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Important Information for the Fall 2023 Term

With the start of the Fall 2023 Term fast approaching, the APUO wishes to remind members of specific articles in the collective agreement relating to:

  1. Course Syllabi (Articles 9 and 21)
  2. Unconventional Methods of Teaching (Article 22)
  3. Vacations, Holidays, Leaves and Absences (Article 28)

1) Fall 2023 Course Syllabi

Each semester, the APUO is informed by Members that some faculties and units request that specific statements and timelines be included in course syllabi. Some faculties and units also send members course syllabi templates, claiming their use is mandatory. As the APUO has stated in previous communications, and in accord with Article 9 and Article 21 of the Collective Agreement, imposing statements and templates for course syllabi constitutes an infringement on your academic freedom. 

APUO members are certainly free to but are in no way obliged to use faculty or unit course syllabi templates or to include statements and/or any other information provided by their faculty or unit in these documents. Nor are they required to submit their course syllabi to their faculty or unit for approval or to adhere to submission deadlines for these documents. Article 21.1.2 (b) of the Collective Agreement is very clear about this matter. It specifies that members have the right and responsibility to: 

“organize course content and classroom laboratory activities and employ methodology and didactic material, including textbooks for the courses assigned to her, in a manner appropriate to the course and consistent with relevant academic standards and course descriptions approved by the Senate, it being understood that in the case of a multi-section courses the Chair and the departmental assembly may jointly choose common didactic materials, including textbooks, where it can be shown that this choice is justified by valid academic reasons and does not impose ideological conformity on the members concerned.”

Furthermore, as per the applicable sections of Article 21.1.3, members shall: 

“(b) determine a reasonable number or regularly scheduled office hours when she will be available to students for consultation, post these at her office door, and communicate them to the students and to her chair;

(c) inform her students, at the beginning of a course, regarding course requirements, instructional and evaluation methods, and the nature and timing of assignments, projects and examinations;

(d) not schedule final examinations outside the period designated for that purpose by the appropriate authority;”.

Put simply, members have the right both to choose whether to include information produced by their respective faculty or unit in their course syllabi, and/or whether to disseminate such information by other means. Should members have any questions, we encourage them to contact the APUO at or

2) Unconventional Teaching Methods

Article 22 of the Collective Agreement covers Workload and Methods of Teaching.

Article specifies:

“courses which:

a. are taught by correspondence or at off-campus locations, or

b. are videotaped, recorded, broadcast or televised, or

c. call for unconventional methods such as teleconference teaching,

d. delivered entirely or partially via the Internet,

may be included in a member’s teaching load only with the prior consent of the member and, if applicable, once any special arrangements that may be required have been agreed upon.”

It is equally important that you be aware of the other rights afforded by Article 22:

Distribution of teaching duties

Article states: 

“A Faculty Member’s scheduled teaching duties shall be distributed over two (2) of the three (3) terms of an academic year, it being understood that:

a) the above provisions may be set aside with the prior consent of the Member concerned;

d) where a Member’s Dean requests that the Member accept the spring/summer term as one of the two (2) terms comprising scheduled teaching duties, the Member shall not unreasonably refuse.”

Furthermore, as per Article

“As far as possible, the Employer shall not — unless the Member agrees otherwise — include in the Member’s workload more than one (1) course per term finishing after 7 p.m., it being understood that more than one (1) course will not be included without prior consultation with the Member, and unless justified by reasons related to the nature of the student clientele.”

Modifications to your workload assignment

As per Article

“A Member’s workload shall not be changed after May 1, unless the change is made clearly necessary by the circumstances. Such change is to be made as far in advance as possible and shall always be preceded by consultation with the Member concerned.”

If your workload is modified and you do not agree to the changes, you may communicate with the APUO to activate the Faculty Workload Review Committee (FWRC) process detailed in Article

Student requests to have in-person sessions recorded and made available online

The APUO is aware of ongoing demands from students to have in-person class sessions recorded and made available online. With the exception of formal accommodation requests issued through SASS, the choice of what to make accessible, and how, is entirely at your discretion. 

If you are considering disputing your workload assignment or have questions about teaching obligations, do not hesitate to communicate with the APUO at or

3) Vacation Leave, Holidays, Availability and Authorized Absences

Article 28 of the Collective Agreement covers vacation leave for all Professors and language teachers (article 28.1), vacation leave for librarians (article 28.2), holidays (article 28.3) and availability and authorized absences (article 28.4). 

In actuality, article 28.4 covers a few different subjects under the umbrella of authorized absences: 

  • Article 28.4.1 specifies that a member’s residence must not be so far from uOttawa as to limit the carrying out of their workload duties.
  • Article 28.4.3 specifies that a member who is not on academic leave or other leave is required to be present on campus:
    •  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
    •  for a reasonable number of regularly scheduled office hours in accordance with article 21.1.3(b); and
    •  to assume a fair share of academic service activities required for the proper functioning of their academic unit and the University of Ottawa; and
    •  when the Dean or Chair gives them reasonable notice that, for good and valid reasons, their presence on campus is required.
  • Article 28.4.4 specifies that 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.
    •  The APUO wishes to remind members that librarians are included in the application of article 28.4 (just like article 28.3 and other sections of article 28.4).
    •  The APUO encourages librarians who believe they have been put in a position that contradicts Article 28.4 to contact us directly or through your APUO Board Representatives.
  • Article 28.4.5 specifies that, except when on vacation, a Member shall ensure that her chair is aware of how and where the Member can be contacted without delay.
  • Article 28.4.6 details the concept of an authorized absence. During an authorized absence, all rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of Members remain unchanged except for the added right to be absent without being subject to recall to the campus.