Partial Load Members
As a partial-load professor (teaching more than 6 hours per week, and up to 12 hours per week), you are a member of the academic bargaining unit and are covered by the Academic Employees Collective Agreement. This Agreement extends to all partial-load and full-time faculty throughout all 24 Ontario colleges. The current 4-year collective agreement expired on September 30, 2021.
As a member of this bargaining unit, you receive the salary, benefits and professional conditions that have been negotiated by the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU/SEFPO), on your behalf. As such, union dues are automatically deducted from your pay. Even so, you are not a member of your Local until you have signed your membership card.
Membership into your local is free and comes with many advantages, including allowing you to have a voice during negotiations, and in the event of a strike, eligibility for strike benefits such as strike pay. Get in touch with your local if you would like to sign a membership card.
Here are some useful links for partial-load faculty:
- 2017-2021 Collective Agreement
- CAAT Pension
- SunLife – Benefits Booklets
- Partial-Load Registry
- Service Credits
- Initial Salary Calculations
Below, you will find common FAQs relating to partial-load faculty. We encourage you to get in touch with your local if you have any questions, and to see how you can stay connected and get more involved.
Partial Load / Contract Faculty FAQs
What are the categories of contract work in the College system?
If you regularly teach 6 hours or less per week, then you are “part-time”. If you teach between 7 and 12 hours per week, then you are “partial-load”. If you teach more than 12 hours per week, then you are “sessional”. Collectively, these (non-full-time) faculty members are called ‘contract faculty’.
At this time, only partial-load faculty are part of the academic bargaining unit. In October of 2017, there was a vote to include part-time and sessional faculty into the bargaining unit. The ballots were sent to the Ministry of Labour. To date, they have yet to be counted because the College Employer Council (the bargaining agent which represents the Colleges) has had their lawyers challenge who was eligible to vote and who was not. OPSEU lawyers have been countering each and every challenge. This has gone on for 3.5 years. At the last update, over 6000 names had been challenged. We hope the ballots will be counted soon.
As a partial-load faculty member, am I entitled to membership in the Local?
Yes! We recommend that you sign a membership card right away. Contact your Local to obtain a membership form.
Do I pay dues?
By law, union dues, which are tax deductible, are deducted by your college from your pay, whether or not you join the local, since all who receive these valuable services share the cost of providing them. Please join so that you can exercise all your rights.
How does the Collective Agreement affect partial-load faculty?
The Collective Agreement affects vital aspects of your employment including:
- your wages and seniority;
- your access to extended health and paraprofessional services;
- your access to employee-paid insurance benefits, including vision, hearing, dental and life insurance;
- your access to paid sick leave;
- your job security.
How do I get a copy of the Collective Agreement?
You should have received a paper copy of the Collective Agreement from Human Resources when you were initially hired. You can also find an electronic copy of the collective agreement here.
Where do I find the provisions that apply to partial-load faculty?
Many of the Articles in the Collective Agreement apply to both partial-load and full-time faculty. However, since partial-load salary, step progression, job security, health and insurance benefits, and sick-leave provisions differ from those of full-time employees, the rights exclusively related to partial-load employees are defined in Article 26 of the Collective Agreement. We encourage you to read it carefully.
What is the Partial-Load Registry and how does it work?
The Partial-Load Registry was one of the gains from our 2017 strike. It is a registry (which you must sign up for every year, no matter your current contract status) which documents how many months of service you have accrued, and what courses you’ve previously taught. Months of service are counted by the following criteria: prior to 2017, for every month that you were partial-load and worked 30 hours or more, you accrued half a month of service. Beginning Oct 1, 2017, for every month that you were partial-load and worked 30 hours or more, you accrued one month of service. When your manager is assigning work, the person who has taught that course before and has the most service credits is entitled to be offered that course first.
Do contract faculty receive benefits?
If you are partial-load, then you are eligible for employer-paid extended health benefits. Your College’s HR website should also have a detailed explanation of the benefits to which you are entitled. Please make sure to opt-in to the benefits as soon as possible. Employee-paid benefits are also available, such as dental and vision coverage, but must be opted-in during your first contract, within 30 days of loss of another coverage (proof required), or after 6 months out of partial-load status.
My contract has ended, and I have not started another one. What happens to my benefits (Extended Health, Vision, Hearing, Critical Illness/Catastrophic Event, Dental)?
If you are need of constant coverage, you may be able to bridge your benefits. For this to be possible, however, you will need a signed future contract of employment. If you have a signed contract for a future semester, you can continue coverage in any group insurance plans by paying the full premiums (employer- and employee-paid portions) yourself until your next contract begins. Keep in mind that if your contract starts any day other than the 1st of the month, you would be responsible for paying the entire month.
For most faculty, this option ends up being too costly, in comparison to the costs they may have to pay out of pocket during non-contracted months. If that’s the case for you, we encourage you to make all claims while still on contract. Keep in mind that your benefits continue until the last day of the month, regardless of your actual contract end date. For example, if your contract ended April 18, you have until April 30 to make claims under your benefits plan. Details can be found in your Sunlife Benefits Booklet.
