Follow-up # 5 | Transitioning to distance learning – Coronavirus

image of the corona virus


As we are entering the fourth week to transition successfully amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, we have now successfully completed the teaching component of the semester. You should take some time to congratulate yourself. It has been an incredible challenge but you have done it amidst all of the disruptions with which you had to deal.

Other challenges still lie ahead. While different faculties have adopted varied approaches, students will have the option of writing a final exam or not. The University will also accommodate students with the option of pass or fail grade to mitigate negative consequences on their academic record. All of this will leave you with additional work and we recommend strongly that you do not overburden yourself as you take on this work.

We have negotiated several Letters of Understanding with the University in an attempt to mitigate or compensate for the impact of these extraordinary circumstances. We want to ensure that no member is penalized because of low evaluation scores this semester. We also want to ensure that the University provided some compensation for the extraordinary work and dedication you have shown to transition your courses rapidly to a new learning format. Finally, we insist that you are compensated for training (Brightspace, Adobe Connect) completed. You’ll find details below.

Our work is evidently not done and the COVID-19 crisis is very much ongoing. The Spring-Summer session will be distance learning only. Do take advantage of everything that TLSS has to offer and do not hesitate to contact us with your grievances, your stories, your challenges, and your successes. We are all in this together and together we will overcome.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

The APTPUO Board of Directors


Every member who teaches a 3-credit course or the equivalent this semester will receive $250 for additional work, as a result of the exceptional circumstances that the COVID-19 crisis has caused. This excludes practical courses (e.g. clinical) or those that have a person-to-person component. A separate Letter of Understanding will be negotiated for these courses.

Payment should be made within 90 days.

Hyperlink to the Letters of Understanding  (en français:***LOU are presented in the language they were negotiated)

We know that many of you have completed the online training to transition your courses to distance learning. For each TLSS webinars for Brightspace offered and completed, you will receive a remuneration of $71.94 per hour. You will also receive $71.94 if you used Adobe connect for your course.

Payment should be made within 90 days.

Hyperlink to the Letters of Understanding  (en français: ***LOU are presented in the language they were negotiated)

We can now confirm that the student evaluations for the Winter term will not have a prejudicial impact on members. The Association has signed a letter of understanding with the employer for all bargaining units detailing that low evaluation scores will not be used negatively against members (removal of seniority points, for example) as these evaluations may have been influenced by recent exceptional circumstances.

Hyperlink to the Letters of Understanding  (en français: ***LOU are presented in the language they were negotiated)

Employee and Family Assistance Program
Considering the exceptional circumstances, the Employee and Family Assistance Program (PAEF) is open to all part-time professors until April 30.
The program is in place for you and your eligible spouse and any dependent children at no cost to you. Services are offered in the following areas:

  • Short-term professional counselling
  • Family support services
  • Legal support services
  • Financial support services
  • Naturopathic services
  • Nutritional services
  • Health coaching

For more information, please consult the University of Ottawa Website.

The majority of courses have been reposted with a comment that the course delivery may have to be done online.
Rest assured that the faculties cannot modify the requirements for qualifications and/or experience with online teaching or distance learning. This would be contrary to the collective agreement.

However, there is training available online at the Teaching and Learning Support Service. We strongly recommend that you follow the training sessions (webinars for Brightspace and/or Adobe Connect) after you receive your contract so that you will be able to obtain compensation.

Do ask your department for prior approval, though we are working on a Letter of Understanding for everyone in the meantime. The Employer also has to make sure that you have access to the required technology teach the course online or through distance learning. Here is the language in the collective agreement.

5.1.1 Information Technology5.1.3.2 Where a Member is assigned an online course, the Employer shall ensure that the Member has access to the technology capable of  handling the required mode of delivery. To assist Members and to facilitate technological innovation within the University community, the Employer shall inform Members of technology training programs at the University, and shall make these programs available to Members free of charge. With the prior approval of the appropriate authority, Members who participate in such program shall be paid for their time according to the applicable rate.
Should all courses in the Spring-Summer session have to be taught via distance learning, the Association will seek to negotiate another Letter of Understanding.Special COVID-19 Income

Support Measures
As you know, the federal government has put in place financial benefit programs to help workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis and you may be eligible.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has published useful information that can help you navigate through the details.Read the article here.

Petition to waive tuition fees
With courses moved online, with facilities such as the fitness centre and libraries closed, and with limited access to professors and other resources, a petition was presented by the Graduate Student Association (GSAED ) and by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 2626 (CUPE 2626) to request exemption from the tuition fees for the spring / summer session. In this context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this would considerably reduce the financial burden of students.
The APTPUO also acknowledges that it has an increasing number of members who are doctoral students. These student/workers must pay tuition fees every semester in order to remain in good standing.The APTPUO supports the petition and we encourage you to sign this petition and circulate it in your networks.