Frequently asked questions

How do Professional Development days work?


You are entitled to ten (10) days per year. At least five (5) days may be taken consecutively. ARTICLE 11 in the Collective agreement has more detailed information regarding PD days. Professional development may include but not be limited to: - Learning new knowledge or skills associated with courses that you are currently teaching and/or future courses. - Maintaining your knowledge base; update your knowledge or skills; keep abreast with developments in your discipline or skills area. -Learning new computer programs or participating in IT training which may enhance your course delivery.  Doing a literature search at a library. -Reading books or articles. -Reading or reviewing new books, or new editions of books, in your discipline or skills area. -Attending a seminar, webinar, course, workshop or professional development events.  Reflecting on and analyzing a critical incident. -Writing a paper, book review or proposal. -Ongoing research or requirements of practice. -Educational practice, theories, skills and developments, including learnercentred or other education methodologies.




Do I need to report my Attendance on a weekly basis?


All Conestoga College employees are now entrusted to maintain their own attendance reporting. In the past, your attendance record was maintained by support staff based on either verbal or paper requests. The Union believes that this old procedure was less timely and could be prone to misrepresentation of the actual facts. This attendance reporting procedure was presented to the Union Local and the president of Local 237 has participated in the attendance reporting pilot since May 2010. The Union believes the new attendance reporting system can be more accurate and up-to-date when an individual controls his/her own records. - The self-report takes no more than 5 minutes a week to complete. - It can be done at any computer whether you are on or off campus. If you forget to sign-off on a Friday, an email notice will be sent to your individual Conestoga College mailbox on Monday, reminding you to verify that you need to sign-off whether you were on vacation or ill during that week. Once you sign-off, the Chair will accept the report and lock it. The main benefit for academic employees is that it provides you with up-to-date vacation and sick day information. It also gives you greater control because you can instantly and easily check on your banked vacation days, make changes to planned vacation days, and book your 10 PD days. Attendance reporting by the individual is used in other institutions, businesses, and agencies. It allows the user greater access to the data about his/her vacation and sick credits.




What are the responsibilities of the coordinator?


Our current collective agreement uses approximately 50 words to describe the role, responsibilities, and limitations of coordinators (Article 14.03 A 3). Beyond teaching, coordinators “... are required to provide academic leadership in the coordination of courses and/or programs. Coordinators report to the academic manager who assigns their specific duties. It is understood that coordinators do not have responsibility for the disciplining of teachers in the bargaining unit. It is not the intention of the Colleges to require employees to accept the designation of coordinator against their wishes.” Take a look at the Coorindator information under member information related to your employment status. We have a helpful form that might help you understand some of the tasks that you may be asigned in advance of taking on the coorinator role.




How to I interact with a difficult supervisor?


Good managers know how to have conversations with employees that leave both parties on a collegial footing and able to continue working together. In a conversation with your manager, use charge‐neutral language. This is a dispassionate yet personal way of speaking that avoids putting people on the defensive. Careful choice of words and a neutral tone of voice keep communication safe for all concerned. Stick to facts rather than emotions, and speak of principles rather than personalities. In looking at this we start with the proposition that Article 6 of the Collective Agreement gives management the right to manage, and that includes the right to manage badly. However, we all know that bad management leads to other problems. Micromanaging, requiring you to report everything you do to the manager, rigid controls that disregard your professional judgment and discretion, and bureaucratic procedures that waste time and accomplish nothing useful — these are all examples of inept management that gets in the way of you doing your work efficiently. This kind of behavior does not necessarily violate the Collective Agreement. But there are ways to deal with it: -  Try to record, via email, your communications with this type of manager, and keep a dated note of oral communications. A hardbound notebook is great for keeping track of who said what, and when. -  Ask the manager to confirm by email or in writing any order or demand that appears particularly inappropriate and/or unnecessary. - If you are called into a meeting where it appears the manager is levelling criticism, ask if this matter is disciplinary. If the manager says it is, or is evasive, tell him or her that you are entitled to union representation and ask to adjourn the meeting until a union rep can be present. If the manager refuses, that refusal may be grievable as an interference with your rights under the Collective Agreement. If the manager says the meeing is NOT disciplinary, but then proceeds to harshly criticize your work, keep calm, and write up detailed notes about that conversation afterward. It’s also okay to tell the manager you need some time to respond to these criticisms. - At some point, a manager’s obtrusiveness or negative behavior may amount to workplace bullying or harassment, and as such is grievable under Article 4 of the Collective Agreement, though merely providing occasional feedback on your work does not constitute harassment. Frequency, tone and attitude make the difference. Report any behavior that you think is inappropriate, annoying, or hinders you in doing your work efficiently and effectively to your area steward or other local union representative.




