Official Website for OPSEU Local 415


Claim statements and forms

If you need documents re Sun Life claims, please e-mail me.

Questions re sick leave, medical information, reduced workload and disability

There are legal limits on medical information an employer is entitled to request. In the event of illness or disability, there are procedures the College should follow but it appears those procedures have not been followed in every case.

We have helped a number of members with questions such as those below. In some cases, we could have helped more if the members had contacted us earlier. If you can answer yes to any of the following, I strongly recommend you contact your union steward promptly.

  • Have you been asked to provide medical evidence to support sick leave days?
  • Has your doctor advised you to take time off from work?
  • Have you been denied sick leave for any reason?
  • Have you used all or almost all your sick leave credits?
  • Has the College indicated a desire to contact your doctor directly?
  • Have you been asked to provide medical evidence to support an application for LTD?
  • Have you had an application for LTD rejected?
  • Do you require accommodation or think you might require it because of a disability?
  • Have you considered requesting a reduced workload for any reason?
  • Do you believe you could return to work from sick leave or LTD but would require accommodation or reduced workload?
  • Are you in a position to earn outside income while on leave of any kind?

See also Sun Life’s Focus Update #93, March 2006 (Word, 141K)
Pat Kennedy, Local President

Return to work

Each College is supposed to have a return to work policy within 6 months of ratification. The policy will be developed or modified in consultation with the Local Union. As of early June, 2005 Algonquin’s RTW policy was still being developed.

Questions? email Pat Kennedy,Local President

New insurance

Critical Illness and Increased Optional Life Insurance for Academic Staff

Critical Illness (Article 19.01)

The Joint Insurance Committee has commenced work with Sun Life and Heath Lambert Consulting on plan design and implementation issues. Because of the level of communication that will be needed to support this benefit, the JIC has identified a rollout date of January 1, 2005 to allow for administrative processes to be established and for adequate communication of the benefit to both employees and college administrators.

Employee Pay All Optional Life (Article 19.07)

Sun Life has now finalized the necessary changes to their system to accommodate the increased levels of Optional Life coverage (an additional $40,000). New employees can receive this benefit automatically with no medical questionnaire required. Existing employees must contact Human Resources to apply for this benefit, with approval subject to the completion of a medical questionnaire. Applicants must also have maximum coverage under Supplemental Life Insurance ($60,000) in order to receive the Employee Pay All Optional Life benefit.

Please contact Kelly Irwin if you have any questions about these or other benefits.

Alternative insurance for retirees

The last bargaining team was given two demands relating to retirees benefits. One was to have the employer pay “a significant portion of the cost” of these retiree benefits. The other was to reduce the costs of the plans. As these were distinct demands, passed separately, we must assume that the latter required a different approach than the former. Premium costs are currently borne entirely by retirees who elect to carry the benefits.

SunLife carries the existing plans. They charge a 13% fee for handling the plan. The full costs of the plans, plus that 13% are borne entirely by the retirees who enroll. The plans therefore have suffered as a result of adverse selection. Retirees who use the plans for maintenance purposes find that it is more economical to pay per service rather than carry the benefit insurance. The problem in large part is that the plans are not truly insurance plans, which are what is actually needed — insurance against unusual costs. The benefit maintenance plan works well for employees because the employer pays a significant portion of the premiums as an employment benefit.

The team assessed that it would not be able to make gains on having the employer pay for retiree benefits. The team also is concerned that the existing plan will disappear with no Collective Agreement alternative if one is not in place. And the team understood the intent of the second demand in this area to have been met by the proposal which is a part of the Memorandum of Settlement. It is certainly not our ideal solution. We do think it is to be preferred to the status quo at this time.

Because of the extraordinarily high costs of the plans the largest retirees group, OCRA, has pursued and has established alternative insurance plans. We believe that it is much preferable to have such a plan within the Collective Agreement rather than as an autonomous entity.By visiting the OCRA site, you may download their newsletters and bulletins. They contain comprehensive info on the new plan options.

Retirees will have plan options. Those who opt for a plan more geared to being an actual health insurance plan will be able to do so. Those who wish to stay with the existing plan will do so.

Pat Kennedy, Local President

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