COVID-19

Updates

April 132020

URFA has been in con­tact with the University/​Colleges reg­u­lar­ly to address some of the ques­tions and con­cerns that mem­bers have raised over the past sev­er­al weeks. Please find below an update, as well as some impor­tant infor­ma­tion for spe­cif­ic URFA bar­gain­ing units. 

A reminder that if you are fac­ing any issues relat­ed to the change in the work­ing envi­ron­ment due to COVID-19 to please con­tact URFA as soon as pos­si­ble so that we can work towards a res­o­lu­tion in a time­ly manner. 

LOU Draft­ing Committee 

A com­mit­tee to devel­op Let­ters of Under­stand­ing between URFA and the University/​College Admin­is­tra­tions has been formed in order to address issues that have arisen due to the changes that have been made to the work­ing envi­ron­ment as a result of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. We will update mem­bers on the sta­tus of the LOU as it develops. 

Fall Semes­ter Remote Teach­ing and Learning

In dis­cus­sion with the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na, URFA has been told that no offi­cial deci­sion date has been estab­lished but June was offered as a pos­si­ble time for con­sid­er­a­tion if the fall semes­ter is also to be deliv­ered remotely.

Please see the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion for spe­cif­ic URFA bar­gain­ing units: 

U of R APT 

Delayed Per­for­mance Reviews 

Accord­ing to Arti­cle 11.2 of the URFA/U of R APT Col­lec­tive Agree­ment, the per­for­mance review process is set to begin in May. How­ev­er, the Uni­ver­si­ty has request­ed to delay the per­for­mance review process until Sep­tem­ber. Giv­en the cir­cum­stances, URFA is in favour of this deci­sion, and is grant­i­ng the Uni­ver­si­ty approval to do so. Please note that incre­ments will still be grant­ed to mem­bers on July 1 as usu­al, despite the delayed per­for­mance review process. 

Com­put­ers and Tech­nol­o­gy at Home 

The Uni­ver­si­ty has informed us that mem­bers are wel­come to take their desk­top home, but if you do so, please let your super­vi­sor know. Oth­er equip­ment not nor­mal­ly need­ed for work, or that is a per­son­al pref­er­ence can be pur­chased through funds APEA. If you are find­ing that addi­tion­al equip­ment is need­ed due to the change in work­ing envi­ron­ment, please con­tact your super­vi­sor regard­ing the pur­chase of equip­ment. How­ev­er, please remem­ber that the Uni­ver­si­ty is oblig­at­ed to pro­vide you with the equip­ment you need to do your job. If you are hav­ing issues obtain­ing equip­ment that is nec­es­sary for you to do your job, please con­tact URFA as soon as possible . 

U of R Academic

Tenure Track Time­line Extension

Due to the dis­rup­tion to the work­ing envi­ron­ment caused by the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, mem­bers who are in tenure-track posi­tions will be grant­ed an addi­tion­al one year exten­sion, if need­ed. URFA rec­om­mends that you stay on your cur­rent time­line if you are able, how­ev­er, an addi­tion­al year will be avail­able for those who need it. 

All URFA Members

As always, please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact URFA if you have any ques­tions or con­cerns regard­ing changes that have been made to your work­ing envi­ron­ment due to COVID-19, or for any oth­er issues you may be facing. 

April 82020

URFA con­tin­ues to work to ensure that mem­bers are being treat­ed fair­ly dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and that your col­lec­tive agree­ments are upheld. URFA does under­stand that these are excep­tion­al cir­cum­stances, and that changes to the way the Uni­ver­si­ties and Col­leges oper­ate will have to be made on a tem­po­rary basis. How­ev­er, they still must main­tain the oblig­a­tions that they have to you as an employ­er as laid out in your col­lec­tive agree­ments.