What is a Grievance?





How can I find something in the Collective Agreement?


The Collective Agreement has a handy Table of Contents and an Index for most major items, both in the print version and the online version. You can also use the PDF search tool to find items in the electronic version.




What are the Job Classifications at Conestoga College?


Full-Time -Thirteen to eighteen contact hours per week -Workload is governed by Article 11 - Full Benefits Partial Load - Six to Twelve contact hours per week - Workload is governed by Article 26 - Partial Benefits ( see Article 26) Sessional - EXCLUDED from the CAAT (A) Bargaining Unit - Described in Article V of the Collective Agreement - Full-time employee appointed on a sessional basis for up to a 12 month period or noncontinuous accumulated employment in a 24 calendar month period - May be released upon two weeks’ notice and shall resign giving two weeks’ notice - No maximum number of teaching hours (13 and above) - No benefits Part Time - EXCLUDED from the CAAT (A) Bargaining Unit - Described in Article VI of the Collective Agreement - Under six Teaching Contact hours - No benefits - Each full month of part-time employment is given a credit of ¼ month service




What is a Modified Workload Agreement?


Modified Workloads are agreements that are designed to help the managers of full-time profs schedule classes for which the workload might vary significantly from week to week over the course of a semester, and for which a SWF that required consistent weekly workload might therefore present an obstacle to effective scheduling. The wording of Article 11.09 it implies that a standard SWF (article 11.01) will consistently estimate the total amount of workload (no more, no less) for each teaching week. Faculty know this to be untrue if one takes into account the workload involved with orientation weeks, versus examination weeks, versus teaching weeks versus teaching/marking weeks. The standard SWF is an estimated average of total workload spread over one semester of teaching. For more information see the Full-Time Member information page




My supervisor insists that my non-contact day should be used for College work, as it is part of the teaching week. Is this true?


No. Article 11.01 K 2 – “Weekly contact hours assigned to a teacher by the College may be scheduled into fewer than five contact days and such compressed schedule shall be deemed to be five contact days.” (underlining added here to stress the significance of the phrase) A non-contact day is a day that has no timetabled teaching hours. Any work performed on a non-contact day is voluntary and cannot be assigned. A Vacation Day is not necessary to cover a non-contact day because with a compressed schedule it is "deemed to be five contact days," according to the Collective Agreement. In other words the teacher has completed a full week of work, in less than five days. You can choose or not choose to: · Do preparations for class, evaluation, attend meetings, and perform coordinator duties at your own pace, and in your own place (see additional references, article 11.01 G 1 below), on non-contact days. · Attend a meeting on a non-contact day or schedule ad-hoc meetings for yourself. · Receive or respond to work related telephone calls. Get call display at home -- your supervisor has it at work. · Receive or respond to work related emails at your own pace, and in your own place, on non-contact days. ADDITIONAL REFERENCES Note the word “shall” in the articles below: “Shall” is treated as a mandatory directive (it must happen) in contract language. - 11.01 G 1 “Where preparation, evaluation, feedback to students and complementary functions can be appropriately performed outside the College, scheduling shall be at the discretion of the teacher, subject to the requirement to meet appropriate deadlines established by the College.” Additional References: Articles 11.01 G 1, Article 11.01 K 2, Article 11.01 K 4, Article 11.01 L 3, and Article 15.01 B Participating in PDEV workshops, including E3, is encouraged but are NOT included in the 10 PD allowance; they are in addition to the allowance. PD days are not carried over to a new academic year. Therefore, faculty should discuss them with their Chair/Supervisor and booked them on the portal before Aug. 31st. Discrimination & Harassment Prevention Policy: https://cms.conestogac.on.ca/sites/www/Shared%20Documents/Policies%20and%20Procedures/HR/Discrimination%20and%20Harassment%20Prevention%20Procedure%20-%20Complaints%20Against%20Students.pdf Discrimination & Harassment Prevention Procedure Link to the procedure In addition, below are the links to the forms: Complaint Against Employee Form: https://cms.conestogac.on.ca/sites/www/Shared%20Documents/Policies%20and%20Procedures/HR/Discrimination%20and%20Harassment%20Prevention%20Procedure%20-%20Complaints%20Against%20Employees.pdf Complaint Against Student Form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=OjndTYrpBESEH8S-zdklpf5nGFMgpKdKtzOOJRZJvUZUQkQwMVdaN0xLTFlCR0ZTQ1o2MENCNFdDMCQlQCN0PWcu




