Important announcements and updates from TUFA

Greetings Colleagues,

There are several items warranting your attention:

1. Review of Research Activities

Thanks to all those who have provided us feedback on the support of faculty research at Trent – everyone else, please keep the comments coming. We will be providing several opportunities for members to discuss specific research-related concerns further with us directly in the coming weeks. Specifically, interested members can join us in Peterborough (12:00 to 2:00) on Tuesday, February 18th or on the Durham campus (11:30 to 1:30) on Monday, February 24th. Please RSVP is you’d like to attend so that we can reserve a suitable room and order sufficient food.

2. New Collective Agreement and improved benefits

The editing of the 2019-2022 Collective Agreement is still underway, but we do hope to have the new CA in your hands shortly. Meantime, members should be aware that increases to our Professional Expense Funds and to Sunlife’s Psychological Care Benefit were both retroactive to July 1, 2019. The PEF allowance increased to $1,450 and the annual limit on Psychological Care has increased to $700. Members who have already submitted claims in excess of the previous maximum ($400) will have those claims reconsidered and adjusted without needing to take further action.

3. Policy on the Recording of Class Content

Further to our December 4th membership update in which we outlined three primary concerns with the draft policy heading to Senate, we have now had the opportunity to discuss additional changes with the Provost and settled on revisions that resolved two of those concerns. First, the Discrimination and Harassment policy will be included in the list of related policies. Second, the consequences for students who violate the policy have been stiffened and will be clearly articulated in the Undergraduate Academic Integrity Policy. We understand that some members will be frustrated that instructor permission is not required to record in the classroom, but our conclusion at Joint Committee was that we had accomplished all we could. The Provost is resolved to move this policy in the direction of universal design and her position is consistent with our general preference for interpreting fair-use provisions broadly for academic purposes.

4. Solidarity with CUPE 3908

CUPE 3908’s Unit 1 workers are currently negotiating in the challenging environment set by the Ford government. TUFA recently co-hosted an inter-union meeting to discuss strategies for supporting CUPE’s bargaining efforts and will be contemplating further Solidarity actions to help our colleagues achieve a fair contract. On February 12th, for example, TUFA will participate in OCUFA’s Social Media Day of Action (#BrokenPromises) to advocate for fairness in the employment of contract faculty and to extend solidarity with other education unions.

5. Updated Equity resources

TUFA’s Equity page has been updated with additional resources. Specifically, Trent’s Queer Scholarship list has been updated, we have posted resource materials relating to Black History month and anti-racism initiatives, and we have posted several links relating climate issues with Equity (Environmental Policy Resolutions from the OFL and YUFA’s workshop Faculty Associations and climate justice).

6. CAUT Advocacy Tool (Federal politics)

The Canadian Association of University Teachers’ “For Our Future” campaign saw academic staff and students from coast to coast work to make post-secondary education a federal election issue and help get out the student vote. Although science, research and education did not feature prominently in the last election, all parties made some reference to these issues in their platforms. We need to keep post-secondary education on the agenda. CAUT has made it easy for you to congratulate your Member of Parliament on their election and to send a message about the importance of a renewed federal investment in our universities and colleges. Use CAUT’s online tool to press your MP to take bold action to strengthen Canada’s universities and colleges.

7. CRA’s T2200 Tax Form – CAUT Advisory

CAUT has prepared the attached advisory to provide information on the customary use of the CRA’s T2200 form for claiming employment expenses, as an academic staff member or grant recipient. It is not specific legal advice or tax advice.

In Solidarity,
Dirk and Marcus

Dirk Wallschlaeger, President
Marcus Harvey, Executive Director