Resources

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships are placements for students engaged in research and/or field development projects that contribute to their academic and professional development. Under the Collective Agreement, full-time OISE graduate students are eligible to be considered for Graduate Assistantships. 

All graduate assistants at OISE are members of CUPE3907, and have access to benefits, including a Top-up Health and Dental Plan.

A full Graduate Assistantship (GAs) shall normally cover the period from September to April.

All students who meet the criteria bellow will be included in Group A and will be offered a Graduate Assistantship. Group A students include:

  • Students in a Ph.D. program for the first four (4) years of the program;
  • Students in the M.A. program (excluding the M.A. in Child Study, and the Masters of Teaching [M.T.]) for the first year in the program;
  • Students in the M.A. in School and Clinical Child Psychology for the first two (2) years of the program;
  • Students in the School and Clinical Child Psychology at OISE who then go on to pursue the Ph.D. at OISE, for the first three (3) years of the Ph.D. program.

Students who meet the criteria above, but are full-time employees at the University of Toronto or elsewhere, are ineligible to be considered for graduate assistantships. Full time employment is defined as 35 hours per week, or where different, the number of hours specified in an employee’s contract as full time employment.

Group B students includes other full time graduate students not covered by Group A including:

  • Students in the Ed.D. program;
  • Students in the M.Ed. program.
  • Students who are enrolled or will be enrolled full-time in an M.Ed. will be eligible to be considered for assistantships for the first two (2) years of their program. Students who are enrolled full-time in a Masters program with a two (2) year residence requirement will be eligible to be considered for the first three (3) years of their program.
  • Students who are enrolled or will be enrolled full-time in a doctoral program will be eligible to be considered for assistantships for the first five (5) years of their program.

A “Flex-time” Ph.D. student shall be eligible for consideration as a member of Group B under section 14:02 for one regular academic session during their program of study. In order to assess eligibility, the student must provide the following information, in writing, accompanying their application:

  1. Confirmation from their supervisor that they will be pursuing studies on a full-time basis, and
  2. Confirmation that they will not be working full-time.

** Graduate students holding a combination of scholarships fellowships, OISE-arranged teaching assistantships, OISE-arranged course instructorships, and/or research assistantships greater than or equal to the value of a full graduate assistantship during the academic year (September-August), are not eligible for a graduate assistantship.

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

Hours of Work

A Graduate Assistantship will be one hundred and 120 hours’ over one term, or 240 hours over two terms.T he hours of work referred to in a letter of appointment shall be the total number of hours over the entire period of employment.

The employee and immediate supervisor shall have a mutual responsibility to ensure that the hours of work specified in the offer of employment are neither exceeded nor reduced.

All duties required, expressly or by implication, shall be included in the calculation of hours worked. The immediate supervisor, or Chair if necessary, shall meet with the employee to discuss hours and work assignments as soon as possible and no later than 10 working days after the job has been assigned. It shall be the responsibility of the supervisor to specify in appropriate detail the manner in which assigned duties are to be performed.

Work will not normally be assigned beyond the end of the contract; that is, the end of the relevant term, provided that the GA has been available to undertake the assigned GAship during the course of the term. The GA and the supervisor may reach an agreement to complete work assigned in a different time frame, which will be made in writing, and signed by both the GA and supervisor.

Salary 

As of September 1, 2020: $54.12/hour – 2020 Academic Year (September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021)

All Assistantships shall have an additional four percent (4%) added for vacation pay. Vacation pay shall be calculated, identified separately, and included as part of an employee’s regular monthly salary payment.

Accessing your paystub

Group A Only Fall/Winter Hiring Process

Group A job descriptions will be posted for a minimum period of 10 working days commencing as follows:

  • Late May for Graduate Assistants who begin their assistantships in the Fall term;
  • Early November for Graduate Assistants who begin their assistantships in the Winter term; and

Each job description will indicate: 

  • a commitment to accessibility during the application and hiring process,
  • whether the work is to be performed in OISE buildings or elsewhere,
  • if evening and/or weekend work is required,
  • the name of the supervisor, and
  • the hiring department.

Graduate assistants may apply for and rank in order of preference up to 5 positions. The online application will include a resume and a rationale for applying to each position.

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. The GA Online Job Posting system will match faculty and graduate assistants based on their indicated preference. Graduate assistants will indicate their acceptance of these assignments by signing the online Graduate Assistantship Contract.

All successful matches will be notified in writing at the earliest possible date, typically

  • On or before the first week of September for positions commencing in the Fall term; and
  • On or before the first week of January for positions commencing in the Winter term.

