(519) 265-1994
membership@cupe3913.on.ca

Teaching Assistants and Sessional Lecturers at the University of Guelph

Documents

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.

Please click here to download.

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
Unit 1

Unit 2

These links represent information that we feel the members of our Local would benefit from reviewing or, as in the case of the CUPE Constitution, are documents that govern the Local’s Bylaws or other policies and procedures at the Local.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Membership

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 benefits@cupe3913.on.ca.

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.

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.

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).

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.
OR:
You need to have taught 3 courses in each of the two consecutive calendar years prior to joining the plan
AND,
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)

CA Language 
Appendix CProfessional Development Reimbursement Fund 
 
On an annual basis commencing in September of each year, the University will make available a 
professional development fund of $35,000. The purpose of this fund is to offset costs to the Sessional 
Lecturer to participate in academic conferences/seminars or to purchase materials in support of their 
professional/academic development. A Sessional Lecturer is entitled to such reimbursement to a 
maximum of $400 once per semester and subject to the availability of funds (total reimbursement for 
all Bargaining Unit members cannot exceed the amount available per year). In addition, any remaining 
funds may be transferred from one year to the next. Reimbursement to the allowable maximum is made 
upon receipt of original receipts detailing expenses. For more information visit 
http://www.uoguelph.ca/vpacademic/facultyrelations/sessional-reimbursement.php. 
 
Academic conferences/seminars expenses, including travel expenses and registration; materials related 
to professional/academic development, including books, workshops, and computers. Note that books 
and other materials used as part of your work assignment must be covered by the Department, not by 
this fund. 
 
The coverage is very broad. As long as it can be justified as a conference/seminar or a material it can 
be claimed 
Up to $400 per person per academic semester subject to availability of the fund. If people apply for 
more expenses than the fund can cover, the amount each person receives is reduced. 
 
How disbursement works? 
Every year the University must set aside a fund with $35,000 to be distributed throughout the academic 
year (Sept-Aug). Any remaining amounts are made available for the next year. The amount available 
for they year is divided in three semesters. Each 1/3 is used to pay the claims during a semester. If the 
claims exceed the amount in the fund for the semester, the amount each claim receives is pro-rated to 
the amount in the fund. 
The $400 are not carried forward from one semester to the next. However, if an expense during a 
semester exceeds $400 or the maximum available amount, it can be carried forward for the next two 
semesters. For instance, if you travel to a conference and present receipts totalling $800 in the Fall, you 
will be paid $400. The outstanding $400 can be submitted in the Winter. Note that you need to 
re-submit your claim. 
 
You will get a cheque in your department or a direct deposit in your bank account. 
 
Submission Deadlines 
    Fall Semester Deadline: February 1 
    Winter Semester Deadline: June 1 
    Summer Semester Deadline: October 1 
 
Present original receipts detailing expenses to the University’s Expense Claim System here:
https://www.uoguelph.ca/finance/departments-services/treasury-operations/travel-expense-claims 
Claims must be made for the semester in which the expense took place. 
 
The manual with the steps for submitting the application in the Expense Claim System is here:
https://www.uoguelph.ca/facultyrelations/system/files/Guide%20to%20Submitting%20CUPE%203913
%20Sessional%20Lecturer%20PDR%20Claims%20through%20ECS%2020190501.pdf 
 
The employer’s information about the fund is here: 
https://www.uoguelph.ca/facultyrelations/tas-sessionals/sessional-lecturer-pdr 
 

UHIP questions

In the 90’s, the Ontario conservative government excepted international students from OHIP, the public 
provincial insurance plan that everyone else in Ontario uses to access healthcare. International students 
have been required since to pay for their insurance, which is administrated by a private provider. 
UHIP is automatically paid when you pay your tuition. The University will send you a card. You can 
get more information here: 
https://www.uoguelph.ca/cip/incoming-exchange/pre-arrival-information/health-and-dental-insurance/u
hip-university-health 
 
The Union negotiated a fund to offset the UHIP premium. It’s working is described in the Collective 
Agreement. 
19.01University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) 
 
(a)The University shall provide, on an annual basis (first week of September) a $100,000 pool 
for the purpose of reimbursement offset of the premium costs under the SunLife UHIP plan for 
international students who are employees in either of the two Bargaining Units who have 
opted to participate in the plan. The maximum reimbursement amount available to be paid to 
an employee will not exceed the premium costs paid by the employee. FASR will 
facilitate confirmation and disbursement of the pool following the second pay in each of the 
three semesters. Prior to electronic reimbursement, via payroll, FASR will provide notification 
to the Union of the names and applicable amounts of offset-reimbursement to be provided to 
eligible members. Any remaining portion of the pool shall be carried 
forward, during the life of the Agreement, to the subsequent year for allocation in that year. 
 
