December 20, 2022 Updates
Local Bargaining Unit General Meeting (BUGM)
December 20th at 4:15 in room 1214 at CCHS - this meeting is critical as we will share the initial proposal for our collective agreement bargaining and then members will vote to accept or reject this proposal. This meeting is the first step for our Local bargaining process and we want all of your voices to be represented.
Sick Leave Management
Subsequent to the interruption of sick leave management administrative procedures at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers across Alberta have resumed their active management of teacher sick leave. Some have developed new administrative procedures, and others have amended or reinstated existing division policy.
A shortage of substitute teachers across Alberta has led to escalating pressure on contract teachers to provide internal coverage for their absent colleagues and has generated an increase in active sick leave management on the part of many employers.
Teachers must be afforded the time necessary for illness and for medical and dental appointments. However, employers are increasingly articulating that teachers are expected to return to work once their appointments have concluded. From the perspective of some employers, teachers should remain at work or return to work if the appointment time reasonably allows them to do so. They are also strongly encouraging teachers not to book full days for appointments.
Employers cannot inquire as to the diagnosis or the particulars of a teacher’s medical condition; therefore, they cannot know if taking a half day or a full day is appropriate for a specific appointment. There are many sound reasons for taking a full day of sick leave for an appointment. Factors such as travel time and, especially, if the appointment coincides with particularly difficult medical news, are part of determining the time needed for an appointment. In other circumstances, the preparation for or recovery from a procedure necessitates the time away.
Employers have the ability to
· meet with a teacher in relation to absences,
· inquire as to prognosis and functional limitations,
· know whether sick leave is for a mental or a physical illness for long-term absences,
· inquire into supports or accommodations that might be required,
· implement a plan for further monitoring and follow-up meeting and
· direct a teacher to attend an examination by a physician of the employer’s selection (under section 226 of the Education Act).
Depending on the specific collective agreement, the employer can ask the teacher to provide
· the time of an appointment,
· the geographical location of an appointment (that is, whether it is in or out of town, but not the address or the name of the clinic or doctor),
· a signed statement providing the reason for a leave or
· a doctor’s note after a specified number of days of absence.
The employer cannot
· prevent the teacher from accessing sick leave entitlements,
· prorate sick leave by the hour (sick leave entitlements are either full or half days),
· require the teacher to return to work after an appointment,
· require the teacher to stay at work until the appointment time,
· require the teacher to provide a diagnosis of the medical condition,
· direct the teacher to attend school if the teacher is ill,
· prescribe medical treatment for the condition or
· require the teacher to provide a list of medications.
Check Your Pay Statement!
The Mediator’s Recommended Terms of Settlement Has Increased Teachers’ Pay
The Mediator’s Recommended Terms of Settlement, ratified on June 10, 2022, included 0.5 per cent upon ratification and another 1.25 per cent on September 1, 2022. This compounds upon the 0.5 per cent received upon ratification. There will be another 2 per cent due to teachers on September 1, 2023.
A teacher’s annual salary is based on years of education (as determined by the Teacher Qualifications Service) and years of experience (as determined by the teacher’s collective agreement). Click here to see your updated salary grid.
Teachers are paid according to the Education Act, which states that teachers are paid 1/200 for each day they work (with a few variations). Since funds are allocated to school divisions over 12 months, paying teachers 1/12 of their annual salary each month from September to August is easier for everyone to budget, including school divisions.
Due to the improvements to the salary grid, teachers must review their September pay statements to be certain that their pay has been adjusted correctly. Teachers should continue to review their pay statements at the end of every month, particularly if they are still moving up the salary grid and are expecting to earn an increment. If a teacher reviews their pay statement and it appears that they have not been paid correctly, it is their responsibility to contact their employer to resolve the discrepancy. If the teacher is not able to correct the error with the employer forthwith, the teacher must contact Teacher Employment Services so that the Association can provide support in a resolution. Delays in reporting an error in pay could result in a loss of income, so it is critical that every teacher closely scrutinize their pay statement.
1) For full-time contract teachers, the simplest way to check for an error is to multiply the amount listed on the pay statement as gross pay or total earnings by 12 and then compare that sum to the salary grid in the collective agreement.
