Teaching Assistants and Sessional Lecturers at the University of Guelph
This is the repository for all CUPE Local 3913 related documents. The documents you see here may be limited if you are not logged in, depending on your role within the Local. All the documents here are in PDF format and will require a PDF reader such as Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded from the Adobe website.
The Local has two types of Collective Agreements (CAs). We have a CA with the University of Guelph that is divided into two units (Unit 1 and Unit 2) and a CA with the Staff in our office (negotiated with CUPE Local 1281).
Collective Agreements with the University of Guelp
These forms are all internal to the Local and relate to benefits, nominations, or programs/funds that we have negotiated with the employer in collective bargaining.
- Nomination Form (2015)
- Professional Development Reimbursement (Unit 2 only)
- Sessional Lecturer Study/Development Fellowships
- Supplementary Benefits Claim Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
You are member of our Local if you have worked as a Teaching Assistant, Graduate Service Assistant-1, or Sessional Lecturer at any time in the past 12 months. Your membership in the Union lasts for 12 months after your last contract ended. For example: if you were a Teaching Assistant, Graduate Service Assistant-1, or Sessional Lecturer for the Winter 2017 semester and your contract ended on April 20, 2017, you are a member of CUPE 3913 until April 20, 2018
Your membership entitles you to protection under our Collective Agreement and the rights and benefits therein (including access to supplementary health benefits). In order to access claim forms for supplementary health benefits you must log in to this website.
Login & Password
Your login is your Email Address and Your password which was emailed to you. If you don’t remember your password, or have lost it, please click here to create a new one
If you don’t remember the password that was emailed to you, you can reset your password. Simply attempt to login with your Employee Number. A new screen will appear. Click on the “Lost your password?” link. Enter the Employee Number associated with your account and you should receive an email shortly thereafter.
This may be happening because you are either not currently a member or because we have not received an updated version of our membership list from the Employer. We receive bargaining unit lists on the first and second pay dates of each academic semester. We update the membership list after we receive both and send out emails shortly thereafter. If you still haven’t received an email from us after the second pay period of the current semester please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits – Submitting a Claim
You can only see the claim forms once you’ve logged in. They will appear under the Benefits tab.
Eligibility is determined by the bargaining unit of which you’re a member. Members of Unit 1(TAs and GSA-1s) are eligible to claim vision care expenses only up to $300 per academic year (September to August) for themselves, their spouses or partners, and their dependents. They will need to submit claims to GSA first and provide the GSA response with their claim submission to CUPE 3913. Unit 1 members are entitled to $300 of mental health benefits, which is reimbursed at 50% per claim. Submission to GSA first is not needed for mental health claims.
Members of Unit 2(SLs) are eligible to claim any expenses under the Income Tax Act 118.2(2) up to $1000 per academic year (September to August) for themselves, their spouses or partners, and their dependents. The most commonly claimed eligible expenses are dental, prescription drugs, vision care, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic.
Members have benefits coverage up until 1 year after their last work assignment. For example, if your last work assignment was Winter 2020, you would have coverage until the end of Winter 2021 semester and the deadline to submit those claims Sept 15th, 2021.
This is done through the claim process itself. We do not currently have a system in place which allows members to register or identify their spouses/dependants outside of the claims process.
A primary coverage provider is an insurance company, benefits plan, or other means of reimbursement that you use first (and before you seek reimbursement from CUPE Local 3913). Your primary coverage provider is likely different depending on the bargaining unit of which you’re a member. Members of Unit 1 likely use the GSA or CSA as their primary coverage provider. All members of Unit 1 have a primary coverage provider unless you are a part-time student in which case you must submit documentation with your claim confirming your part-time status in the current academic semester. You must submit supporting documents that verify that you have exhausted other providers before your claim will be assessed. Members of Unit 2 may have primary coverage through parents, spouses or partners, from the University of Guelph, or another employer. It is just as likely that members of Unit 2 will not have primary coverage from another source. In a situation where CUPE Local 3913 is the only coverage provider for a Unit 2 member no supporting documents are required. Note: Benefits through CUPE Local 3913 are not “secondary” but “supplemental”. This means that any number of other coverage providers must be exhausted before expenses are submitted to the Local for reimbursement.
If you are a part-time student you must submit documentation with your claim confirming your part-time status in the current academic semester. We apologize for this inconvenience but the lists that we currently receive from the Employer do not contain this information and we have no other way of verifying it.
Make an appointment with the Finance Committee by emailing email@example.com.
Mail your supporting documents to our office with a short note of explanation, including your email address. We will scan your documents and email them to you so that you can complete your claim.
Benefits – General
No. Reimbursement cheques are mailed out shortly after claims are processed (1-2 business days). Your cheque will be mailed to the address you include on your claim form.
For up to date information about the Local’s benefits pool please visit the Benefits Pool page of our website (you must log in to access this page located under the Benefits tab).
Claims from the previous academic year can be submitted up to and including September 15 of the current academic year (if the benefits pool has not been exhausted).
The Finance Committee processes claims on a weekly basis. This means that most reimbursement cheques will be mailed within 2 weeks of the claim submission. Claims which contain errors, missing information, or other issues may take longer to process. Claims will not be processed when the office is closed for holidays (usually from mid-December to the beginning of January).
