Leaves of Absence

This page provides a basic summary of leaves available to CUPE 3907 members under the Collective Agreement.

For more information, check out article 17 of the collective agreement or direct questions to your department steward or email us at cupe3907@gmail.com.

Graduate assistants with approved leaves of absence are not be expected to make up the hours that would otherwise have been worked during the period of the approved leave.

Pregnancy Leave

A pregnant employee shall be granted a pregnancy leave of absence of up to 17 weeks upon written request submitted at least two 2 weeks in advance.

  • Leaves of 4 months or less shall not result in an interruption of regular monthly installments. Longer leaves will be without pay after the first 4 months
  • For employees who qualify for Employment Insurance benefits based on insurable hours of work in this Bargaining Unit, a supplementary benefit will be provided.
    • The University will pay the employee 95% of regular weekly pay during the 1 week waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits, and, for the next 16 weeks, or until the end of the appointment (whichever comes first) will pay the difference between the weekly Employment Insurance benefits and 95% of weekly salary, provided that the employee provides proof that the employee has applied for and is receiving Employment Insurance benefits and the amount of those benefits
    • Please contact the Family Care Office, or email us at cupe3907@gmail.com to discuss your eligibility for this benefit.

** The end date of a pregnancy leave may not extend beyond the ending date of the employee’s appointment.

Parental Leave/Adoption Leave

An employee who has been appointed for at least 13 weeks and who is the parent of a child is entitled to a leave of absence of up to 35 weeks following (a) the birth of the child; or (b) the coming of the child into the custody, care, and control of a parent for the first time.

Both parents will be eligible to take a parental leave as follows:

  • Up to 35 weeks of parental leave for employees who take pregnancy leave;
  • Up to 37 weeks of parental leave for all other new parents;
  • Such shorter or longer period of time as might be required under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 from time to time.

Application for such leave shall be submitted in writing to the Supervisor at least 2 weeks in advance, indicating the date on which the leave is to begin. Parental leave may begin no more than 52 weeks after the day the child is born or comes into the custody, care, and control of a parent for the first time.

Parental leave of an employee who takes a pregnancy leave must begin when the pregnancy leave ends unless the child has not yet come into the custody, care, and control of a parent for the first time.

Employees who are eligible for parental leave per the paragraphs above are entitled to choose one of the two following benefits:

  • Leaves of 4 months or less shall not result in an interruption of regular monthly installments. Longer leaves will be without pay after the first 4 months.
  • For employees who qualify for Employment Insurance benefits based on insurable hours of work in this Bargaining Unit, a supplementary benefit will be provided.
    • The University will pay the employee 95% of regular weekly pay during the 1 week waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits, and, for the next 16 weeks, or until the end of the appointment (whichever comes first) will pay the difference between the weekly Employment Insurance benefits and 95% of weekly salary, provided that the employee provides proof that the employee has applied for and is receiving Employment Insurance benefits and the amount of those benefits
    • Please contact the Family Care Office, or email us at cupe3907@gmail.com to discuss your eligibility for this benefit.

*The end date of the leave may not extend beyond the ending date of the employee’s appointment.

Non-Birth Parent Leave

Upon the birth or adoption of a child, a non-birth parent shall be entitled to up to 1 week without loss of pay within 6 weeks of the birth of the employee’s child, or the coming of the child into the care, custody and control of a parent for the first time.

Sick Leave

To qualify for sick leave the employee must notify the supervisor and the Chair or Designated Authority as to the expected duration of the illness/injury.

  • Employees who have a full GA appointment (Fall/Winter) in an academic session shall be granted up to 4 days of sick leave with no loss of pay.
  • Employees who have a half GA appointment (one term only) in an academic session shall be granted up to 2 days of sick leave with no loss of pay.
  • Any additional absence or absences due to illness/injury shall be without pay.

Employees may be required to provide a physician’s certificate at the Employer’s expense upon return to work.

Serious Illness, Surgery and Hospitalization

An employee who provides a certificate from a licensed physician confirming that the employee is unable to attend work and/or perform duties due to a serious illness, required surgery hospitalization and/or course of treatment may be granted up to 4 months of paid leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay during the period of the appointment.  

Other Leaves

Academic Conference Leave

Employees who have been invited to deliver papers, present research findings, chair sessions, or serve as discussants at an academic conference may make application to their supervisors for an unpaid leave of absence of up to ten days in any academic year. Employees are encouraged to inform their supervisor as far as possible in advance.