2) For part-time contract teachers, confirm annual salary on the grid in the collective agreement, multiply that sum by the teacher’s FTE (for example, 0.50 or 0.86 or 0.25) and divide by 12. This sum should be the gross pay or total earnings figure on the pay statement.
3) For teachers in receipt of an allowance, the simplest way to check for an error is to multiply the amount listed on the pay statement as gross pay or total earnings by 12, subtract the annual allowance and compare that sum to the salary grid in the collective agreement.
It is also important to review the deductions to confirm they are correct. Maximum annual employee premiums for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and employment insurance (EI) are reached partway through the year. Teachers often see an increase in net pay once those maximums are reached and are no longer deducted from monthly cheques.
What’s the Difference Between Assignable and Instructional Time?
·Supervision of students (transition times between classes).
·When teacher is on call and expected to be in a position to intervene in student behaviour.
·Assigned time before and after the school day to manage cohort and social distancing.
·Preparation time is considered assigned timeifthe teacher is assigned to duties in their preparation time. If preparation time is not assigned, teachers may leave the school.
·If assigned, cleaning and sanitizing are considered assignable time.
·Staff and other meetings/Teacher’s Convention/PD days/student registration days.
·Universally includes time scheduled for the purposes of instruction and other activities for children where direct child–teacher interaction and supervision are maintained.
·Teachers can calculate their own assignable and instruction hours by using the two calculatorshere.
·Tracking instructional time is important, especially if teachers are required to cover teaching assignments of absent colleagues. Instructional time caps are enshrined in collective agreements and are enforceable.
A ½-hour duty-free break every day is not assignable (cannot be at the beginning or the end of the day).
Which teachers have assignable time limits?
Any teacher whose primary function is to provide instruction to students is subject to the applicable teacher instructional and assignable time limits. This includes lead teachers and teachers who are in receipt of an allowance but who do not have administrative designations. Part-time teachers are prorated on the average instructional time of a teacher at that school. Refer to your collective agreement for times, or call Teacher Employment Services at 1‑800‑232‑7208.
Which teachers are not subject to assignable time limits?
These are teachers with administrative designations whose primary function is not instruction, including those teachers who have principal in their titles (that is, principals, vice-principals, assistant principals). Central office staff (for example, psychologist, director of special education, interschool coordinator) may not be subject to the time limits, provided that their primary function is not instruction of students.
Which teachers are subject to the instructional time limits?
• Any teacher whose primary function is to provide instruction to students is subject to the applicable teacher instructional and assignable time limits.
• This includes lead teachers and teachers in receipt of an allowance but who do not have administrative designations.
• This also includes teachers who are supervising the instruction provided by another certificated teacher or nonteacher (for example, preservice teacher or instructor of students in the Registered Apprentice Program).
The Nature of Teaching Duties (Part 2)—Duties in Classroom Instruction and the Role of Professional Time
Along with instructional time and assignable time, teachers have a professional responsibility for activities such as planning, preparation, marking and reporting.
A 2015 survey conducted by RA Malatest & Associates Ltd for the Ministry of Education examined teacher workload and found that an “average of approximately 80 minutes of additional activity accompanies each 60 minutes of instruction.”
Assignable time caps have existed for a long time and were added to all collective agreements in the first round of central bargaining in the 2012–16 round of bargaining. However, the professional time teachers spend to meet their practice obligations is unregulated. In general, professional time can be defined as the time that is directed by teachers themselves.
• The when and the where determined by the teacher
• Time outside of the school day
• Time free from instruction
• Before and after school, unless assigned supervision or expected to be somewhere
• Weekends and holidays
Teachers have a duty to prepare adequately for daily teaching assignments and to plan each subject’s semester/year work to promote orderly development and progress. Planning units and creating instructional materials are professional time, because the teacher decides on the plan and materials for their students.
To conscientiously prepare lessons, the teacher must know exactly what is to be attempted from the beginning to the end of each lesson period. This is why planning is so time-consuming. As teachers should have a clear idea of how they and their students will accomplish the objectives, the teacher must make decisions about the method of presentation; proportions of teacher and student activity; student assignments, both in class and for homework; and other materials and instructional supports that will be used.