URFA is cur­rent­ly work­ing on an MOU with the employ­ers in order to address some of these issues and more so that there is a clear set of guide­lines in place dur­ing this time. The URFA Exec­u­tive has formed a team with mem­bers across bar­gain­ing units to work on the devel­op­ment of an MOU. URFA is open to hav­ing a dia­logue with the Admin­is­tra­tions of the U of R, FNUniv, Cam­pi­on and Luther as to what their plans are mov­ing for­ward. We will update mem­bers as we con­tin­ue to work on devel­op­ing any MOU with the employ­ers, and if there is any oth­er infor­ma­tion mov­ing for­ward.

We con­tin­ue to receive feed­back from mem­bers relat­ed to the changes that have been made to the work­ing envi­ron­ment. URFA strong­ly encour­ages all mem­bers to con­tact us if you have any ques­tions, con­cerns, and issues relat­ed to COVID-19, as well as any oth­er usu­al inquiries. The URFA office is work­ing remote­ly, but we are still able to assist you. 

March 252020

At the start of the semes­ter, I think I can say with­out much hes­i­ta­tion that nobody expect­ed this. I would even guess that at the start of this month, nobody would have imag­ined that the Win­ter 2020 semes­ter would end in this way- a shut­tered cam­pus, a rush to move all cours­es online, can­celling spring con­vo­ca­tion and plans to teach spring and sum­mer cours­es online as well. 

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic is unprece­dent­ed. Fac­ul­ty Asso­ci­a­tions and labour unions across the coun­try are work­ing hard to ensure that their mem­bers are being treat­ed fair­ly as employ­ers react to the cir­cum­stances. URFA is doing the same and we are work­ing, as we do every day, to ensure that your col­lec­tive agree­ments are upheld. URFA does under­stand that these are excep­tion­al cir­cum­stances, and that changes to the way the Uni­ver­si­ties and Col­leges oper­ate will have to be made on a tem­po­rary basis. How­ev­er, they still must main­tain the oblig­a­tions that they have to you as an employ­er as laid out in your col­lec­tive agreements. 

Over the past week we’ve heard con­cerns from mem­bers result­ing from the change in work­ing envi­ron­ment and the tran­si­tion to online course instruc­tion. Below are some of the con­cerns we’ve heard over the past week, what we’re doing about them, and how you as an URFA mem­ber can help. 

What We’ve Heard

  • Issues with APT mem­bers and increased workload.
  • Aca­d­e­m­ic mem­bers includ­ing ses­sion­als fac­ing increased work­loads while tran­si­tion­ing to online cours­es for the remain­der of the semester.
  • Aca­d­e­m­ic mem­bers con­cerned about the University’s deci­sion to move cours­es online for the spring and sum­mer semes­ters, and the Uni­ver­si­ty pro­vid­ing ade­quate resources to do so.
  • Aca­d­e­m­ic mem­bers con­cerned about tenure timelines.
  • Issues with some fac­ul­ties con­tin­u­ing with stu­dent teach­ing eval­u­a­tions despite a dra­mat­ic change in the work­ing and teach­ing environment.

What We’re Doing to Address These Concerns 

URFA is cur­rent­ly explor­ing work­ing on an MOU with the employ­ers in order to address some of these issues and more so that there is a clear set of guide­lines in place dur­ing this time. URFA is open to hav­ing a dia­logue with the Admin­is­tra­tions as to what their plans are mov­ing for­ward. We will update mem­bers as we con­tin­ue to work on devel­op­ing any MOU with the employers. 

APT Mem­bers (U of R, FNUniv)

Please make sure you are track­ing your hours if you are work­ing in excess of nor­mal work­ing hours. If the change in the work­ing envi­ron­ment has required you to do work that is out­side of your JEQ, and it has not been addressed by your direct super­vi­sor, please con­tact URFA as soon as possible. 