Bereavement Leave

An employee shall be given one week’s leave with pay upon the death of a member of the employee’s family. It is understood that for the purposes of this article, family shall be broadly defined. Such leaves may be extended by up to two days upon request by the employee to their supervisor in instances where the funeral occurs more than 200km from the employee’s work location.

Union Conventions

This leave of absence applies only to employees who may be elected or appointed by the Union to attend Union conferences and conventions.The leave must be submitted to the Chair at least 10 working days in advance, and is subject to approval. Leave of absence without pay or loss of seniority shall be granted to not more than three (3) employees. The leave shall not exceed 30 working days in total for the Bargaining Unit in any calendar year.

Compassionate Leave

An employee shall be granted leave without loss of pay of up to 2 weeks to attend to a seriously ill relative or close friend once per academic year.

Jury Duty Leave

An employee shall be granted leave at full salary to appear for, sit for, or serve jury duty, or Crown witness service, provided that upon return to work the employee provides the supervisor with written confirmation of the date(s) and time(s) on which the employee appeared and/or served, signed by an appropriate official of the Court.

Union Leave

An employee who is appointed, selected or elected to work for the Union (including the CUPE National and/or any labour bodies to which the Union is affiliated) shall at the written request of the Union receive a temporary leave of absence for a period not to exceed eight (8) months, or the term of office, whichever is shorter. Employees on such leaves of absence will continue to be paid by the Employer.

Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave

Members are entitled to up to 1 month of paid leave in cases where they are survivors of sexual/domestic violence. A written request for such leave along with any related documentation are to be submitted to Health and Well-Being Programs & Services.

Geographical Proximity Clause

This began with a geographical proximity clause attached to positions held by members of CUPE 3902 (TAs, Course Instructors, Invigilators etc.) in August, 2020.

Thanks to their swift action, the University has “clarified” (read: walked back) their confusing hiring policy that they flagged as unreasonable and potentially discriminatory.

This wording was later added to our contracts as Graduate Assistants at OISE. With clear push back from CUPE 3902 members, they came to CUPE 3907 with an updated and clearer policy regarding geographical proximity. The University has said that OISE GAs:

  • do not have to be in geographical proximity to U of T to perform remote work;

  • can perform remote work from anywhere in Canada; and

  • can perform remote work from outside of Canada should the “payroll, tax, and other laws of the jurisdiction” allow it.

With this being said, please make sure that you have a very honest conversation with your GA supervisor about your role and any geographical proximity requirements to fulfill your duties.

  • If you are outside of Canada, and have a SIN and Canadian bank account and your supervisor is aware and approves, you can continue your GA positions. Please also contact your department to make sure that they are aware and payroll can be processed.

  • If you are an international student trying to cross the border into Canada, please use this new updated contract at the border to support your entry into the country.

  • If you are outside of the province, please let your supervisor and department know.

International students and workers are a sizeable and important group at U of T, and we deserve better than casually-worded memos upending our shifting our conditions and financial certainty at the last minute.

Know that the University has not heard the last from us on this issue. Feel free to follow up with an executive member with any questions, concerns, or comments about this.

If you experience any push back from your department or supervisor around where you plan to be in the Winter, please contact Wales Wong, the Chief Steward at chiefsteward@cupe3907.ca and we will advocate for you (Anything you write to this address is strictly confidential and nothing moves forward without your consent).

Graduate Assistantship FAQs

How do I know if I am a member?
If you are a Graduate Assistant at OISE, you are a member.

If you held a GAship during the past 12 months, your membership continues 12 months from the date of last employment.

If you have a R&D position, you are represented by the United Steelworkers‘s Casual Unit.

I’m a TA at the University of Toronto and I’m an OISE student. Do you represent me?
No. CUPE Local 3902 represents TEPAs, TAs, sessional instructors, invigilators and some other job classifications at the University of Toronto. Local 3907 only represents Graduate Assistants at OISE/UT. However, it is possible to be a member of both Locals if you work both as a GA and as a TA.

Do I have health and dental benefits as a member of CUPE 3907?
In 2016, our CUPE 3907 Bargaining Committee was able to negotiate a new Top-Up Health and Dental Plan for all 3907 members. This plan is identical to the provisions of the CUPE 3902-Unit 1 Health Care Plan.

Each year, we host workshops and information sessions on the CUPE 3907 Top-Up Health and Dental Plans. Stay tuned!

How do I apply for a GAship?

