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Member Portal

We hope that many of your questions can be answered by the content throughout this website and we also know that we will never be able to fully anticipate every question that you may have.

markerIn an effort to provide you with as much information as possible we have developed some FAQs for you here. We hope they help guide you towards the answers you need to exercise your rights and responsibilities as an FSA member or to learn more about the FSA.

These FAQs do not constitute legal advice. For any clarification about the answers provided below or for any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us!

Engagement

Contact: How do I contact the FSA?

Visit our contact page.

Contact: What happens when I contact the FSA with a question or concern?

To better manage the workloads of FSA labour relations staff and ensure that priority matters get the attention they require, the FSA introduced a new process for handling all new inquiries. Member phone calls, e-mails & walk-in visits are received by a designated staff person. If an answer to the member’s question is readily available, it will be provided. Otherwise, the member will be referred to an appropriate resource such as one of our dedicated Labour Relations Representatives, who will make every effort to contact the member as soon as possible. If your matter is outside of the scope of the FSA’s work you may be referred to another resource such as BCIT’s Human Resources, Manulife, etc.

Urgent matters are given priority attention. Please direct all new inquiries or issues to BCIT_FSA@bcit.ca or 604-432-8695.

Meetings: How do I know when FSA meetings are happening?

In addition to special meetings or events that are held on an as-needed basis, the FSA holds the following regular meetings:

  • General Meetings, including the Annual General Meeting, are held three times per year, usually in October, January & April,
  • Board Meetings are held monthly except in July,
  • Tech Rep Meetings are held monthly except in July, August & December

For specific dates of upcoming events & meetings you can visit the FSA Calendar.

Publications: Where can I find FSA newsletters, member guides and publications?

All FSA newsletters and annual reports are posted on this site. Many of our member guides are posted with our Member Education materials. But a number of them are also located within our Member Portal which requires members to create an account login to access education materials and other member-only information. If you’re an FSA member and don’t have an account we encourage you to set one up today by visiting the members login page!

Photos: What do I do if my image appears in a group photo that is used on the website and I don't want it to be used?

While we make every effort at our events and meetings to give members a chance to opt out of being photographed, we acknowledge that group photos may end up including members who do not want their images to appear in a published photo. Please notify fsa@bcit.ca and we will take down the photo.

Structure

Directors & Staff: How do I know who is on the FSA Board of Directors? And who works for the FSA?

Visit our FSA Board & Staff pages to find out more about your union representation.

Program Heads: Is my Program Head or PTS Coordinator my manager?

Your Program Head or PTS Coordinator is not a manager to you or any other FSA or GEU member: they are your colleague. This is true for all other positions that properly fall under Article 5.2.4, and some of the other common titles for these positions include Program Coordinator, PTS Coordinator, or Team Lead. All such positions are called Departmental or Program Administrative Positions in the Collective Agreement (Article 5.2.4). You should also know that the incumbents in these positions should be (and normally are) selected by the members of the applicable Department/Program. Incumbents perform these roles for no longer than three years, but their incumbency is renewable, if the Department wishes.

This means that your Program Head or Coordinator (or other incumbent Administrative Position) should not be exercising management rights. Contact the FSA if you have concerns about whether that is happening. Alternatively, incumbents should contact the FSA if they think they are being asked by a Manager to carry out functions beyond what can be required.

Tech Reps: What is a Tech Rep, why do we need one and who is my Tech Rep?

Tech Reps are the FSA’s representative in each department. Elected annually, they provide an essential, personal link between the FSA’s Board of Directors and the Association’s membership. To find out more about Tech Reps and who serves your Department, please visit the Tech Rep page.

BCIT Managers: I'm in a BCIT management position but am still on the FSA membership list, why?

If you are in a BCIT management position but also have an auxiliary contract (for example: you teach a PTS course) in a Department that is under the FSA’s jurisdiction, you are an Associate (or Ancillary) member of the FSA. This entitles you to all the information and rights of a member in that category.

We recognize that it may seem odd at times – such as when voting in FSA elections or receiving information about collective bargaining, but you are a member and therefore have rights to participate and have your voice heard. We certainly encourage members in this position to weigh their dual obligations when exercising their FSA rights. We are certainly aware that there are members in this situation when we write and distribute information.

However, if you are in a BCIT management position and do not hold a contract that would make you an FSA member and are still receiving information from us, please let us know – we may have an error on our list!

Collective Agreement

Extended Health: Where do I go to learn about my health and welfare benefits?

As a first step, please contact BCIT’s Human Resources Department or visit the benefits section of BCIT website. If you have questions or concerns that are not answered by HR, you should contact the FSA by email or call us at 604-432-8695.

Initial Placement: Why is it important?

We encourage all members to know about the importance of Initial Placement so that when new colleagues start in your Department you can encourage them to ensure that they have been placed properly. We have several “hard to fill/difficult to recruit to” disciplines where having this knowledge is key.

