Member Portal

FAQ for Members in PTS

This section is an attempt to provide additional information for FSA members working in Part-Time Studies (PTS), rebranded by the Institute as Flexible Education but hereafter simply called PTS. We encourage all members to also review the general FAQ page.

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. We hope these FAQs help guide you towards the answers you need to exercise your rights and responsibilities under the Collective Agreement 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!

Your Rights

Do I have specific protections in the Collective Agreement?

Yes! The Collective Agreement establishes your employment rights such as: the rates of pay, benefit eligibility, a grievance process, and (for PTS instructors) the right to normally be rehired. Like all FSA members, PTS/Auxiliary Employees have rights and responsibilities in their respective roles. How these are applied in your specific context can be challenging to outline in specific detail, but PTS/Auxiliary Employees can always obtain more information by contacting the FSA directly.

What do I need to know about intellectual property & PTS courses?

Article gives the first right to teach a course to the individual who authored the course if they were not being paid to do so by BCIT. Article 7.4 ensures that an employee who ‘creates, develops, acquires or introduces’ course materials retains ownership over them. When BCIT pays someone to author a course, BCIT might claim ownership over the materials. In those cases, BCIT may also deny the creator the right to use the materials at other institutions or online.

Instructors who plan to develop and introduce a new course, whether on their own or under contract with BCIT, first should obtain a written understanding with the Associate Dean that acknowledges that the course, and all of its associated materials, will belong exclusively to the author. Course authors should expect adequate compensation for any rights over course materials claimed by BCIT. When being paid to develop a course, authors should also insist
that the agreement clearly sets out any rights that they retain over the materials.

Contact the FSA if you have any questions about the ownership of course materials. Note also that the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), of which the FSA is a member, provides information on copyright on their website. They are currently lobbying Parliament for changes to the Copyright Act on behalf of all post-secondary educators.

How can I encourage members in PTS to attend "mandatory" or important meetings?

While there is no specific right pertaining to this, PTS Coordinators/Program Heads can create an auxiliary (PTS) contract to pay part-time studies staff or temps who are between contracts to attend Department meetings at the “PTS Admin” rate. While salaried staff have the benefit of being paid to attend meetings, why should non-salaried members of your Department not share the same privilege? This will build morale, encourage Department collegiality, and promote big picture thinking about how all staff contribute to teaching excellence and the welfare of the Department.

What's the best practice for making up a "snow day"?

Snow days or other class cancellations due to campus closures are inconvenient for all members but can be particularly problematic for members teaching PTS (Part-Time Studies) courses.

Must you schedule an in-person make-up class?

While scheduling an in-person make-up class may seem like the most obvious solution, this “solution” may cause other problems. If you add a class to the end of the term, PTS students or instructors may have other commitments in place already, preventing them from  attending. Making up a class on a stat holiday or on another day is also problematic for the same reason (not to mention that BCIT employees should not work on a stat!).

Other ways to make up missed time

Providing students with a “take-home class” – where they complete specific readings, submit exercises, participate in peer reviews, and will be counted “absent” for a class if they don’t – is a great alternative. Some instructors make small but critical revisions to the overall  course schedule such as combining two topics or adding an extra reading/exercise to each class. If the “snow day” occurred on a scheduled test day, the test can be moved to another day in the existing schedule, and one of the above methods used to make up the “bumped” class.

For an unavoidable class cancellation like a snow day; a little creative thinking will ensure the material is suitably made up.

How do I access professional development (PD)?

In the 2020 settlement, your FSA Bargaining Team achieved the creation of a pooled Professional Development (PD) fund for FSA members working in Part-Time Studies (PTS) and without access to other PD funding. The fund is for Part-Time Studies (PTS) including Instructor/Lecturer, Lab Assistant/Demonstrator, Curriculum Development and Administration contracts. This fund, modeled after the “Super PD” Fund, provides $210,000 annually for use by members on these employment contracts, unless eligible for Article 10.3 funds, towards professional development.

A Part-Time Studies Professional Development Committee administers the funds and executes calls for submissions. The qualification threshold is 150 hours. The first call for submissions (Loop link) opened in April 2021. Get more details about the fund, including terms of reference for the committee and FAQs, through the BCIT PD Resources page

In addition to the pooled PD fund, there are a variety of “free” training opportunities available through BCIT. These include:

In addition, some Departments can help members in PTS with fee waivers for taking BCIT PTS courses that have available seats.

What will my Record of Employment (ROE) reflect as my hours of work?