If you are in Group A, then you will receive an email from the OISE Graduate Funding Office indicating your eligibility to apply for a Graduate Assistantship and with further instructions.

If you belong to group B, you may still be eligible to apply for a Fall/Winter and Summer GA. Check out OISE Student Employment page for opportunities.

For more information on “Group A” and “Group B” hiring processes, refer to the our page on graduate assistanships or consult the Collective Agreement directly.

If during the application and/or selection process you require accommodation due to a disability, please contact oise.gradfinasst@utoronto.ca.

What is the deadline for applying for GAships?

If you are in Group A, then you will receive an email from the OISE Graduate Funding Office in the Spring with information regarding the GA opportunities available. Graduate assistants may apply for and rank in order of preference up to 5 positions. The GA Online Job Posting system will match faculty and graduate assistants based on their indicated preference. You may not get your top choice, but you will be matched with a position.

If you are in Group B, you have access to a limited number of GAships during the Academic Fall/Winter session. GA positions available to students in Group B are posted in the Summer (mid-July). You will have to apply to be considered in the hiring pool for these jobs. You may apply for and rank in order of preference up to 5 positions. At the close of the job posting period faculty members will review all applicants to their positions and rank the applicants in order of preference. OISE matches Group B students to Fall/Winter positions in early August. Check out OISE Student Employment page for deadlines.

Summer GA positions are posted and available to students in Group A and B in the Spring (early March). The Employer is responsible for posting at least 24 appointments for the summer academics session and 50% are reserved for group B students. OISE matches Group A and B students to summer positions in early April. Check out OISE Student Employment page for upcoming opportunities and deadlines.

How come I didn’t get a fall/winter GAship?
You are ranked competitively against all students applying for GAships in your academic department. Applicants are assessed on their Ability to Assist, Seniority and also Recruitment points. If you would like to see your ranking position or contest your ranking, please get in touch with your department steward or our Chief Steward.

How come I didn’t get a summer GAship?
Each year, there is a limited number of Summer GA positions available. This means that the ranking for summer GAships is very competitive. Your local union believes that year-round employment is a critical issue for student workers at OISE, and this was an issue we pushed at the bargaining table.

Where can I turn if I am having difficulties with my employer/supervisor?

Graduate assistants at OISE sometimes have the same faculty member as both their academic and employment (Graduate Assistant) supervisor. As such, members can be wary of addressing workplace difficulties if it could affect their academic careers.

If you are experiencing difficulties around negotiating your hours of work, obtaining a safe workplace, including issues of harassment, discrimination or other issues, please get in touch with your department steward, or Chief Steward.

I have a cause/community event/campaign that I would like my Local to support. How can I get funds or other support?

Each year, CUPE 3907 donates to a number of charitable organizations, groups, causes, and campaigns. Each donation request will be carefully reviewed even if the Local has donated to a particular organization, group, cause, or campaign in the past. Please read carefully the Donation Guidelines in order to see if your request qualifies. All donation requests must be submitted to cupe3907@gmail.com using the Donation Request form.

Other forms of support we offer include distributing events listings to our membership; posting events on our website; writing letters of support and sending speakers and delegates to rallies and community events. Please send an email requesting these kinds of support to our Recording Secretary for inclusion on our next General Membership Meeting Agenda.

How are my union dues spent?
At each General Membership Meeting, the treasurer gives an update, either oral or written, on how funds are being distributed. During the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in April, the treasurer also provides an annual report on how the previous year’s funds were spent and a budget plan for the following year.

Our single largest expense is our union dues that are paid to CUPE National.  This goes to support our webpage development, legal assistance, collective bargaining and grievance assistance, executive and steward training, and participation in the largest public sector Union in the country with more than 630,000 members.

If you would like to see more in-depth funding reports, please attend an upcoming GMM or contact our treasurer.

I want to be more active in my union. How can I get involved?
We need your enthusiasm! Members can get involved many different ways, please get in touch and we can figure out how you might want to participate!

Where can I find my union office?
CUPE 3907 is located in Room 8-104. Our office hours are posted on the door. There are also designated CUPE bulletin boards on each floor of the OISE/UT building. Check these boards for notices of upcoming events, meetings, bargaining and general union news.

Health Care Plan FAQ

You will be enrolled by the University if you are a member of CUPE 3907 and are employed for at least one term in the current academic year (September 1st to August 31st).  Your level of coverage will depend upon your status in the student (GSU) health and dental plan as follows:

Top-up plan + HCSA

  • Only those enrolled under the student plan will be eligible for coverage under the Top-up plan + HCSA. You can access the most up-to-date Benefit Booklet online through your Green Shield Canada account.
  • If you have enrolled for single coverage under GSU plan, the individual HCSA is worth $300/year.
  • If you have enrolled for couple/family coverage under the GSU plan, the Family HCSA has a value of $600/year.

