is that a person on long-term disability leave would be able to return fully to her or his original work. The DMRC, the same joint committee that works with people on short-term disability leaves, works to create plans for faculty members on long-term disability leaves. In some cases, rehabilitation may involve a gradual return to work, so as to test the ability to return but not overwhelm the faculty member and set back her or his recovery. For example, a person might return to work at 25% of a full workload. In this case, the faculty member would be paid at normal salary for the 25% return to work and continue to receive long-term disability benefits for the remaining portion. During this time, the partial return to work would be assessed by the medical practitioner, and a further increase of the return or a reduction of the return might be indicated. The main consideration is to ensure the health of the person affected remains stable and the recovery is not jeopardized.

Exclusions and limitations: The same exclusions and limitations apply to long-term disability as described for short-term disability.

Pension and short- and long-term disability

Both short- and long-term disability are considered pensionable service, but the contributions are waived under the terms of the College Pension Plan. In other words, pension contributions are not deducted from the disability benefit you would receive, but they are still pensionable under the College Pension Plan regulations. The thing to keep in mind is that they are pensionable at the level of the disability benefit, not at the level of the faculty member’s normal salary.

If you have any questions or comments about this article or this topic, please contact me.

Moving from Non-Regular to Regular Status: Routes to Regularization

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large

The one question KFA non-regular members ask most often is: “How do I become a regular faculty member?” It’s easy to understand why a member would ask this question; less straightforward is the answer to this question.

The meanings of the various statuses. What is a regular position? In Article 1.05 of the Collective Agreement, the different kinds of status are defined. In 1.05(a), a regular position is defined as, “one that exists or is established to meet the ongoing needs of the Employer on a half-time basis or greater basis.” The Collective Agreement, in 1.05(f) Employment, says, “A regular faculty member, after successful completion of the probationary period, will be offered continuous employment subject only to those terms and conditions as may be contained in the Collective Agreement.”

So, a regular faculty position is an ongoing position that provides continuous employment to the faculty member. The securing of regular faculty status thus provides some measure of stability and job security, as well as the enjoyment of all of the rights and benefits described in the Collective Agreement.

A regular position may be full time, 100% workload, or part-time, at least 50% of a workload up to anything less than 100%. The status is the same for part-time regular positions, but of course the commitment to provide ongoing and continuous employment is limited to the percentage at which the faculty member is regularized.

What is a non-regular position? “Non-regular faculty members are those that do not hold a regular position or who have not satisfied the requirements for regularization in Article 1.05(e),” according to article 1.05(d). (The section “Regularization processes” below includes a discussion of the requirements for regularization.)

Article 1.05(d) defines these non-regular positions further as Non-Regular Type 1 and Non-Regular Type 2. These are generally referred to as NR1 and NR2 positions. An NR2 faculty member is one “who is assigned or reasonably anticipated to be assigned an annualized workload of 50% or greater for a future 12-month period.” An NR1 faculty member’s work falls outside the annual workload provisions described for NR2 and “may only be hired for specialized requirements, experimental offerings, timetabling anomalies, substitution, vacation replacement, short-term emergency circumstances, [or] work that is not expected to be ongoing.” For both NR1 and NR2 positions, there is no expectation of continuing employment past the end of the specified contract end date.

Regularization processes. Changes from non-regular to regular status generally occur in 2 main ways. A non-regular faculty member can make application for a posted regular position, and as the successful candidate for the position, s/he becomes a regular faculty member. This is the simplest route to regularization.

Meeting the requirements described in Article 1.05(e) Entitlement to Conversion to Regular Status is the other main way a non-regular faculty member can achieve regular status. The basic requirement is that the faculty member has worked at least 50% of an annualized workload over 2 consecutive years, that there be a reasonable expectation of ongoing work at a minimum of 50% in the 3rd year, that the faculty member is qualified for the work in question, and that the faculty member’s most recent evaluation is satisfactory. Article 1.05(e) says the regularization “will occur” when these conditions are met.

In addition to achievement of regular status by either being the successful candidate for a posted regular position or being entitled to conversion, 1.05(e) also points out that, “Nothing in the section above prohibits the employer’s rights to regularize any position as it deems necessary.”

All of these routes are subject to a 2-year probationary term, and the details of probation can be found in Article 4.06.

If you have any comments or questions about regularization or faculty status, please contact me.

Vacation and Accountable Time

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large

Vacation and accountable time are topics that always seem to generate a lot of questions from faculty members: what are the differences between vacation days and PD days? What is accountable time? How many days of each do I get? How do I report vacation,  PD and accountable time? Here’s a basic overview of what the Collective Agreement has to say about vacation and accountable time.

