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COVID-19 Emergency Measures: Draft LOU Language for Academic Staff Associations

CAUT is recommending that associations negotiate letters of understanding with their employers. Draft language has been developed below that associations may adapt to their specific circumstances and collective agreement language. This is not an exhaustive list. For more specific assistance, please contact the CAUT office.

1. General Provisions

This Letter of Understanding is made without prejudice and without precedent to the interpretation or application of the Collective Agreement, or any other agreements between the Parties, or to any similar dispute between the Parties.

2. Emergency change to online instruction

Whereas the outbreak of COVID-19 has necessitated the cancellation of face-to-face instruction for the remainder of Winter term, 2020; and,

Whereas information technology and online learning will be used to substitute for in-person classes:

The Parties therefore agree to the following mode of delivery provisions:

A. Articles XX1 will be waived during the current COVID-19 outbreak; Articles YY2 will still apply.

B. The Association affirms the academic freedom of members under Article X, including academic freedom in teaching. Decisions about how best to temporarily adapt course instruction (e.g. live online, recorded, or hybrid) and assess students (re-weighting of overall grades, grading of work to date, etc.), other than policies and guidelines decided by collegial bodies, will be at the discretion of the member with respect for academic integrity.

C. Members will retain intellectual property rights to all of their course materials developed and delivered online, as outlined in the Collective Agreement.

D. The employer will ensure that members who move to online instruction will receive the necessary institutional, technical, and logistical support.

E. The Parties will consider the effects of the use of information technology and online learning on performance evaluations and all career review processes. No student evaluations, if any are held, for 2020 Winter courses and for 2019 Fall/Winter courses will be used without the member’s prior approval, for the purpose of annual evaluation or for tenure/promotion/merit evaluation.

F. The Parties will monitor the effects of the use of information technology and online learning on workload during the current COVID-19 outbreak, and will make any necessary adjustments, including overload compensation, during this period. The impact on workload will be evaluated by the parties on July 1, 2020. The Association reserves the right to grieve increases to workload arising from the transition to online instruction.

G. Members will be provided with access to the information technology they need to perform their non-research duties regardless of where the member is working on campus or remotely.

3. Emergency changes to other terms and conditions of work

Whereas the outbreak of COVID-19 has necessitated an emergency change to terms and conditions of work;

And whereas the Association agrees to work with the Employer to facilitate changes to allow temporary measures to accommodate alternative curriculum delivery and other workload modifications as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak;

The Parties therefore agree to the following provisions:

A. Subject to necessary health protection measures, access to laboratories and other research facilities will be granted to those responsible for the care of plants and animals, critical time-sensitive research, and research involving human subjects.

B. For members who are required to cancel or defer their professional development activities, any restrictions on how long the funds may be carried forward will be extended by the period that the emergency measures are in place.

C. The deadline for submission of annual reports will be extended until X.

D. Members will continue to have access to their research funds for their scholarly activities.

E. The timeline for scholarly activity start-up funds for tenure-track members will be extended by X.

F. Existing long-term appointments and tenure-track appointments will be automatically extended for an additional one-year term or by the period that the emergency measures are in place, whichever is shorter.

G. Where members are negatively affected by a facility or program closure or curtailment, for the duration of the closure or curtailment regular compensation will be maintained, including pension, benefits and any another salary-related compensation.

H. No member shall be negatively affected due to the decision to shift course delivery and to suspend access to scholarly infrastructure nor service requirements.

4. Provisions for Contract Academic Staff

A. Where a contract academic staff member has a signed letter of appointment for a Spring (including Intersession and Summer Session) course, and if it is decided to cancel in-class sessions and that course cannot be offered online for feasibility or pedagogical reasons, the course will be postponed without loss of pay.

B. Contract academic staff shall be compensated for any additional work arising from the transition to on-line delivery of courses.

C. Hourly-paid members with previously scheduled hours of work will be compensated for those hours regardless of any changes in scheduling required by the outbreak.

D. Hourly-paid members required to self-isolate or self-quarantine and who cannot reasonably telework will receive their hourly wage as stipulated by the Collective Agreement for the duration of the order.

5. Health and Safety Provisions and Leaves

A. Any member subject to self-isolation or self-quarantine will experience no reduction to accumulated leave or seniority, and no negative impact on short-term disability for the duration of the order.

B. In cases other than self-isolation or self-quarantine related to COVID-19, should a member have flu-like symptoms and notify their supervisor, the member will be approved for sick leave without the need for medical proof of illness. In the event that it is subsequently confirmed the member has a COVID-19 infection, provisions related to self-isolation/self-quarantine shall apply and any sick leave benefits used will be credited. Collective Agreement or employment policy requirements that members provide medical documentation to receive benefits will not apply to those members subject to self-isolation or self-quarantine for the duration of the COVID-19 public health concerns or to those with flu-like symptoms.

C. Members who notify their supervisor that they must be absent from work to care for a family member who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be placed on a leave of absence without loss of pay, regardless of whether they qualify for Collective Agreement leave entitlement, or Family Responsibility leave.

D. The Employer agrees to provide top-up benefits for eligible members who receive government compensation protection benefits. For the weeks in which a member receives government benefits, a member will receive from the employer an amount equal to the difference between the benefits received and 100% of the member’s normal salary.

E. The Parties agree that school closures and other orders related to COVID-19 may result in members needing to take special leaves as per the collective agreement (cite any specific emergency leave provisions). The Parties further agree that it may be necessary to discuss and agree to the provision of reasonable additional special leave days for members given the circumstances.

F. Members will continue to have entitlement to paid sick leave as per Article X if they are teleworking.

6. Procedures for implementation and review

A. The Employer agrees to consult with the Association about any additional measures being considered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Either Party shall be able to request and convene a meeting to discuss matters related to this LOU and measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Should the current COVID-19 outbreak necessitate the continued modification of terms and conditions of work past Spring term, the Parties will meet by July 1, 2020 to review the COVID-19 measures and this LOU.

B. The Employer agrees that it must adhere to the requirements of the collective agreement if it intends to further change the assigned workload of any member, including measures such as changing the mode of delivery of a course, unless it has the obtained the agreement of the Association to vary or waive the provisions of the collective agreement respecting such workload assignment and changes, or general terms and conditions of work.

C. The Employer and Association agree that these terms are a temporary response to COVID-19 pandemic, and that either party may seek to renegotiate or cancel this Letter of Understanding with XX days’ written notice to the other party.

D. Nothing in this Letter of Understanding shall prevent the Association from filing any grievance(s) respecting appropriate compensation and/or remedy for members resulting from changes to members’ modification of workload and other terms and conditions of work.



1 Examples include requirements that members consent to introduction or change course delivery to online instruction.

2 Examples anything relevant like access to computer equipment, IT training, etc.

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