I received a SWF to teach in the May and June period. Do I have to do this work?


Yes. Under the Collective Agreement, you can be obligated to teach a maximum of: - thirty-six (36) weeks if you are in a post-secondary program - thirty-eight (38) weeks if you are in a post-secondary program. At least one person in your program will be required to teach (contact hours, preparation , evaluation) for the College to justify converting the “non-teaching” period into a “teaching period”, which makes the period SWB-able. After your applicable maximum teaching weeks, the College can ask you to continue teaching even up to the end of June. You can claim overtime for these hours, or you can disagree with the teaching assignment. See below for a more detailed description of your rights and responsibilities. The period from when the teaching weeks in your Program are finished to the last week of June is called the “Non Teaching Period.” The “typical” non-teaching period is described in Article 11.08 below. 11.08 In keeping with the professional responsibility of the teacher, non-teaching periods are used for activities initiated by the teacher and by the College as part of the parties’ mutual commitment to professionalism, the quality of education and professional development. Such activities will be undertaken by mutual consent and agreement will not be unreasonably withheld. Such activities will neither be recorded nor scheduled except as in accordance with 11.01 G 1. 11.01 G 1 Where preparation, evaluation, feedback to students and complementary functions can be appropriately performed outside the College, scheduling shall be at the discretion of the teacher,subject to the requirement to meet appropriate deadlines established by the College. For More information look at Workload under member information




I have been offered a contract to develop new course and program designs. Can I do this?


Not Recommended. Both you and the College are stepping outside the protection and boundaries of the Collective Agreement, specifically Articles 01 and 11. · The Faculty Union will grieve the College for contravening Article 1 of the Collective Agreement (through you). · If you find that for whatever reason, you are dissatisfied with the recognition of your work either in unrealized time off or payment shortfalls, for example, the Faculty Union cannot support you because you are outside the protection of Article 11. Accepting extra work that is not SWF’d is taking work away from other members in your Bargaining Unit, either present or un-hired at this point. Members who accept this kind of arrangement are weakening their own department, which could otherwise justify the possibility of hiring a new permanent Faculty member, thus evening the load of the teaching assignments more appropriately. You are potentially contravening the Income Tax Act. A separate agreement for outside work with the College is NOT deemed at arm’s length by Revenue Canada. Revenue Canada will impose a tax on the proceeds of your agreement at your College salaried rate of taxation. This has happened before with employees at the College, and Revenue Canada watches for such non-arm’s length agreements.




Should I get development time on my SWF to develope an online course or Remote version of my course?





I am teaching 12 hours weekly (seven (7) to twelve (12) house teaching load is designated as Partial Load). I also perform co-ordinator duties. Co-ordinator duties are full-time. Should I be classified, and compensated, as Full-Time Faculty?


“A 2018 arbitrator’s ruling clarified a section of our Collective Agreement, and might have significance for partial-load employees who do coordinator work at Seneca College. Arbitrator Jasbir Parmar looked at the workload of two Partial-Load faculty members at St. Lawrence College who were teaching 12 hours weekly and also performing co-ordinator duties. She determined that, despite being on “Partial Load” contracts, they were effectively performing Full-Time workloads. As a consequence, the arbitrator determined that they ought to be classified as “Sessional” faculty. Parmar then applied Article 2.03C (and Appendix V) of our Collective Agreement, which states that if a Sessional position is extended beyond one full academic year in a 24-month period, it shall be reclassified as a “regular full-time position”. In short, the arbitrator handed Full-Time positions to two Partial-Load professors because they had been teaching as well as performing non-teaching academic duties, such that their workload constituted a Full-Time workload for more than one full academic year in a two-year period. This ruling has potential to provide significant reward to Partial-Load faculty whose work history aligns with that identified in this recent arbitrator’s ruling.




