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Employee Benefits

The APUO negotiates benefits for its members as part of the collective bargaining process. The employee benefit plans are detailed in article 40.1 of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website

For a quick access to a summary of specific benefits, please consult the menu on the right.

The Extended Health Plan 

The extended health plan covers 80% of the following expenses: prescribed drugs, emergency dental treatment, and medical supplies and services. It also includes coverage for the following paramedical expenditures:

  • chiropractor, naturopath, osteopath and podiatrist to a maximum of $400 per practitioner per covered person per calendar year; 
  • physiotherapist, speech therapist, and massage therapist (with medical referral), to a maximum of $400 per practitioner for each covered person per calendar year;
  • psychologist (with medical referral), 50% per visit up to a maximum of $1,000 for each covered person per calendar year;
  • vision examination to a maximum of $80 per covered person every two years and vision care (prescription glasses and contact lenses) to a maximum of $250 for each covered person once every two years;
  • hearing aids to a maximum of $2,000 over five (5) years; and,
  • 100% hospital coverage.

Basic dental insurance

The Basic Dental Insurance Plan covers 80% of the cost of dental procedures, including check-ups (every six months), complete oral examinations, extractions and root canals, specific x-rays, and preventative treatments.

Optional insurance coverage

The optional insurance plans include optional life for you, your spouse and your children, optional dental (includes major services and orthodontic services), and accidental death and dismemberment.

The long-term disability insurance program

Long-term disability benefits are issued for as long as you are considered totally or partially disabled until you recover, reach age 65, or die, whichever occurs first.  

There are three long-term disability plan options, the bronze option, which is paid for by the Employer will cover 60% of your pre-disability salary, to a maximum of $8,500 per month, with an annual cost of living adjustment.

The silver and gold long-term disability plan options require additional top-up payment by the member.  

Terms of the long-term disability program are explained in Section 40.2 of the Collective Agreement. For more information on the three long-term disability insurance plans, please consult the University’s website.

Health Care Spending Account

The health care spending account (HCSA) benefit is detailed in article 40.12 of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website. It is a personal account opened in your name at Manulife into which the Employer deposits $282 each year (this amount is subject to annual economic increases). Any unused HCSA balance can be carried over for one year only.

If you choose to opt-out of your health and dental insurance because of other insurance coverage, additional HCSA dollars will be deposited in your Manulife account for the amounts of $864 and $243 respectively. 

The HCSA can help cover out-of-pocket health and dental expenses, including balances owed following your existing 80% health and dental coverage. 

To find out more information about your HCSA balance, deadlines for use, or to find out more information on how to submit a reimbursement claim, log onto your Manulife account. 

Employee and Family Assistance Program

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) offers you and your family members help to resolve personal, social, and financial problems confidentially. The cost of the program is paid by the University and covers a total of seven sessions per year per family unit.

Information about this program is available on the University of Ottawa website and the Employee Assistance Program website run by Morneau Sheppell, the program provider. This benefit is not specified in the collective agreement.

Vacation Leave, Holidays and Authorized Absences

The vacation leave, holidays, and authorized absences provision are detailed in article 28 of the Collective Agreement, and on the University of Ottawa website (vacationholidays).

Vacation leave: A member employed for a full academic year is entitled to 1 month (22 working days) of vacation leave; a member employed for less than a full academic year is entitled to proportionally shorter vacation leave.

For academic staff and language teachers, any unused vacation leave shall be forfeited six months after the end of the academic year in which it is earned. A member may take vacation leave at any time provided: (a) that the Deans is notified in advance of each vacation period; (b) the vacation will not interfere with the member’s assigned duties as included in the member’s workload pursuant to article 22.

For librarians, a member may carry over to the following year a maximum of 10 working days of leave, provided that those days are used up before the end of the next year. 

Holidays: Members are considered on holiday on the following days: (a) Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and (b) all days declared to be statutory holidays by Federal authority or by the authority of the Province of Ontario. They are also on holidays during the winter holiday recess.