(b)The University will administer the reimbursement process, without need for application by 
members, and in a timely manner. The Parties agree to adjust the manner in which the pool is 
allocated through mutual agreement. The employee’s paycheque will clearly indicate when a 
UHIP reimbursement has been paid out. Management will report to the Union on the amount 
dispersed, the names of the employees, and the remaining balance in the pool, on a 
semesterly basis
It depends on how much you paid, how many people applied to the fund, and how much money is in 
the fund to be allocated. 
 
When will I get the money? 
You will receive two disbursements. First, after the second pay in the first semester when you received 
your first work assignment in the year and at the end of the academic year, in the summer term. The 
payment is usually sent during the second month of the semester. 
International students pay UHIP through the University. The University produces a list of every 
bargaining unit member (Unit 1 or Unit 2) who has paid UHIP and divides the money in the fund 
($100,000 every year since F’16). Since people become bargaining unit members at different times in 
the year, dividing the fund equally is not so simple. Management divides the fund in three for the Fall, 
Winter and Summer to ensure that there is money for everyone. People get an initial disbursement 
when they receive a work assignment for the first time and a top up based on any amount left in the 
fund in the summer semester. 
 
For instance, people who have a work assignment in the Fall get paid a portion in the Fall, nothing in 
the Winter (even if they work in the Winter), and a top up in the summer. People who get their first 
assignment of the year in the Winter do not get money in the Fall, get their first portion in the Winter 
and the top up in the summer. 
 
Your UHIP refund appears as a negative deduction in your payslip. You would get the money after the 
second pay in the semester.
Primary health care such as doctor visits, staying in the hospital, medication while hospitalized, 
surgery, diagnostic tests and other hospital services. Visit the UHIP website for more information: 
https://uhip.ca/ 
As a student you are enrolled in the GSA extended health benefits: 
https://www.uoguelph.ca/gsa/gsa-services/health-and-dental-plan. You also have access to the CUPE 
3913 Benefits Fund: https://cupe3913.on.ca/benefits/ 
 

Harassment: It's not part of the job

Harassment is offensive behaviour that a reasonable person would consider unwelcome. 
Harassment may include behaviour that is humiliating, insulting, hostile, aggressive, intimidating, 
coercive, abusive and/or threatening. If the target of harassment considers the behaviour offensive and 
unwelcome, and a reasonable person would anticipate that response, the behaviour is harassment. The 
effect on the target of harassment, not the intent of the harasser, defines harassment. “I didn’t mean to 
offend” or “it was meant as a joke” is not a legitimate defense.
Excluding or isolating someone. 
Spreading malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo. 
Persistently criticizing, demeaning or ridiculing a person. 
Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s work. 
Blocking applications for work assignments, leaves, or training 
Verbal threats or abuse. 
Physical threats or assault. 
Calling someone derogatory names. 
Teasing or joking about a person. 
Hazing or pranks. 
Displaying offensive posters, cartoons, images or other visuals. 
Making aggressive or threatening gestures. 
Unwelcome invitations or requests. 
Vandalizing or hiding personal belongings or work equipment. 
Unwelcome physical contact. 
Publicly ridiculing or disciplining. 
A supervisor, manager, board member or other employer representative. 
A co-worker or colleague. 
A student or parent 
A contractor, community member or other visitor or member of the public coming into the 
University. 
One person or a number of people. 
 
Harassment is illegal under the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA), the Ontario Human Rights 
Code (OHRC), the CUPE 3913 Unit 1 and Unit 2 Collective Agreements, and is prohibited under the 
University of Guelph’s Human Rigths PolicyWorkplace Harassment Prevention Policy, and 
Workplace Violence Policy. 
 
The University of Guelph has a legal responsibility to maintain a safe and harassment-free workplace 
for you as a Sessional Lecutrer, TA and GSA. They must: 
Do everything they can to prevent harassment, and not ignore the signs. 
Protect workers, investigate, and follow up when they become aware of harassment. 
The University of Guelph campus and/or the University of Guelph-Humber is your workplace, but 
“workplace” also includes any situation or place related to the workplace, such as training sessions, 
social gatherings organized or related to the University, work travel, work email, or other work-related 
situations. If you are a student, you also have recourse against harassment under the Ontario Human 
Rights Code and the student code of conduct. 
The University has various internal complaint mechanisms handled by HR, Faculty Relations, and the 
Diversity and Human Rights office. However, they are not independent processes and you will not 
have support. Your union staff representative can advise you of your options and enforce the relevant 
regulations. 
A wide range of behaviour falls under harassment, including, spreading malicious rumours, abuse of 
managerial authority, persistent teasing, or assaults. It all counts. CUPE Local 3913 has the resources 
to advise, support and/or represent members concerned with harassment free of charge. 
If you experience harassment, 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. 
 
 
*This material has been adapted from “Stop Harassment: A Guide for CUPE Locals”, 
https://cupe.ca/stop-harassment-guide-cupe-locals-1

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.

Resting periods

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 questions@cupe3913.on.ca

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