Faculty Relations Newsletter: July 2013

In this issue

  1. Work Permit Reminders for Foreign Academics
  2. Immigration: New Regulations
  3. Employer Declaration Form
  4. Winter Sessional Appointment Update
  5. Access and Privacy Guidelines for Selection Committees
  6. Tenure and Promotion Workshop
  7. Offer Letter Signing Procedure
  8. Collective Bargaining Update
  9. Faculty eRecruit
  10. Merit and PSA Update
  11. Age 71 & Benefits
  12. Timing of Periodic Reviews for Senior Instructors for Promotion to the new Professor of Teaching Rank
  13. Staffing Changes

Work Permit Reminders for Foreign Academics

As of July 1, 2013, the one month reminder for foreign academics has been discontinued.

Up until now, there have been two system-generated reminders that were mailed to foreign faculty members: one four months in advance of their work permit expiry date and another one month in advance. Each reminder is also copied to the requisite department administrator. These reminders are intended to prompt the faculty member and their administrator to ensure that the faculty member has the necessary Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) approvals in place to continue to work or be appointed at UBC before the expiry of their current work permit.

After receiving feedback from administrators, Faculty Relations has determined that the one-month reminder has not been very useful and so is being discontinued. The four-month reminder has been helpful, and will continue to be produced.  Further information on these reminders and the process of renewing work permits can be found on the Faculty Relations website.

Department administrators should be keeping track of the work permit expiry dates for their foreign faculty members. Work permit expiry dates for faculty members as well as for staff, and students can be obtained by running a HRMS Query 29. Each faculty member is responsible for ensuring they are legally entitled to work in Canada. It is the role of department administrators to assist them in this process and to ensure well ahead of time that they know which work permits will be expiring so that they can begin the renewal process well in advance.

Bill C-35: New Immigration Regulations

On June 30, 2011, Bill C-35 came into effect, modifying Canada’s Immigration Refugee Protection Act. Bill C-35 mandates that only licensed lawyers and certified immigration consultants are lawfully permitted to assist in the preparation of immigration documents for a fee. This includes practices such as providing advice to clients or employees on how to select the best immigration stream and complete the appropriate forms.

In light of this new legislation, all department administrators must ensure they are not providing advice to UBC employees with respect to any immigration procedures or documents. It is permissible to direct UBC employees to the Citizen and Immigration Canada website which provides information on immigration programs, application forms, and provides a list of authorized immigration representatives. The Faculty Relations website details the immigration process for foreign academics and is also a useful resource to which employees can be directed. Alternatively, these employees could also be referred to an immigration lawyer or certified immigration consultant. Unpaid third parties, such as family members, friends, non-governmental or religious organizations will still be allowed to provide immigration assistance.

One of the most frequently encountered immigration problems at UBC relates to expiring work permits. This can create an extremely stressful and time-sensitive problem for employees and administrators, and we encourage department administrators to avoid this by directing employees to the appropriate resources to renew their expiring work permits well ahead of the expiry of their current permit.

CIC Employer Declaration Form

Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) requires that an Employer Declaration form be signed by prospective employers when a foreign worker’s occupation is exempt from a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). This form provides information to Canadian immigration official which will assist them in processing a work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Departments may receive a request from CIC to complete this form, which must be signed by the person authorized to sign contracts or job offers and responsible for ensuring that wages and working conditions are consistent with the terms of the job offer. In the case of faculty appointments, this is the Dean, Head or Director as per UBC signing resolution 14.

Sessional Lecturers – Winter Sessional Appointment Update

Faculty Relations is pleased to announce that the 2013 Winter Session on ISIS is now open for appointment of Sessional Lecturers. We would like to remind all Departments that Winter Sessional appointments are generally from September 1 – December 31 and January 1 – April 30. Sessional appointments can only be held during the term that work is actually being performed and all offer letters and related documents must be uploaded before appointments will be processed. Please have all Term 1 appointments entered with documents uploaded by August 1, 2013, to allow adequate time for processing.