Basic information. Our work as faculty members is complex and encompasses many different and varied activities. Our working time is all considered to be “accountable” time, regardless of what activities we’re performing. PD time and vacation time are both defined in terms of numbers of days. PD time is accountable time, or in other words it is time for which reporting is required, and PD time is specifically set aside for you to engage in activities that you undertake in an effort to develop yourself as a faculty member. Vacation time is non-accountable time, or in other words it is time you are entitled to take and for which no reporting is required. 

Accountable Time. Accountable time includes all activities that are part of regular duties, including professional development and other accountable activities. Article 12.01(a) says that faculty members “are accountable for 10 months of the year. The 10 months accountable time includes such activities as teaching, the counselling of students, curriculum/program development, professional development and participation on a variety of educational committees.” The break between Christmas and New Year’s is considered accountable time and does not require attendance on campus for most faculty members (12.16), and Reading Break (12.19) is also considered accountable time.

Entitlements. There are some differences between entitlements for different classifications of faculty. Regular faculty and full time NR2 faculty are entitled to 42 days of vacation under 12.12(a) and 21 days of PD time under 12.01(d). Part-time regular and part-time NR2 faculty members are entitled to the same number of days, but the days will be paid out at the percentage worked. In other words, if you are a 50% regular faculty member, you still get 42 days of vacation pay, but the pay will be at your normal rate, 50% of a full time salary. NR1 faculty members’ contract rate is inclusive of vacation pay, and there is no specific designation of numbers of non-teaching days.

Professional Development activities. The Collective Agreement says in 16.03(a) that professional development is “for the maintenance and development of the faculty members’ professional competence and effectiveness. It is agreed that maintenance of currency of subject knowledge, the improvement of performance of faculty duties, and the maintenance and improvement of professional competence, including instructional skills, are the primary professional development activities of faculty members.” Under 12.01(e), the purposes for professional development are described to “include maintaining currency in subject matter, instructional processes, technological developments, learning materials, library holdings and professional skills related to their position with the University.” So any activities that in your estimation reasonably support your “professional competence and effectiveness” as that is described under the articles can fit within the definition of professional development.

Scheduling vacation time. Faculty who work in different areas will schedule their vacation time in different ways. For faculty who work in areas such as the libraries and counselling, this time will be scheduled in consultation with the administrator responsible and according to guidelines that are to be established in order to ensure continuous coverage. Under 12.12(b), “Employee preferences for vacation schedules will be taken into consideration in those guidelines.” For faculty who work in the semestered teaching areas, vacation normally is taken during the non-teaching semester. If a faculty member “voluntarily elects” to teach over three semesters, then according to 12.12(e) “vacation days will be scheduled intermittently throughout the academic year, taking operational requirements into account.” For faculty who teach in non-semestered teaching areas, vacation will normally be taken during scheduled non-teaching time.

Scheduling PD time. Professional development is included in the description of accountable time activities under 12.01(a), and faculty members are expected to submit an outline of planned PD activities to the appropriate administrator at least a month in advance, and the activities have to be approved, under 12.01(e) and (f).

Scheduling accountable time. Similarly to how PD time is scheduled, accountable time also sometimes needs to be planned and approved in advance, and this is described in 12.01(b). For accountable time activities that will last longer than four consecutive days and that cover duties other than teaching or PD, faculty members are expected to  submit an activity plan for approval.

Carryovers of vacation or PD time. Sometimes, there could be a situation in which a faculty member would be requested to carry over part of her or his vacation and/or PD entitlements. Please note that in either case, carryovers are based on the needs of the Employer. Note also that faculty members are not obligated to agree to such a carryover. In the case of PD time, the Collective Agreement says in 12.01(h) that “[i]f the needs of the Employer demand and if the Employer in writing requests him/her to do so, a faculty member may carry over a portion of his/her annual professional development time up to a maximum of ten (10) working days for use in the following year, at a time to be agreed upon by the faculty member and the administrator responsible. Such carryover of professional development time shall occur only with the agreement of the faculty member.” In the case of vacation time, the Collective Agreement says in 12.12(c) that “[i]f the needs of the Employer demand and if the Employer in writing requests him/her to do so, a faculty member may carry over a portion of his/her annual vacation up to a maximum of twenty (20) working days for use in the following year, either separately or continuously with his/her regular annual vacation, as may be agreed between the faculty member and the administrator responsible. Such carryover of vacation shall occur only with the agreement of the faculty member.” 

Reporting. Vacation time is not accountable time, so there is of course no need to report. PD time and other accountable time, on the other hand, require reporting. For PD time, there is a responsibility to confirm that the approved activities were undertaken. According to 12.01(g), “[o]n an annual basis, faculty members will confirm completion of approved professional development activities.” For other accountable time, according to 12.01(b), “[o]n an annual basis, the faculty member will submit to the appropriate administrator a written report of their accountable time activities.” 

