News Bulletin 5, November 21, 2017 

Asbestos update
We are happy to be able, finally, to report good news on the asbestos test results.  After surmounting the obstacles the College put in place in order for us to obtain copies of the  air quality test results that were done for the renovations in A-500, which involved asbestos, we have now received the analysis of them by our air-quality specialist at the CSN. The results of the tests that were done between September 22, 2017 and October 14, 2017 are within established norms.

The VCTA Executive will be consulting the College’s asbestos register as renovations in the College continue. We hope that, going forward, the College will supply results of their air quality tests in a more timely and more cooperative manner.

Insurance
You will find the latest “Insurance Newsletter #18” regarding our Fneeq insurance coverage with La Capitale, here attached. You have until the end of November to ask HR to make changes to your policy. It includes the following links:

  • Summary of coverage on January 1, 2018.
  • New rating applicable as of January 1, 2018 and health insurance modifications.

 

 

News Bulletin 4, November 10, 2017          

Cont Ed Teachers’ Special Meeting
You are invited to a special meeting to address the specific concerns of Cont Ed teachers over wine and cheese:  4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, on Thursday, January 25, 2018.  (We chose this time, in particular, since classes for Cont Ed will not pose any conflict as they begin Jan. 29th).  We hope to hear from you.

  • Save the date!

College Committees with Teacher Representatives
We have now filled many of the committees for 2017-18.  Thanks to all teachers who put their names forward to participate in committee work so as to ensure teacher perspectives are informing the direction of College initiatives.

Professional Development
In an effort to facilitate our teachers’ use of our professional development funds, we would like to let you know that 1) deadlines are important: you must submit your Application form before the event and you must submit your Expense Report after the event; 2) highball your “amount requested” on the Application form: so that the amount claimed on the Expense Reports will have already been approved; 3) we have made a proposal to the Administration  to make the College Policy on per diems more flexible and the Administration is considering the proposal.

Quality Assurance: Global Perspective
The ‘Quality Assurance’ vision of management has become an integral part of the process of evaluation in higher education worldwide.  Problems can be seen, in the UK, for instance, where Quality Assurance principles inform a new assessment process called the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). It is an audit that universities and colleges are now being subject to by an external agency under Ministerial auspices to assess “the quality of teaching.”  This has nothing to do with excellence in teaching but rather the management of educational institutions since the TEF will be used to determine funding to institutions.  The danger is that this approach favours centralized, hierarchical decisional processes, instead of the collective input from teachers, as the experts in education.

Contractual Obligations
In our Collective Agreement (Article 8-4:01 -Type 1 activities), there are a certain number of tasks that are considered “contractual obligations” that all teachers are expected to do, from tenured teachers with lots of seniority to brand new non-tenured teachers. The most important duty we must perform is teaching our full courses, but know that holding office hours and attending department meetings are also notable contractual obligations.

See our full articles on our website, for day teachers:
http://www.thevcta.qc.ca/2017/03/02/contractual-obligations/

And Cont Ed teachers:
http://www.thevcta.qc.ca/2017/04/06/1811/

For the full list of contractual obligations, see our Collective Agreement, Art. 8-4.01:
http://www.thevcta.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2015-2020-Convention-Collective-FNEEQ-2015-2020-EN.pdf

Changing Your Medical and Dental Insurance Coverage
Contact Human Resources for any change you may want in the insurance coverage modules during the month of November.

Coffee Mugs
Please kindly return any common mugs you may have to the lounges as our stock is presently quite low.  Thank-you!

Estates General on Higher Education 2017

Last May, Eric Durling (president, center in photo) and Sheila Das (vice-president internal, photo credit) attended this great event with over 500 participants in higher education — students, Cegep professors, university professors, and contract teachers —  from across Quebec to discuss  topics essential to higher education from accessibility, to research, to market-based views, among others.  The last Estates General in Quebec was in 1995 so it is high time for a re-assessment from those directly involved in education!  The idea is to formulate a campaign for higher education as the experts in the field.  We would want to have this poised and ready to go for the next provincial elections (October 2018).

If you want to be a part of these discussions, please come with us to the next big congress, May 2-5, in Montreal.

http://eges.quebec/

Les États généraux de l’enseignement supérieur (EGES)

 

Solidarity with contract teachers in Ontario colleges, whose poor working conditions mirror that of Cont Ed contract work in CEGEPS.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ontario-college-strike-academia-1.4364735?cmp=rss

  ‘People are suffering’: Contract work has turned universities, colleges into temp agencies, say critics

www.cbc.ca

Precarious work is the “new norm” at Canada’s colleges and universities, say teachers who are constantly put on contracts instead of being hired permanently. They say it’s not only difficult for them personally, but it’s having an impact on students.

