2017 Workplace Experiences Survey

What’s important to you as UBC faculty and staff? Tell us what you think!

We’re a Top 40 research institution where open, innovative thinking is changing the world.

This November 1 to 21, tell us about your experience being part of it.

You will be invited to share your feedback through the 2017 UBC Workplace Experiences Survey. This anonymous, confidential survey for faculty and staff includes questions about your work environment, your career and your wellbeing. Your feedback is important and can help shape priorities and initiatives at the University and within faculties/departments.

Learn more about survey at www.ubc.ca/wes.

Newcomers to Canada: How Canadian Health Benefits Work

Moving can be overwhelming, especially if you are trying to figure out how things work in a new country. This article provides an overview on how health benefits work in Canada.

Canada’s Universal Healthcare System Provides Coverage for Physician and Hospital Services

Canada has a universal healthcare system or public health insurance, which means that you don’t have to pay for most healthcare services, including medically necessary physician and hospital services.

Each province and territory has their own health insurance plan and in British Columbia, ours is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). MSP is administered by Health Insurance BC and is mandatory for all BC residents, including those who hold study and/or work permits or working permits on working holiday programs that are valid for a period of six months or more.

Newcomers to Canada must serve a waiting period for MSP. Generally, the waiting period consists of the balance of the month you arrive in British Columbia plus two full months.  It’s recommended that you arrange for private medical coverage during the MSP waiting period, either in your home country or Canada. Please refer to the UBC HR website for more information.

Consider the following scenario:

A new faculty member from the United States arrived in British Columbia on August 22, 2017. When will their MSP start?

Their MSP will start on November 1, 2017 (waiting period is the balance of August plus the months of September and October). 

Enrol for MSP once you arrive in British Columbia. Enrolment is not automatic, and delaying your enrolment may impact your coverage. If you have dependents (spouse and/or dependent children), you may also include them on your enrolment form.

To enrol for MSP through UBC, please complete the UBC Benefits Sign-On Session to complete your payroll, benefits and pension (if eligible) forms. Refer to your letter of offer for the paragraph that explains how to do this.

Depending on your appointment at UBC, you may be responsible for some, all or none of the monthly MSP premium cost.

Closer to the start date of your MSP coverage, Health Insurance BC will mail you a BC Services Card with your Personal Health Number. Each family member will receive their own card and number. When you use public healthcare services, present your BC Services Card to the medical clinic or hospital as proof of coverage.

Other Useful Information:

Coverage for Prescription Drugs

UBC faculty and staff and their dependents (spouse and/or dependent children) are eligible for prescription drug coverage through our Extended Health plan that is administered by Sun Life.

Depending on your appointment at UBC, you may receive 70–100% coverage for prescription drugs that are prescribed by a physician or dentist and obtained from a pharmacist.

Newcomers to Canada must wait for their MSP to start before their Extended Health coverage becomes effective. The only exception is if you enrol for private medical coverage with Sun Life (Sun Life Inpatriate Plan) during the MSP waiting period; if you enrol for this Plan, then your Extended Health coverage will start on the first of the month on or after your date of hire.

Enrol for Extended Health when you enrol for MSP. Enrolment is not automatic and delaying your enrolment may impact your coverage.

Once enrolled, Sun Life will mail a drug card to your home address. You will receive one card in your name if you have single coverage, and two cards in your name if you have couple or family coverage. When you are filling a prescription at the pharmacy, show your BC Services Card and your Sun Life drug card. The pharmacy will electronically submit your claim to Sun Life and you will pay the pharmacy for what the Plan does not cover.

Consider the following scenario:

A new faculty member went to a pharmacy to fill their prescription. The cost was $50. How much do they need to pay?

The new faculty member is enrolled under the UBC Faculty Extended Health Plan and prescription drug coverage is 80%. They should present their BC Services Card and Sun Life drug card to the pharmacy. The pharmacy will submit the claim to Sun Life and charge the new faculty member $10 for the prescription (Sun Life will cover $40 (80% of $50) and the faculty member pays the pharmacy what the plan does not cover $10 ($50 – $40)).

