On the Radar Volume 3 Number 2

“On the Radar” is an electronic news bulletin for members of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff at UBC. It is published via email (text version) and on our website (including graphics) on a periodic basis throughout the year, under the guidance of the AAPS Communications Committee (Chaired by Wendy Ma). Writing and editing by David Harvey. Layout and design by Petra Ormsby. Web design and graphics are by Michael St. Claire. Members wishing to make submissions please contact David Harvey at david.harvey@ubc.ca. Submissions in this issue include items from: Laura Jeary and Tom Patch.

 


In This Issue

(The hyperlinks below will aid you in jumping to the articles you would most like to read.)

 


Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Governance & Plan Design

AAPS Executive Board and staff have been preparing for changes to the way our IRP plan is governed. In previous communications we have noted that the IRP (our version of long term disability insurance) has historically been under the sole trusteeship of UBC. The University is now engaging the employee groups in a discussion regarding what other governance models would better suit our needs.

AAPS takes the position that since 100% of the funds in the plan come from employees, the employees should have a majority say in governing and designing the plan. To that end we are in the process of retaining a benefits consultant to assist us with the myriad of legal and design issues that will need to be resolved as we go forward. A committee including Executive Board Members Isabella Losinger, George McLaughlin, Bernice Urbaniak and Executive Director David Harvey has been interviewing potential consulting firms. We intend to make the decision on the selected consultant by next week so that we can get to work on this important issue.

The second issue following the governance matter (i.e. who are the trustees of the plan) is the issue of plan design. This includes items such as: who is covered and for what, costing any additions to coverage, deciding who administrates claims, etc. Our intention is to deal with the governance issue first and then to move quickly into an assessment of plan design based on member needs. You will be hearing more on this topic later in the year.

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Salaries Arbitration – Final $300k Payments Nearly Settled

The settlement of the salaries arbitration in December 2006 included a provision for an additional $300,000 to be available as of July 1, 2007. Our compensation consultants at Caliber Leadership have been working with the AAPS Executive Board and Staff and in cooperation with the Total Compensation staff in HR to determine options for using those funds and the costing of those options. We are very close to resolving that matter and hope to make an announcement in a week or two.

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End of Mandatory Retirement: AAPS & UBC in Discussions

The government of BC has tabled legislation that will end the ability of employers to enforce mandatory retirement at age 65. The new legislation is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2008. Currently the Human Rights Code of BC prohibits discrimination based on age but only for persons aged 19 to 64. The new legislation will remove the age 64 limit but leave the age 19 distinction. The effect of this is that employers will only be able to force retirement upon individuals who can no longer perform their duties. AAPS & UBC have started discussions on ending mandatory retirement immediately as has been done for the Faculty Association.

The sky is not falling! BC is among the last 3 jurisdictions in Canada to make this change. In other provinces there has not been a rush amongst “old age pensioners” to continue working. In fact, the average age of retirement has continued to fall in most jurisdictions. However, there are issues that need to be addressed. Chief amongst these are various benefits issues:

  • Pensions – probably no significant changes required

  • Sick leave – some age limits may be defensible, if they are demonstrably required on a bona fide basis

  • LTD – same as for sick leave

  • Health benefits – what impact is there on the plans and their cost?

Another significant issue is the assessment of performance. In all likelihood employers will want to ensure that they are regularly and normally assessing performance throughout an employee’s career because to assess only older workers would be a form of age discrimination. Also undefined at present is how employers will need to “accommodate” older workers who can still perform many but not all of their duties.