 

News Bulletin 3, October 20, 2017

 National Health and Safety Week: Prevention
Oct 15 to 21 2017 is National Health and Safety Week (http://semainesst.org/). The focus this year is on prevention. In the context of health and safety, prevention is a daily challenge in a more and more competitive world, where productivity has become an obsession.  In our college life, small steps you may consider:

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Be kind and respectful to each other, as we are all under a lot of stress.

50 Years of CEGEPs: Photo project
Jérôme Fortin, Quebec artist and visual art teacher at Cegep of Vieux Montréal has accepted, in collaboration with Fneeq, to create a work that would commemorate the 50 years of Cegeps in Quebec.  It will be composed of photos from the past from teachers throughout the province and it will be unveiled in the Spring 2018.

  • Please submit us photos you may have that capture the Vanier spirit from any time in our history so that we can send our selections to the Fneeq project.

Seniority List
The October 2017 seniority list came out last Friday, Oct. 13.  It is every teacher’s responsibility to verify his or her seniority in the 30 days from that time, after which it becomes official.

  • Please check, in order to allow us to correct any error before it is too late.

New Teachers
If you haven’t already done so, please drop by our office, C101, in order to become VCTA members.  You only need to pay a one-time fee of $2, and then you will be able to vote during General Assemblies and elections!

Medical Insurance Renewal 2018 (attachments: renewal 2018; renouvelement 2018)

  1. Rates as of January 1, 2018
    Good news! There will be no increase in premiums on January 1, 2018.
  2. Changes as of January 2018
    • $1,000 reimbursement per hearing aid, maximum $2,000 per 36-month period;
    • Reimbursement of medical certificates at the rate provided by the plan member’s Module: $40 per certificate, maximum $500 per year;
    • Homeopathic treatments are no longer covered
  3. You can opt for more coverage by asking Human Resources during the month of November.
    You can opt for less coverage if you have been contributing to the higher coverage for 3 years
  4. Bill 92 – New itemised drug bills
    The invoice must now show the following items separately:

    • Cost of the compound (the drug) -This is the same for all pharmacists
    • Wholesaler’s profit margin -This is the same for all pharmacists
    • Pharmacists’ professional fees -The pharmacist’s professional fees include the price for filling the prescription, the pharmacist’s profit margin and any other fees charged by the pharmacist. These may vary considerably between pharmacists – so shop around..

Asbestos Update
Those of you present at the last VCTA General Assembly will remember that the VCTA Executive indicated we would contact the CNESST to ask them to come to the college and inspect the renovation site. The CNESST told us that they would not come to inspect the site unless someone identified a specific concern or problem. The inspector, however, did say that we could take pictures of the site and send them, which we did. If teachers notice an accumulation of dust in their offices, or if they have reason to believe that the negative pressure machinery is not working, they should inform the College and the Union. Any complaints should be directed to Loïc Boyer is the College’s current Health and Safety Officer and ”cc” the VCTA.

Lise Bégin, Vanier’s Director of Administrative Services, has agreed to make the asbestos register available to all employees for consultation in H-201. The register should contain information related to the location of materials and products which have been the object of asbestos verification, information regarding the presence and type of asbestos, and the nature and date of work done on materials and products containing asbestos. Having this information may prove useful as renovation continues throughout the college.

Finally, we sent an access to information request to the DG to ask for copies of the daily air-quality test results and documents produced by WSP in relation to the renovation. The DG agreed to this request. We sent pictures of the test results that were available at the construction site to our air-quality specialist at the CSN and await her analysis.

It is unfortunate that teachers may only get complete information regarding the renovation in A-500 after the fact, a concern which we raised with the College. Nonetheless, we think it is critical to get as much information as we can so as to demonstrate to the College that we will persist in having teachers informed.

The VCTA Web-site
Check out our web-site for FAQ, the latest news on education, council meetings and more:  www.thevcta.qc.ca

The paradox and problem of budget cutbacks and increased administration hiring across the pond parallels the CEGEP situation here in Quebec.  It is clear how Quality Assurance conforms to this skewed “educational” model based on business strategies:

“The meaningless tasks and faux-business strategies prioritised by British universities have skewed their real role.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/21/universities-broke-cut-pointless-admin-teaching

  Universities are broke. So let’s cut the pointless admin …

www.theguardian.com

Universities are broke. So let’s cut the pointless admin and get back to teaching André Spicer

News Bulletin 2, October 11, 2017

Fair Trade Coffee
The VCTA Executive would like to assure all members that as a union who cares deeply about fair treatment of employees, we have long offered teachers fair trade coffee for your drinking pleasure in both lounges.  Enjoy your coffee and feel good about it too.

