Know your rights! Access your Benefits!
Note: we are currently working to clarify this information to take into account the gains made in the new (2017-2021 contract) and how they work in practice. Here is a synopsis of the gains made for partial load (from Collective agreement articles 26.10D and E):
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The below paragraphs provide commentary and advice that is not covered in the Partial-Load Members' manual:
- Why do I have to renew my Union membership in each contract period?
- How do I contact a steward?
- Your initial placement on the salary grid
- Group Insurance Benefits
- The Sun Life "Positive Enrolment Form for Group Insurance Benefits"
If you teach more than 6 and up to and including 12 hours per week on a contract basis (in day and/or night programs) for an Ontario College of Applied Arts & Technology (CAAT), you are a partial-load faculty member and are part of the OPSEU bargaining unit covered by the Collective Agreement for CAAT-Academic faculty in Ontario.
Your Because your partial-load contract is short-term and not permanent, you must rejoin the Union when your employment with the college is interrupted. Our advice is to contact us shortly after you are hired, or rehired on a partial-load contract.
Your local officers and stewards are an source of information and guidance. If you wish to ensure confidentiality when communicating with your Union local, we advise that you use a private email address, rather than using your George Brown email account.
Following passage of the Pay Equity Act (1987), OPSEU was able to negotiate improved rights for partial-load employees starting in 1990 under the Academic Pay Equity Plan. Partial-load faculty are paid for teaching contact hours, although a portion of the new hourly pay rate is in lieu of vacation pay. Every time the full-time faculty salary has increased through contract negotiations, the same percentage increase has been applied to the salaries of partial-load faculty.
However, changes in the college system, such as dramatically increased class sizes and an increasing reliance on partial-load faculty, have resulted in the creation of a large underpaid and overworked segment of partial-load faculty whose workload is restricted only by the maximum limit of 12 hours of teaching per week, unlike that of full-time faculty whose workload is limited in terms of many other factors such as class size, teaching contact hours, and the number of course preparations and sections.
Partial-load faculty are assessed in terms of education and experience to determine their starting salary. The Job Classification Plans at the end of the Collective Agreement define the factors for assessing your qualifications and computing your initial placement. The colleges are obliged to provide Union locals with the initial step placement for partial-load employees, so your local can review your placement with you. If you have any concerns, please contact us for advice.
Optional life insurance, medical, dental and paraprofessional services are part of a remuneration package negotiated by OPSEU for all partial-load faculty and their dependents as part of The Academic Pay Equity Plan, and we strongly recommend that you take advantage of these benefits, in particular the Extended Health Care whose premiums are paid entirely by the college during employment contract periods. The benefit levels are the same as those for full-time faculty for all insurance plans.
Sun Life, OPSEU, and the Council have prepared a special benefits booklet entitled Your Benefits exclusively for partial-load faculty. For full details about your group benefits, please consult this booklet, or please contact us if you have questions or concerns.
(1.) Carefully read the information package provided to you by the college and respond within 31 days of being hired in any contract period to ensure the most advantageous coverage. For instance, if you and/or your family members have pre-existing medical conditions, you may still sign up if you do not miss the 31-day window. Should you wait beyond the initial 31-day deadline to sign up, you will be required to submit proof of good health via a "Health Questionnaire Form," and Sun Life could determine that you may never be eligible for coverage.
(2.) Like full-time employees, you also have just 31 days to make changes to your plan if there is a change in your circumstances such as marriage, divorce, birth or death.
You may elect to participate in any of the following benefit plans:
A. Employer-paid benefits (monthly premium is 100% employer paid)
- extended health care, which includes varying levels of coverage for:
- prescription drugs (85% coverage),
- paramedical services (85% coverage, to a maximum of $1,500 per person per year),
- semi-private hospital lodging (100% coverage),
- some hospital and out-patient services outside Canada
In the case of extended health care, the college is required to pay 100% of premiums for all partial-load employees, with the exception of persons who have coverage with a spouse. The plan is voluntary for this group only. Our advice is that everyone who falls into this group who answers "NO" to the question “Is your spouse a judge?” should opt for Extended Health Benefits. There is a provision called Coordination of Benefits, and the only spouses that would have a plan that would wipe out the value of having two plans to coordinate benefits are judges. To find a definition of Coordination of Benefits, go to the Your Benefits booklet mentioned above.
B. Employee-paid benefits (monthly premium is 100% employee paid)
- vision care
- dental care
- basic life insurance
- accidental death and dismemberment insurance
- critical illness and catastrophic event insurance
- supplementary life insurance
- employee-paid life insurance
- dependent life insurance
The benefits administrator at each college is required to meet with you upon your hiring to review your benefit options. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Therefore, since there are important deadlines to meet, you may need to contact your benefits administrator as soon as you are hired to ensure that you receive the appropriate forms and are enrolled for the benefits that best suit you and your dependents.
Although the colleges are required to enroll you automatically for Extended Health Care, please note that the default coverage is for single-person coverage. Therefore, be sure you complete the Sun Life Positive Enrolment Form for Group Insurance Benefits to indicate officially your decision to participate in the available benefit entitlements, with either individual or family coverage.