All of these issues will be discussed with UBC over the coming weeks. In the interim UBC has entered into an agreement with the Faculty Association to end mandatory retirement as of May 15, 2007. In our upcoming discussions with the University we will be looking to be treated at least as well as faculty in this area. If you are an employee who will be turning 65 this year and wish to work beyond that age, please contact Sharon Cory in the AAPS offices at 827-3516 or sharon.cory@ubc.ca

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Spring General Meeting: Members Approve AAPS 2007/08 Budget

On April 26th at our annual Spring General Meeting the members approved the AAPS budget for the fiscal 2007/08. The AAPS fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30th and this is the second time that the members have approved the budget in advance of the start of the fiscal year. Until 2005 our Constitution required that the budget be approved at the Fall AGM but an amendment that year changed the budget approval to the Spring GM so that the Executive Board would not be spending money without advance member approval.

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AAPS Website Updated

The Communications Committee has been working with staff member Michael St. Claire to completely revise the site. It is now very much more accessible, includes more resources and is very eye-catching. Thanks to all who worked on it (Michael especially) and congratulations to Jorma Neuvonen who won the iPod prize for best suggestion on how to further improve the site.

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2nd Annual Report Issued

In April we published our second Annual Report. Kudos to Editor Petra Ormsby and the Communications Committee for their great work. This edition is both colourful and informative. If you did not receive a copy via internal mail, please contact Petra at 822-9025 and we will gladly forward one to you. Or, you can view our Annual Reports online.

Many thanks to the members who have suggested ways in which we could make this a “greener” publication. Of those, two stand out:

• Identify in advance which members would prefer to receive the report electronically and do not print hard copies for those individuals; and

• As much as possible use recycled papers and enviro-friendly inks on the hard copies.

We hope to implement both of these suggestions for next year’s report.

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Member Professional Development

      Project Management Courses Fill Quickly

The AAPS PD Committee has been offering seminars on Project Management which have been very successful. The sessions are presented by Ian Berry and Grant Penner of the Berrant Group and have been continually over-subscribed. In response we have scheduled additional sessions. This started last year with the Process Mapping seminar. We then offered introductory Project Management and will be offering a follow-up Advanced Project Management (including a software component) later this year. Project Management has run in February, March, twice in May and has been attended by 88 members. Future sessions include: two in June (fully enrolled), two in July and one in August. There are spaces still available in the July and August sessions. To enrol in any of the upcoming sessions please contact Petra Ormsby at petra.ormsby@ubc.ca.

     Carla Reiger Coming on June 25th

The AAPS PD Committee is planning on presenting Carla Reiger and her unique take on The Power of Laughter: Managing Change with a Sense of Humour. The presentations are planned for June 25 but at time of publication we were still awaiting final date confirmation. There will be two sessions, one at 9:00am and another at 12:00pm. As soon as we have final confirmation we will send an e-mail to the members inviting you to attend either of the presentations. Carla’s presentations are free of charge to AAPS members.

     PD Committee Planning for Next Year – Your Suggestions Welcomed

Your PD Committee is planning events for the 2007-08 academic year and we welcome your input. The Committee is looking for ways to provide PD events to our nearly 500 members who work in hospitals or at UBC-O. If you have ideas about topics that you think would be useful where you work, please send them to the committee via e-mail to the AAPS Office at:aaps@interchange.ubc.ca.

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New Collective Agreement Printed and Circulated

The new AAPS collective agreement has finally been printed and circulated to all members. If you have not yet received your copy please contact HR who will provide you with one. Here is the electronic version.

The agreement was printed as signed by the negotiating committee but of course the salaries matrix has now been updated through the salaries arbitration. In the next week or two AAPS will be sending you (via e-mail) an updated version of “Document A – Classification Matrix” that you can print, cut and paste into your newly printed booklet.

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Performance Feedback

It is critical that members obtain regular feedback on their performance from their department head. Feedback should include regular conversations with your boss on how things are going and those conversations should ultimately be formally recorded in a performance evaluation. The University committed to provide such evaluations “once per year” for post-probationary employees and agreed to “ensure that at least two performance evaluations are conducted during the staff member’s probationary period, prior to the final month of probation” (Article 6.1).