Access and Privacy Guidelines for Selection Committees

Selection Committees serve the vital role of helping UBC identify the best and brightest candidates for positions and awards. In doing so, Selection Committee members are exposed to a variety of personal and private information about these candidates. The University Counsel has recently released an online fact sheet regarding the access and privacy guidelines for these selection committee members.

UBC is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). As per Section 31 of the FIPPA, when UBC uses a candidate’s personal information on which to base a decision that directly affects that candidate, UBC must retain a record of that information for at least one year so that the candidate has a reasonable opportunity to access that personal information. Personal notes and annotations related to these materials that are not used to make a decision about a candidate will not be required to be retained for one year and should be disposed of securely to protect the candidate’s privacy.

Under the FIPPA, any person may request that UBC disclose records, regardless of whether those records were relied upon to make a decision. UBC’s obligation to respond to such a request is limited to those records that are in its custody or under its control at the time the request is made. If records have been disposed of prior to a request having been made, then UBC no longer has an obligation to disclose those records.

If UBC still has custody or control of records related to a request, then those records will be reviewed by UBC’s Access and Privacy Manager, who will assess the extent to which those records should be disclosed. In making this assessment, the Access and Privacy Manager must adhere to the requirements of the FIPPA.

Please see the fact sheet for detailed guidance on the retention and disclosure of these records.

Tenure and Promotion Workshops

Faculty Relations recently hosted a workshop on tenure and promotion for all Department Heads and administrators on the Vancouver campus on June 18, 2013. An equivalent version of this workshop was hosted at UBC’s Okanagan campus in May, 2013. This annual workshop aims to inform those involved in the tenure and promotion process about the various procedures and timelines involved. If you were unable to attend but are interested in viewing the materials presented, please visit the Faculty Relations website to download the slideshow. A tenure and promotion workshop for all faculty members will be held in Vancouver sometime in the fall.

Offer Letter Signing Procedure

Faculty Relations would like to remind departments of the procedures surrounding the signing dates on offer letters for all employment positions at UBC. We encourage departments to require that the prospective employee be given a date in writing on the offer letter by which they must sign the offer letter before the offer of employment will expire. These offer letters are contracts regardless of the appointment being offered. Offer letters without this required date for the employee to sign may lead to misunderstandings and create unnecessary uncertainty.

In the event that a prospective employee signs the offer letter after the specified date, the Department is not strictly required to reissue the offer letter. The Department is able to countersign and note their acceptance of the extension of time despite the fact that the signing deadline may have passed.

The aim of this signing-date requirement is not only to encourage prospective employees to sign within a reasonable time frame, but also to prevent any legal uncertainty if a letter is signed after the offer of employment has expired.

Further information about offer letters and offer letter templates can be found on the Faculty Relations website.

Collective Bargaining Update

Representatives and legal counsel for the University and the UBC Faculty Association met for three days in an interest arbitration hearing from June 3 to 6, 2013, with Arbitrator Colin Taylor. Mr. Taylor will hopefully render a decision in the near future finalizing a new Collective Agreement for 2012-2014, and thus bring an end to a process that has included over a year of negotiations between the parties.

Bargaining updates can be found on the Faculty Relations website.

Faculty eRecruit

Faculty Relations is pleased to announce that Faculty eRecruit has now been launched and may be used for all faculties at UBC’s Vancouver campus. Faculty eRecruit should be used for all positions that require posting.  The use of eRecruit gives Departments greater control and flexibility around the recruitment process while eliminating the volume of manual paperwork that needs to be completed and submitted for a successful recruit. Learn more about eRecruit at: www.hr.ubc.ca/administrators/erecruit/.

