Immigration Updates

Documentation in support of Implied Status

As soon as a foreign academic has made their application for a new work permit please ensure that a copy of Confirmation of Receipt Letter issued by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is provided to Faculty Relations/Human Resources.  If the application for a new work permit is made in paper format a copy of the payment receipt as well as proof that the application is delivered (e.g. Canada post tracking information) must be provided.  We have updated our website to reflect this.  Please remember that as soon as the foreign academic receives a reply from IRCC a copy of the work permit or communique must be forwarded to Faculty Relations/Human Resources right away.

Travel outside Canada while on Implied Status

In order for the University to continue paying a faculty member who has implied status they should not leave Canada.  If they do leave Canada they must inform the University and we must cease paying them until a new work permit is issued.  Individuals in this circumstance may be allowed to re-enter Canada as a temporary resident, pending a decision on the renewal of their application to work in Canada, provided they are temporary resident visa (TRV)-exempt.  However, they may NOT resume work in Canada until their application for renewal has been granted.  Further information is found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Visiting Foreign Academics – Clarification on which authorization is required

Administrators are likely familiar with the process to invite foreign faculty members under IRCC’s Academic Exchange exemption, but there are other categories of visitors where the process is not as straight-forward and it’s not clear what IRCC authorization is required.  Housing & Relocation Services has created a handy chart that provides a breakdown of the most common IRCC Authorizations.

Sick Leave, Income Replacement Coverage and Return To Work

The following information is provided to help clarify the steps and processes involved when a faculty member goes on sick leave, Income Replacement (IRP) leave or enters into a Return to Work (RTW) arrangement.

1. Sick Leave Process

Faculty members are eligible for up to 6 months paid sick leave.  If a faculty member goes on sick leave that will be longer than a week they should provide notification to their Department Head in writing, including a doctor’s certification of the illness, the start date of the leave, a prognosis of the expected return date and any accommodation that may be required if requesting a partial medical leave. The Department Head of the faculty member may seek assistance from the Return to Work/Remain at Work Program, UBC Vancouver.

On the Okanagan campus, if a faculty member is off work greater than 5 days or has an upcoming medical leave, the Department Head will contact the Work Reintegration & Accommodation Program (WRAP). All medical information and case management will be led by WRAP and they will provide the Department Head with updates regarding need for accommodation, return to work planning, IRP etc.

At both UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan it is the responsibility of the Department to prepare the necessary leave of absence form and forward to Faculty Relations (UBC Vancouver) or Human Resources (UBC Okanagan), along with the relevant documentation so that HRMS can be updated accordingly.

If a faculty member is unable to return to work they must keep the Department updated.  At UBC Okanagan the faculty member must remain in regular contact with WRAP.  If it is anticipated that coverage under the Sunlife Income Replacement Plan (IRP) will be required, the member should apply at the end of the 3rd month of sick leave.  Members should contact the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate at 604-822-8696 or email to learn how to apply for benefits and to obtain the application forms.  A delay in applying may result in the member being without pay for a period of time.

If member runs out of paid sick leave and Sunlife has not yet approved IRP or has denied the IRP application, the faculty member will be placed on an unpaid sick leave.  It is the responsibility of the Department to create the necessary leave form and forward to Faculty Relations/Human Resources along with the relevant supporting documents.

Departments need to monitor the leave and keep Faculty Relations/Human Resources apprised of any changes.

2. Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Benefit Process – full coverage by Sunlife

Upon approval of an IRP claim, Sunlife informs the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk in Human Resources, who then informs the Department and instructs them to produce a Leave of Absence form which they forward to Faculty Relations/Human Resources along with supporting documents.  FR/HR will arrange for HRMS to be updated.

For a tenure-track or term appointee on IRP, the Department needs to track the appointment and ensure that a reappointment, as necessary is processed on HRMS.  For example, if a tenure track faculty member is approved for IRP after completing the first 3 years of their appointment and does not return to work by the end of the 4th year, then the department needs to create a Faculty Appointment form to process a one-year extension. They will need to do this annually until either the individual returns to work or we receive medical information that there is no likelihood that the individual will ever return to work.

