HR News

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:

UBC coaching programs recognized with International Prism Award 2018 – Honourable Mention

UBC coaching programs recognized with International Prism Award 2018 – Honourable Mention

In the world of organizational development, coaching has become the most effective tool to accelerate results in learning and professional development and building engaged workplaces.

UBC has received the 2018 Honourable Mention for the International Prism Award, a prestigious honour from the International Coach Federation that recognizes the impact of UBC’s rigorous coaching programs in all its facets and in a number of areas, from personal development to shaping the organizational culture and addressing strategic goals.

Across the organization, UBC encourages students, staff and faculty to lead through a coach approach to discover and explore new ways of learning – from leadership programs to performance conversations. Since 2001, over 4,300 faculty and staff have accessed free, one-on-one professional coaching services through the Coaching@UBC program and Career Navigation and Transition services. The community of coaches currently includes 55 internal coaches (those coaches who also work at UBC) as well as 27 external coaches. UBC also offers staff and faculty electing to pursue ICF-accredited coaching training access and scholarship awards for the UBC Coaching Internship Program.

UBC was shortlisted as one of four global finalists earlier this summer, and the award was announced on Sept. 26, 2018 at the Human Capital Institute’s Learning and Leadership Development Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Congratulations to all!


Coaching@UBC provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to focus and move forward on career goals through the exploration of ideas and candid dialogue with a confidential and unbiased thinking partner. Learn more.

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.

2018 Coaching Internship Award Recipients

The 2018 recipients of the UBC Coaching Internship Awards are:

  • Elisabeth Chin, Manager, Student Experience, Sauder School of Business
  • Justine Cochrane, Curriculum Materials Coordinator, Faculty of Medicine
  • Savanah Knockwood, Indigenous Student Programs Coordinator, School of Population & Public Health
  • Mina Phaisaltantiwongs, Business Development Assistant (Computer Science), UBC Science Co-op
  • Raina Reddecliff, Associate Director, Campus Internationalization at UBCO
  • Shannon Remillong, Coordinator, Civil Engineering

We will open applications for the next round of the Coaching Internship Awards in October. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.hr.ubc.ca/coaching/become-a-coach/coaching-internship/.

Maternity/Parental/Adoptive Leave EI Benefit Changes – Information for Administrators

In the February issue of Benefits FYI, we highlighted the federal government changes to EI benefits for maternity, parental and adoptive leaves that came into effect on Dec. 3, 2017. We also detailed how these benefits work with UBC’s SEB top-up and provided four scenarios to help illustrate the information.

Summary of Key Points

  1. In addition to the two parental EI benefits options (standard and extended), note that employees may be off for a longer period of time if they select the extended parental EI benefits.
  2. Any additional leave taken beyond what is stipulated in the BC Employment Standards Act will be considered general unpaid leave and the employee is responsible for the full cost of the benefits and pension they wish to continue.
  3. There are no changes to how top-up is calculated for maternity leave for birth mothers.
  4. With the exception of BCGEU Okanagan, birth parents with staff appointments (mothers and fathers) are not eligible for top-up during parental leave. As such, during the parental leave they will receive standard or extended parental EI benefits only.
  5. BCGEU Okanagan birth parents (mothers and fathers) are eligible for top-up during parental leave; however, the top-up calculation is under development with the introduction of the extended EI parental benefit. More information will be available soon.
  6. Birth parents with faculty appointments (mothers and fathers) are eligible for top-up during parental leave, and if the extended EI parental benefits is chosen, the top-up will be calculated based on the standard option. This includes Academic Executives and Postdoctoral Fellows (employees).

For HR Administrators

If you have staff who will be taking maternity, parental or adoptive leave, we encourage you to consider how you will fill your department’s staffing requirements during the employee’s leave. If you have any questions on how to fill leave replacement positions over the new extended parental leave periods, please contact your HR Advisor.

When using ePAF (for a staff leave) or paper form (for a faculty leave) to notify Payroll of a leave, make sure you correctly code the leave for Payroll purposes. For example, if you have an employee who fits key point #2 above, please code the additional leave beyond 52 weeks for birth mothers, and 37 weeks for birth fathers and adopting parents as general unpaid (personal) leave.

More information

Family Caregiver EI Benefits – Information for Administrators

In the February issue of Benefits FYI, we detailed the federal government’s new EI family caregiver benefits, which help families care for a critically ill/injured family member or person that considers you a family member. The new benefits were introduced on Dec. 3, 2017, and are offered in addition to EI compassionate care benefits.

Summary of Key Points

  • The EI family caregiver benefit for children and adults are offered in addition to compassionate care EI benefits. An employee may apply for family caregiver benefits to care for a critically ill/injured family member or person who considers them a family member, whereas compassionate care benefits apply if the employee is caring for a terminally ill family member or person who considers them a family member (must be significant risk of death within 26 weeks).
  • The BC Employment Standards Act currently provides eight weeks of job-protected leave for compassionate care, but does not include family caregiver leave. If an employee applies for family caregiving EI benefits, they will need to apply for a general unpaid leave and they will be responsible for paying the full cost of the benefits and pension they choose to maintain.

For HR Administrators

If you have an employee where the above scenarios or situations apply, please ensure that you correctly code the leave for Payroll purposes.

For example, if you have an employee applying for family caregiving EI benefits, please use the code Leave of Absence, Family Caregiver Leave (LOA/FAM) if you are using ePAF (for a staff leave) or paper form (for a faculty leave). A new code was created to ensure a Record of Employment would be generated and sent to Service Canada.

If the employee is applying for a compassionate care leave, please continue to use Leave of Absence, Compassionate Leave (LOA/COM) for the first eight weeks of leave and general unpaid (personal) leave for any additional leave.

If you have any questions or concerns about backfilling staff positions, please speak with your HR Associate or Advisor.

More Information