Finally, if you are rehired as a PL within 6 months of the end of a previous contract, there will be no waiting period for group insurance benefits. See Article 26.06 A, B, and C of the collective agreement for usual waiting periods.
Where can I find the pay grid?
See Article 26.04 of the Collective Agreement (page 51 of the printed book).
What if I think I am at the wrong place on the pay grid?
You can find more information on the initial salary calculation here. If you require further assistance, please contact your Local.
Do I get pay increases?
Yes, negotiated percentage improvements to account for inflation are applied to full-time and partial-load faculty alike. Partial-load faculty also get step increases based on months of service credits. To learn more about this process, see Service Credits.
Why am I only paid for my teaching contact hours (TCH)?
The College determines pay by the number of teaching hours per week. It deems this hourly rate to cover out-of-class preparation and marking time (CA 26.02 A). Viewed in this way, the effective hourly rate isn’t nearly as high as what the CA says. The union is committed to securing better rights and better pay for all contract faculty.
My manager has asked me to take on additional teaching that would put me above 12 teaching contact hours per week. Should I accept?
According to the CA 26.01 B, a “partial-load employee is defined as a teacher who teaches more than six and up to and including 12 hours per week on a regular basis.” In other words, if you go above 12 hours, you will no longer be partial load, and you will no longer be covered by any provision of the CA. You will lose your union protection, the higher rates of pay that the union has negotiated, and all benefits that the union has negotiated. In addition, as a sessional faculty member, you will not earn service credits nor gain any hiring priority rights under the PL Registry. Furthermore, you will have no right to be considered an internal candidate for any full-time job competitions that may occur in the period in question. Therefore, we generally recommend that you not accept any such offer.
My contract has ended, and I have not yet started another one. Can I get EI?
As long as you meet the government’s requirements for EI, then yes, you can.
Am I eligible to participate in the CAAT Pension Plan?
Yes! In fact, any non-full-time faculty member (part time, partial load, or sessional) can enroll in CAAT’s DBPlus plan, which is for any “Other Than Regular Full Time” (OTRFT) employee. You can join the plan immediately upon hire, and can also purchase back service that you may have missed. For more information, visit our Benefits and Pensions page.
I have heard that partial-load faculty have rights with regard to full-time job competitions. What are these rights?
As a partial-load faculty member, Article 27.11 B of the collective agreement gives you the right to be treated as an internal candidate for any job competition occurring during your contract or one month following it. The Article defines “consideration” as “a review of the competence, skill and experience of the applicants in relation to the requirements of the position.” This language does not necessarily guarantee internal candidates an interview. However, if you meet all the requirements of the job competition and did not receive an interview, we recommend that you request a written response explaining the College’s rationale.
Are contract faculty needs represented at the table in bargaining?
Absolutely! While each bargaining round is different depending on the political climate, contract faculty needs and demands have been well-represented. In 2018, delegates of the Divisional Meeting passed amended bargaining procedures stating that the Bargaining Team will be advised by a Bargaining Advisory Committee (BAC). The BAC includes one full-time or partial-load member from each local, plus 8 partial load members from across the province. Along with the Local Presidents, the BAC consults with the Team and offers feedback.
In 2017, the Bargaining Team won us a Provincial Taskforce that was to determine the next 50 years of the College system. One of the key topics that was under review was complement (percentage of contract faculty to full time faculty). This Taskforce met regularly and there was a broad consensus from the many stakeholders that the current proportion of contract faculty was unsustainable, and that many more full time positions needed to be created. Frustratingly, before the Taskforce was able to complete its work, the Ford government was elected and cancelled it.
Why is partial-load representation not seen at all levels of the union?
There is a perception that partial-load faculty who openly engage in union activities run the risk of repercussions by their employer. Workers have long fought back against real and perceived repercussions, and that is how we make change. Speak to your local about how you can get involved more. For example, recently at Humber College (Local 562), partial load faculty created a Partial-Load Committee (PLC) which informs and advises Local Executive Committee (LEC) of the Local. The PLC has taken action on issues that matter most to them, with the full support of the LEC. The continual empowerment, education, and perseverance of the PLC has not only increased partial load participation across the college, but has also strengthened the collective voice of all faculty.
How can partial-load members get more involved in provincial/divisional committees?
Partial load faculty can (and should!) stand to be elected as Delegates to the annual Divisional Meeting. Every two years, there are elections for Provincial Committees, where you will have the opportunity to work with others from across the province. To attend the Divisional Meeting, you must be elected by your local at your General Membership Meeting. If you cannot attend as a Delegate, you may be elected as an Alternate.
If I want to maintain full membership in the Local, do I need to sign a new union card if I have not been partial load for over 12 months?
No, you don’t. Your Union ID will remain with you and will be re-activated once you regain partial load status.