What if I experience harassment or discrimination?


This is somethig we hope no one will experience at Conestoga, but if you feel like you are experiencing harassment or discrimination please reach out to the Local and consult the links below for more information. Discrimination & Harassment Prevention Policy: https://cms.conestogac.on.ca/sites/www/Shared%20Documents/Policies%20and%20Procedures/HR/Discrimination%20and%20Harassment%20Prevention%20Procedure%20-%20Complaints%20Against%20Students.pdf Discrimination & Harassment Prevention Procedure Link to the procedure In addition, below are the links to the forms: Complaint Against Employee Form: https://cms.conestogac.on.ca/sites/www/Shared%20Documents/Policies%20and%20Procedures/HR/Discrimination%20and%20Harassment%20Prevention%20Procedure%20-%20Complaints%20Against%20Employees.pdf Complaint Against Student Form: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=OjndTYrpBESEH8S-zdklpf5nGFMgpKdKtzOOJRZJvUZUQkQwMVdaN0xLTFlCR0ZTQ1o2MENCNFdDMCQlQCN0PWcu




What are the categories of contract work in the College system?


If you regularly teach 6 hours or less per week, then you are “part-time”. If you teach between 7 and 12 hours per week, then you are “partial-load”. If you teach more than 12 hours per week, then you are sessional. Collectively, these faculty members are called ‘contract faculty’. At this time, only partial-load faculty are part of the bargaining unit. In October of 2017, there was a vote to include part-time and sessional faculty in the bargaining unit. The ballots were sent to the Ministry of Labour. They have yet to be counted, because the College Employer Council (the bargaining agent which represents the Colleges) has had their lawyers challenge who was eligible to vote and who was not. Our lawyers have been countering their arguments. This has gone on for 3.5 years. At the last update, over 6000 names had been challenged. We hope the ballots are counted soon.




What is the Partial-Load Registry and how does it work?


The Partial-Load Registry was one of the gains from our 2017 strike. It is a registry (which you must sign up for every year, no matter your current contract status) which documents how many months of service you have accrued. Months of service are counted by the following criteria: prior to 2017, for every month that you were partial-load and worked 30 hours or more, you accrued half a month of service. Since the strike, for every month that you were partial-load and worked 30 hours or more, you accrued one month of service. When your manager is assigning work, the faculty who have taught that particular course within the last four years and have more service credits are entitled to be offered that course first.




Do contract faculty receive benefits?


If you are partial-load, then you are eligible for employer-paid health benefits. For a detailed explanation of the benefits to which you are entitled, please visit your College’s HR site. Please make sure to opt-in to the benefits as soon as HR sends you the package. Employee-paid benefits are also available, such as dental and vision coverage, but must be opted-in during your first contract, within 30 days of loss of another coverage, or after 6 months out of partial-load status.




My contract has ended, and I have not started another one. What happens to my benefits (Extended Health, Vision, Hearing, Critical Illness/Catastrophic Event, Dental)


You can bridge group insurance benefits under certain circumstances. If one contract ends but you have already signed another one, you can continue coverage in any group insurance plans by paying the premiums yourself until your next contract begins. Also, if you are rehired within 6 months of the end of a previous contract, there will be no waiting period for group insurance benefits. See CA 26.06 A, B, and C for usual waiting periods.




Are contract faculty needs represented at the table in bargaining?


Absolutely. While each bargaining round is different depending on the political climate, contract faculty needs and demands have been well represented. In 2018, delegates of the Divisional Meeting passed amended bargaining procedures stating that the Bargaining Team will be advised by a Bargaining Advisory Committee (BAC). The BAC includes one full-time or partial-load member from each local, plus 8 partial load members from across the province. Along with the Local Presidents, the BAC consults with the Team and offers feedback. In 2017, the Bargaining Team won us a provincial Taskforce that was to determine the next 50 years of the College system. One of the key topics that was under review was complement (percentage of contract faculty to full time faculty). This taskforce met regularly and there was a broad consensus from the many stakeholders that the current proportion of contract faculty was unsustainable and that many more full time positions needed to be created. Frustratingly, before the taskforce was able to complete its work, the Ford government was elected and cancelled it.