All appointments posted in eRecruit must first be created in Position Management. For existing positions, Departments will need to update the existing position before proceeding. When the position is created there are 3 choices for approval routing: (1) Department & Central Approval, (2) Optional Central Approval & (3) Optional Department Approval. Term appointments do not require central approval so the 3rd choice (Optional Department Approval) should be selected.  Postings for tenure stream appointments must all be approved by Central so option 1 should be chosen in this instance.

It has come to our attention that there has been some confusion regarding which approval option applies.  Human Resources is currently working on a solution that will provide greater clarity with the eRecruit system.

Further information can be found in Section 2.2.4 of the eRecruit User Guide for Faculty.

Merit and PSA Update

Although the 2012 Merit & PSA process has just wrapped up, the 2013 Merit and PSA process is now beginning. Departments should have already asked their faculty members to submit their annual summary of activity and C.V. for the review year (typically April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013). We recommend that the evaluation process commence as soon as all annual reports have been received. The distribution of Merit & PSA awards must wait until the calculation of the Merit, PSA and Career Progress values for 2013 is completed, which will not be until after we have a new Collective Agreement with the applicable general wage increase for 2012.  Procedures for merit and PSA are found in the Collective Agreement and on the Faculty Relations website.

Bargaining updates can be found on the Faculty Relations website.

Age 71 & Benefits

A reminder that benefits coverage for UBC faculty and staff working past age 65 ceases the earlier of 1) December 31 of the year in which a member reaches age 71 or 2) upon the date a faculty member voluntarily collects their faculty pension plan. This includes all health benefits and Professional Development Reimbursement funds. Coverage for basic group life insurance coverage is reduced when a faculty member continues to work past their Normal Retirement Date (age 65); the Income Replacement Plan and optional life insurance for spouses are not available after the member’s Normal Retirement Date. Faculty members are able to purchase coverage through UBC’s Retirement and Survivor Benefits Plan. For more information, please see Human Resources’ working past the normal retirement date webpage.

Timing of Periodic Reviews for Senior Instructors for Promotion to the new Professor of Teaching Rank

Effective July 1, 2011, the rank of Professor of Teaching was introduced into the Teaching stream.  This new rank was set out in the 2010-12 faculty Collective Agreement and reflects the commitment of the University to value educational leadership, outstanding teaching, and curriculum development in its faculty.

Senior Instructors are eligible for a periodic review for promotion to Professor of Teaching beginning in their fifth year of appointment and every third year thereafter. Departments must assess each Senior Instructor in their ranks to confirm when they are eligible for their next periodic review. Candidates may request to be reviewed for promotion earlier than five years in the rank of Senior Instructor, (i.e. a non-periodic review), with the approval of the Head and the Dean. Each case for promotion to the Professor of Teaching stream will be reviewed on the candidate’s (1) achievements in teaching and learning, (2) educational leadership, and (3) service to the academic profession, the Department, the University and the community.

A candidate eligible for a periodic review can waive his or her right to be reviewed. A faculty member who waives his or her right to a periodic review in writing can request a non-periodic review prior to the next scheduled review.  That request must be in writing and must be received normally no later than May 15 of the year prior to the requested review.

For further information about the Professor of Teaching steam please refer to the Collective Agreement criteria for the teaching stream ranks, or the Senior Appointments Committee guide to Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion (see in particular Appendix I, page 42 of the Guide). If you have any questions regarding the timing of periodic reviews, please contact Faculty Relations.

Staffing Changes

After over 10 years with Faculty Relations as our Director, Fran Watters will be leaving the office in September to take on the role of Executive Coach working with new Heads, Directors and Associate Deans in the Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP).  This is a bittersweet announcement for our office as we wish Fran the very best in her new role, but will greatly miss her leadership, guidance, and warm presence in our office.  We look forward to working with Fran in her new capacity.  We will begin the process of filling the position of Director of Faculty Relations this coming fall.

We are also in the process of recruiting a new administrative assistant for our office and expect the position to be filled before the end of August.

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