Aca­d­e­m­ic Mem­bers (U of R Aca­d­e­m­ic, Cam­pi­on, Luther, FNUniv Academic) 

Please make sure that you have and are cur­rent­ly track­ing the num­ber of hours required to move your cours­es online. URFA is here to ensure that you are being pro­vid­ed the time and resources that you need, and that you do not suf­fer any adverse con­se­quences if you encounter any dif­fi­cul­ties in doing so. 

The Uni­ver­si­ty has announced that cours­es for the spring and sum­mer semes­ters are being moved entire­ly to remote teach­ing and learn­ing. We under­stand that mem­bers are con­cerned about this deci­sion and a lack of con­sul­ta­tion from the employ­ers. URFA’s pri­ma­ry con­cern is the health and safe­ty of our mem­bers, and there is no indi­ca­tion that the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic will be over any time soon. The Universities/​Colleges have a duty to ensure that ade­quate resources are pro­vid­ed to sup­port mem­bers dur­ing this tran­si­tion, and URFA is here to ensure that they do so. 

Mem­bers have expressed con­cerns about how tenure time­lines will be affect­ed. If mem­bers are able to apply for tenure, we rec­om­mend that you stick to the time­line as out­lined in your col­lec­tive agree­ment. If the changes to the work­ing envi­ron­ment is affect­ing your abil­i­ty to apply for tenure, please con­tact the URFA Office as soon as pos­si­ble. URFA is explor­ing an MOU that would poten­tial­ly allow for flex­i­bil­i­ty in these timelines. 

While some fac­ul­ties have sus­pend­ed stu­dent eval­u­a­tions of teach­ing for the semes­ter, oth­ers have indi­cat­ed that they are mov­ing ahead with them any­way despite the mas­sive dis­rup­tion that has occurred to the student’s learn­ing envi­ron­ment. It is URFAs posi­tion that the only thing that can be mea­sured this term is the student’s sat­is­fac­tion with the University/College’s abil­i­ty to tran­si­tion to online learn­ing. Mem­bers’ abil­i­ty to move cours­es online, and the student’s sat­is­fac­tion with instruc­tion, can sim­ply not be eval­u­at­ed due to these excep­tion­al cir­cum­stances and mem­bers should not suf­fer any con­se­quences from a neg­a­tive eval­u­a­tion received in this semester. 

Ses­sion­al Mem­bers (U of R Aca­d­e­m­ic, Cam­pi­on, Luther, FNUniv Sessionals) 

Ses­sion­al mem­bers should con­tin­ue to track their hours when work­ing to put their cours­es online.

URFA is here to ensure that you are being pro­vid­ed the time and resources that you need, and that you do not suf­fer any adverse con­se­quences if you encounter any dif­fi­cul­ties in doing so. 

How you can help 

URFA is ask­ing all mem­bers to please con­tact us if you are hav­ing any con­cerns or issues relat­ed to COVID-19 and the changes made to the work­ing and teach­ing envi­ron­ment. It is vital that we are aware of any prob­lems so that we can work to resolve them as soon as possible. 

This is a stress­ful time, and your col­leagues may be hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty adjust­ing to the sig­nif­i­cant changes made to their work­ing envi­ron­ment over the past week while also work­ing to care for their fam­i­lies and stay healthy. Remem­ber to be respect­ful and patient, and check in on your col­leagues via email, text, Zoom, or oth­er forms of remote communication. 

Always here for you 

Even though most of us may be apart and work­ing off cam­pus, we are still the col­lec­tive voice of over 1,600 URFA mem­bers. Togeth­er, we are stronger, and can work to make sure that every mem­ber is treat­ed fair­ly and equitably. 

The URFA office is work­ing remote­ly, but we are still avail­able to assist you with ques­tions, con­cerns and issues relat­ed to COVID-19 as well as any oth­er usu­al inquiries. How­ev­er, please note that as a result, mem­ber inquiries may not be respond­ed to imme­di­ate­ly, and all intakes will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

As I men­tioned before, this is an unprece­dent­ed sit­u­a­tion, and it remains unclear how long this sit­u­a­tion may last. In order to help begin the process of return­ing to nor­mal, please keep work­ing to main­tain social dis­tanc­ing prac­tices, and stay home as often as you are able to do your part in stop­ping the spread of this virus. 

