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    • 01 FEB 24
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    Questions of the Week – February 2024


    Q: I’m reading through the Collective Agreement and have questions about 10.5 PD funds that I can’t find answers to. I’ve been told there are “Super PD” funds under 10.5, but the agreement seems to just refer to PD Leave. So, I am not sure if there are funds to begin with! Are there funds available for PD expenses, or is this just for PD related leaves? Specifically, I am looking to apply to have expenses that are part of a Masters degree covered. To confirm, I cannot access 10.5 until I have been at BCIT for one year, correct? I see there are three application windows. If there are funds available, when would the next application window open up? What is the application process to access the funds?

    A: Thanks for the questions! You’ve asked a number of them and we’ll do our best to answer as many as we can. Pour yourself a coffee because this will take a minute.

    For article 10.3 PD Funds, most departments have a committee and maintain a spreadsheet that tracks the “pooled” $1418 each member receives on April 1 of each year. I use quotes because it’s generally treated as an individual allocation. BCIT and the FSA have developed guidelines for the use of these funds, and you do indeed need to be a regular or temp employee (with contract term of 9 months or more) on April 1.

    Article 10.5 PD Leave Committees (this is where you’d go to get your Master’s fees covered, though you could also utilize 10.3 funds) “Super PD,” are birthed from Article It’s a catch all for those of us that don’t fall within a school (schools have their own committees). The committee provides funds to support PD activities, including the funds for a backfill (if required). Applicants need one (1) year of full-time service and applications are received in February and September, generally speaking. There’s a Sharespace site with more details we encourage you to visit. If you have questions that are not answered there, Denisse Navarro is the administrator in HR.

    For article 10.6 Short-term PD leave, Tech Staff, Assistant Instructors, and Specialized Faculty have access to 30 days of paid leave. Article 10.7: PD Leave without Pay is generally intended for longer-term leaves. Article 10.11, PD Leave for PTS is a recently negotiated benefit that’s similar to 10.5 but for the exclusive use of members teaching in PTS.


    Q: I’m an FSA faculty member. I have just received a Decision Review Board (DRB) hearing notice, related to an academic integrity violation. The student involved appears to have employed the services of a legal expert to write a formal and lengthy appeal. I would like to know what support the FSA has can provide and the possible implications are of losing or conceding the case.

    A: We’re sorry to hear this! It’s common for faculty members to feel intimidated by the formality of the DRB process and its quasi-judicial trappings. This is, however, in no way a disciplinary hearing or an investigation of your competency. HR is not involved, and you are not being judged on the outcome.

    The panel is comprised of two faculty members, a student member, and the Chair (who may also be a faculty member). The person who made the decision to which the DRB is being appealed will most likely be considered a “decision-maker” in this DRB hearing. The DRB process is guided by 5104 PR-2, which states that students can only appeal a decision on one of the following grounds:

    • The decision-making process violated institute policy or the decision-maker was biased.
    • There is evidence that was unavailable at the time the decision was made that would have likely resulted in a different decision.
    • The outcome imposed by the decisionmaker was unreasonable.

    So, weirdly enough, they’re not actually appealing the decision itself (e.g., whether or not a violation of academic integrity occurred) so much as they’re appealing the process or the consequence imposed or providing new evidence.

    As far as advice goes, read the Student Code of Academic Integrity Policy 5104 and associated procedures carefully, be factual in any written or oral submissions, take good notes in the hearing itself, and ask the panel about anything in the process that isn’t clear (and likewise, get them to rephrase any questions that also aren’t clear). There are clear timelines for each step of the process and what is provided to the decision-maker in the policy.

    Sometimes the Student Association advocates reach out to faculty very early in the process before the student has even applied for an appeal. This can be positive— the SA advocates are often good at resolving conflict at a lower level than a DRB hearing. This can be daunting to faculty who don’t understand the process—that it’s non-disciplinary for our members.



    Q: Did our pensionable earnings get corrected after we received retro in the fall—for work completed after our last contract expired and our new one was ratified? That is, did our pension contributions get reassigned back to where they would have been—in the interim period between last contract ending and our new one beginning—if there was no gap in contracts and retro pay didn’t occur?

    A: Yes, pensionable earnings/service that was paid retroactively would be provided to the Pension Corporation as an update, providing them with when the service/earnings should have been allocated. So yes, it would be reassigned to the correct timeframe



    Q: I’m thinking about reducing my FTE’s. Aside from working fewer hours, how will this change my working and benefits?

    A: Generally, we advise our members that a permanent reduction in their hours is not advantageous to them. It’s preferable in most cases to continue requesting leaves of absence.

    A reduction in your in your full-time status will negatively affect the following (not exclusive): your vacation accumulation, sick leave accumulation, pension, progression on the salary scale’s increments, and article 10.3 professional development funds.

    Keep in mind that once the reduction is complete, you won’t be able later to change your mind, or be able to demand a reinstatement to full time. If in future you are looking for a return to 100% fulltime (1.0 FTE) status, there’s no obligation for BCIT to give that to you. They may refuse.

    As well, the permanent reduction in hours is not a right, but requires consent of both the union and the employer. We usually don’t have too much trouble with the Institute in these cases, but it’s always a theoretical possibility they will say no.



    Q: I heard from my manager that I may lose some of my vacation days if I don’t take them soon. Is this true?

    A: This is fairly common question, which we answer in our FAQs. 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 However, under Article, an employee also has the right to apply for permission to reschedule or 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 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 to forego the scheduled vacation leave, they may apply for permission to carry over the additional vacation leave (Article These excess vacation days will be paid out via a lump sum by the second pay period in February of the subsequent calendar year.

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