HCSA-only plan

  • If you have exempted coverage under the GSU plans, then you will be eligible for a $300 HCSA-only plan, regardless of whether you have eligible spouse/partner or dependent children

Once you have been enrolled into the appropriate plan by the University, you will be able to sign up for online services with Green Shield Canada. Online services allow you to view your benefits guide, submit claims online, and sign up for direct deposit allowing you to receive reimbursements quickly. You may use either the website or app to register – we recommend using the website, and then downloading the app!

  • Sign in or register to access Plan Member Online Service
  • To download the app, GSC mobile app
  • Should you require any assistance setting up your account, you may call Green Shield directly Toll-free: (1-888-711-1119)

Your ID number is UOT + employee number + -00 (the -00 identifies the plan member). This number is for your Top-up or HCSA plans, only. Your base plan with UTGSU will have a separate ID.

If you are unsure of your employee number, please contact the Business Officer for your department . You will still need your student plan number to submit claims so that the claim is appropriately adjudicated through your student plan first, and then through your top-up plan.

Your benefit plan does not use a plan number, only an individual ID. When signing up for an online account, or submitting a claim, you will need to include this ID number. The ID number will include: UOT + employee number + -00 (the -00 identifies the plan member).

Plan members should note that they will have a separate student number for their student plans and will need to enter both numbers when coordinating claims to both plans.

You can find the most up-to-date benefits booklet by logging to your Green Shield Canada account. Your benefit booklet provides you with important information about your benefits plan. The booklet includes:

  • a detailed benefit descriptions for each benefit in your benefit plan
  • a schedule of benefits that lists deductibles, co-pays and maximums that may impact the amount paid to you
  • a definitions section that explains common terms used in the booklet

It depends on the type of claim and whether all information submitted is complete. However, you should expect reimbursement of eligible expenses no later than 10 business days. In most cases, if you have signed up for direct deposit through GSC’s Plan Member Online Services, you will receive your reimbursement within 5 business days.

You status in the student plan needs to be finalized first. The opt-out period for each primary plan has to pass and the information has to be provided to GSC and reconciled before your enrollment can be established. During this first year of the plan this may take a little longer. It’s anticipated that for members of the GSU plan, the enrollment will be completed by the end of October. The University will communicate additional information as the finalized enrollment time is confirmed

Enrollment is based upon your Student Plan enrollment each year. We need to wait until the final student plan status is confirmed before loading your enrollment information. For GSU members, this will be late October/early November each year.

Members do not need to do anything to enroll for coverage under the CUPE 3907 top-up benefit plan.

Once you are employed for at least one term, you will be able to submit eligible claims once your enrollment is confirmed:

  • Coverage is retroactive to September 1st
  • Coverage continues until the end of the Plan Year – August 31st each year

Please note that claims cannot be reimbursed if you do not have a valid receipt indicating you have paid for the eligible service/product or prescription drug. You should retain all paper receipts or Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your student plan even if you have already submitted an eligible receipt.

Yes, so long as the claim was incurred on or after September 1st of the current academic year, you can submit any unpaid balance once you become eligible under the CUPE plan.

It will depend on the provider and service being claimed. For example, your pharmacist should be able to submit your prescription first to your student plan using your student ID /GSC number, and then to your CUPE plan using your CUPE GSC number. If not, you can pay for the service and then submit any balance to GSC for reimbursement under both plans on the same claim form.

For both Plans, the individual HCSA is worth $300/year. If you have dependents, you will be enrolled in the Family HCSA, with a value of $600/year. If you have exempted coverage under the GSU plans, then you will be eligible for a $300 HCSA-only plan, regardless of whether you have eligible spouse/partner or dependent children

Then there is no access to the Top-up plan; however, you will be eligible for a $300 HCSA-only plan.

Yes, so long as your spouse/partner or dependent children are eligible, they can be enrolled for coverage by contacting GSC directly once you have received confirmation of your enrollment. If you have opted out coverage under the GSU plans, then you will be eligible for a $300 HCSA-only plan, regardless of whether you have eligible spouse/partner or dependent children

No. Your base plan’s 24-month window would not change and would be based on the claim you previously submitted to them. However, you may submit a claim at any point under the top-up plan, provided that the claim is incurred in the current plan year (September 1-August 31), and receive reimbursement for any unpaid amount (up to the maximum).