Absences (article 28.4.3): A member who is not on academic leave or other leave is required to be present on campus:

  1. when their presence is necessary for the performance of scheduled or teaching duties, which are included in their workload pursuant to article or for the guidance of graduate students whose work they supervise; and
  2. for a reasonable number of regularly scheduled office hours in accordance with article 21.1.3(b); and
  3. to assume a fair share of academic service activities required for the proper functioning of their academic unit and the University of Ottawa; and
  4. when the Dean or Chair gives them reasonable notice that, for good and valid reasons, their presence on campus is required.

A member is not required to be present on campus to fulfill their workload obligations, whenever another location is more appropriate for that purpose and when their absence from campus does not interfere with the application of article 28.4.3.

Professional Expenses Reimbursement Program

The professional expenses reimbursement (PER) program is detailed in article 40.9 of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website.

For each calendar year, the Employer will reimburse each member for $1,625 of allowable professional expenses incurred in carrying out employment duties or acquiring supplies or equipment related to the performance of such duties. Eligible expenses include the following:

  • membership fees for professional societies;
  • travel expenses and registration fees for conferences related to the member’s professional responsibilities;
  • publication costs;
  • purchase of instructional and research material (e.g., books, equipment, supplies, software, journal subscriptions).

The process for requesting reimbursement is detailed on the University of Ottawa website and requires submitting all expenses electronically using the Concur system. It’s important to note that section 40.9.6 of the collective agreement specifies that equipment purchased with funds from the PER remain the property of the University.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fees program is detailed in article 40.6 of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website.
Any spouse, child or dependent registered in a program at the University of Ottawa is entitled to an exemption from tuition fees or a bursary benefit but must pay incidental fees (such as health services and sports services).

Submit your Tuition Fee Financial Support request through an online University platform. The program waives tuition for APUO members, their spouse/partner, and dependents, as part of their benefits and allows you to follow the status of your request. Applications may be made for more than one term at a time, but exemption shall be granted for only one fee payment at a time. 

Since 2010, the tuition exemption and reimbursement programs have become taxable only to those who receive the benefit and require the Employer to issue a T4A to the student. This means that the tuition exemption will no longer be added to the employee’s T4 since they will appear on the student’s T4A.

Pension Plan

The University of Ottawa pension plan is detailed in article 40.4 and Appendix A of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website

The plan is compulsory for all employees aged 30 or older. Employees under the age of 30 may choose to wait until they are 30 to participate in the pension plan. The University of Ottawa website provides information on contribution levels, future benefits, early retirement, etc. The University also offered a “New Pension Plan Member” presentation in 2008 that contains useful information.

Health Care Spending Account On Retirement

The health care spending account on retirement (HCSA) benefit is detailed in article 40.10 of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website

For the 2017 calendar year, each retired member has access to $1,350 funded by the Employer. As per Income Tax Act rules, this amount can only be carried over for one year, after which it is no longer available. The HCSA can help with costs relating to vision care, physiotherapy, massage therapy, psychological services, etc. 

To find out more information about your HCSA balance, deadlines for use, or to find out more information on how to submit a reimbursement claim, log onto your Manulife account.

Severance Pay and Transition to Retirement

The severance pay and transition to a retirement benefit are detailed in article 40.3 of the collective agreement and on the University of Ottawa website.

Severance Pay: A member who has attained the age of 60, or whose age plus actual credited service is equal to 90 or more, and retires prior to the regular retirement date set out in the University of Ottawa Pension Plan (65), provided they do not retire prior to the completion of their scheduled teaching duties in a given term, is entitled to severance pay, equal to $800 multiplied by the number of years (or parts thereof) of regular full-time service, multiplied by the number of years (or portions thereof) remaining between the actual date of retirement and the regular retirement date for the member, this last number not to exceed 5.

Transition to Retirement: A member who is eligible to retire and to receive severance pay may opt for the transition to a retirement benefit. This program allows APUO members to have a reduced workload in the last years before their regular retirement date. The program will enable members to bring their regular salary up to their nominal salary using portions of the severance payment. During the transition period, members accumulate full vacation time and, more importantly, pension credits as per the provision of the Pension Plan by contributing up to the level of their nominal salary.

This commitment to retire is irrevocable at the termination of the transition period once the agreement has been signed. The start of the transition period shall not be prior to the completion of the member’s scheduled teaching duties in a given term. If you are interested in the transition to the retirement program, please contact the APUO.