Feedback and evaluations are critical to avoiding later disputes about work performance. Written evaluations are a bulwark against the allegation by a new leader that an employee is not productive. They are the evidence we rely on to demonstrate that employees clearly understand what is expected of them and how well they are performing.

The absence of regular feedback and formal written performance evaluations regularly results in the Advocacy Representatives dealing with situations where the department is making allegations about poor performance. It is very difficult for us to counter the employer’s allegations about individual members without any evidence to support the member’s assertion that they are doing exactly what they were told to do.

If you are a member with staff reporting to you, please ensure that you have regular feedback sessions with your direct reports and that formal written performance evaluations are conducted at least annually for all staff and at least twice during probation as required in our collective agreement.

If you are a member who has no direct reports and especially if you are on probation, please arrange to discuss your performance with the person you report to on a regular basis and request that your supervisor complete the formal performance evaluations as outlined above. For further assistance please contact the AAPS office at 822-9025.

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Anne-Marie Fenger – New AAPS Executive Board Member & Advocacy Chair

Pursuant to the AAPS Constitution, the Executive Board has named Anne-Marie Fenger to fill the vacant Member-at-Large position on the Executive Board. This is also in conjunction with her being the newly elected Chair of the Advocacy Committee (succeeding Bernice Urbaniak who has taken on the role of 1st Vice-President of the Executive Board. The 1st VP role became vacant upon the retirement of Susanne Schmiesing from the Executive Board). Anne-Marie will ensure that the Advocacy issues continue to be kept in sharp focus.

Anne-Marie is Assistant Dean of Administration in the Faculty of Arts and she has served as a member of the Advocacy Committee for a number of years. She has considerable expertise in conflict resolution. Please join us in welcoming Anne-Marie to these new roles.

Click here for a picture and more detailed bio.

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Advocacy Update

The Advocacy Committee has a new Chairperson in Anne Marie Fenger and a new Vice-Chair in Moya Waters. Both individuals bring extensive expertise to the Advocacy Committee in their new leadership roles. The Advocacy Chair is a vital role in this core part of the AAPS services. The Chair with the assistance of the Committee members and staff David Harvey and Sharon Cory ensures that members concerns are promptly addressed. The role of Vice-Chair was created to support the Chair because of extensive time demands placed on the Chair. Anne-Marie and Moya together have 35 years of support and service to the UBC community and will provide great depth of experience with member issues.

Huge thanks to Bernice Urbaniak for all her time and effort in the past few years as outgoing Chair of the Advocacy Committee and congratulations on her new role as 1st Vice President of AAPS.

     Issues

Staff and Advocacy Representatives continue to handle a large volume of employee issues. A recent spate of terminations is occupying considerable time and resources. Our concerns are based in Collective Agreement Articles 6, 8 and 9. In a number of cases we are disputing UBC’s use of the layoff provisions under Article 9 to avoid their obligations to provide feedback or progressive discipline under Articles 6 and 8. This matter will hopefully be finally resolved at arbitration this fall.

Currently we have four issues waiting in the arbitration queue. Three of these relate to terminations and one is a policy matter concerning the rights of laid-off members who are re-employed at UBC during the period of “salary continuance”. UBC seeks to have its obligations to such members reduced in any future layoff by the amount of salary continuance the member collected in the first layoff. AAPS contends that there is no basis in the collective agreement for such a reduction.

We are seeing an increasing use of terminations where UBC opts for “working notice” under Article 9.1.9. While it may be to the advantage of some members to look for a job while they still have a job, others find it very difficult to come into work day after day to a job that no longer exists. The collective agreement gives UBC the option to determine in a layoff whether to provide working notice, pay in lieu of notice or a combination of the two. If you are an AAPS member who has received a termination letter, please contact the office so we may assist you.