Contact our Finance Committee directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pension Eligibility for Unit 2 Members
You must have earned 35% of the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE) in each of the two consecutive calendar years just prior to joining the plan. The YMPE changes every year and is set by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This year (2017), the YMPE is $55,300. This means you must make $19,355 in each of the two years directly before joining the plan, which means that at the wage rates outlined in Article 14.01 of the current Collective Agreement, you would have to teach 3 courses at Step 1 for each of the 2 calendar years prior to joining the plan to be eligible.
You need to have taught 3 courses in each of the two consecutive calendar years prior to joining the plan
No matter whether option 1 or 2 applies, you have to have been employed at the University of Guelph (or Guelph-Humber) for at least 24 continuous months prior to joining the plan. An unpaid period of less than 8 moths is still counted as continuous, so if you don’t teach during the summer, that’s okay.
The university should let you know if you’re eligible for the pension plan, but you should still keep track yourself to make sure there aren’t any mistakes. If you think there’s been an error, and you should be in the pension plan but aren’t currently, you should contact the HR Service Associate for your department. If you do not know who the Service Associate for your department is, contact HR Reception at ext. 53374 to inquire.
Your rates of contribution for the pension plan are as follows:
If you make below the YMPE, it’s 7.30% this year, and 7.55% as of Sept. 1st, 2018
If you make above the YMPE, it’s 9% this year, and 9.25% as of Sept. 1st, 2018
Pension contributions can continue during unpaid periods (such as during the summer), but you have to pay double the normal employee pension contributions based on your pensionable earnings rate.
Professional Development Fund (Unit 2)
Harassment: It's not part of the job
Discrimination is differential treatment under prohibited grounds that results in exclusion, denial of rights, or imposition of burdens. Discrimination is prohibited under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Unit 1 and Unit 2 Collective Agreements. The prohibited grounds under the Collective Agreement are:
age, race, indigeneity, creed, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, citizenship, language, religious belief, political affiliation or activity, sex (includes pregnancy), gender identity or expression (including transgender), sexual orientation, personal characteristics, experience of domestic or sexual violence, marital status, family status, same-sex partner status, socio-economic status, class background, mental illness, addiction as articulated in Ontario Human Rights law, record of offences (except where it relates to a bona fide qualification because of the nature of employment), physical handicap or disability (as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code), academic school of thought (subject to Article 21, the instructions of their supervisor, and the University’s right to determine course content), activity in the Union, exercise or non-exercise of any provision or right under the Collective Agreement.
Discrimination includes making stereotypical assumptions about a person and not assessing them based on their skills and abilities. It also includes taking reprisals or threatening reprisals for exercising rights under the Code or the Collective Agreement.
By its nature, discrimination is demeaning. Discriminatory behaviour, whether overt or covert, is a form of harassment. Discriminatory behaviour directed towards one person or group might affect others and create a poisoned workplace. There are also forms of discrimination that are not directly based on individual behaviour, but on rules and practices. These rules and practices sometimes appear neutral, but they exclude or create barriers to individuals with protected grounds. For examples and further information, visit the Ontario Human Rights Commission: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/iii-principles-and-concepts/2-what-discrimination
You have a right to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. If you experience discrimination, document what happened and contact your union representative as soon
as possible. If you are under immediate threat or your safety is at risk, immediately report the incident to your supervisor or campus police and contact your union representative as soon as possible. If your safety is at risk, you have the right to refuse work.
What are the limits for the hours I can work as a GTA, GSA or UTA?
There are regulations in the Collective Agreement (CA) and in the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that protect you from being overworked during a day, a week, or the term of the contract.
Maximum hours that GTA’s, GSA-1’s, and UTA’s are allowed to work.
More than 28 hrs per week is inconsistent with the CA. Usually a full TA position has an average of 10 hrs per week and normally no more than 7 hrs per day. The legal limit under the ESA is 48 hrs per week. Contact CUPE 3913 if you have more than 28 hrs per week.
*²The legal maximum hrs of work per day under the ESA is 8 hours.
The Employment Standards Act (ESA) establishes resting periods that impact how many hours you can work in a day. You must always have at least 11 consecutive hours of rest every day (e.g. You cannot have an exam and marking period scheduled so that you finish marking at midnight and then have to invigilate at 8am the next day). You also need a lunch break every 5 hours.
Keep track of your time!
You are required to discuss with your supervisor (usually your course director) the allocation of your hours of work and sign a document called Assignment of Hours of Work Agreement. If you find that you’re spending more time than expected on a particular duty (e.g. marking, emails) than allocated in your Agreement you have the right to call a meeting with your supervisor to discuss alternatives to ensure that the hours are not exceeded. You also have a right to bring a union rep to the meeting.
There are two solutions to avoid overwork:
- Agree to work more and get paid. If you are willing to put more hours of work you can agree with your supervisor in writing to work more and be compensated for the additional hours of work.
- Reduce the amount of work you are assigned. If you cannot agree to work more hours, it is your supervisor’s responsibility to reschedule your hours and your duties to comply with the CA and the law. Alternatives might include reducing the hours of other duties or having someone else work the additional hours.
The University has a lot of resources while TA’s and GSA’s don’t. Why work for free? Why put more stress on your life? By ensuring that you don’t do unpaid or unwilling overwork, you’re also helping other members get a fair amount of work.
You can talk to fellow TA’s and GSA’s that might be in the same situation and raise it with your supervisor. And you can always contact your steward or union rep at email@example.com