For more details, please take a look at Collective Agreement articles 12.01(a), 12.01 (b), 12.01(e, 12.01(f), 12.01(g), 12.01(h), 12.12(a), 12.12(b), 12.12(c), 12.12(e), 12.16 and 12.19.

Questions? Comments? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to chat with you.

Grievances

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large

Two of the purposes of the KFA, according to our Constitution, are to “Protect the welfare, professional interests, and working conditions of its members,” and to “Assist in protecting and enhancing the freedom and quality of teaching, thought, and enquiry within the University.” Sometimes, this protection results in action that takes the form of a grievance.

Grievances General Info

What is a Grievance?

The Collective Agreement says in article 17.02, “A grievance is any complaint relating to the application, operation or alleged violation of this Agreement or any question as to whether any matter is grievable.” So in other words, a grievance is a dispute about the terms of the Collective Agreement and how it is or is not being applied. 

Grievance work can take a number of forms. There are grievances having to do with individual members, and these are probably the most common. There are also other kinds of grievances called policy grievances, and these have to do with issues that affect or could affect more than one individual member and might impact policy or process within Kwantlen. There also may be grievances that have the potential to affect the whole system and not just Kwantlen, and we might refer to these as system grievances.

Simply approaching the KFA office with a concern does not mean that you have embarked on a formal grievance process. Grievances can be (and most often are) resolved informally by discussion, and your KFA officers are willing and able to help with informal resolutions. Including informal resolution, there are various steps or stages that grievances can go through and processes that are followed to ensure each complaint is resolved in the most effective way. At all stages, your KFA representatives are here to help you and to ensure that the processes are followed.

“Resolution” of a grievance means that the error, violation, oversight, misunderstanding or whatever was causing the problem has been corrected in a way satisfactory to the parties.

The Grievance Process

Article 17 of our Collective Agreement covers dispute resolution and gives a detailed description of grievance processes starting with informal resolutions and continuing with details of the steps and processes that formal grievances follow. It’s important to keep in mind that the grievance procedure is a dispute resolution procedure, and the point is to try to resolve issues.

Informal resolution is discussed in 17.02(d). An informal resolution can be sought either by discussing the matter directly with the administrator responsible or by approaching the KFA. As the Collective Agreement points out, “[t]he services of the Union Representatives are available to assist in informal resolution of these matters.” So in other words, KFA representatives can and will help facilitate informal resolutions.

The formal process, detailed in 17.02(e), (f) and (g), is engaged when informal resolution has not solved the dispute or when informal resolution isn’t appropriate. Formal grievances follow a series of steps which have explicitly detailed time limits that are meant to ensure resolution takes place as soon as possible within the process. Although the steps are called Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3, they do not necessarily follow from one to another. The differences between the Steps lie chiefly in the level of responsibility of the administrator involved, as discussed below. The steps might be followed in order or they might not, depending on the nature of the grievance. This distinction is necessary because every grievance is unique and the circumstances of each are unique.

The steps of the formal process begin with the Union informing the Employer of the details of the dispute, in writing. “The written grievance shall cite the articles in question, describe the alleged violation(s), and state the remedy sought,” according to 17.02(e). Step 1 describes the grievance being taken to the administrator directly responsible. If the grievance cannot be resolved with that administrator, 17.02 (f) states the grievance can be taken forward in Step 2 to “a more senior administrator.” At Step 3, 17.02(g), the grievance goes to the University President or his or her designate. If there is no satisfactory resolution at Step 3, the grievance is referred to arbitration.

The content of the written grievance must “cite the articles in question, describe the alleged violation(s), and state the remedy sought.” Your KFA representatives, usually the KFA VP Grievances, will gather information about exactly what has happened, will identify the relevant articles of the Collective Agreement and will detail the remedy. Once the written grievance is submitted, the Employer normally has 8 weekdays to reply to grievances submitted at Step 1 and 7 weekdays to reply at Step 2 or 3.

If a grievance goes to arbitration, as covered under 17.03 of the Collective Agreement, this means that the parties could not resolve the grievance and that it will be heard by a third party, the arbitrator. The arbitrator who will hear the matter is either mutually agreed upon by the Employer and the KFA or, if the parties do not agree, then either or both parties can ask the Minister of Labour to appoint an arbitrator. The procedures for arbitration are determined by the Labour Relations Code of BC (17.03(c)). Once a grievance goes to arbitration, the arbitrator has the power and authority to interpret and apply the provisions of the Collective Agreement but does not have authority “to alter, amend, add to or delete from any of the provisions of this Agreement, or make any decision which is inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement” (17.03(i)). Once a grievance goes to arbitration, both parties lose control of the outcome and the third party, the arbitrator, decides the outcome.

As our Constitution and Bylaws say, we are here to protect the working conditions, welfare and professional interests of the membership. Please contact the KFA office if you have any concerns about these matters, or if you have any questions or comments about this article.