In general, placement on salary scales should reflect your knowledge, experience and abilities, regardless of who you are. In this sense, the placement on the BCIT salary scale should apply equally to any person applying for and successfully attaining a technological faculty or staff position.

There is a mechanism in the Collective Agreement for determining this initial placement for all key classifications of faculty and staff. There is also a mechanism for appeal of this placement in Article 11. You have six (6) months from initial date of hire to appeal your placement. Review your placement form to ensure all experience and qualifications are credited. (Articles 11.2.2, 11.4.2, 11.6, 11.7).

All FSA members should receive a “placement form” with their appointment letter. There is a barrier step on “initial placement” meaning that the top of scale rates of pay usually are not available at point of hire. However, there are circumstances such as market shortages, which may allow for a mutually agreed-to variance of such a barrier. The initial placement is determined by the selection committee (Art 5.2.3.3.5), reviewed by the Dean (Art 11.2.5), and sent to BCIT Human Resources for the offer.

If you disagree with your salary placement, you have six (6) months to appeal your initial placement to the Institute Placement Committee (IPC, Article 11.2). In your appeal, we suggest including your review of your education and experience against the language in Article 11.2. The Committee has developed a form to assist appeal applicants that you will need to include in your appeal;: it can be found on the BCIT Human Resources site.

Leaves: What are my leave of absence options under the Collective Agreement?

A review of the BCIT-FSA collective agreement reveals approximately 20 different types of leave provisions. The leaves are wide-ranging, and include absences for circumstances such as bereavement, participating in election to public office, maternity and parenting, professional development, and sick leave.

Some of the more common leaves that the FSA is asked about are:

(a) General Purpose Leave Without Pay (Article 9.7)

(b) Professional Development Leave (Article 10.5)

(c) Development Leave, Short-Term – Technical Staff and Assistant Instructor (Article 10.6)

(d) Professional Development Leave Without Pay (Article 10.7)

There are various eligibility criteria to be satisfied for these different leaves, as well as limits on how much leave time an employee can take.

If you have any questions that are not answered by reading the respective Collective Agreement provisions, or if you are experiencing difficulty in accessing your rights to a leave, contact the FSA.

Pay: Where are salary scales posted?

Visit our Collective Agreement  page to find this information.

Professional Development: How do I use my PD allowance?

There are two types of professional development allowances: (1) Article 10.3 “Professional Development Expenses Fund, Program-Administered funding; and (2) an annual allotment of $2,400 for eligible full time Faculty employees.

The Art 10.3 professional development funding is an annual allotment provided to eligible employees on April 1st of each calendar year. This is more commonly referred to as the “pooled PD funds”. The general purpose of the fund is “to promote leadership in technological education through funding of relevant professional development activities and/or the purchase of equipment or services which maintain currency, flexibility, and professional competence of employees or augment the professional development of the individual employee” (Article 10.3.2). Refer to Memorandum of Agreement 09FSA40, Guide to Article 10.3 Professional Development Expenses Fund, for further information about the purpose and use of Article 10.3 funds. Note that smart (cell) phones are no longer restricted as shown in MemAg 09FSA40.

The annual allotment of $2,400 in PD funding is available to Faculty employees after they have been at step 15 of the faculty salary scale for the equivalent of a least one annual workload year. This funding is paid via payroll, spread out over the year and is subject to taxes. There are no reporting requirements or restrictions on the use of these funds.

Retirement: I’m planning to retire; what are my first steps?

FSA members planning to retire should visit the Retiring from BCIT webpage provided by BCIT Human Resources. You should be able to find all the resources and information you need there. BCIT HR also hosts regular pension seminars in conjunction with the Pension Corp. Please check their Pensions Group on the Loop for upcoming dates.

If you have any concerns after working through that information and discussing with BCIT HR you can contact us directly.

 

Selection Committees: New Hires & Salary Placement

Our collegial hiring process recognizes that our faculty and staff are the experts in their fields and are best able to identify who will do the best job of preparing and supporting the next generation of technologists. For similar reasons, Article 5.2.3.3.5 entitles Selection Committees to recommend where new hires should be placed on the salary scale.

Article 11 sets out the rules for placement on the scales. Applying these rules often requires knowledge of the field and of the work to be performed at BCIT. Selection Committees can take initiative on placement by applying their informed judgement on questions like the equivalency of credentials and the relevance of employment experience. Make sure your new colleagues get proper credit for the education and experience that have prepared them to join your department.

Student Employees: Am I a member? What are my dues?

As a peer tutor or a BCIT student employed in a technology program or ITS, you become part of the FSA (Faculty and Staff Association). We represent full-time and part-time technological faculty and staff at BCIT. You will notice that you pay dues of 1.85% on all gross wages. These are tax deductible and will be included on your T4 at income tax time. Being a member of FSA also entitles you to information about employment matters that pertain to you. All members are entitled to attend our general meetings; have access to education and other resources via the Union, and are entitled to vote on FSA matters. If you have issues regarding your employment and need an advocate, the FSA will represent you.  Your department and BCIT Human Resources can provide you with most information about your employment; however, if you ever require an interpretation or advocacy on your behalf, we are here to help. Contact the FSA if you have any questions about how we can help you.