BCIT Financial Services will calculate your ROE as double your instructing hours only. For example, if your contract states that your instructional hours are 20 hours per week, your ROE will reflect 40 hours per week. For more information, please contact BCIT Financial Services.

What's the Sick Leave Fund and how do I use it?

In the 2020 settlement, your FSA Bargaining Team achieved the creation of a pooled sick leave fund. This was created for eligible PTS-FSA Instructors/Lecturers who are unable to teach due to an illness. BCIT contributes $25,000 per year to this fund, which can be accessed on a first come, first serve basis.

To be eligible for access to the sick leave fund, Instructors must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a member of the BCIT Faculty & Staff Association (FSA)
  • Must qualify for PTS benefits by accruing 250 PTS teaching hours (per Article 15.8.1) not including curriculum development and/or administrative contracts, in the previous year June 1 – May 31
  • After qualifying, then must maintain a minimum of 150 PTS teaching hours (15.8.1) annually (June 1 – May 31)
  • Not entitled to sick leave benefits available to employees under Article 9.3
  • Not have a gap in contracts greater than five consecutive months
  • Currently sick and unable to instruct a part-time studies course per 15.8.1 (PTS curriculum or administrative contracts are not covered by this fund)

To access this fund, PTS instructors should report their sick time to their department and a PTS Sick Leave form will be completed and sent to Disability Management in BCIT Human Resources. The PTS instructor may be contacted by Disability Management if additional information is needed regarding the sick leave.

If you have any questions about the PTS Sick Leave fund, please contact BCIT Human Resources

How does the Sick Leave Fund work with the provincial minimum five (5) days’ sick leave?

A provincial five (5)-day sick leave minimum was enacted into the Employment Standards Act (ESA) in 2022 and applies to our members working in PTS. If some members have already drawn at least five (5) days on the PTS Sick Leave Fund and it becomes exhausted, the FSA believes other members will still able to access sick days under the ESA to a maximum of five (5).

Any days drawn from the PTS Sick Leave Fund count toward the provincial minimum. For example, if a member in PTS has taken two (2) days paid sick leave from the Fund, they still have three (3) available under the ESA if the Fund is empty.

Please also note that for the ESA, sick time is counted in days and not hours.

Where can I find more information for PTS/Auxiliary employees?

After reviewing the FSA Part-Time Studies Guide (PDF), we suggest that you check out the following additional resources which you may find useful:

  • BCIT provides a number of resources for employees, including an PTS Instructor Handbook (PDF), PTS Instructor Resources (PDF), PTS FAQ on benefits, and other PTS resource information via the BCIT intranet The Loop (Login access required).
    • These documents belong to BCIT, please check with them for any updates
  • We encourage all our members who work in PTS, particularly those who might be on campuses during evenings and weekends, to familiarize themselves with the BCIT emergency procedure (PDF) for their classroom location.

Have suggestions for other useful information to go on this page? Contact us and give us your feedback!

Participating in the FSA

I work or teach in Part-Time Studies at BCIT: Am I a member of the FSA?

All BCIT technology program “Part-Time Studies (PTS) employees”, or Auxiliary Employees (as they are called in the Collective Agreement), with the following types of contracts are FSA members and are covered by the BCIT-FSA Collective Agreement:

  • Instructor
  • Lab Assistant
  • Marker
  • Curriculum Development
  • PTS Administration

If you are a PTS/Auxiliary Employee and a member of the FSA please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Can I participate in FSA governance?

PTS/Auxiliary employees are eligible as members to:

  • Participate as members in FSA meetings, activities and committees,
  • Vote in FSA elections and contract ratification processes, and
  • Run for election for one of the Director – Associate Members positions on the FSA Board of Directors.

What is the Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS)?

The FSA’s Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS) was created to provide input in how the FSA incorporates members in Part-Time Studies (PTS) into its work. The Caucus also provides guidance to the FSA about how to enhance participation by members in PTS in the FSA and it allows participants to work together to articulate their interests to the FSA and, through the FSA, to BCIT and other stakeholders who influence Part-Time Studies at BCIT.

COPTS is listed on our main committees page and there is a link there to the Terms of Reference (PDF).

Interested in joining? Let us know!

How can I read the FSA PTS-focused newsletter from 2016?

Click on the photo!

Front Page - Oct 2016 BCOTFSA Newsletter

What is Fair Employment Week?

Fair Employment Week is an annual campaign led by CAUT to bring awareness to the issues facing post-secondary employees whose work is precarious in nature. To find out how the FSA celebrates please visit our FEW page.