Official Website for OPSEU Local 415

New seniority lists

If you are a local member you may request a to see a copy of the 2009 full-time, probationary or partial-load seniority list it is  in Excel format. Please contact Pat Kennedy by email; kennedypj@rogers.com Please clearly identify yourself as a local member.

Pat Kennedy, Local President

Office 2007 and your SWF

By Pat Kennedy

If you are required to use Office 2007 and/or are obliged to take training for Office 2007, then the workload required for this activity should be reflected on your Fall SWF.

If your current SWF does not reflect the time you will require to become familiar with Office 2007, request a new SWF from your manager. If the manager does not provide a new SWF or if the new SWF does not provide sufficient time, then refer your SWF to the Workload Monitoring Group (WMG). We have already had one faculty member successfully refer his SWF to the WMG, and he has received additional time on his SWF.

If you have questions, please contact the Workload Monitoring Group at 7716.

COMMS and COMMS training

By Doug Brandy

COMMS, the Course Outline Mapping and Management System has arrived. What are our expectations and responsibilities?


I believe creating course outlines is a legitimate Professor function. From the Class Definition on page 147 of our Collective Agreement:

“… a Professor is responsible for . . .

The design/revision/updating of courses, including:

  • consulting with program and course directors and other faculty members, advisory committees, accrediting agencies, potential employers and students;
  • defining course objectives and evaluating and validating these objectives;
  • specifying or approving learning approaches, necessary resources, etc.;
  • developing individualized instruction and multi-media presentations where applicable;
  • selecting or approving textbooks and learning materials.”

We have been obliged for several semesters to post our course outlines on Blackboard. As I understand it, COMMS provides a different method for performing that function.

If it takes place in a non-teaching period, COMMS training is voluntary. If you wish to agree to take the training during a non-teaching period that’s your choice since you define how you spend that time. Article 11.08 reads, in part:  “In keeping with the professional responsibility of the teacher, non-teaching periods are used for activities initiated by the teacher and by the College as part of the parties’ mutual commitment to professionalism, the quality of education and professional development.”

If the College wants to make COMMS training mandatory, it must be SWFed. Since there can be no SWF in a non-teaching period, it would have to have been SWFed in the preceding semester. If it is not and never has been SWFed, it’s not an assignment and your involvement is voluntary.

If you have had training assigned or if you believe any functions associated with course outlines are support staff work you may complain to your immediate supervisor. If your complaint is not resolved you have recourse to the workload resolution process. Contact the Workload Monitoring Group at 7716.

That process could also apply if you’re not satisfied with the complementary hours attributed for course outline training, writing or revising.

For more info on COMMS, see www.algonquincollege.com/lts/comms/

Sick leave and supporting medical evidence

In cases of illness, the College may request information to support your sick leave claim. This article discusses correct procedures.

The College should never have direct access to your doctor.  Under 17.01 F 6 of our Collective Agreement, the College is entitled to “such medical evidence, if any, that the College may require.”  Given the importance of personal privacy, and the significance of the relationship between an individual and his or her physician, this Article cannot be interpreted to mean that the College has the right to direct access to your physician.  Rather, this provision just means the College is entitled to a medical note of some sort, and, if dissatisfied with that note, to ask for more information, again through you.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has spoken to the importance of privacy and the relationship with one’s doctor:

“Too easy access to medical records would constitute an intolerable intrusion into a relationship where the patient, in order to obtain proper treatment, is driven to reveal information of the most intimate character.  Access to health records by the state threatens an intrusion into the core Charter value of respect for the dignity of the individual.”

Numerous arbitrators have also spoken to the significance of privacy and sacrosanct nature of the relationship between an individual and his or her doctor.

In the context of an employer’s need for medical information, the employer should ask for a medical certificate or note that addresses the employer’s concern. Normally, this note will only say “was sick and unable to work on these days” or “fit to work as of this day”. This meets the employee’s initial onus of providing medical information (or “medical evidence” in the case of our Collective Agreement) to an employer.  If for some reason this note is insufficient for the employer, the employer must explain, with specifics, why that is the case and what more information is needed.

One arbitral passage on this which has been quoted a few times says:

“If the employer has reasonable grounds on the facts of the case to question the validity or the completeness of the opinion stated in the medical certificate, then it must explain clearly to its employee the reason the medical certificate is not acceptable and what specific information is requested so that the employee can return to its treating physician and obtain the proper information.”

In summary, we advise you not to agree to any direct contact between the College and your doctor. If the College wants information, the College must ask you. You may then relay the College’s requests to your doctor. If the College has contacted you for medical information you may wish to consult a union steward.

Past Local  President -Doug Brandy

Retiree benefits

If you have question re benefits for retirees, you should contact Shirley McVittie at OPSEU Head Office.

Mandatory retirement

The Ontario government passed Bill 211 2005, “An Act to amend the Human Rights Code and certain other Acts to end mandatory retirement”. The Act was given Royal Assent and came fully into affect on December 12, 2006.

From Dec. 12, 2006, Ontario colleges will no longer be able to insist on retirement of employees who reach age 65.

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