Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are well and that you are finding ways to cope with the stresses of working from home and enduring physical isolation. If you have any questions or concerns about your individual situation, please contact us and one of our stewards will get back to you as soon as possible.

Here are our most recent updates.

Summer Semester

The College plans to begin the summer semester on May 25. All courses will be delivered remotely. This has generated many questions from members.

For Contract Faculty:

  • In the majority of Schools, contract faculty will be teaching the entire summer term rather than the latter half of a course because of our late start.
  • If contract faculty are asked to be involved with development work during the break period between terms, you should receive a curriculum development contract, with additional pay. Please contact the Local with any questions.
  • The Local continues to press, both at the college and provincial level, for compensation for contract faculty for the additional work to deliver courses in this new modality during the winter and subsequent semesters. At this time, the colleges have declined to compensate this additional work.

For Full-time Faculty:

  • If you are not teaching in the summer term,  you should not be issued a SWF. If you are asked to sign-off on a non-teaching SWF, please contact the Local. Previously agreed to SWFs should be recalled or listed as “inactive”.
  • Your Chair will meet with you to discuss various work assignments for the period. These will most likely relate to assisting with the preparation of courses to be delivered in this alternate format by contract faculty. Your Chair should send you an email confirming the agreed upon work after your discussion.
  • If you are teaching in the Summer (most likely in SOA and SETAS), it is very important that your SWF correctly reflect the additional work to deliver in this new modality. As is our long-established practice at Centennial, your SWF should reflect a “new” preparation factor and any necessary additional work. If it does not, we strongly advise you to reject your SWF and contact the Local to review/discuss. We realize that this may run counter to our instincts to “pitch-in” and do all that we can to support our students especially at this difficult time. We are professionals, and care about our students. But if you agree to a regular SWF despite the considerable change in workload this new format creates, the colleges will view this as your agreement that similar changes in modality/curriculum in the future are acceptable.

Benefits Coverage

For Partial Load Faculty who are currently receiving benefits and are interested in bridging those to the Summer semester, the College has confirmed if there is a delay due to the extended period between the Winter and Summer semester the College will reinstate the benefits retroactively for those on Summer Partial Load contracts (that is, pay for prescriptions/services upfront and submit the claim through Sun Life when coverage is reinstated). Hopefully, Chairs will be able to confirm summer contracts/bridging quickly and this retroactive approach will not be necessary for the majority. Again, please get in touch if you are running into problems.

Professional Development Days

For Full-time Faculty,  many of us have identified opportunities for professional development to support our new work environment (as well as other PD needs). Please remember that the collective agreement does provide you with 10 PD days per year for this self-directed professional development. As they expire on August 31st each year, please be sure to arrange for those to be scheduled between now and then if you haven’t already used them.

Financial Hardship Fund

Recognizing that for many colleagues, these recent events have created additional financial strain, we would like to make you aware that OPSEU provincial has a hardship fund for all members. PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to be currently partial load to be eligible. You are considered a member for the purposes of this program for one year from your last partial load contract. Please contact the Local 558 office if you wish to confirm your present member status.

Information on Financial Support Available

Information on how to apply as well as general information on the various government support is available here as a PDF file.

Family Accommodation Requests

It is a legal requirement that employers accommodate workers around family status, regardless of what your classification is. Given these extraordinary circumstances, many of you may need accommodations if you are caring for family members. Please bring requests to your supervisor (for example regarding reduced teaching assignments, or scheduling, etc.). If your manager is not responsive, contact the union and we can consult on best next options.

As ever, the Local continues to be available for your questions and to address issues. Thank you to those who were able to join at the last Zoom session. We will be hosting regular meetings to connect and check in with each other.

In Solidarity,
The Local 558 Team