And last­ly, a huge thank you to every­one for their hard work dur­ing these dif­fi­cult times. Our insti­tu­tions sim­ply could not func­tion with­out you. 

Stay healthy and stay safe, 

Syl­vain Rheault 

URFA Pres­i­dent

March 182020

URFA con­tin­ues to close­ly mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion regard­ing the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) and the changes that are being made that affect the work­ing envi­ron­ment of URFA members.

Yes­ter­day, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na sent out guide­lines for work­ing remote­ly. URFA encour­ages U of R and FNUniv APT mem­bers to speak with your direct super­vi­sor to arrange work­ing remote­ly. If you have any ques­tions or con­cerns about your abil­i­ty to work remote­ly, please con­tact the URFA office as soon as pos­si­ble. The U of R’s guide­lines for work­ing remote­ly, includ­ing for those who have child care oblig­a­tions, can be found here.

For mem­bers who are remain­ing on cam­pus, please remem­ber to abide by social dis­a­tanc­ing prac­tices. As a reminder, all URFA mem­bers have the right to refuse to work in con­di­tions that are deemed to be unsafe. If you have any ques­tions about refus­ing unsafe work, please con­tact the URFA Office.

As well, if any APT mem­bers are noti­fied of any reduc­tion in work hours that affect your salary, pen­sion and ben­e­fits, please noti­fy the URFA office as soon as possible. 

URFA staff are cur­rent­ly work­ing remote­ly, how­ev­er, we are still work­ing hard to serve all mem­bers dur­ing this time. As always, if you have any ques­tions or con­cerns regard­ing changes to your work­ing envi­ron­ment due to COVID-19, or any­thing else, please con­tact us and we will assist you. 

March 162020

URFA con­tin­ues to close­ly mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion regard­ing the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) as the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na, Cam­pi­on and Luther Col­leges, and First Nations Uni­ver­si­ty of Cana­da (FNUniv) have all made sig­nif­i­cant oper­a­tional changes that affect the day-to-day work­ing envi­ron­ment of URFA members. 

The URFA Pres­i­dent and URFA Exec­u­tive Direc­tor met with Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na Admin­is­tra­tion on Sun­day, and were briefed on the University’s deci­sion to can­cel class­es and move cours­es online for the remain­der of the semes­ter. URFA sup­ports this deci­sion, as the health and safe­ty of the uni­ver­si­ty com­mu­ni­ty must be the high­est priority. 

This is a chal­leng­ing time. There have been many emails and com­mu­ni­ca­tions from the employ­er, and we under­stand that you may have ques­tions. Below, URFA has some infor­ma­tion for mem­bers as we all do our best to adjust to a new work­ing situation. 

Most impor­tant­ly, we want to hear from you. If you are fac­ing any issues relat­ed to the oper­a­tional changes that have been made due to COVID-19, please con­tact the URFA office at urfa@​uregina.​ca .

Aca­d­e­m­ic Mem­bers (U of R, Cam­pi­on, Luther, FNUniv) 

URFA under­stands that mem­bers are feel­ing pres­sured to move cours­es online. URFA is here to ensure that you are being pro­vid­ed the time and resources that you need, and that you do not suf­fer any adverse con­se­quences if you encounter any dif­fi­cul­ties in doing so. 

You should also con­sid­er the amount of time need­ed to move cours­es online. You are not expect­ed to mon­i­tor emails and respond to requests out­side of nor­mal work­ing hours. 

Aca­d­e­m­ic mem­bers have been told to work remote­ly and we strong­ly encour­age you to do so. 