It is important to track the appointment and ensure it continues to appear on HRMS with a leave status. The key reason for this is that medical, extended and dental benefits continue based on the leave appointment.  If the appointment ends then health benefit coverage ends. If we are informed with medical evidence that there is no likelihood that the individual will ever return to work, UBC will provide the individual with a limited period of benefits continuance so that they can make alternate arrangements for alternate health benefits coverage.  Faculty Relations/Human Resources will work with units in such situations.

3. Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Benefit Process – partial coverage by Sunlife

As with the full IRP leave the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk in Human Resources will inform the Department and instruct them to produce a Leave of Absence form which is forwarded to Faculty Relations/Human Resources who will arrange for HRMS to be updated.  If the individual is transitioning from Full to Partial IRP the department will need to complete a Faculty Appointment Form so that a secondary Employment Record can be created on HRMS. The percentage of leave and work should be clearly outlined on the appointment form and accompanying documentation.

HRMS will be updated to reflect the partial leave and partial work situation and the individual will continue to receive partial pay from UBC.

Any changes in percentage will be communicated by the Benefits Claims & Finance Associate IRP Claims Clerk to the Department, who will create the necessary appointment form to process the change.

4. Return to Work Process

Once a member on IRP has been deemed medically fit to return to work Sunlife will contact the Return to Work (RTW) Advisor who will coordinate with the faculty member, Department, Faculty Relations/HR as well as the member’s doctor or healthcare providers to set up a Return to Work schedule.  If Departments are aware of a possible return to work in advance of Sunlife’s confirmation they should contact the RTW Advisor to discuss. Once a RTW schedule has been confirmed it is the Department’s responsibility to produce the necessary appointment form and forward to Faculty Relations/HR with supporting documentation. If there are any changes in work level these will be communicated to the Department who will complete further paperwork for Faculty Relations/HR.

On the Okanagan campus, WRAP will continue case management leading up to and during a faculty members IRP leave. Return to work will be coordinated by WRAP with the involvement of the Head and in some cases Human Resources. Once a RTW schedule has been confirmed it is the Department’s responsibility to produce the necessary appointment form and forward to Human Resources.

5. Accommodation

If an accommodation for an active faculty member is required the Department should contact the appropriate Senior Manager and/or RTW Advisor (UBC Vancouver) or WRAP (UBC Okanagan)..

For more detailed information refer to the Human Resources website as follows:

Sharing Information Securely

As administrators we often have to share confidential information regarding faculty members. When we share this information electronically, we have to follow the requirements set out by UBC’s Chief Information Officer in the Information Security Standard on Transmission and Sharing of UBC Electronic Information. Improper sharing of confidential information at UBC frequently results in privacy breaches. It’s really important to follow the proper protocol to avoid a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner, or a legal claim, or both.

Confidential information includes personal information and financial information relating to payment card transactions. We are allowed to use unencrypted emails to share small amounts of low-risk confidential information. However, we cannot use unencrypted emails to send large amounts of confidential information, or any amount of high-risk information*, because this creates an unacceptable risk. For example, it would be acceptable to send an unencrypted email saying “Joe Smith is sick today and won’t be coming to work.” However, it would not be acceptable to use an unencrypted email to send an appointment form or a medical report, because these documents contain a large amount of confidential information.

You have two options to protect this information:

Option 1: Put the information in an encrypted attachment to your email. The CIO has issued instructions for encrypting these Word, Excel or PDF files. You should give the encryption password to the recipient in a secure manner; do not send it by email!

Option 2: Share the information using Workspace, which is a secure file sharing tool similar to Dropbox. In Faculty Relations we prefer that Dean’s Offices share any forms or documents via the Workspace directory that is set up for each faculty.

Thanks for keeping our confidential information secure! If you want more information about privacy and security, I encourage you to go to the Privacy Matters @ UBC webpage.