It would be absurd to attempt here to specify the length or nature of this preparation, since it will vary widely depending on the subject, the topic, and the experience and qualifications of the teacher. Additionally, no two teachers could, or should, present a lesson in exactly the same way. The methods by which a professional person practices are a matter for individual decision. It follows, then, that the amount of professional time allocated to preparation will also be individual to each teacher.
Teachers and Violence in the Workplace
Part 27 of the Occupational Health and Safety Code identifies violence as a workplace hazard, and it is defined as “the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical injury.”
Examples of workplace violence follow
· threatening behaviour such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects;
· verbal or written threats (any expression of intent to cause harm); and
· physical attacks such as hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.
Teachers can provide health and safety feedback to the principal at any time. Promptly report an unhealthy or unsafe condition, including violence, at the school. If you have suggestions for improving safety, let the principal know that you would like to discuss these matters at a health and safety committee meeting. #WEAREATA
Important Information about Taxes
Teachers who claimed Line 46900—Eligible educator school supply tax creditfor their 2021 tax return should expect to be seeing a delay of their Notices of Assessment. If you are experiencing these delays, you are encouraged to contact the CTF/FCE’s Advocacy and Government Relations Coordinator, Mark Garcia via e-mail at email@example.com.
Pension Termination Benefits / Commuted Values
Teachers who have not registered for online statements from the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) receive their pension information statements each January in the mail. The document describes current pension status and provides valuable information on the individual teacher’s ATRF benefit. Information in this statement includes an estimation of the termination benefit.
Some teachers noted a decrease on the reported estimate of their termination benefit in their last annual statement. The main driver behind increases or decreases in termination benefits (commuted value) is the change in interest rates.
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) calculate commuted values using many factors. Two of these are interest and inflation rates. These rates change from month to month based on the movement in bond yields from the Bank of Canada. As net bond yields rise, commuted value decreases and vice versa. While a commuted value may change, lifetime pension payable to a plan member remains the same.
The increase in interest rates from the Bank of Canada is usually the main factor behind the decreases in commuted values. As interest rates have increased over recent months, there has been a corresponding decrease in commuted value. Recently, new CIA standards and updated assumptions have been implemented, accounting for some of these changes to commuted values. Changes in commuted values also depend on the member’s age, service and other factors.
ATRF includes messages on their estimate calculator in MyPension, which reminds plan members that commuted values can fluctuate significantly. It also states that these amounts are estimates, not the final actual benefit amounts. Final figures are provided once a teacher terminates employment and applies for benefits upon retirement.
Commuted value only matters if a teacher is no longer an active member of the plan and plans to withdraw their funds. The Alberta Teachers’ Association’s most common advice is not to withdraw funds.
The Nature of Teaching Duties (Part 1)
The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably altered the work of teaching, and many Alberta teachers are feeling stretched past their limits. Clarifying the nature of teaching duties can help teachers manage the responsibilities of the profession and balance the ever-increasing demands on them.
Teaching duties are all the professional tasks encountered by teachers in the course of their activities related to the instruction of students, including
· conducting classes and presenting lessons,
· preparing lessons,
· requisitioning materials and equipment,
· evaluating and reporting on student progress and
· maintaining such classroom order as is necessary to promote a healthy learning climate.
Sections 196 and 197 of the Education Act form the legislative basis for these duties.
196(1) A teacher while providing instruction or supervision must
(a) provide instruction competently to students;
(b) teach the courses of study and education programs that are prescribed, approved or authorized pursuant to this Act;
(c) promote goals and standards applicable to the provision of education adopted or approved pursuant to this Act;
(d) encourage and foster learning in students;
(e) regularly evaluate students and periodically report the results of the evaluation to the students, the students’ parents and the board;
(f) maintain, under the direction of the principal, order and discipline among the students while they are in the school or on the school grounds and while they are attending or participating in activities sponsored or approved by the board;
(g) subject to any applicable collective agreement and the teacher’s contract of employment, carry out those duties that are assigned to the teacher by the principal or the board.