Group B Only – Fall/Winter GA Hiring Process

The Employer shall post at least 45 positions to Group B in the Regular Academic session. Students can check out OISE Student Employment page for upcoming opportunities and deadlines.

Group B job descriptions will be posted for a minimum period of 10 working days commencing as follows:

  • Mid July for Graduate Assistants who begin their assistantships in the Fall term;
  • Early November for Graduate Assistants who begin their assistantships in the Winter
    term; and

Each job description will indicate:

  • a commitment to accessibility during the application and hiring process,
  • whether the work is to be performed in OISE buildings or elsewhere,
  • if evening and/or weekend work is required
  • the name of the supervisor, and
  • the hiring department.

Graduate Assistants may apply for and rank in order of preference up to 5 positions. The online application will include a resume and a rationale for applying to each position.

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. The evidence to be considered in judging applications shall be limited to the applicant’s resume, rationale for applying, the student’s academic file and any evaluation, per Article 19, of the student’s performance as a graduate student.

Graduate Assistants will indicate their acceptance of these assignments by signing the online Graduate Assistantship Contract.

All successful matches will be notified in writing at the earliest possible date, typically

  • On or before the first week of September for positions commencing in the Fall term; and
  • On or before the first week of January for positions commencing in the Winter
    term.

Summer GA Hiring Process

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. Students can check out OISE Student Employment page for upcoming opportunities and deadlines.

Leaves of Absence

Under the Collective Agreement, all members of CUPE 3907 are entitled to bereavement leaves, compassionate leaves, sick leaves, and leaves for serious illness/hospitalization. This page provides a basic summary of leaves available to all members. 

If you have more questions about Graduate Assistantships, check out our Graduate Assistantship FAQ

Top-Up Benefit Plan

Plan Year runs from September 1st to August 31st. Plans are non-contributory (100% U of T paid). If you are a member of CUPE 3907 and are employed for at least one term; then you are eligible for coverage under the CUPE 3907 top-up benefit plan.

Plan status and dependent eligibility is based on Student Plan enrollment each year. CUPE 3907 members do not need to do anything to enroll. You coverage will begin once Green Shield Canada (GSC) receives the information that you are eligible under your CUPE 3907 appointment. This will be late October/early November each year.

Eligible employees enrolled under the student plan will be eligible for coverage under the CUPE 3907 Health Care Plan A – Top-up + HCSA

  • You can access the most up-to-date Benefit Booklet online through your Green Shield Canada account.
  • The individual HCSA is worth $300/year. The Family HCSA has a value of $600/year.

Eligible employees who have opted out of the UTGSU plans will participate in the CUPE 3907 Health Care Plan B – HCSA only plan

  • You will only be eligible for coverage under the $300 HCSA-only plan regardless of whether you have eligible spouse/partner or dependent children

The Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) is like a bank account that you can use to pay for eligible health and dental expenses not fully covered by your group benefits plan or your provincial health plan. It also covers a wide range of health and dental expenses such as medical equipment, drugs and medications, eyeglasses, paramedical practitioners and orthodontic expenses, as well as co-payments or deductibles. This form, created by Green Shield Canada, shows eligible expenses under your Health Care Spending Account.

How to submit

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. 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)

Before submitting a claim for the first time, here are 3 things to remember:

  • Use your name as it appears on your student /UOFT enrollment, and include your current  address
  • Submit first under your GSU plan. Your Top-up Plan is the secondary payer.
  • Keep a copy of receipts and the explanation of benefits for co-ordination purposes. Green Shield Canada (GSC) conducts routine audits of online submitted claims. If you are chosen for an audit, your claim will not be paid until you provide these items as proof of payment and/or reimbursement.

Top-Up Plan FAQ – have a question about your CUPE 3907 Health Care top-up plan? Check here first for an answer!

Financial Assistance Fund

Based on our Collective Agreement, the Employer has agreed to pay an amount of $45,000 to continue the Financial Assistance Fund administered by the Union. This amount will be pro-rated between the 8-month employees and the 4-month employees.

CUPE 3907 members will receive an email with details on how to apply to benefits from the Financial Assistance Fund. The Fund can only be used for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance, on an objective basis, to CUPE 3907 members.

The Financial Assistance Fund will be distributed to applicants who apply in of the following categories:

University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) Rebate Fund

The amount of money you receive as a partial rebate for your UHIP fees will depend on the total amount of applicants and the number of single or family premiums paid.

In order to apply for a UHIP rebate you must be registered at OISE as an International Student. You must provide, with your application, a copy of your UHIP Card for the current Academic year and your ACORN Status.

