After signing the first Letter of Understanding [PDF] (LOU) on COVID-19 Emergency measures in June, the LOU Advisory Committee of the StFXAUT began drafting a second LOU regarding ongoing issues for Members arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since July, we have been in negotiations on this new language. After many meetings and a strong push from the StFXAUT, we were finally able to reach an agreement. We are pleased to share that the LOU has been signed by both Parties and can be viewed here [PDF], along with the associated Appendix [PDF].
It is important to highlight that this is a second limited-term LOU created to address additional issues related to the pandemic that are not covered by the current (5th) Collective Agreement. We also note there is no language included with financial implications. We originally proposed language for: i) stipends for Part-Time Instructors and Lab Instructors to compensate for professional development/training on teaching remotely, ii) rolling over unused Professional Expenses and Conference Travel Grants, and iii) a Remote Work Expense Fund. However, once again, we were informed that there would be no financial negotiation taking place for this LOU.
Highlights of Some LOU Clauses
– Student Evaluations for Fall 2020 will not be used without a Member’s agreement, and the AVP will communicate with the Evaluation Committees to ensure that members do not draw negative conclusions regarding the absence of evaluations.
– Classroom visitation by Evaluating Committees will be conducted only at the request of the Member being evaluated and if safe to do so.
– Part-Time Academic Instructors can choose not to be evaluated without impacting the roster, nor will the roster be affected if a PTAI is not teaching this year due to COVID-19.
– Nurse Educators, Dietetic Educators, and Lab Instructors may defer evaluations for this year, thereby extending their probationary period by one year.
– The available duration of leave of absence has been doubled for Part-Time Academic Instructors required to self-isolate.
– The option for Faculty and Librarians to extend probationary contracts now includes anyone who starts before July 1, 2020 —Members need to indicate to the AVP, their Dean/University Librarian, and Chair/Coordinator if they wish to take a one-year extension by June 30 2021.
– Recognized responsibilities for Coady Institute Program Teaching Staff will be expanded to include professional development activities that enhance innovative pedagogy, online teaching effectiveness and enhanced research capacity.
-The University will sign, upon request, the Form T2200 Declaration of Conditions of Employment (in compliance with CRA regulations) for members who continue to work from home in 2021 (2020 was covered in the first LOU).
This LOU contains the guidelines that will be provided to current and future evaluative committees to address the possible impacts of the pandemic crisis on the teaching, professional practice, scholarly pursuits, and service of all Members of the StFXAUT. Please read the document carefully, focusing especially on the opening remarks and the section(s) that apply to your role, whether it be as an affected scholar up for review, or a member of a reviewing body.
Finally, we would like to extend our appreciation for assistance of the LOU Advisory Committee, Executive Committee, and others for their extensive assistance and support: Patricia Cormack, Denise Delorey, Andrew Foran, Sharon Gregory, Stephen Finbow, Chris Frazer, Christie Lomore, Susan MacKay, Mary Oxner, Bruce Sparks, Will Sweet, Donna Trembinski, Martin van Bommel, Robert van den Hoogen, Bill Walters, and the many others who had a role in drafting, revising, advising, or responding to inquiries.