(2) At any time during the period of time that a teacher is under an obligation to the board to provide instruction or supervision or to carry out duties assigned to the teacher by a principal or the board, a teacher must, at the request of the board,
(a) participate in curriculum development and field testing of new curriculum;
(b) develop, field test and mark provincial achievement tests and diploma examinations;
(c) supervise student teachers.
The Act further implies an expectation for teachers to carry out such general supervision of their students as may be required by law, by regulation or by agreement, in order to assist to a reasonable extent with the school program as agreed to by the staff. This expectation extends to cooperating with other teachers in the best interests of students and generally to acting as an engaged member of the school’s educational team.
While collective agreements provide Alberta teachers with limits on their assignable and instructional time, many duties required of teachers to fulfill their obligations fall into the category of professional time. In general, this professional time can be defined as the time that is directed by the teacher, including decisions about when and where the duties are done. Tasks that fall under professional time include the following:
· Planning and creating instructional materials
· Personal professional development
Ø Attending conferences and workshops
· Professional reflection
· Self-directed contact with parents outside assigned meetings and admin directive contact
· Providing additional assistance to students
· Collaborating with colleagues
The work time for these functions is not regulated in collective agreements, but they are obligations of the profession under the Education Act.
Pension Contribution Reductions for 2022
Every year the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) develops an annual report that covers a wide variety of topics, including ATRF’s investment results, funding status, member services statistics and financial reporting. In 2021, ATRF continued to manage the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic and the transfer of assets to the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), while still providing excellent service to members and excellent value for Alberta teachers and plan sponsors.
ATRF’s 2021 annual report, Together Through Change, provides teachers with detailed information on the following topics:
· ATRF’s performance and resilience over the past year during a period of major change
· A discussion of ATRF’s strategic plan
· Results from the most recent member survey
· Detailed information around plan structure and funding
· Funding objectives based on ATRF’s funding policy, and the funding status of the plans
· ATRF’s fund performance
· The transition of assets to AIMCo
· The announcement of another reduction in contribution rates
Management of Contribution Rates
Effective September 1, 2022, the total rates for the Teachers’ Pension Plan will be reduced by two per cent of salaries (one per cent for the Government of Alberta and one per cent for teachers). Several considerations went into this decision, including
· strong investment returns;
· prudent management that continues to build margins and reinforce the plan’s long-term sustainability; and
· the determination that the plan will be able to continue to meet funding objectives of benefit security, intergenerational equity, and contribution rate stability and affordability.
Managing the plan’s funded status requires making long-term decisions that maintain the health of the plan, with proactive measures in place in anticipation of future challenges. There are three main levers for the management of funded status of any pension plan. The first is the level and type of benefits offered, which are the plan sponsors’ decision. The ATRF board manages the two remaining levers to achieve long-term sustainability. First is the funding policy and setting the contributions paid by teachers and the government/employer, which determines how the plan is funded, and second is the investment policy, which sets out how the assets are invested. Contributions and investments provide capital with which to pay plan benefits as they become due and to fund the operations of ATRF.
ATRF regularly works with the plan’s actuary to assess contribution rates as part of its broader accountability to manage plan sustainability and funding. Effective September 1, 2022, the total rates for the Teachers’ Pension Plan will be reduced by two per cent of salaries, which will result in a one per cent increase to teachers’ net pay. Teachers can access more information in the ATRF 2021 annual report. #WEAREATA
Proposed Teacher Discipline Changes On December 9, 2021, Alberta’s minister of education announced a plan to a plan to remove professional regulatory functions related to discipline from the Alberta Teachers’ Association, effectively changing the ATA from a professional association to purely a trade union. If implemented, this decision will dramatically change the culture of the teaching profession and public education in Alberta.
Bill 32 and Member Fees Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, was passed by the legislature on the last day of the sitting and was granted royal assent on July 2020.
Benefits of the RRSP
Many of us have resolved to improve our financial hygiene in 2022. An excellent way to clean up on a large income tax return is by investing in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). RRSPs are tax-deferred, which means that any money you contribute will be exempt from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) taxes the year you make the deposit. You will not be taxed until you make withdrawals. Thus, RRSPs are a great mechanism to reduce a current-year tax bill.
Because tax-deferred does not mean tax-free, you will eventually have to pay taxes when you withdraw your money later in retirement. By the time you do so, your income will almost certainly be less, and your tax rate will be lower.
