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Update: Letters of Understanding – COVID-19

Dear members,
We are pleased to inform you that on June 30, following an intensive day of mediation with the Central Administration, the parties agreed to two more letters of understanding (LOUs): COVID-19 Performance Assessment of Members and COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery.
Firstly, we must express our sincere gratitude to you, our Members, for your continued support and especially the support you provided during the negotiation of these LOUs. Our success is directly linked to your ongoing mobilization, your participation in the various surveys we sent over the last few weeks, and your vocal support of your Association.  
We also want to thank the Central Administration. Successful negotiations require work from both parties. The APUO will continue to work with the Central Administration to identify creative solutions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on members’ work and to preserve the quality of education. 
Here is a summary of the LOUs: 
COVID-19 Performance Assessment of Members
The Employer must consider information included by Members in their annual reports, contract renewal applications, promotion, tenure, and continuing appointment applications, and academic and professional leaves applications indicating how the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic detrimentally impacted their teaching/professional activities, scholarly activities and/or academic/administrative service activities. “This information will not unreasonably affect the outcome of performance evaluations and career recommendations and decision processes under the collective agreement.” 
Members can view the LOU in full here
COVID-19 Impact on Course Development and Delivery
This LOU confirms that teaching for the Fall 2020 semester will be remote or online, except for individual courses that the University believes necessitate in-person teaching. With this in mind, this LOU:

  • ensures that the APUO will be consulted on any changes that may affect members’ working conditions before a partial or full return to in-person teaching;
  • protects Members’ academic freedom in choosing the most appropriate way of teaching remotely;
  • confirms that Members will be provided with support from the Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) and from faculty personnel;
  • allows Members who start to deliver a distance learning course to decide if they continue to deliver it exclusively in a distance learning mode even if the Central Administration decides that students may return to campus;
  • protects members’ ownership (copyright) of all materials developed for remote or online teaching;
  • provides Members with options; if a Member believes that they are unable to carry out their teaching workload, or a portion thereof, due to the exceptional circumstances, the Member shall inform their Dean in writing twenty (20) working days following the effective date of this Letter of Understanding and may request that the Dean apply one (1) of the following:  
    • the Member’s assigned 2020 Fall term course credits will be reassigned in a regular term within the next three (3) academic years; or
    • the Member will be approved for a workload reduction, as referred to in Article 30 of the Collective Agreement, for the entire 2020 Fall term equivalent to 10% per three (3) credit course they were scheduled to teach in the 2020 Fall term; or
    • the Member will be approved for a leave of absence without pay, as referred to in Article 29.3 of the Collective Agreement, for the entire 2020 Fall term; or
    • any other exceptional measure deemed suitable and feasible by both the Dean and the Member.
  • increases Professional Expenses Reimbursement (PER) funds with a one-time lump sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000) to facilitate the acquisition of equipment and services necessary for course development and delivery;
  • provides Members with the option of requesting a Canada Revenue Agency T2200 Form to support claims regarding expenses incurred to fulfill their duties remotely. 
  • Members can view the LOU in full here
  • These, and the LOUs that we have previously signed, can be renewed should the exceptional circumstances surrounding the pandemic continue beyond the Fall semester. Should you have any questions regarding these LOUs, or require assistance in exercising your rights, do not hesitate to contact the APUO. In particular, should you believe that you are unable to carry out part or all of your teaching workload, we strongly suggest reaching out to the APUO.