JACFA Update: Payment of Non-Permanent Teachers and Other Labour Relations Updates

Dear Colleagues,

As allocation season kicks off, the JACFA Executive would like to provide an update on some labour relations files that we have been working on and/or will be working on.

Payment of Non-Permanent Teachers

As was originally reported at the December 13 General Assembly, the College has indicated that it is willing to renew the Labour Relations Committee (CRT) agreement for the 2018-2019 academic year, to pay non-permanent teachers working full-time hours a full-time contract, even if their CI is below the contractually-prescribed minimum of 80. Full-time hours would be determined by the norms of their departments. CI is calculated based on number of students, course contact hours, and course preparations.

The College has stated, however, that it intends to limit the application of this agreement to teachers with a CI of 72 (90% of a full workload) or above, as opposed to teachers with a CI of 68 (85% of a full workload) or above, applied in previous years.

Based on data from past years, teachers are very unlikely to be negatively affected by the proposed new cut-off point; in 2016-2017, no non-permanent teachers working full-time hours had CIs below the proposed new minimum of 72. Moreover, the slight chance that the situation could arise can be all but eliminated by careful course assignment by the department coordinators. We will be reaching out to them shortly to discuss this issue further.

In general, the outlook of the JACFA Executive on this file is one of cautious optimism. At several meetings with the Director General, the Academic Dean and the Director of Human Resources, the Executive has made the position of the JACFA membership clear: our non-permanent teachers should be treated the same way as our permanent teachers. If a workload is acceptable for one, then it must also be acceptable for the other. The College has been receptive to this, acknowledging that there are sometimes reasons for teachers in certain situations (permanent or non-permanent) to run exceptionally low CIs, and that fair accommodations must be found when dealing with such exceptional cases.

Payment of Suppléance for Marking and Invigilation of Final Exams

We recently learned that the College was considering making changes to its practices regarding the payment of teachers for long-term replacement teaching “suppléance” (more than 10 days), in particular relating to exam invigilation and grading.

At a CRT meeting on Wednesday, February 14, the JACFA Executive asked for clarification on these issues. We subsequently learned that the College is not willing to commit to a standard payment scheme for invigilation and grading of final exams by teachers covering courses by suppléance. Instead, the Program Dean responsible for the discipline in question will decide on a case-by-case basis what additional compensation the College is willing to offer. At JACFA’s insistence, the College did agree, in individual cases, to specify the conditions of payment for marking and invigilation to teachers before they take on the suppléance workload. That way, the teacher can make an informed decision about whether or not to accept the long-term replacement.

We would thus like to remind teachers:

  1. To ensure that the College clarifies its terms of payment, in particular for the grading and invigilation of exams, before agreeing to take on any long-term suppléance work.
  2. That no teacher is obliged to take on work beyond what is stated in their 5-day letter and/or contract. If they find the payment terms of suppléance unappealing, they may turn down the work.
  3. That, in our view, final exam invigilation hours are contact hours outside of the regular teaching hours of a course, and therefore should be paid at a one-to-one ratio at the hourly rate. Moreover, the marking burden for final papers and exams is in many cases much higher than the work of grading other assignments in the course, and should be compensated in a way deemed fair by the department in question.
  4. That in the event that the terms of a suppléance change (for example, if a teacher was expected to return before the final exam, but does not), the teacher should re-evaluate whether they find the new terms of the suppléance acceptable. If they do not, they may choose to withdraw from the suppléance.

College Proposal for Joint Coordination of Science and Social Science Program Committees

Historically at John Abbott, the program committees of the three largest pre-university programs (Science, Social Science and Arts, Letters and Communications) have been coordinated by their respective Program Deans. Recently however, the College has suggested that it would like to move toward having these program committees coordinated by faculty members.

The current proposal is that for the 2018-2019 academic year, the program committee coordination duties of the Science and Social Science programs would be shared between a faculty coordinator and a Program Dean. ALC would continue to be coordinated solely by its Program Dean (for next year, at least). JACFA has requested a list of the duties that would be divided among the faculty coordinator and the Program Dean, and is awaiting a response.

As the Administration is not intending to significantly alter the distribution of Volet II resources elsewhere at the College, the amount of release available for these positions would be limited. The College has suggested that it would offer .125 FTEs of release (equivalent in most cases to one 60-hour course in one semester) each for the coordination of the Science and Social Science programs.

Note that JACFA currently has a local agreement on the coordination of program committees in force (found here).

Snow Day Policy and Sick Days       

On Tuesday, January 23, the College elected to remain open during a winter storm, despite the closure of most other schools/daycares in and around Montreal. We recently met with the Director General to discuss how to improve the decision-making process. At that meeting, the DG said he is open to updating the College’s snowstorm procedure (found here) to include factors other than road conditions, which may include provincial warnings, the conditions of sidewalks, the availability of public transit (and expected delays), the long-term forecast and closures of other institutions (such as schools and daycares).

Additionally, we asked that the College credit a sick day into the sick bank of teachers who cancelled classes on the day of the storm. The Director General said he is amenable to the idea and will look into the logistics of its implementation with the human resources department.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about these issues, please do not hesitate to contact the JACFA office.

With best wishes,

The JACFA Executive
Roy Fu
Stephen Bryce
Jeffery Brown
Richard Masters
Ethan Mombourquette
Tanya Rowell-Katzemba