Check Your Contribution Room—You May Have More Than You Think!
• Canadians can contribute 18 per cent of their salaries to a maximum of $29,210 (for 2022) and $27,830 (for 2021) to RRSPs.
• Canadians with pension plans, such as Alberta teachers, have an amount called the pension adjustment (PA) that is deducted from the RRSP contribution limit.
• The PA is the estimated value of the pension benefits a person has earned during the year and is deducted from their RRSP room.
• CRA established the PA to level the playing field for pensioned and nonpensioned Canadians alike. The higher the value of your pension, the higher your PA amount will be.
• Your PA amount can be found in Box 52 of your T4 (Statement of Remuneration Paid). Most teachers have between $2,000 and $3,000 RRSP room after the PA is deducted.
How the ATA Group RRSP Payroll Deduction Works
• Your RRSP contribution is taken off your paycheque by your employer BEFORE taxes. You are then taxed on the remainder of your pay.
• Immediate Tax Savings means that you receive your tax “refund” on that same paycheque.
• Your investment grows in the background, often without you even noticing!
• A group RRSP gives you access to a wide range of investment options, and the ATA Group RRSP (administered by Capital Estate Planning) has a very competitive fee structure.
Your Spouse or Partner Has Access Too, Personally or Through a Spousal Plan!
• It is always a good idea to look at both yours and your spouse’s/partner’s bigger picture: combined income and retirement savings plans when planning for your financial future.
• To set up a Spousal Group RRSP: download, print and fill out the ATA Group RRSP application form and the Spousal RRSP Contribution Details form (this form indicates the source of contributions in a spousal plan). (See link below.)
March 1, 2022 is the deadline for contributing to an RRSP for the 2021 tax year. The ATA Group RRSP features no front-end, set-up, redemption or commission fees. www.capitalplanning.ca/ata-members/investments/ata-registered-retirement-savings-plan
CTF/FCE National Conversation Campaign announcement go to www.voteeducation.ca
When the Prime Minister announces his Cabinet on Tuesday, October 26, the CTF/FCE is going to significantly increase its advocacy campaign visibility. As you recall, the campaign was launched to start a ‘national conversation’ to better support and strengthen publicly funded public education in Canada during the lead-up to this year’s federal election.
The campaign generated quite a buzz on all CTF/FCE social media channels. Now it's time to ramp it up in anticipation of the cabinet shuffle. To get there, we need your help to ensure that the campaign messages are seen as widely as possible.
Below, we have Included social media messages for your teams to distribute through your channels. To download social media shareables, go to https://voteeducation.ca/toolkit.php
What will happen on October 26?
From 7am to 10am ET on October 26 the CTF/FCE is conducting a media takeover of National News Watch. This involves buying up all ad space on the News Watch website. With all press and political stakeholder eyes glued to updates on News Watch, the CTF/FCE will be front and centre.
In addition to the media takeover, our ad buys on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) will continue.
A subsequent media takeover of National News Watch is planned for November 22, the scheduled date of the federal Throne Speech.
Why are we doing this?
During the national poll carried out by Abacus Data leading up to the election, findings clearly showed that Canadians want the federal government to play a more significant role in public education and many of the key priorities set by the CTF/FCE AGM.
As a result of those findings, the CTF/FCE is advocating for the creation of a national education advisory table to strengthen publicly funded public education across Canada. Comprised of representatives of the teaching profession (through our unions), academics, civil society, and the federal government, the table is envisioned to work with provinces and territories to:
To view all the priorities and asks in full, please visit and explore www.voteeducation.ca.
We thank you for your support. If you have any questions contact Andrew King (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Public Affairs.
Here are some questions you should consider:
· What is the destination country’s vaccine requirement?
· What documentation do you need upon arrival or departure?
· What is required if you start to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms?
· What is your plan if self-isolation is required, either upon arriving at your destination or upon returning to Canada?
Some of these requirements may affect your ability to return to work after the holiday and may exacerbate potential issues with your employer.