Many members have sought clarification of their pay structure as noted in the Letter of Agreement - Re: Salary Administration Plan and Pay Structure following the implementation of the Salary Arbitration implementation. This is a very complicated process involving a number of retroactive adjustments while at the same time general wage increases and individual career progress or merit increments have to be factored in. We have discovered a few members who have not been compensated properly for increments. If you have any concerns in this area, please contact the office at 822-9025 and we will be glad to assist you.

    Joint Training With HR

In cooperation with Linda McKnight, Director of HR Advisory Services we have arranged for the second year in a row to engage in some joint training of AAPS Advocacy Reps & Staff together with HR Managers and Advisors. This year the group will participate in a series of four half-day sessions each aimed at improving our investigation techniques. Lawyers John and Rickey McConchie will be presenting the seminars.

     Members Attend HRMA Conference

In cooperation with several of the HR representatives in departments around campus AAPS participated in a “special UBC group discount” which enabled us to send five representatives to the BC Human Resources Management Conference in Vancouver in May. The three-day event presented a full agenda of employee relations, employment law, labour relations and human resources management topics enabling learning in six different topic “tracks”. Many thanks to AAPS member Sonia Lall, HR Manager in Information Technology Services who worked with Executive Director David Harvey to obtain the discounted rate from BCHRMA.

     Training New Reps at UBC-O

With four recent terminations amongst our 135 members at UBC-O it has become apparent that we need to have trained Advocacy Representatives on site in Kelowna. We have three volunteers who have agreed to serve as Advocacy Reps at UBC-O. Executive Director David Harvey is working with Member Services Office Sharon Cory to develop a day and a half workshop for presentation at UBC-O in early July.

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AAPS Executive Board Spring Retreat

On May 31st the members of the AAPS Executive Board held a ½ day spring retreat on campus. At the retreat the Executive Board took the opportunity to carefully consider some matters requiring more time than is normally available in the monthly Executive Board meetings. Included in these issues were:

  • AAPS investment strategy (caution and principal conservation is our first principle);

  • How to balance individual versus collective rights in handling advocacy issues (fair and firm representation of individuals but with a constant “weather eye” on the policy issues that affect all members); and

  • Constitutional issues including which Executive Board organizational format could best represent the interests of our very diverse membership (examine a designated role on the Executive Board for the Advocacy Chair).

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UBC Found Money

By now most members will have seen President Toope’s announcement that UBC has found several million dollars in GPOF funds from the fiscal year just ended. The President’s note is reproduced below:

To: All UBC Faculty and Staff

Year end

The University has received some unexpected, but very welcome, positive financial news. Through a combination of additional one-time government funding for salary settlements and indirect costs of research, increased investment income, and lower energy and building maintenance costs, UBC has identified some undesignated GPO funds from the 2006-07 year end.

This one-time money does not solve our recurring financial problems. However, it will allow us to eliminate the $10.9m carry-forward shortfall from 2006-07. I have recommended to the Board of Governors that $12m be placed into a fund to be called the University Investment Fund. This fund will be mandated to help implement the decisions that will evolve from the work of the Steering Committee on the Academic Planning Process (SCAPP). I am asking SCAPP to consult with the community, and then recommend a process for the allocation of the fund that will include principles, guidelines and timeframes. This University Investment fund will allow us greater flexibility during the transition to a new budget model for UBC.

I want to thank you for your hard work in addressing the ongoing financial challenges in the university. I will continue to report back to the university community on budget progress.

Stephen J. Toope

President and Vice-Chancellor

We don’t know from Stephen Toope’s note the precise amount of extra money UBC has found but it appears to be at least $22 million.

We have been asked what impact this announcement might have on the settlement of the salaries arbitration. The backbone of UBC’s case was that it could not afford to fully remedy the issue. Much of the evidence of Acting Provost George Mackie and of AVP Finance Dana Merritt went directly to the University being broke and there being no funds available beyond what UBC had already proposed as a settlement. AAPS legal counsel is reviewing the situation and will advise us shortly as to how we might respond to this announcement. We will keep the members apprised as the situation develops.