APT Mem­bers (U of R, FNUniv)

APT mem­bers should track their hours if you are work­ing in excess of nor­mal­ly sched­uled work­ing hours.

URFA under­stands that the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na is look­ing at oppor­tu­ni­ties for mem­bers to work remote­ly where pos­si­ble.” We encour­age APT mem­bers at both the U of R and FNUniv to speak with your direct super­vi­sor to arrange pos­si­bil­i­ties for work­ing remote­ly. If you have any ques­tions or con­cerns about your abil­i­ty to work remote­ly, please con­tact URFA as soon as possible. 

All URFA mem­bers have the right to refuse to work in con­di­tions that are deemed to be unsafe. If you have any ques­tions about refus­ing unsafe work, please con­tact the URFA Office. 

Ses­sion­al Mem­bers (U of R, FNUniv) 

Ses­sion­al mem­bers should track their hours when work­ing to put their cours­es online. As far as URFA under­stands, Ses­sion­al con­tracts will be hon­oured and your income should not be affect­ed by any pol­i­cy changes regard­ing course delivery. 

Aca­d­e­m­ic mem­bers includ­ing ses­sion­als have been told they are free to work remote­ly and we strong­ly encour­age you to do so. 

URFA Office Operations 

URFA staff are cur­rent­ly tran­si­tion­ing to work­ing remote­ly. As a result, mem­ber inquiries may not be respond­ed to imme­di­ate­ly, and all intakes will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The URFA Exec­u­tive Direc­tor will remain in the office, how­ev­er, it is asked that mem­bers please refrain from arriv­ing at the office unless you have made pre­vi­ous arrange­ments to do so. The best way to con­tact URFA is by email at urfa@​uregina.​ca.

Mem­ber Ques­tions and Concerns

As men­tioned, we want to hear from you if you have any ques­tions or con­cerns about issues you are fac­ing dur­ing this time so that we can raise them with the Admin­is­tra­tion and work to resolve them. Please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact us at urfa@​uregina.​ca

March 132020

While the risk to Cana­di­ans remains low, URFA is close­ly mon­i­tor­ing the respons­es of our employ­ers to the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19), and any changes the University/​College Admin­is­tra­tions may choose to make in the com­ing days and weeks that could affect the day-to-day work­ing envi­ron­ment of URFA members. 

URFA reminds all mem­bers that as employ­ers, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na, Cam­pi­on and Luther Col­leges and First Nations Uni­ver­si­ty of Cana­da are all legal­ly oblig­at­ed to ensure the health and safe­ty of its employ­ees. All URFA mem­bers have the right to refuse to work in con­di­tions that are deemed to be unsafe. If you have any ques­tions about refus­ing unsafe work, please con­tact the URFA Office and we will assist you. 

The URFA Office remains open at its reg­u­lar hours. Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cers are avail­able to assist you with any work­place issues, and URFA Com­mit­tee meet­ings are still being held as sched­uled. Should there be any changes to URFA office oper­a­tions, mem­bers will be notified. 

We under­stand that this can be a chal­leng­ing time. URFA encour­ages mem­bers to remain calm, prac­tice good hygiene, and stay home if you are sick. Mem­bers who are eli­gi­ble to receive ben­e­fits from the employ­er also have access to coun­selling and oth­er resources from your employ­ee fam­i­ly assis­tance pro­gram. If you do not have access to an assis­tance pro­gram, all URFA Mem­ber Ser­vices Offi­cers are trained to pro­vide men­tal health first aid and are able to assist you. 

Please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact the URFA Office if you have any ques­tions or concerns. 

Links and Resources

Uni­ver­si­ty of Regi­na Updates (Includes Cam­pi­on and Luther Colleges) 

FNUniv Updates

Gov­ern­ment of Saskatchewan Updates

Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da Updates

COVID-19 and the Aca­d­e­m­ic Work­place- CAUT

Pri­va­cy and Intel­lec­tu­al Prop­ery Con­cerns- CAUT