If you are sick, for whatever reason, you are entitled to sick leave provisions in your collective agreement. If you are required to quarantine because you are exhibiting symptoms and are sick, you are entitled to sick leave as per your collective agreement. (Some teachers have 90 days and some have statutory sick leave of 20 days per year.) Sick leave entitlement is not affected by travel in any way.
Problems with a return to work as the result of other issues (such as a delayed flight) are managed with collective agreement days off, such as personal days or days off without pay. If you are not sick but are required to quarantine, you must take that time without pay, as travel is a personal choice and is unpredictable at this time, or use applicable leaves in your collective agreement (such as personal days) for the quarantine period.
As for benefits and travel, some aspects of your medical coverage may not be in effect if you travel internationally when advised not to do so. Check with your medical benefits insurer for the specific details of your plan. If you have Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) coverage, contact ASEBP before you travel and review the details at www.asebp.ca/my-benefits. If you are a teacher with coverage other than ASEBP, contact your benefits provider before travelling to ensure that, in the current conditions, you are covered for all aspects of the trip (from quarantine costs, such as hotel rooms, to costs related to having to change flights).
Further information or assistance is available by calling Teacher Employment Services at 1‑800‑232‑7208.
Know your rights and responsibilities
In Alberta, a teacher is a member of The Alberta Teachers’ Association (Association). Membership in The Alberta Teachers’ Association and support of it through the provision of fees is beneficial to the cause of education and the teaching profession in Alberta.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association holds that teachers are entitled to the following rights and must accept the corresponding responsibilities.
1. Teachers have the right to base diagnosis, planning, methodology and evaluation on professional knowledge and skills, and have the responsibility to review constantly their own level of competence and effectiveness and to seek necessary improvements as part of a continuing process of professional development.
2. Teachers have the right to expect standards of pupil behaviour necessary for maintaining an optimal learning environment and have the responsibility to use reasonable methods to achieve such standards.
3. Teachers have the right to a voice in all decisions of a professional nature which affect them and have the responsibility to seek the most effective means of consultation and of collaboration with their professional colleagues.
4. Teachers have the right to criticize educational programs and have the responsibility to do so in a professional manner.
5. Teachers have the right to work in surroundings that are sanitary, healthful and conducive to teaching and learning, and have the responsibility to assess conditions encountered and to seek improvement of unacceptable conditions.
6. Teachers have the right to a reasonable allotment of resources, materials and services of support staff and have the responsibility to use them in an efficient manner.
7. Teachers have the right to fair and reasonable evaluation of professional performance and have the responsibility to give sincere consideration to any suggestions for improvement.
8. Teachers have the right to protest and, in extreme cases, to refuse the assignment of teaching duties when they believe their qualifications and experience will not provide adequate service and safety to pupils and have the responsibility to consider any special circumstances under which the duties were assigned.
9. Teachers have the right to be protected against discrimination on the basis of prejudice as to race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical characteristics, disability, marital status, family status, age, ancestry, place of origin, place of residence, socioeconomic background or linguistic background and have the responsibility to refrain from practising these forms of discrimination in their professional duties.
10. Teachers, collectively and collegially, have the right to:
a) be members of the organization representing their professional, economic and contractual concerns,
b) serve the organization and be represented by it,
c) adhere to and to expect other members to adhere to the organization’s code of professional conduct,
d) have a voice in determining criteria and procedures for the evaluation of professional performance of teachers,
e) be protected under provisions outlined in contracts of employment with the employer,
f) bargain for salaries and working conditions which include fair and equitable grievance procedures,
g) receive an adequate income while teaching and upon retirement,
and have the responsibility to actively support their professional organization in its objectives to regulate relations between teachers and their employers and to improve the quality of education, the status of teachers and the status of the teaching profession.
This Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities for Teachers forms part of the Constitution of The Alberta Teachers’ Association.
Rights and responsibilities are often viewed as a whole in balance with other rights and responsibilities. Individual rights of are often viewed in balance with individual responsibilities. Similarly, individual rights have to be balanced against the rights of others and the rights and responsibilities of the collective.
While individual teachers may hold diverse opinions on specific issues, the Association is not responsible to represent all of those opinions. The Association is guided by policy, that has been established through democratic processes. Democratically elected and appointed teacher representatives who attend the Annual Representatives’ Assembly (ARA) are the voice and vote of their local’s teachers and therefore have the power and authority to establish Association policy and direction.