Academic Leave

The academic leave provision is detailed in article 26 of the Collective Agreement for academic staff, article 31.2 for librarians and article 29.4 for language teachers. You can also find this information on the University of Ottawa website

If you are planning to apply for academic leave, please look over the relevant article in its entirety. If you have any questions, you can also contact the APUO.

Academic staff and Language Teachers IV: Academic leave is an investment toward increasing the quality of research and programs of study at the University of Ottawa by allowing an eligible member:

  1. to devote more time to scholarly activities as stipulated in article 20.3.1 such as writing a book, research work, or similar endeavors; or
  2. to acquire relevant expertise or experience in areas related to the member’s specialization, with the objective of enabling them to make their teaching more complete and more appropriate to the needs of their department or another unit for which they work.

If the Department Teaching Personnel Committee (DTPC), the Faculty Teaching Personel Committee (FTPC) and the Dean recommend the academic leave, the application will be considered successful and will therefore not be presented to the Joint Committee. If the DTPC, the FTPC, or the Dean don’t support the recommendation to grant the academic leave, the application will be presented to the Joint Committee for a decision. 

Years of credited service: years of credited service are accumulated during applicable periods of service while employed by the University of Ottawa. Years of service are not credited when a member has 8 or more accumulated credited years, except when additional service results from an administrative deferral as set out in article 26.4 or with the permission of the Employer. Members accumulate credited service while on a regular appointment, replacement appointments, maternity, and parental leaves and during sick leave. Members don’t accumulate credited service while on academic leave during more than half of the semester (unless confirmed by the Employer when the leave was granted article (a)), during a leave of absence or under other special circumstances.

Example #1: A professor was hired in July 2008 at the rank of assistant professor. Since this is their first academic leave, they can request a full-year academic leave with 100% salary in return for six or seven years of credited service. Prior to October 2014 and concurrently to their application for tenure and promotion, they can apply for a full-year academic leave that can start in July 2015.

Example #2: A professor hired in July 1996 depleted their credited service for a first academic leave in the 2002-2003 academic year. They took maternity leave during the entire 2006-07 academic year and a leave of absence from July to December 2007. In October 2011, they applied for a full year academic leave using their 7.5 years of credited service (the maternity leave counts towards their credited service, but the leave of absence does not). Their Dean, citing administrative reasons, deferred their academic leave for two years. In this circumstance, their credited service continued to accumulate to a total of 9.5 years. When they finally did take their full-year academic leave on July 2014, their total credited service will be reduced by eight years (for 100% salary), and they will be left with 1.5 years of credited service. 

Librarians: Academic leave is an investment in the development of the University by allowing a member to undertake one or more of the following activities:

  1. devote themselves to scholarly work, professional development activities or service to the university community as defined in,, and 20.5.4;
  2. acquire practical experience in an area related to their responsibilities or their specialization;
  3. pursue advanced, full-time studies in library science or university-level studies leading to an honours bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in another discipline;
  4. undergo development or retraining in anticipation of taking on new duties;
  5. accept a position as a visiting librarian at another institution.

The application and approval procedures for Librarian academic leaves mirror those in place for academic staff. The annual budget for financing the costs of academic leaves for librarians is 200% of the maximum of the rank of librarian III ($270,456 for 2017).

The member must submit an official application to the University Librarian before October 1 of the year preceding the academic year during which they can propose to be on leave. If the immediate supervisor, the Librarian Personnel Committee (LPC) and the University Librarian recommend an academic leave, and funding is available, the application will be considered successful.

Language Teacher III:  Professional leaves for language teachers III is a privilege, and is considered to be an investment towards the development of the University by giving a member the opportunity to engage in one or several of the following activities:

  1. to undertake a research program in linguistics, applied linguistics, language didactics, or in education or psychology in a field related to the teaching of English or French as a second language, to be carried out at a recognized institution of higher learning;
  2. to acquire additional or specialized training in one of the disciplines referred to in (1) above, that will be of benefit to the member and the Employer;
  3. to engage in training or advanced studies related to the profession of language teaching;
  4. to retrain or undertake other relevant activities for the purpose of enabling the member to take on new duties.