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AAPS Office Lease Extension

The AAPS office is in the Gerald McGavin building at the corner of East Mall and Agronomy Road. This is not a UBC building but rather a Discovery Parks Foundation facility in which we lease space. Our original lease was for three years to end in September of 2007. The lease contains an option to extend the lease for a further two years. We requested a longer extension from Discovery Parks but have been advised that they will only agree to the existing two-year extension. We will be exercising that option and will continue to press the University to honour the commitment made to us under the Framework agreement that UBC would provide AAPS with rent-free office space on campus.

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Obituary - Grace Wolkosky, Academic Advisor and AAPS Volunteer

We are deeply saddened to announce the death of AAPS member Grace Wolkosky on May 31, 2007. Grace was an Academic Advisor and had been an AAPS volunteer for many years both as an orientation presenter and at one time as our representative on the UBC EFAP Committee. Her family posted this notice on Grace’s blog: “Grace passed away peacefully on Thursday May 31, 2007 in the mid-afternoon. She was with her Mother, her Daughter, two Brothers, her Sister, and her Husband.” Wendy Trigg, Director, Academic Advising Services, Faculty of Arts said in an e-mail: “Students were Grace's heart and soul but she also supported and assisted many staff and faculty members throughout her years as an Academic Advisor.” Members who knew Grace may be interested in reviewing the blog she kept and which her family has added to since her death. You will find it at: http://gracew.wordpress.com open link in new window (or tab)

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Community Announcements

These announcements are provided to UBC-related organizations where the content may be of interest to AAPS members or their departments.

Equity Enhancement Fund

Equity Enhancement Fund (EEF) Guidelines

The Equity Enhancement Fund is a University resource designed to assist academic and administrative units in creating new initiatives which will enhance equity within the University. The new initiative may benefit students, faculty and/or staff. Examples of appropriate use of the Equity Enhancement Fund (EEF) include, but are not limited to,

  • hiring a consultant to design and offer diversity workshops for a unit’s specific needs

  • purchasing resource material or funding invited speakers on diversity issues

  • seed money for developing a program to enhance designated-group member's employment opportunities

  1. A request for funds must be endorsed by a head of unit and submitted to the Associate Vice-President, Equity, by March 15 or October 15. Funds will be allocated by the Associate Vice-President, Equity, who will seek advice from the President's Advisory Committee on Equity, Discrimination & Harassment (PACEDH).

  2. A request for funds must be accompanied by a clear statement of project objectives, rationale, and methods, a detailed outline of costs, and by a means to evaluate project outcomes. Preference will be given to projects accompanied by a long-term plan to maintain the initiative on a continuing basis through unit operating funds.

  3. Where possible, funds should be used to match unit funds.

  4. In most circumstances, requests for funds should not exceed $5,000. In exceptional circumstances, funding may be provided yearly for up to three years in order to develop and to initiate long-term projects.

  5. In most circumstances, funds should be allocated to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of faculty, staff, and students.

  6. Innovative projects are encouraged. Funds will not be used to fund a project that is a normal part of the unit’s responsibilities and operating expenses, or, except in exceptional circumstances, to reinstitute a previously funded project in a unit.

  7. Priority will be given to projects that will make observable and/or measurable differences in the representation of students, staff, and faculty who are members of designated groups. In addition, priority will be given to projects that will have a continuing effect on enhancing employment or educational equity in a unit.

  8. The amount of funds and guidelines for their disbursement will be reviewed annually by the Associate Vice-President, Equity, and the PACEDH.

EEF\EEF2007

Revised February 2007

If you have any questions about this fund or would like to submit a proposal, please email tom.patch@ubc.ca.

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Employee Discounts at UBC Fitness Centre

Laura Jeary at the “Birdcoop” fitness centre on campus wants AAPS members to know that you all have access to the centre and to employee discounts.

BirdCoop flyer

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