Why is PL representation not seen at all levels of the union?


There has been a perception that PL faculty who openly engage in union activities run the risk of repercussions. Recently, Humber PL faculty created a PL Committee which advises the Stewards and the Officers of that Local. By working together, the team created conditions whereby two PL faculty were able to become stewards.




How can PL members get more involved in provincial/divisional committees?


PL faculty can and should stand to be elected as Delegates to the Annual Divisional Meeting where decisions are made collectively. Every two years there are elections held at that meeting, and Delegates can be elected to Provincial Committees like the Joint Scheduling Committee, or become Trustees for the CAAT Pension Plan, or be elected to the Divisional Executive.




Why am I only paid for my teaching contact hours (TCH)?


The College determines pay by the number of teaching hours per week. It deems this hourly rate to cover out-of-class preparation and marking time (CA 26.02 A). Viewed in this way, the effective hourly rate isn’t nearly as high as what the CA says. The union is committed to securing better rights and better pay for all contract faculty.




My contract has ended, and I have not yet started another one. Can I get EI?


Depending on your circumstances, yes. Contact the union office for more information and assistance with your EI application.




I have heard that partial-load faculty have rights with regard to full-time job competitions. What are these rights?


As a partial-load faculty member, CA 27.11 B gives you the right to be treated as an internal candidate for any job competition occurring during your contract or one month following it. CA 27.11 B defines “consideration” as “a review of the competence, skill and experience of the applicants in relation to the requirements of the position.” This language does not necessarily guarantee internal candidates an interview. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the union.




My manager has asked me to take on additional teaching that would put me above 12 teaching contact hours per week. Should I accept?


According to the CA 26.01 B, a “partial-load employee is defined as a teacher who teaches more than six and up to and including 12 hours per week on a regular basis.” In other words, if you go above 12 hours, you will no longer be partial load, you will no longer be a union member, and you will no longer be covered by any provision of the CA. You will lose your union protection, the higher rates of pay that the union has negotiated, and all benefits that the union has negotiated. In addition, as a sessional faculty member, you will have no right to be considered an internal candidate for any full-time job competitions that may occur in the period in question. Therefore, we generally recommend that you not accept any such offer.




As a partial-load faculty member, am I entitled to membership in the union?


Yes. We do recommend that you sign a membership card. You are covered by the Collective Agreement.




Do I pay dues?


By law, union dues, which are tax deductible, are deducted by the College from your pay, whether or not you join the union, since all who receive these valuable services share the cost of providing them. Please join so that you can exercise all your rights.




If I want to maintain full membership in the Local, do I need to sign a new union card if I have not been Partial Load for 12 months?


Yes, to maintain the accuracy of our membership list. Membership gives you the right to move motions, vote, stand for office and set demands for bargaining.




How does the Collective Agreement affect partial-load faculty?


The Collective Agreement affects vital aspects of your job such as: • Your wages and seniority; • your access to extended health and paraprofessional services; • your access to employee-paid insurance benefits, including vision, hearing, dental and life insurance; • your access to paid sick leave; • your job security.




How do I get a copy of the Collective Agreement?


You should have received a paper copy of the Collective Agreement from Human Resources when you were initially hired. Contact the union if you don’t have your copy.




Where do I find the provisions that apply to partial-load faculty?


Many of the articles of the Collective Agreement apply to both partial-load and full-time faculty. However, since partial-load salary, step progression, job security, health and insurance benefits, and sick-leave provisions differ from those of full-time employees, the rights exclusively related to partial-load employees are defined in Article 26 of the Collective Agreement. We encourage you to read it carefully.




Where can I find the pay grid?


See Article 26.04 of the Collective Agreement (page 51 of the printed book).




What if I think I am at the wrong place on the pay grid?


Please contact your Local to go over your initial salary calculation to see if you are on the correct place on the grid.




Do I get pay increases?


Yes, negotiated percentage improvements are applied to partial-load as well. Moving up a step in the partial-load pay grid is somewhat easier thanks to the improvements from 2017 Bargaining. See Article 26.10 C.