Apart from exceptional cases, a professional leave shall be for a period not exceeding eight consecutive months. The annual budget available for financing supplementary costs arising from professional leaves of language teachers shall be $50,000 for the life of this agreement. To be granted a professional leave, a language teacher must submit an official request to the Dean at least six months before the proposed beginning of the leave.

Sick Leave

Provisions relating to sick leave are detailed in article 27 of the Collective Agreement, and on the University of Ottawa website.

A member is eligible for sick leave benefits and is considered to be on sick leave, whenever they are, by reason of accident or illness, unable to perform their regular workload duties. It is essential to specify that being on sick leave shall not diminish a member’s right of access to services normally provided by the Employer nor the right to apply for, receive, and manage research and similar grants, to the extent that the exercise of such rights is compatible with the member’s medical condition.

A member who is on sick leave is entitled to receive 100% of regular salary for a period of 119 calendar days, for each separate accident or illness. As soon as possible after the commencement of each period of disability, the member or their delegate must inform the member’s Chair of the estimated duration of absence.

A sick leave form must be presented by the member or their delegate to the Dean before the 30th day of disability-caused absence. After approving the form, the Dean or delegate shall forward it to the Health and Wellness Office.

Upon request by the Dean, a medical certificate must be submitted to the Health and Wellness Office:

  1. for any sick leave period which exceeds ten consecutive working days; or
  2. if, on the basis of the member’s sick leave record, the Dean has serious doubt as to the validity of the claim for sick leave benefits, even if the sick leave period is shorter than ten consecutive working days.

Where the sick leave exceeds ten consecutive working days, the member must notify the Dean of their intention to return to work. Should the medical certificate specify a return date and should the member wish to return to work prior to that date, then a second medical certificate may be required by the Employer.

Mandatory examination: At any time during a member’s sick leave, a representative from the Health, Wellness Office may, in order to determine if the member is eligible for sick leave benefits or is able to return to work, require that this member be examined by one or more physicians appointed and paid by the Employer. The Employer shall notify the member, and the APUO (where requested by the member), with the names of three (3) duly qualified medical practitioners and the member shall select one of those practitioners to conduct the examination.  Upon choosing the independent medical practitioner, the member and the APUO (if applicable), shall agree to the scope of the independent medical exam. 

The independent medical report shall be forwarded to the member’s treating physician as appropriate. The member and the APUO (where requested by the member) will be provided with a copy of the report upon written request.

Maternity, Birth of a Child, Personal Emergency and Compassionate Care Leaves

These leaves are detailed in article 29 of the Collective Agreement, and on the University of Ottawa website.

Birth of a child: A member shall be entitled to two days of paid leave during the 30 days following the birth or adoption of a child. This leave is distinct from the parental leave provided under article A member shall inform their Chair in writing of their intention to take such leave as soon as reasonably possible.

Pregnancy leave (article 29.2.2): Pregnancy leave shall be for a period of up to 17 consecutive weeks. The period may commence as early as 17 weeks preceding the anticipated date of delivery and as late as the day of delivery. Subject to the provisions of this clause, the member shall decide when she will take maternity leave.

If a member requires a pregnancy leave, she shall notify both her Chair and Dean in writing, during the term preceding when the leave is expected to commence or, in the case of a librarian member, two months before the anticipated commencement of the leave. The member shall, no later than ten working days prior to the commencement of the maternity leave, notify her Chair and Dean, in writing, of the date on which the leave is to commence. However, the member shall not be required to provide such notice where a physician declares in writing that the member is not or was not able to give the notice. In such a case, the member shall give the notice as soon as is reasonably possible.

To qualify for the pregnancy leave allowance, the member shall provide Human Resources with evidence that she has applied for and will receive pregnancy leave benefits under the Employment Insurance Act, including the amount of that benefit.

Allowance: Remuneration during maternity leave shall be computed on the member’s regular salary. However, should the member’s regular salary be reduced by reason of complications anticipated or arising directly or indirectly from pregnancy, remuneration for the purposes of the pregnancy leave shall be computed on the member’s regular salary prior to such reduction. The member shall receive 95% of her salary for the initial ten working days of the leave. For up to a maximum of 15 weeks following the initial 10 working days mentioned in article (see above), the Employer shall pay the difference between (i) 95% of the member’s salary, and (ii) the maximum level of employment insurance (EI) benefits available to any person whose salary corresponds to the member’s salary.