This example assumes that the faculty member has satisfied the Plan’s annual $25 annual deductible. If they have not, the faculty member would pay $30 for the prescription (Sun Life will cover $20 ($50 less $25 deductible multiplied by 80%) and the faculty member pays the pharmacy what the plan does not cover $30 ($50 less $20)).

For more information on how to make claims, including how to coordinate benefits (if you are covered under more than one Extended Health plan), please refer to the Making a Claim section of our website.

Enrol for Fair PharmaCare:

In British Columbia, BC PharmaCare, through their program Fair PharmaCare, provides financial assistance for the cost of eligible prescription drugs once your Fair PharmaCare deductible has been satisfied.

If you are enrolled for MSP, enrol for Fair PharmaCare. They will calculate your Fair PharmaCare deductible (based on family income) and provide you with a registration number. You will need to let Sun Life know your registration number so that they can coordinate payment of your prescription drug claims with PharmaCare once your Fair PharmaCare deductible has been satisfied.

Coordination happens behind the scenes, so there is no further action required by you other than enrolling for Fair PharmaCare and letting Sun Life know your registration number.

Coverage for Other Medical Services and Supplies

Our Extended Health plan that is administered by Sun Life also provides coverage for other medical services and supplies (up to specified maximums):

  • Services from registered psychologists/clinical counsellors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other paramedical practitioners
  • Vision care, including the cost of prescription contact lenses or eyeglasses
  • Medically necessary equipment ordered by a doctor, such as a wheelchair, hearing aids, custom-made orthopaedic shoes and orthotic inserts
  • Emergency medical care while travelling out of province
  • Medically necessary services, such as a private or semi-private hospital room, private duty nursing and ambulance services

You will be required to pay first and submit a claim to Sun Life for reimbursement. The only exception is if your service provider submits claims electronically on your behalf and accepts payment from Sun Life (you can ask your provider what their billing practice is). When making claims, you will need the plan numbers below. These numbers also apply for your dependents.

UBC Extended Health Plan Details:

            Benefits Provider: Sun Life
            Group/Policy: 025205
            Member/Certificate No: Your 7-digit UBC ID

For more information about your coverage, how to make claims and/or how to coordinate benefits (if you are covered under more than one Extended Health plan), please refer to the Extended Health and Making a Claim sections of the UBC HR website.

Coverage for Dental Services

Our Dental plan that is administered by Sun Life provides coverage for a wide range of dental services, from regular check-ups to major procedures such as root canals and crowns, as well as orthodontic work, up to specified maximums. These procedures may be provided by a licensed dentist, denturist, dental hygienist or anaesthetist.

Most dental offices will submit claims electronically on your behalf. You may be required to pay your dental office (which means Sun Life reimburses you for what the Plan covers) or your dental office will receive payment from Sun Life (which means that you only pay the office what the Plan does not cover). You can ask your dental office what their billing practice is. Inform your dental office of your plan numbers below.  These numbers also apply to your dependents.

UBC Dental Plan Details:

            Benefits Provider: Sun Life
            Group/Policy: 025205
            Member/Certificate No: Your 7-digit UBC ID

For more information about your coverage, how to make claims and/or how to coordinate benefits (if you are covered under more than one Dental plan), please refer to the Dental and Making a Claim sections of the UBC HR website.

Other Useful Information:

Want More Information? 

UBC HR invites you to attend a Benefits workshop, hosted at the Vancouver campus with video conferencing available at the Diamond Health Care Centre. Registration is required.

Benefits Workshop (in-person)
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Life Sciences Centre, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Room 1002 (map)
Note: Register
Benefits Workshop (video conference)
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Diamond Health Care Centre, 2775 Laurel Street, Room 2230
Note: Register

The Importance of Designating a Life Insurance Beneficiary

Life happens and relationships can change, which is why it’s important to designate a life insurance beneficiary and keep your beneficiary information up-to-date.

