Unit 1 TA/SA/RA Return To Campus FAQ

Last Update: July 28, 2021

Below you will find answers to many of the common questions that Unit 1 (TA/SA/RA) members have about Carleton’s plans for a return to campus this fall. 

If you have additional questions or require further information, please be in touch via info@cupe4600.ca

Contents

  1. The news reported that Ontario universities have been told to prepare for a normal fall term. Does that mean Carleton will re-open entirely in September?
  2. When will I find out if I will be working in-person or online during the Fall term?
  3. I was able to live and work remotely from outside of Ottawa last year. Do I have to move to Ottawa to work as a TA for the Fall 2021 term?
  4. Will Carleton management allow TAs to indicate their preference for online or in-person work via Carleton Central or when indicating what their preferred courses are?
  5. What do I do if I have a preference to work in-person or online?
  6. What if I am assigned to an in-person course and do not want to or can’t work in-person?
  7. What if I am not yet assigned to a course but need an accommodation because I cannot work in-person?
  8. Will proof of vaccination be mandatory for anyone working or studying on campus this Fall?
  9. Will people on campus be required to wear a mask?
  10. Has Carleton management issued any specific guidelines on how to use classrooms and labs safely?
  11. What if, after I start work in-person, I see something that violates Carleton’s COVID-19 safety rules or I become concerned for my own health and safety?
The news reported that Ontario universities have been told to prepare for a normal fall term. Does that mean Carleton will re-open entirely in September? 

It’s unclear. Carleton management has indicated that their current plans for a partial re-opening remain in place. However, they continue to monitor the situation and further changes to the re-opening plan are possible. 

When will I find out if I will be working in-person or online during the Fall term?

Carleton management has said they will be proceeding as normal with TA assignments for the Fall term. That means that many union members won’t know if they will be working in-person or online until late August or early September. 

I was able to live and work remotely from outside of Ottawa last year. Do I have to move to Ottawa to work as a TA for the Fall 2021 term? 

According to Carleton management, all Unit 1 members must live in Ottawa. 

Due to the way Carleton management will be assigning TAs, most members won’t know until a few weeks or days before their assignment starts whether they will be working in person or not. Carleton management’s view is that all TAs/RAs/SAs are required to live in Ottawa, even if working remotely, so it shouldn’t be a problem for individuals to be in-formed at the last minute they are working in-person. 

If you have concerns about moving to Ottawa for your TA position in the Fall term, particularly if you worked from somewhere other than Ottawa last year, please contact us at info@cupe4600.ca.

Will Carleton management allow TAs to indicate their preference for online or in-person work via Carleton Central or when indicating what their preferred courses are? 

No. Carleton management rejected this request from your union. 

What do I do if I have a preference to work in-person or online? 

At this point, there are two things you can do:

  1. If you know you will be working as a TA during the Fall term, Carleton management says you should contact your Department Chair or Director immediately and let them know what your preference is. However, there is no guarantee that your preference will be honoured. We recommend you cc the union (info@cupe4600.ca) when emailing your Departmental Chair/Director so we have a record and can get a sense of how many union members are making preference requests. 
  1. When indicating your 3 preferred courses for your TA assignment, you can use the Public Course Calendar to see if they are being conducted in-person or online. 

There is no guarantee you will be assigned to one of your chosen courses. However, article 13.04(h)(i) of your collective agreement states that “the employer shall endeavour to accommodate preferences of applicants with respect to the type of position and, for teaching assistants, the type of courses to be assigned.” If you are assigned to a course that was not one of your 3 preferences and you have concerns about it, contact your union immediately at info@cupe4600.ca.

What if I am assigned to an in-person course and do not want to or can’t work in-person?

If you’ve already received a course assignment, you should talk to the course supervisor. If that isn’t possible or you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you should contact the Departmental Chair/Director. We recommend you cc your union (info@cupe4600.ca) on all email communications on this topic so that we can assist you if necessary, and so that we are aware of how widespread the issue is. 

The process for asking to be moved from in-person work to online work is called an “accommodation request”. Carleton management will assess all accommodation requests on a case by case basis, and there is no blanket guarantee that any request to be moved to online work will be honoured. 

Accommodation requests are more likely to be successful if they are made based on a documented medical condition. For example, if you or a member of your household are immuno-compromised or in a category that is at higher risk of infection, that could be grounds for an accommodation, as could stress or anxiety disorders. 

If you would like support in making an accommodation request, please contact us at info@cupe4600.ca.

What if I am not yet assigned to a course but need an accommodation because I cannot work in-person? 

If you feel you have a reason why you cannot work in-person during the fall term but have not yet been assigned as a TA/SA to a course, you must file an accommodation request with Carleton management. 

Carleton has not yet provided detailed guidance on the criteria that will be used to judge an accommodation request. Generally speaking, accommodation requests are more likely to be successful if they are made based on a documented medical condition. For example, if you or a member of your household are immuno-compromised or in a category that is at higher risk of infection, that could be grounds for an accommodation, as could stress or anxiety disorders. 

Carleton management will assess all accommodation requests on a case by case basis, and there is no blanket guarantee that any request to be moved to online work will be honoured. 

Your union is seeking clarification from management on who union members who are not yet assigned to a course should contact to make an accommodation request. For now, we recommend you email Human Resources (humanresources@carleton.ca) and cc your union at info@cupe4600.ca

Will proof of vaccination be mandatory for anyone working or studying on campus this Fall? 

At this time, no. Carleton does not currently have any plans to require vaccinations. Management indicated that requiring vaccines in the absence of a direct order from Public Health could put the university at risk of legal action. 

Some institutions in Ontario, notably Seneca College and the residences at the University of Ottawa, have stated vaccinations will be mandatory. Carleton management, however, has said that without an order directing them to do so from either Ontario or Ottawa Public Health, they will not require staff or students to be vaccinated. 

Will people on campus be required to wear a mask?

Yes, as of the most recent information we have from management. Non-medical masks will be required for anyone on campus.

Has Carleton management issued any specific guidelines on how to use classrooms and labs safely?

Yes. Carleton management has prepared two sets of guidelines, one for classrooms and another for labs, laying out how these spaces should be used to ensure safety. 

You can find these guidelines at this link.

What if, after I start work in-person, I see something that violates Carleton’s COVID-19 safety rules or I become concerned for my own health and safety?

Your union will provide more information in the near future regarding Carleton management’s Fall term COVID-19 safety rules, how they will be enforced, and what union members working in-person should do if they have concerns. 

Where can I find Carleton management’s information about returning to campus? 

You can find Carleton’s Safe Return to Campus information at this link.