Other articles refer to impacts on non-tenured members, vacation and to the possibility for reduced workload arrangements or leave of absences without pay following the maternity leave.

Parental leave (article 29.2.3): Any member may take a parental leave following: (1) the birth of a child, or (2) the coming of the child into the custody and care of the parent for the first time. Parental leave may begin no more than 78 weeks after the day the child is born or comes into the custody and care of the parent for the first time. Parental leave ends 61 weeks after it began if the employee also took pregnancy leave and 63 weeks after it began, otherwise, or on an earlier day if the member gives their Chair and Dean at least four weeks written notice of that day.

The member’s Chair and Dean shall be notified, in writing, of the date of commencement of parental leave as soon as possible after the member becomes aware of that date. To qualify for the allowance as per article a) and b), the member shall provide Human Resources with evidence that she has applied for and will be in receipt of parental leave benefits under the EI Act, including the amount of that benefit. 

Allowance: Remuneration during parental leave shall be as follow. 

  1. The member shall receive 95% of regular salary for the initial ten working days of the leave except when applies and (2) below will be offered for 18 weeks.
  2. For the period of up to 16 weeks following the initial 10 working days mentioned in (1), and no later than 52 weeks after the child is born or comes into the custody and care of the parent for the first time, the Employer shall pay the difference between 95% of the member’s regular salary and the maximum level of EI benefits available to any person whose salary corresponds to the member’s salary. 

Personal leave:  Members have the right to the special leaves listed in University of Ottawa policy 9a. Upon request, Members shall be granted a paid special leave in the following exceptional circumstances: the employee’s wedding, the birth of his child, the death of a close relative, and moving his/her place of residence. The length of the leave is determined based on the articles below: 

  • A member shall be granted a paid special leave of five (5) working days for the death of a close relative. The term “close relative” is limited to the employee’s mother, father, foster mother, foster father, sister, brother, spouse, children, mother-in-law, and father-in-law.
  • A member shall be granted one (1) working day of paid leave for the death of his/her sister-in-law, brother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grand-parent, uncle or aunt, or that of his/her spouse. However, if the funeral takes place more than three hundred and twenty kilometers from Ottawa (200 miles), an additional day of leave will be granted to attend the funeral.
  • A member shall be granted three (3) working days of paid leave for his/her own wedding.
  • A member shall be granted two (2) working days of paid paternity leave when his wife or common-law spouse gives birth.
  • A member shall be granted one (1) working day of paid leave for moving his/her own place of residence.
  • Deans may grant special leave with pay up to an annual maximum of three (3) working days for any circumstances deemed exceptional, except those already mentioned in article 24 for which a predetermined leave as prescribed above. Exceptional circumstances may include certain emergencies or family duties such as the temporary care of a family member who is sick, a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment for a family dependant who is unable to travel alone, or an appointment with academic authorities. The staff member must make all reasonable efforts to keep such absences from work to a minimum.

In addition to the above-mentioned special paid leave, staff members can be granted special leave without pay as prescribed in the Employment Standards Act for any of the following reasons:

  • a disease, an injury, or a personal medical injury;
  • the death, sickness, injury or medical emergency of a close relative or dependant;
  • an urgent matter concerning a close relative or dependant.

A maximum of ten (10) working days per year will be granted for such occurrences. Each half-day of such leave shall count as a full working day. Reasonable proof of circumstances for such leave shall be provided to the supervisor.

Personal emergency: Personal emergency leave is unpaid time off work for up to ten (10) days per calendar year. This leave may be taken for personal illness, injury or medical emergency or for the death, illness, injury, medical emergency or urgent matter relating to: spouse, a parent, step-parent, foster parent, child, step-child, foster child, grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the member and their spouse, the spouse of a child, a brother or sister, a relative who is dependent on the member for care or assistance. A member shall inform their Chair in writing of such leave before it begins, or as soon as possible. 

Compassionate care: A member shall be granted an unpaid compassionate care leave as prescribed under the Ontario Employment Standards Act.