Life Insurance Eligibility and Enrolment

If you have an eligible appointment, you will automatically be enrolled in Basic Group Life Insurance on your date of hire, or the date your appointment becomes eligible.

In addition to Basic Group Life Insurance, you may choose to apply for Optional Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance for you and/or your spouse.

Keep Your Life Insurance Beneficiary Up-to-Date

It is important to keep the beneficiary of your life insurance policies up-to-date, so that in the event of a claim, the benefit is paid to the correct individual(s) or organization.

If you do not designate a life insurance beneficiary, your life insurance benefit will be paid to your estate in the event of your death (or your spouse’s estate in the event of their death, if they hold Spousal Optional Life Insurance).

What is a Beneficiary?

A beneficiary is the person, persons, or entity you name on a life insurance policy to receive the proceeds of the life insurance policy upon your death. Naming a beneficiary ensures that they receive all your life insurance benefit in the event of your death; since this benefit is not part of your will, provincial probate fees and lawyer fees do not apply, and creditors will not have an opportunity to get access to it.

What is an Estate?

A person’s estate can be defined as the whole of a person’s possessions, including their property, other assets and debts at the time of their death. If you do not designate a beneficiary, your life insurance will be paid to your estate in the event of your death. Probate will occur, which is a lengthy and costly legal process of administering your estate. The proceeds will eventually be distributed according to your will or if there is no will, BC’s intestacy rules that define your estate’s beneficiaries and how much each is to receive.

Consider the following scenarios:

In the first scenario, a faculty/staff member and their spouse divorce, and the faculty/staff member enters into a new relationship. They forget to update their life insurance beneficiary to their new partner and unexpectedly passes away. The faculty/staff member’s life insurance benefit will be paid to their ex-spouse, as they remain the designated beneficiary on file.

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In the second scenario, a faculty/staff member was single at the time they enrolled for life insurance and designated their estate as the beneficiary. They enter into a new relationship and they forget to update their life insurance beneficiary for their new partner and unexpectedly pass away. The faculty/staff member’s life insurance beneficiary will be paid to their estate. 

How to View Your Beneficiary Designation

  1. Go to the UBC Faculty & Staff Self-Service Portal and sign in using your Campus Wide Login (CWL) and password. VPN is necessary to access Self-Service off campus.
  2. Under My Benefits, click on the Benefits Summary.
  3. Click on the Basic Life and/or Optional Life and Optional AD&D (if applicable) link to view the beneficiary for you and/or your spouse.

 How to Add or Change Your Beneficiary

  1. Complete the Basic Life Beneficiary Change FormEmployee Optional Life/AD&D Beneficiary Change Form or the Spouse Optional Life/AD&D Beneficiary Change Form. Important note: If you are designating an organization (e.g. a charity) as your beneficiary, be sure to include the address for a specific division.
  2. Submit the original completed form to UBC Payroll for processing. Only original forms are accepted, and we strongly recommend you keep a copy for your personal records.
Vancouver Campus
Attention: Payroll Services
UBC Financial Operations
500 – 6190 Agronomy Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
Phone: 604-822-2187
Fax: 604-822-9233
Okanagan Campus
Attention: Payroll
UBC Finance Operations and Strategies
ADM 006 – 1138 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Phone: 250-807-8616
Fax: 250-807-9354

Other Considerations – Pension Beneficiary Designation

It is also important to make sure your beneficiary information is up-to-date for your UBC pension benefits. Your designated beneficiary will receive your pension benefits in the event of your death.

Under British Columbia pension legislation, your spouse must be named as your primary beneficiary unless they sign a waiver of their survivor benefits. The following links provide detailed information on how to designate or update a pension beneficiary:

If you have questions regarding designating or changing your pension beneficiary, please contact the Pension Office at 604-822-8100 or email fpp@hr.ubc.ca for Faculty plan members, and spp@hr.ubc.ca for Staff plan members.

