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Fairness for Contract Academic Staff

CAUT Policy Statement

Excellence in education is best assured through the secure continuing appointment of career academics. CAUT opposes the increasing use of contingent labour to fulfil ongoing staffing requirements. Underfunding and administrative flexibility are not sufficient grounds for hiring Contract Academic Staff as a substitute for hiring Academic Staff on a full-time continuing basis.

The implementation of this policy in collective agreements should recognize and protect acquired rights and entitlements for Contract Academic Staff.

Fair and reasonable treatment of all academic staff, regardless of their employment status, means:

a) Principles of employment equity apply in all aspects of Contract Academic Staff employment.

b) Academic freedom extends to all academic staff regardless of the nature of the appointment or employment status.

c) Contract Academic Staff own and control the intellectual property they create.

d) All academic appointments should recognize that the nature of academic work includes teaching, research and professional activity and participation in service activities. To achieve this end all limited-term contracts should explicitly recognize the research, teaching, and service components of the job and define workloads as a percentage of Regular Academic Staff work. Collective agreements should provide appropriate protections for Contract Academic Staff to participate fully in an academic career.

e) Contract Academic Staff have a right to fair and timely remuneration commensurate with their experience, performance and responsibilities, which should include compensation and support for teaching, course preparation, research and scholarly activity, service, professional development, and student supervision. Compensation for Contract Academic Staff should be pro-rated to the total compensation, including pension and benefit programmes, for a regular academic position having similar responsibilities and requiring similar qualifications. Contract Academic Staff shall be compensated when they provide mentoring to graduate and honour students.

f) The right of Contract Academic Staff to participate in academic governance should be recognized and protected. Contract Academic Staff should be appropriately remunerated for service work.

g) Contract Academic Staff should hold the same academic rank as Regular Academic Staff commensurate with their experience and/or responsibilities.

h) Contract Academic Staff should have fair and equitable access to professional development opportunities at a level proportionate to Regular Academic Staff.

i) Procedures covering personnel decisions including, but not limited to, postings and their content, hiring decisions, contract renewals and conversion, performance evaluation, tenure, promotion, and discipline must be expanded and/or modified as required to ensure that they apply to all academic staff. All these procedures must be documented.

j) All hiring, review, promotion, and tenure procedures should provide for full academic peer participation, including the participation of Contract Academic Staff.

k) Contract Academic staff should be appointed sufficiently early to allow time to prepare courses. The duration of the appointment should allow sufficient paid time for pre-preparation for the course, grading, distribution of exams, and accrued vacation.

l) Seniority should be recognized for all Contract Academic Staff. Accrued seniority should be applied throughout the institution. Accrued seniority should not expire.

m) Agreements should provide clear procedures by which Contract Academic Staff may, if they choose, transfer to other academic positions or increase their workload for any work that becomes available and for which they are qualified.

n) When a Contract Academic Staff member has accumulated service equivalent in length to an initial tenure-track appointment at the institution, the member should be offered a continuing appointment and be considered for tenure in their position.

o) Workloads should be distributed fairly and equitably among academic staff.

p) Employers should provide Contract Academic Staff with the resources and equipment necessary to perform their professional duties at the same level as Regular Academic Staff.

q) Any evaluation of Contract Academic Staff should be conducted, with clear, appropriate, consistent criteria. Up-to-date personnel records should be kept on each employee.1

r) When Contract Academic Staff are no longer assigned work, they should have access to severance pay and recall.

s) Course delivery requirements should be similar to those of Regular Academic Staff.

Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2000;
Revision approved by the CAUT Council, November 2005;
Editorial revisions, June 2010;
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2016;
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2022.

1 See CAUT Policy Statement on Confidentiality of Information Used in Career Decisions.