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Academic Views

Return to Campus

The past 16 months have been stressful for many academic staff members. Many members will view the prospect of returning to campus and in-person instruction with excitement and relief, while others will be more cautious and may experience additional stress. It’s important that members have tools to care for their wellbeing given these uncertain times.

In addition to the resources that are provided by Employer programs, such as Homewood Health and generally through Extended Health Benefits, (, the Association would like to remind members of some provisions in the Collective Agreement, and elsewhere that members may also utilize if needed.

Sick Time

For ongoing members, sick time is covered in Article 2.14 of Schedule A in the Collective Agreement. The provision outlines 60 workdays at 100% of salary and an additional 60 workdays at 70% of salary (following this an individual would move to long-term disability (LTD) if they are eligible and qualify). If you believe that you need to take sick time, this is something you should discuss with your family doctor or other medical professionals.

The sick time available for sessional instructors depends on whether your contract is for greater than 6 months and 6 half-course equivalents, or less. Please see Article 4 of Schedule B in the Collective Agreement. In addition, the Governors have agreed to extend sick time to all sessional instructors who contract COVID-19 through to the end of August 2021.

Duty to Accommodate

The “duty to accommodate” applies when an academic staff member’s health or other protected human rights condition requires that the employer modify the work situation. The duty to accommodate applies to all grounds for discrimination covered under the Alberta Human Rights Act, which includes mental or physical disability, religious beliefs, and family status. If the situation relates to a medical condition, the medical limitations need to be established in documentation from a physician or similar health professional. The Employer then has the duty to accommodate the individual, consistent with the established limitations Note that an accommodation is not required to be perfect or exactly what the individual has requested, however it must align with the medical or human rights limitations. As individual situations are unique, the Association would be happy to discuss these matters with any academic staff member.

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