Taking an Unpaid Leave of Absence? Here’s What You Need to Know About Continuing Your Benefits

UBC offers many different types of leaves, and if you are planning to take an unpaid leave of absence, you will want to think about continuing your group benefits, if eligible.

The first step is to notify your department of the start and end dates of your leave. Other documentation may be required depending on the type of leave, so ensure you visit our Vacation & Leaves page to learn more.

The second step is to ensure your contact information and mailing address is up to date on the UBC Faculty and Staff Self Service Portal. If you do not keep this current during your leave, you may not receive important communications from the University.

When beginning an unpaid leave of absence, the UBC Leave of Absence Desk will mail you an invoice with the cost of continuing your group benefits. You can choose to continue all, some or none of your benefits. You are responsible for paying the full cost (employee plus employer share) for any benefits you choose to continue.

An important benefit to consider maintaining during your unpaid leave is the Income Replacement Plan/Disability Benefit Plan (IRP/DBP), also referred to as Long-term Disability. These plans provide faculty and staff members with a long-term illness or injury with a monthly income if approved on claim following the completion of a qualifying period. If during your unpaid leave, you experience an illness or injury that prevents you from returning to work, and you have not maintained this coverage, you may not be eligible to apply for IRP/DBP benefits. You may also be declined on claim if you were reinstated on IRP/DBP upon return to work, and became subsequently ill due to an illness/injury that occurred while on unpaid leave. Your illness/injury may be considered a pre-existing condition because you were diagnosed/treated during the period before your IRP/DBP benefits were reinstated.

Consider the following scenarios:

In the first scenario, a faculty/staff member goes on maternity/parental leave, and decides not to continue IRP/DBP coverage. While on maternity/parental leave, they are diagnosed with an illness or injury, and their physician anticipates they will not be able to return to work for at least 9 months.

Since the faculty/staff member did not continue their IRP/DBP coverage, they did not have coverage on the date their injury/illness first prevented them from working (i.e. their date of disability). Therefore, they are not eligible to claim long-term disability benefits.

~~~

In the second scenario, a faculty/staff member goes on unpaid leave and does not continue IRP/DBP coverage. While on leave they are diagnosed and treated for a medical condition. Initially, this condition does not prevent the faculty/staff member from returning to work. Upon their return to work, the faculty/staff member’s IRP/DBP coverage is reinstated. However, six months after returning to work, the condition that they were diagnosed and treated for during the unpaid leave results in total disability and the faculty/staff member cannot work. After their sick leave expires, they apply for IRP/DBP benefits but the claim is denied because the illness/injury is considered a pre-existing condition and was first diagnosed/treated when the faculty/staff member did not have IRP/DBP coverage. The pre-existing condition limitation would not apply if the faculty/staff member returned to work for 12 or more continuous months.

~~~

We encourage you to keep the implications of not maintaining certain benefits in mind during an unpaid leave.

If you are enrolled in the Faculty or Staff Pension Plan, and would like information on your pension plan contributions during an unpaid leave, please visit their website or contact them directly.

Faculty Pension Plan
Tel: (604) 822-8100
Email: fpp@hr.ubc.ca
Staff Pension Plan
Tel: (604) 822-8100
Email: spp@hr.ubc.ca

Other Considerations

Depending on the type of unpaid leave, you may be eligible to apply for Employment Insurance benefits through Service Canada (e.g. maternity and parental benefits, sickness benefits or compassionate care benefits). Please contact Service Canada directly to learn more.

Questions?

If you have questions about your benefits invoice, contact the UBC Payroll Leave of Absence Desk. The following contact information applies to both campuses:

  • If your last name starts with a letter from A-L, contact Cecilia Chen at 604-822-9290 or cecilia.chen@ubc.ca
  • If your last name starts with a letter from M-Z, contact Wentworth Iwasiuk at 604-822-8979 or wentworth.iwasiuk@ubc.ca

 

Get Educated About Your Pension Benefits

The Pension Administration Office offers workshops and seminars to help you learn more about your pension benefits and other retirement related considerations. Whether you are new to UBC, mid-career, or approaching retirement, we have a workshop that applies to you.