Quality Assurance
The Quality Assurance Committee (a subcommittee of Association Council) held its first meeting of the academic year 2017-2018.  The term ‘Quality Assurance’ refers to a vision that uses quantitative measures of risk assessment and continuous improvement to deliver quality manufactured products.  This approach has recently found its way into the management of educational institutions worldwide.  Since what we offer as teachers is not a ‘product’ but an education, teachers’ unions across the province have argued for different values and a more civic vision.  The committee will be meeting regularly so as to be able to inform teachers on how best to prepare for any actions by the Administration that would reduce education to a quantifiable product.

Asbestos A-500 (please see link below:  SST)
The VCTA Executive has continued to consult with our air quality specialist at the CSN as we get more information from the College with regard to renovation in A-500. The College confirmed at a meeting of CRT (Labour Relations Committee) on September 28th that they had engaged an engineering consulting firm to make recommendations in relation to asbestos removal. It was the report from this firm, containing recommendations and procedures, that the VCTA Executive sent to our air quality specialist at the CSN last week. Our specialist found the report very thorough and has been advising us as we continue to follow up with the College.

The College has stated that the firm with which they have consulted is also doing daily air-quality testing. The VCTA Executive has asked to have the results of these tests, but the College has refused to give them to us. The CNESST and our air quality specialist at the CSN have informed us that there are other ways to obtain the results, and the Executive is exploring all possible ways of doing so.  The College also has not made its asbestos register available to all employees. The CNESST has informed us that we can make an official complaint, and we have begun the complaint process.

Finally, teachers should know that we have a right to refuse to perform particular work if we have reasonable grounds to believe that the performance of that work would expose us to danger to health, safety or physical well-being, or would expose another person to a similar danger. Specifically, we have the right to refuse to work if we think that asbestos is escaping from the construction work sites, either from the area sealed or through the ventilation, if they see dust in their office in the areas that have asbestos, if the machine to take air out (for the negative pressure) stops.

The VCTA Executive will continue to follow up on the renovation work and will keep you informed of any developments.

SST_Construction démolition rénovation

Teacher-Student Relationships and the Revised Code of Conduct, September 2017
In the latest Academic Council Meeting, a new article, 4.3, concerning abuse of power and sexual relationships was passed.  It recognizes that since all college employees are in a position of authority over students, employees must act to avoid any situations that might constitute an abuse of power or trust, specifically, any employee/student relationship of a romantic or sexual nature. Be aware that this violation will result sanctions, up to and including immediate dismissal.

In addition, this position is consonant with the FNEEQ motion  passed during the Conseil Federal December 7-9, 2016, the summary of which the VCTA shared in our February 2017 News Bulletin #8, provided here below for your convenience:
Teacher-Student Relationships:  FNEEQ
Reflections on teacher-student relationships began at the FNEEQ Congress in May 2015. Concerns were voiced that such relationships cause problems, not only posing serious legal and ethical consequences, but also threaten the very integrity of the teaching relationship… resulting in passing the following motion (here translated):

It is recommended that the Federal Counsel:

  1. reaffirm its position against violence, discrimination and sexual harassment;
  2. affirm that, for ethical reasons, it is inappropriate for someone in a position of teaching and authority to have an intimate relationship, either romantic or sexual, with a  student;
  3. call on affiliated unions to proscribeall intimate relationships, romantic or sexual, of those in a position of teaching or authority with students;

Committee Selection
At the Association Council Meeting of Sept. 28, 2017 the following motion was passed to replace the first-come first-serve criterion for the VCTA selection of teacher representatives on committees:

That Association Council approve the following for the Committee Selection Criteria

(This does not apply to elected and designated positions on Academic Council, Association Council or CRT)

-begin with a call-for volunteers, with a 72 hour response period

-random selection (names drawn from a hat)

-when expertise or experience is deemed necessary by the VCTA executive, the VCTA executive reserves the right to choose members after seeking advice from Association Council.

Seniority Lists
Heads up!  The seniority lists will be published next week.  It is your responsibility to verify them so that if there is an error, we can rectify it. You have thirty days to do so –after which it will be official.

World Teachers Day Oct. 5, 2017 and the Fondaction Table
Bagels were so popular this year to celebrate World Teachers Day that we ran out early.  Our apologies to anyone who missed out.  Also, Maxime Bournival, the Fondaction representative who was explaining some retirement savings options, was also so appreciated by teachers that we will try to arrange to bring him back next semester.