Administration

Inclusive holiday celebrations

This winter at UBC, our community is celebrating events and holidays from around the world. Our students, staff and faculty come from many cultural backgrounds and faith identities, and at this time of year, we have an opportunity to celebrate the cultures that make up our UBC community.

Some celebratory events are coming up in the next few weeks, including Mawlid an Nabi (Islam), Hanukkah (Judaism), Yule (Paganism), and Christmas (Christianity). In February, we will see festivities for the Lunar New Year (Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist). See the Days of Significance list to see all the events and celebrations coming up soon.

Ways to Celebrate in the Workplace

We have a great opportunity to celebrate the season together, in a respectful and positive way that can help build intercultural understanding.

  • Display a calendar in your workplace to raise awareness of important cultural/faith events and holidays throughout the entire year.
  • Celebrate all faiths present in your workplace.
  • Consider having a New Year’s celebration party instead of a holiday party in December.
  • Be flexible with the needs of staff around faith and/or holiday celebrations.
  • In your workplace or at celebration events, bring together decorations and food from the many cultures in your workplace, and encourage staff to share stories about their favourite traditions.
  • Be respectful of religious holidays at this time of year when planning events and meetings. Check the Days of Significance calendar for details.

Office Decorations

Here are some tips to make your office decorations inclusive and respectful of all cultures and beliefs:

  • Aim for neutral decor in the front-facing areas of your office
  • Ensure your office is accessible and that decorations do not prevent or block access to public services.
  • Consider how your office can celebrate dates significant to all members of your workplace. Invite staff from all faith identities to be involved in the office decorating discussion.
  • Set an agreed upon limit to the number of days that your office will display decorations, and have a discussion about what other times of year you might want to decorate, in celebration of other events.
  • Use the holidays as an opportunity to build community within your office, and with the people your office serves or supports.

If you are feeling excluded as a result of office celebrations, you are encouraged to reach out to a colleague or a supervisor and have a conversation about how you feel and how you would like your culture and beliefs to be included. At UBC we should all feel comfortable to share our culture and beliefs with others. You are welcome to contact the Equity and Inclusion Office or your HR Advisor to discuss.

We hope that this advice provides some suggestions on how to foster community and inclusion at this time of year through encouraging the celebration of our many cultures and faiths on campus.

Relevant links

Preparing an essential service level plan in advance of possible weather-related campus disruptions

Do you have an up-to-date staffing plan in case of a campus disruption? While the weather forecast in Vancouver looks seasonally rainy for now, HR recommends that you have a plan for essential staffing in the event of an extreme weather, such as a snow or ice storm. Setting up a plan in advance will allow you to address any issues with your team and with your HR Advisor.

Some things to consider:

  • Review the services your unit offers to the university, and determine which of those services are operationally essential.
  • Have a discussion with employees who are in those roles and let them know the university’s expectations and policy in the event of extreme weather.
  • If you have essential CUPE 2950 positions, follow the process as outlined in Article 13.01 and Letter of Agreement 13.01 of the collective agreement, which requires communication with Human Resources (contact Korey Onyskevitch at onyskevitch@ubc.ca) and the union. This does not preclude your ability to request additional essential services should the need arise.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Human Resources Advisor.

IRP HR update call Nov. 7: Slides and recording available

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Integrated Renewal Program HR update call on Nov. 7. If you weren’t able to make it, or you would like to review the slides and the call, there is a recording available.

We will have information about the next IRP HR update call in an upcoming edition of HR Network News.

Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 4, 2018

Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 4, 2018. Clocks fall back one hour at 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Please encourage your staff to have a safe commute on Monday, Nov. 5.

Reminders for administrators following cannabis legalization in Canada

On Oct. 17, cannabis use was legalized in Canada. As stated in the memo sent to the HR Network community of practice on Oct. 9:

UBC has an obligation to observe the safety rules set out in section 4.20 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation to prevent impairment in the workplace. This means ensuring that employees do not arrive or remain at work while their ability to work is affected by alcohol, cannabis, or any other impairing substance, regardless of its legal status.

Although medical authorization to use cannabis does not include a right to consume cannabis at work or arrive to work impaired, employees who are prescribed cannabis for medical purposes and seek or require an accommodation will be advised to speak with their supervisor (staff or student employees) or Head (faculty). Any unauthorized or unapproved use of cannabis prior to or during work hours will not be tolerated and may result in discipline.

We ask that all administrators and managers familiarize themselves with our document, “Information for Supervisors Regarding Substance Use.” If you have questions regarding medical accommodations, or employee substance use, please contact the following:

Together, we can continue to foster a healthy, safe, inclusive, and professional work environment at UBC.


Two broadcast email messages were also distributed to the broader campus community on this subject, if you are interested in reading more:

HR memo: Local elections on Oct. 20

On Oct. 1, 2018, we distributed a memo on the university’s obligations towards employees scheduled to work on the date of the upcoming general local elections, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

Resources supporting transgender and gender-diverse faculty and staff

At UBC, diversity is welcomed and respected, and considered foundational to excellence in research, education and engagement. UBC recognizes that respect and support for transgender and gender-diverse faculty and staff are central to their success and wellbeing. It is our interactions at work that can help us to feel a valued member of society. The recognition of gender diversity, specifically for people who identify as transgender, two-spirit or non-binary, affirms and acknowledges that gender is highly personal and fluid, and is worthy of respect at UBC.

All human resources practitioners and managers/supervisors have the responsibility to provide a welcoming, inclusive and respectful work environment. By working proactively with an employee who wishes to transition and/or utilize gender-affirming procedures, you can help create a positive experience for the individual and all employees in your unit.

The information in the following resource documents can to help you to building a positive work environment and in modelling behaviour that shows respect for diversity and inclusion that you expect your staff to demonstrate in their relationships with each other and the people they work with across the campus.

Please familiarize yourself with these resources so you can best support transgender and gender-diverse staff, faculty and student employees in your department.

For managers/supervisors/HR practitioners: Supporting Transgender and Gender-Diverse Faculty and Staff at UBC

Information includes:

  • Human rights and employer responsibilities
  • Definitions to assist you in understanding gender diversity
  • Transitioning in the workplace: planning a collaborative, supportive approach
  • Guidelines for the manager/supervisor and support team
  • UBC and other external resources
  • Transition checklist (for working with the employee)

For employees: Transgender and Gender-Diverse Faculty and Staff at UBC

Information includes:

  • Transitioning in the workplace: planning a collaborative, supportive approach
  • Guidelines for the transitioning employee
  • Transition checklist
  • Information on health and benefits
  • Information on counselling and support/social groups

If you have any questions, please contact your HR Advisor. For more information on campus-wide initiatives on gender diversity, please visit the Equity & Inclusion website.