Child Care Expense Fund

In order to apply for money from the Child Care Expense Fund you must provide proof of expenses which would be considered eligible under the Canada Revenue Guidelines for Child Care Expenses with your original application.

Eligible expenses will only include the following types of expenses:

  • caregivers providing child care services;
  • day nursery schools and daycare centres;
  • educational institutions, for the part of the fees that relate to child care services (you cannot claim the part of the fees that relate to education costs, such as tuition fees of a regular program or a sports study program)
  • day camps and day sports schools where the primary goal of the camp is to care for children (an institution offering a sports study program is not a sports school); or
  • boarding schools, overnight sports schools, or camps where lodging is involved

You cannot claim payments for medical or hospital care, clothing, or transportation costs. Also, you cannot claim fees paid for leisure or recreational activities, such as tennis lessons or the annual registration fees paid for Scouts.

The child must have been living with you. An eligible child is:

  • Under 16 years of age at some point during the period or was dependent on you due to mental or physical infirmities
  • Your child or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child; or 
  • a child who was dependent on you or your spouse or common-law partner, and whose net income in 2019 was $12,069 or less.
  • If you paid for child care services provided by an individual, the individual cannot be:
  • the child’s father or mother;
  • a person under 18 years of age who is related to you.

A person is related to you if he or she is connected to you by a blood relationship, marriage or common-law partnership, or adoption. For example, your brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child are related to you. However, your niece, nephew, aunt, and uncle are not.

Hardship Fund

Members may apply for financial assistance to deal with situations which are not claimed by the UHIP Rebate Fund or the Child Care Expense Fund. You must provide receipts or supporting documents for your claim.

  1. A brief written explanation outlining the circumstances of the expenses incurred, including why they were necessary. It is in your interest to provide receipts.
  2. Eligible expenses may include emergency expenses resulting from theft, fire, or similar unexpected events (e.g. travel due to sudden death in the family, sudden illness and hospitalization etc.).
  3. They may also include one-time expenses and documented short-falls or balances incurred in costs including vision, dental or health care which are not covered by the dental and health plan of the Graduate Students’ Union.
  4. A written budget demonstrating the need for assistance funds. Normally, this budget will be a breakdown of monthly income and expenses. Income should include not only your income from all sources, but if applicable, income which is part of your household income from a parent or spouse or other similar person.
  5. Expense items on the budget will reflect regular living expenses/bills, and may include expense categories such as:
  • Monthly Rent/Mortgage payments
  • Education (Tuition, Text Books, etc.)
  • Transportation (TTC, Gas, car maintenance etc.)
  • Food/Clothing
  • Entertainment
  • Credit Card/Loan Payments
  • Utilities (e.g. Hydro)
  • Phone
  • Cable& Internet
  • Childcare (Baby-sitting, Extra-curricular activities, etc.)
  • Other expenses (e.g. recurring prescription medication not fully covered by insurance, out of pocket (non-insurance covered) dental and eye care etc.)

Grievances

A grievance is a complaint about something the employer did or did not do:

  • A violation of the collective agreement
  • A violation of federal or provincial employment-related laws.
  • When the employer changes the way they apply collective agreement language.

Article 11 of our Collective Agreement describes how the union and the employer have agreed to handle grievances. It describes how the grievance procedure works, the number of steps, the time limits at each step and who deals with grievances at each step.

Contact your Department Steward or the Chief Steward to determine whether the problem you are experiencing is a violation of the collective agreement and how to go about solving it.

Types of Grievances

Individual grievance: The union files a grievance on behalf of an individual employee.
Examples: a worker gets disciplined.

Group grievance: The union files a grievance on behalf of a group of members affected in the same way and at the same time by an action the employer has taken.
Examples: the employer does not let a group of members take family leave, even though the collective agreement says they can.

Policy/Union grievance: The union files a grievance because the employer did or did not do something that could have an impact on all workers covered by the collective agreement. This is usually a general (rather than individual) complaint.
Examples: the employer is not letting union members know about vacant positions, or the employer is not submitting union dues.

Suspension or Discharge grievance: The Union files a grievance in the case of an employee who has been suspended or discharged. 

Employer grievance: Employers can also allege the union has violated the collective agreement. Employer grievances are unusual. If you get one, seek advice from your local president, chief steward or staff representative.

Timelines

Our collective agreement describes the deadlines for all the steps in the grievance procedure. These deadlines (or timelines) are very important.

Contact your Department Steward or the Chief Steward to determine whether the problem you are experiencing is a violation of the collective agreement and how to go about solving it.