Vacation: If I don't use all of my vacation do I just lose the days?

All employees have the right to carry over up to ten (10) working days of vacation leave for their use in a subsequent year, pursuant to Article 9.2.7.1. However, under Article 9.2.7.4, an employee also has the right to apply for approval from their Department to carry over additional vacation leave, as long as the total vacation entitlement in any one (1) year does not exceed 58 days. See Article 9.2.7.2 for the exception to this rule.

In addition to the carry over limits described above, if an employee finds they are unable to take all of their scheduled vacation in a calendar year, and they are authorized by their manager to forego the scheduled vacation leave, they may apply to their manager for permission to carry over the additional vacation leave (Article 9.2.7.6). These excess vacation days will be paid out via a lump sum by the second pay period in February of the subsequent calendar year. When that payout doesn’t happen, how these days are handled needs to be discussed between the FSA member and their manager.

Workload: How should a Department determine workload?

The Collective Agreement (Articles 1.4.3-1.4.6) allows each Department some flexibility to develop their workloading process. There are guiding principles to ensure fair and equitable distribution of the work (see Articles 1.4.3–1.4.6 & 8.8.1) and consultation (Article 1.8.4) within the Department, but the details of the process are left to the best decision-makers, the Department members and the related Manager. Some Departments may choose to partially delegate the authority to a Departmental “workloading committee”, which may be done by specific motion at a Departmental Meeting (Article 14.4). This Committee receives requests from the Department members regarding their workload preferences and drafts a Departmental plan based on those requests to put back to the Department. The Department members must then review and approve that plan prior to its implementation. A Department-approved appeal process should be in place, to process any appeals of Departmental decisions (Articles 14.4-14.5; 8.8.3; 8.9.1).

Relevant Collective Agreement Provisions for Workload Issues

  • Article 1.8.5.1: Definition of “Department” (which means the “Employees and the related Manager”)
  • Article 8.2: Faculty Workload
  • Article 8.3: Assistant Instructor Workload
  • Article 8.4: Technical Staff Workload
  • Article 8.6: Month Free of Teaching
  • Article 8.8: Workload Assignments and Dispute Resolution (Faculty and Assistant Instructors)
  • Article 8.8.1 Non-exclusive list of factors to consider when determining workload assignments for instructional staff (Faculty and Assistant Instructors)
  • Article 8.9: Workload Assignments and Dispute Resolution (Non-Instructional Staff)
  • Articles 14.1 & 14.2: Departmental objectives and planning
  • Article 14.3: Workload disputes

Workload Disputes

Over the last year, the FSA has seen an increase in members using collective agreement provisions to dispute excess workload assignments. Article 8.8 and 8.9 (for instructional and non-instructional staff respectively) provide three levels of dispute resolution. The Workload Dispute Process gives members the opportunity to challenge workloads that are unfair, inequitable, or unreasonable whereas the grievance process is used for issues like excess contact hours or overtime.

The Workload Dispute Process starts with a formal complaint to the department, which must respond with written reasons. Almost all complaints are resolved with some workload adjustment made at the department level. If the department response is not satisfactory, the process then advances to the Dean. Failing an appeal to the Dean, the next step is a workload dispute panel, equally made up of union and management representatives from other departments. The panel’s findings are copied to the Dean and the Vice President, Academic, who must explain how the workload dispute will be remedied.

While the process provides for individuals or groups of members bringing their own complaints forward, please contact the FSA for guidance using this mechanism and to keep us abreast of workload issues in your department.

Miscellaneous

I was contacted by the BCIT Respect, Diversity, and Inclusion office to be a witness in an investigation. Do I need an FSA rep to come with me?

You’re being called as a witness to what’s happened allegedly between the parties and you do have a requirement to speak to BCIT as your employer. We would encourage you to attend. If you are not the complainant nor the respondent, you’re unlikely to face any legal consequences for your participation.

The process is fairly straightforward. You would meet with them at a defined time and place, and answer their questions to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t remember or you don’t know, then be clear and say you don’t recall or know. If you think of something after the meeting you forgot to tell them, you can email them. You can always ask to take a break from the questions if you need a bio break. Some snacks or a coffee is good to bring if you think your energy might decrease during the meeting.

FSA Newsletter

October 2019, Vol 51 Issue 1

Check out our latest newsletter including items about bargaining, grievances, member profiles, and best practices!

October 2019, Vol 51, Issue 1 (PDF)

Newsletter Archive
  • Diversity Circles

    Looking for information about Diversity Circles? Diversity Circles is now a BCIT-supported initiative and is co-led by the two FSA members who founded it: Zaa Joseph & Shannon Kelly.
    Visit their website!
  • What are your rights?

    The Collective Agreement, along with various memoranda of agreement, regulate the terms and conditions of employment of FSA members.
    Read your CA