Upcoming Workshops for Staff

geteducated Seminars (Vancouver & Okanagan campuses):

Facilitated by a representative from the Pension Administration Office, geteducated seminars are an opportunity for UBC staff to learn more about their Staff Pension Plan (SPP) and ask pension-related questions in a group setting. Specific topics can be covered if requested in advance. We also may be able to accommodate a variety of group sizes and session times during the day. If you would like more information about these seminars, please contact Margaret Leathley at margaret.leathley@ubc.ca.

Understanding Your Staff Pension Plan (Vancouver & Okanagan campuses):

Understanding Your Staff Pension Plan is an informative workshop designed for both potential and current members of the UBC Staff Pension Plan. All ages are welcome to attend.

Date: Thursday, October 5, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location: RHS257 (Southern Medical Program lecture theatre), Okanagan
RSVP by: September 25

Date: Thursday, October 26, 2017
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Pension Administration Office, 201 – 2389 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver

Date: Thursday, November 2, 2017
Time:  9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Pension Administration Office, 201 – 2389 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver

For more information and to register, visit Staff Pension Plan workshops.

Upcoming Seminars for Faculty

New Member Seminar (Vancouver campus):

If you are a new member or wish to learn more about the UBC Faculty Pension Plan, this seminar covers all aspects of the Faculty Pension Plan.

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Time: 12:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Pension Administration Office, 201 – 2389 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver

Retirement Income Options Seminar (Vancouver campus):

For members approaching retirement, this in-depth seminar explains the various options available.

Date:  Thursday, November 16, 2017
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Pension Administration Office, 201 – 2389 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver

For more information and to register, visit Faculty Pension Plan seminars.

 

Work Permit Renewals & Medical Services Plan Coverage

If you are working in British Columbia under a work permit and you are enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP), your medical coverage will end when your work permit expires.

If you are applying for a new work permit, it is important that you apply as far in advance of the expiry date of your current work permit as possible. This will avoid a lapse in coverage and having to serve another wait period. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website (IRCC), the current processing time for a work permit extension (same employer) is 84 days for online applications and 118 days if you submit by paper.

If you hold a work permit, UBC Human Resources will send you an email next week with more details.

 

Humans of Human Resources: Carleigh Benoit

This month, we profile Carleigh Benoit, Manager of the Work Reintegration and Accommodation Program at the Okanagan campus.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on a very cold prairie winter night, raised in Kelowna and returned to the prairies to study Art History and French at the University of Winnipeg, followed by a degree in Education. I taught at an international school in Thailand and travelled all over the world. When I returned to Canada, I pursued a graduate degree in Disability Management at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). I spent time as a Case Manager for Sun Life Financial in disability insurance. Most recently I spent three and a half years at UNBC as the Manager of Health and Wellbeing, overseeing benefits, pension, return to work and accommodation. It was the city, family and the great opportunity at UBC that called me back to my hometown of Kelowna.

What do you do in Human Resources?

I have been the Manager of the Work Reintegration and Accommodation Program for four months. My focus is to assist faculty and staff to stay at work, return to work and build healthy, sustainable habits. I love this work because people are amazingly resilient. They are compassionate, challenging and intriguing. I never leave the office knowing quite what tomorrow will bring and for me, this is fueling.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

With the mayhem that comes with relocating, I have kept my free time very simple:  wine touring, checking out fruit stands, and visiting with friends and family. Typically, I spend my free time in the middle of nowhere: camping, hiking, fishing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. My partner Brad and I are looking forward to the cooler (and less smoky) fall temperatures to take advantage of our regular hobbies. I am always on the hunt for great coffee shops that not only serve delicious coffee/tea and treats, but also have cozy corners to read a book or write.

Photo: Carleigh Benoit