Please view the MEMBERS side of the ATA website link here and sign into the Members side to view updates about the Initial Proposal for our current bargaining.
Bargaining has opened and the Bargaining Committee is following "good faith" practices, thus only information about ATA actions and proposals will be available until we are at an appropriate place in the process to engage teachers in discussions regarding the government proposals.
Hazard Assessments: Ensuring the Health and Safety
of Everyone at School
Hazard assessments, a requirement of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, play a key role in health and safety at the workplace. Hazard assessments must be completed before any work takes place at the school, and should be reviewed at regular intervals, or when something changes the way that the work is done. Typically, hazard assessments are done at the start of every school year. Under the OHS Act, school divisions have the obligation to include teachers (workers) and other workers in the building in conducting hazard assessments. Hazard assessments are specific to the work being done, and therefore some teaching assignments may have additional controls in place due to additional hazards associated with that particular assignment. School divisions (employers), via the principals (supervisors), must communicate known hazards and the controls in place so that everyone working in the school know how to work safely.
OHS is always part of a teacher’s working conditions. While COVID‑19 amplified this, respiratory illness has always been included as a potential hazard identifiable in the OHS hazard assessment for work sites. It should continue to be a focus for controls in the upcoming school year. All workplace hazards, including those associated with COVID-19, should be on the hazard assessment, as well as the measures in place to eliminate or control those hazards. This information needs to be available to all workers in the building. School divisions must eliminate the hazards where possible. If it is not possible to eliminate a hazard, the hazard must be controlled to the lowest level of risk possible by following a hierarchy:
· First choice: Engineering controls to modify the worksite to isolate people from a hazard.
· Second choice: Administrative controls to change how and when the work is done to control a hazard.
· Third choice: Personal Protective Equipment provided to workers to wear to protect them while working.
While the controls are considered in a hierarchy, they are also frequently identified as a part of a suite of controls. This means it is the combination of controls that is required to ensure the hazards are controlled as effectively as possible. Employers can choose to strengthen controls beyond the minimum recommendations of the chief medical officer of health in order to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the schools.
Vaccinations can be part of the recommended controls included in the hazard assessment as a measure taken to reduce the hazards associated with COVID-19. As a teacher, you have responsibilities in ensuring the health and safety of everyone at your school. This includes providing feedback on the controls in place or suggesting additional controls, reporting unhealthy or unsafe conditions in a timely matter, and following the health and safety plan of your school.
If you have individual concerns that are not part of the OHS hazard assessment but have implications for your health and safety while at work, speak with your doctor. If your doctor identifies limitations and restrictions, you will be required to provide medical documentation from your doctor to your employer to ensure that accommodations are put in place. Call Teacher Employment Services for more information (1-800-232-7208).
The following links provide more information about the role of hazard assessments:
Hazard Assessment and Control: A Handbook for Alberta Employers and Workers
COVID-19 as a workplace hazard
As we all prepare to return to school this fall here are a couple areas to consider:
1. How will you support ALL students/families as we continue to see this pandemic evolve?
a. How will you speak about Covid vaccinations without alienating or vilifying those ineligible, uncertain or unwilling to be vaccinated?
b. How will you respond when a student informs you of a vaccine appointment without creating a "good choices vs bad choices" environment? We will need to remain neutral on this topic as the vaccine is a choice, and for some students it is a choice that remains OUTSIDE their control depending on parent perceptions.
2. How will you support 2SLGBTQ+ youth in your classroom?
a. Consider a pronouns activity to start the semester
b. Use ONLY last names when completing attendance, then ASK the students for their preferred name.
c. Work to minimize or eliminate gender specific language - fireman = fireperson, or ladies = folks, everyone
d. Include 2SLGBTQ+ literature in your course where appropriate
3. How will you care for your wellness?
a. Maintaining activities you enjoy
b. Utilizing email settings to create a "send time" for parent emails to avoid the "always available" expectations
c. Making time for collegiality and lunch breaks
4. Bargaining for our Collective Agreement will commence in September at the CENTRAL table so to remain informed, be sure to submit your personal email to your school rep in September.