As long as your leave is approved and falls under the Collective Agreement, you remain eligible for coverage for the entire plan year. If you are unsure if you are entitled to coverage while on leave, please contact us at cupe3907@gmail.com.

You can use your HCSA to be reimbursed for your Student Health and Dental plan premium and or your UHIP premium, up to the balance available in your HCSA at the time you submit your claim

Here’s how:
1. Visit: https://www.rosi.utoronto.ca/ and log in
2. Go to “Financial Accounts”
3. Click “Show Invoice” and PRINT
4. Click “Show Detailed Report” and PRINT
5. Fill out the “Health Care Spending Account Claim Submission Form” (OR, submit online via Plan Member Online Services)
6. Send the form AND the two printouts to the address on the form to get your money!

If you have questions about your eligibility for coverage you can contact the University directly at benefits.help@utoronto.ca or by calling the benefits help line at 416.978.2598.

For questions regarding what’s eligible under the Top-up or HCSA plan, you can contact Green Shield Canada directly at 1.888.711.1119 once you have received confirmation of enrollment in the plan.

Please note: Green Shield will often ask for your Plan ID in order to ensure they are reviewing the appropriate plan, please have this in-hand when calling.

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Union Service Opportunities

Departmental Stewards Wanted!

Are you interested in learning more about your contract? Do you enjoy helping others with workplace issues? 

There is currently one vacancy for Departmental Stewards EACH of the following departments: SJE, CTL and APHD.

Serving as a steward is a great way to become involved in the union, assist members, and ensure that issues affecting graduate workers in your department are brought to the union’s attention. As a steward:

  • You connect with other GAs in your department and support them in solving workplace and employment problems when they arise
  • You’ll learn how to interpret collective agreements, file grievances, represent members in grievance meetings, and act as a liaison between members and the Executive Committee
  • If there is a strike, you will get to be a part of the Strike Committee.
  • You have the opportunity to contribute and further develop your leadership skills and be a part of the broader labour movement to build workers’ power

This is a volunteer position. The number of hours per month are about 2-3 hours with some additional hours if matters concerning members from your department arise.

We will be holding an election at our next General Membership Meeting (G.M.M) on December 17, 2020 (at 6-7:30PM). CUPE 3907 members in your department will be able to vote, so invite them to attend the upcoming G.M.M!

Steward training will be provided and other union training is also available. This is a great chance to connect with others while being in a leadership role within CUPE 3907! If you are interested, please email the Chief Steward, Wales Wong, at chiefsteward@cupe3907.ca.

 

 

General Membership Meeting: Thursday, Dec 17th at 6 P.M EST

Our last General Membership Meeting (G.M.M.) for 2020 is Thursday, Dec 17th at 6 P.M EST. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get through all the items on our agenda during our November GMM, including donations requests. So we are scheduling another GMM to continue the discussion.

  • Date: Thursday, Dec 17th
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m
  • Registration: Please register in advance. After you complete the form, we will verify your CUPE 3907 membership before sending you a unique link to join the meeting. https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwufuyvqz4iH9aqYKliRqzbx4-sKZyyc-Ud.
  • Agenda package: We will be sending out the agenda package closer to the meeting date. To add new items to the agenda, please email the Recording Secretary, Diana Barrero, at recordingsecretary@cupe3907.ca before Tuesday, Dec. 15th at noon.

CUPE UPDATES

Dear CUPE 3907 member,
A good day to you! I hope you are well and keeping yourself and your loved ones safe in these uncertain times.
I am writing on behalf of the executive to inform you of new developments from the Government and our University as well. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit – CERB has been expanded to include contract workers such as GAs which make up our local. Here is the link to the information:

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html

The employer has extended 8 full GA positions into the summer! This is good news considering that most jobs are being lost due to the current economic climate. These positions are in addition to the usual 24 summer positions that were collectively bargained by our local with the employer. The 24 contained in the collective agreement are subject to the terms therein; the additional 8 positions are extensions of existing Fall/Winter positions only for Summer 2020.

Finally, please remember to fill the google docs form sent to you for the CUPE 3907 Covid assistance fund. All members are eligible once the form is filled out and sent back to the treasurer/recording secretary.

Remember to be kind to someone and keep washing your hands.

In Solidarity,
 
Yetunde Banjo
President, CUPE Local 3907