*High-risk information includes the following types of information:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Any official government identity card No. (e.g. Passport ID, Drivers’ License No., etc.)
  • Bank account information (e.g. direct deposit details)
  • Personal health information
  • Biometric data
  • Date of Birth

Advertising Guidelines

Advertisements of vacant positions for both tenure stream and term appointments must be placed widely. This is particularly important if in the end the successful candidate is not a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.  As per section 3.3 of Policy HR11 – Employment Advertising (formerly Policy #20) procedures tenure stream positions must be posted in four places.  Note that placing on multiple UBC sites is considered one placement.  For term appointments we recommend posting in a minimum of three places.

For Lecturer positions note that at the Head’s discretion the position may be posted internally only if the appointment is filled by a candidate who is currently a Sessional Lecturer in the unit (see Article 12 of Part 7, Conditions of Appointment for Sessional Faculty Members).  Otherwise the posting must be placed externally as per Policy HR11..

Workload Policy for Bargaining Unit Members

A reminder that as per the Collective Agreement (Part 1, Article 13) all units should have a transparent process for workload allocation which is shared annually with members of the unit.  It is recommended that this be documented in a workload policy. Workload practice will vary across units, but should be consistent within each unit.  Should Heads or administrators have questions regarding workload policy development or changes they should contact the Senior Manager in Faculty Relations responsible for their Faculty.

Research Associate Salary Increase and Offer Letters

Research Associates at UBC will receive a 1.0% General Wage Increase and a 0.75% Economic Stability Dividend on May 1, 2019. This is as in accordance with the mandate of the Provincial Government through the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC). As a result of this increase the minimum salary for Research Associates increases to $56,732 effective May 1, 2019. All newly appointed Research Associates must meet this new minimum.

Compensation for Research Associates may only change as per mandated increases or if the offer or reappointment letter contains language that specifically allows for a salary increase upon reappointment. A reminder that the Research Associate offer letter templates is found on the Faculty Relations website and contains suggested language.

2019 Faculty Salary Increases for Bargaining Unit Members

A reminder that the Progress through the Ranks (PTR) increases (Career Progress, Merit, and PSA) will be processed in time for the July 15th paycheque. This means that administrators will need to check Career Progress (CP) and Length of Service (LOS) CP for their members.  Additionally units should be making preparations for the annual review process for merit & PSA, as decisions for merit & PSA will need to be finalized by approximately May 20th.  Bargaining is underway and we do not have any information regarding General Wage Increase (GWI) at this time.  An overview of the increase timeline is found on the Faculty Relations website.

LMIA requirements for tenure stream reappointments

We are pleased to let you know that Service Canada no longer requires that tenure stream positions be advertised again when subsequent LMIA submissions are required. While this eases the administrative burden, the expectation is still that tenure stream faculty members should apply for permanent resident status in their first few years at UBC.

Immigration update – IRCC Portal Guide for Offers of Employment

The How to Complete an Offer of Employment Guide created by Faculty Relations has recently been updated.  Administrators should refer to the updated version of the guide before they complete their next Offer of Employment on the Immigration, Citizenship & Refugees Canada (IRCC) Employer Portal.

In particular we would like to draw your attention to the Academic Exchange exemption for Visiting Faculty.  This exemption is applicable to individuals who hold a faculty appointment at another academic institution and the title provided to them at UBC, and reflected in the IRCC Offer of Employment should match that of their home institution. In some cases, for example that of Senior Lecturer, there is not a one to one match, but in most cases there should be.  Note that the title Visiting Scientist is not recognized by IRCC and does not normally fall under the Visiting Faculty exemption.  If you are inviting a researcher/scientist who does not hold an academic appointment elsewhere please contact Faculty Relations to discuss.

Annual 1% Lump Sum Payments for Regular Faculty Members

The 1% lump sum payment payable under Article 6 of Part 2 of the Agreement  has been processed on the June 30th paycheque. This payment is for regular members of the bargaining unit and is based on the annualized salary as of June 30th.  The payment will appear on the members paycheques under the code FAC LS.  Administrators will see this in their ledgers under the code LFC. The 1% lump sum for eligible Sessional Lecturers will be processed in September.