Issue No. 550
3rd February, 2021
The DTU Executive
Brian Seivewright, President
Louisa Hadley, VP Internal
Mélanie Beck, VP External
Antonia Fikkert, Secretary-Treasurer
Oran Magal, Grievance Officer
Welcome Back! Like you, the DTU Executive is working remotely! We can answer questions regarding workloads, seniority and priority, schooling and work experience documentation, and anything else related to working at Dawson. In particular, before turning down work, we encourage you to contact us to discuss the implications. You can email us at email@example.com with any questions.
Coalition Main Rouge
Currently all negotiations are at a standstill. There has been no movement at the Central Table (where issues of salary, pensions, and parental rights are discussed) since November and now the sectoral table has stalled as well. While some of this is understandable due to the situation with COVID-19 and remote working, this cannot be used as an excuse to delay negotiations.
During the Fall semester, there had been some movement at the Sectoral table, which is focused on the specific working conditions of Cegep teachers. The FNEEQ negotiating team met regularly with the government representatives, and they had some promising discussions regarding our demands. There appeared to be openness towards reaching agreements on some small issues.
However, the FNEEQ negotiating team has now reached an impasse regarding the demands that require additional funding as there appears to be no commitment from the government to resolve these issues. Notably, these demands relate to pay equity for Continuing Education, more resources for coordination, and increased resources for medical technologies. The government negotiators have received no mandates to settle any of the issues and the money required to meet the demands is not forthcoming.
We have now reached the moment where our negotiating teams need our support to demonstrate to the government our commitment to improving our working conditions. There is a good possibility that we can achieve significant improvements for Continuing Education teachers through FNEEQ’s modified proposal (DS-5), but if this possibility is to become a reality, we need to fight for it!
At our upcoming General Assembly on 16 February we will discuss ramping up pressure tactics and planning for a potential strike mandate. Several of you have already participated in recent “web actions” to raise awareness around negotiations – check out the facebook group cégep FNEEQ en Nego to see some of the creative pressure tactics being deployed across the network. It is important that we show our solidarity for the other public sectors in the CSN, particularly those in the health sector where their ability to deploy negotiation pressure tactics is limited by legal frameworks as well as the current public health situation. Come and join us to share your thoughts about how we can support our negotiation teams to ensure a positive outcome to these negotiations!
Winter 2021 – Cont Ed Encadrement
The Ministry of Education has allocated various ‘envelopes’ of additional funding to support student success and alleviate some of the additional burdens of remote learning during the Winter semester. We had several meetings with the College last semester regarding how they intend to allocate the resources at Dawson. The College indicated that these resources would be allocated in various ways, including some release for teachers to provide support in discipline-specific aspects of online teaching, lower the caps on student numbers in classes in some disciplines, and remunerate Continuing Education teachers who agree to provide encadrement for their students.
Given that encadrement falls outside of the contractual obligations of hourly-paid Continuing Education teachers, the DTU and College reached an agreement about how this was to be implemented. The College sent details about this to all cont-ed teachers at the end of last week. (If you have not received this information, you should contact the Cont Ed office to ensure you are on their mailing lists).
If you agree to provide this encadrement, you need to reply to the email sent by the Cont Ed office confirming that you accept the agreement, and you need to include a section on your Course Outline under the heading “Special Winter 2021 Encadrement” outlining the forms of encadrement you will be providing to students.
Useful Information for Members
Employee Assistance Program
All College employees are eligible for the Employee Assistance Program, which connects employees with specialists for help in dealing with a variety of personal issues, including mental health issues. Employees are entitled to up to 5 free consultations per year, but they can also choose to continue with the services at their own expense if needed. A full list of the kinds of services offered as well as information about how to obtain services is available online.
Professional Development Funds
Professional Development Funds are available to all faculty and can be used to fund professional development activities such as attending workshops, participating in conferences, and taking courses. Teachers can also apply for a reimbursement of up to $100 for computer equipment.
The PDF committee meets several times a semester. Applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration at the next meeting.
Work From Home Expenses: Reimbursements
As a reminder, you can claim reimbursement for certain expenses incurred for working from home (e.g. computer equipment, internet services, supplies). Note that some claims require approval from the Help Desk; you need to contact the Help Desk to receive a ticket number to include in your claim. To claim reimbursement, you need to complete the Covid Expense Report (which can be found on our website) and submit it, along with any required documents (e.g. receipts, invoices) to email@example.com.
The College no longer seems to be reimbursing for computer equipment, such as headphones, webcam, laptops etc., but such equipment is available for teachers to borrow. If you require computer equipment for online teaching, you should contact IT helpdesk: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work From Home Expenses: Tax Forms
The College sent a Memo to all faculty on 4 January regarding the procedure for claiming “work from home” expenses on your tax return. As explained, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has simplified the process so that most employees will be able to claim the maximum amount ($400) without needing to submit a detailed expense report.
However, if you wish to submit the more detailed forms (T2200/T2200S/TP-64.3-V), the College will provide it to you on request. To request the form, email email@example.com.
For a long time, the DTU and many of our members have expressed concerns about Dawson’s partnership with the Confucius Institute. In 2014, the Executive Council took a position regarding the renewal of the contract which was communicated to then-DG Richard Filion; however, he was reluctant to take these concerns to the Board of Governors:
The DTU recommends to the Board of Governors of Dawson College to follow the recent example of several North American institutions by severing its ties with the Confucius Institute, unless the current agreement between them is renegotiated so that Dawson College has control over all academic matters, including the recruitment of teachers.
Concerns about the extent to which the Confucius Institutes are directed by the Chinese government have persisted, and several higher education institutions in Canada and elsewhere have terminated their partnerships in recent years. More recently, several members have expressed their concerns about the Institute, especially in light of the current human rights abuses being committed against Hong Kongers and Uyghurs. One such member, Fiona Hanley from Nursing, prepared a statement about the Confucius Institute which she has asked us to share with the membership. You can read the full text of her letter here: The coronavirus, the CI and China.
With Richard Filion’s retirement and the appointment of Diane Gauvin as the new Director General at Dawson, priorities and positions may change. In light of this, the DTU recently contacted Diane Gauvin to solicit her position on the Confucius Institute. She responded: “My intention is to review the impact of the Confucius Institute on the college and the Montreal community. I must also look at the legal aspects of the agreement that has been signed and speak to our partners.” We intend to follow up with the Director General and will continue to advocate for academic freedom and human rights on our campus.
Settlement of Insurance Dossier
Several years ago, the DTU identified numerous issues in the College’s billing practice for the insurance premiums, which had led to some teachers not being charged correctly and/or not having the correct coverage. The DTU Executive has been working with FNEEQ, La Capitale and the College to identify the errors and calculate the amounts owed to individual teachers. We are close to an agreement with the College and La Capitale regarding the reimbursements, and we hope to be able to communicate with individual teachers concerned in the near future.