Questions & Answers

TA/RA

Am I eligible to be a TA?

Appointments are offered as an incentive to enrollment or awarded by the Department Chair among qualified students that have applied. Qualified candidates must be in good academic standing and not guilty of academic misconduct.

Independent undergraduate students may be ineligible as they do not have any departmental affiliation and most Teaching Assistantships are administered through the departments.

How do I apply for a Teaching Assistantship or Marker contract?

To apply, a student must submit a written request, in the manner required by their department, along with a current curriculum vitae, at least one (1) month prior to the beginning of an academic term. When a student does not apply within this deadline, late applications may be considered.

Each department is required to post electronically, and if possible before the beginning of the academic term, appointments that are expected to remain available during the upcoming academic term, after those awarded to students as an incentive for enrollment. The posting will state the course for which the appointment is available and the requirements for the appointment. The posting period shall be 10 days. Should an appointment become available after the beginning of the academic term, the department may decide to post or may select a candidate amongst the students meeting the requirements who have submitted their application, as mentioned above.

The manner in which appointments are posted electronically may vary with each department. Thus, while the Faculty of Fine Arts submits job postings to an online forum, the Faculty of Arts and Science may contact eligible candidates via email. TRAC recommends that candidates communicate with their respective department to inquire about the availability of appointments.

I have been offered a contract. What are the steps to follow?

Before signing a contract

When a student is assigned a contract, they must meet with the course instructor and fill out a workload form. The workload form is a document that details the tasks to be completed and the amount of hours assigned to each task. Upon agreement of the workload between student and course instructor, the document is to be signed by both parties. Any subsequent modification to the workload document requires the consent of both parties. You can find the workload form template here. Once this document is signed, both parties shall proceed to the signing of an employment contract. According to Article 15.06 of the Collective Agreement “The Employer shall determine the hours of work allocated to a contract taking into account preparation time, contact hours in the lab, classroom or office, and marking time.

Signing an employment contract

A employment contract is legally binding. The Employee is required to complete the work agreed upon in the workload form for the duration of the contract.  Work shall not be assigned before an employment contract is signed by the student, course instructor and department chair. As per Article 15.07, “The University shall inform a Member of the duties to be performed and the hours of work prior to signing a contract. All contracts shall be signed before the work begins.” Be sure to check the start and end dates of the contract. It is the charge of the course instructor to assign work within the contract dates. Employees are not required to work outside of the contract dates. Any hours that remain after the end of a contract shall be considered completed. Course instructors shall not ask that remaining work hours be completed after a contract expires. Immediately after a contract is signed, the Employee shall be presented with a union membership form.

I am being asked to work overtime. What do I do?

All work must be done under contract. You can refuse additional work. It may happen that you use all the hours of the contract before the workload in complete. If you wish to continue doing the work, you should notify the Employer immediately and ask that a new contract be signed to compensate for the extra hours. TRAC strongly encourages our members to track their hours with work log forms found here, to document the work and to communicate with the Employer via email throughout the contract period, which helps justify the need for a new contract. You are not required to continue working if you do not receive a new contract. If you are being pressured into working without a contract, contact TRAC’s Grievance Officer ([email protected]).

What is the difference between Teaching Assistants and Markers?

Teaching Assistants (TA) tasks may include in-class presentations and laboratory demonstrations, leading discussions, assigning and grading work, holding office hours, and communicating with students via email. Markers are expected to grade assignments under the direction of the professor. Email and office hours are sometimes expected but contact with students is minimal.

Currently, the Employer (Concordia University) has instituted a policy whereby if more than 10% of a TA’s tasks are allocated to marking, a separate contract may be issued for the marking portion. Thus, Teaching Assistants may be asked to sign a supplemental Marker contract and paid the Marker rate as per Article 15.05 “Marking duties may be the object of separate marker contracts.”

How do I become a Union Member?

After signing a contract, any TA, RA or Marker shall be presented a Union Membership Form. The form will be sent to the TRAC office and the Employee shall henceforth be considered an active member for 365 days. Please note, If the Employee refuses to complete the union membership form, they are still a union member, entitled to use TRAC services. However, they will not be considered “active” and shall not be allowed to vote in general assemblies or elections. All union members are obligated to pay union dues of 1.7% of wages earned. Failure  to sign the union membership form does not release the Employee from this obligation, according to the Rand Formulain Canadian Labour Law. TRAC encourages all members to sign Union Membership Forms and actively participate in union activities. Above all, democratic participation, transparency and accountability are the foundation of a healthy union.

During the contract period

TRAC strongly recommends that all work hours be recorded and communicated to the Employer. A work log form can be found here. Tracking work hours ensures that work is proceeding according to the workload form. Should the hours worked not correspond with those assigned in the workload form, Employees should communicate with the course instructor to revise the workload form. If extra hours are allocated as a result of revisions, a supplemental employment contract shall be signed. TRAC members are not to be issued payment via timesheets.

Can I take a leave of absence?

Yes, you can request a leave of absence. There are several types of leaves of absence covered under the Collective Agreement, including traveling to academic conferences and preparation for comprehensive exams, for example.

Leave of absence

TRAC members are eligible for leaves of absence, as outlined in Article 18 of the Collective Agreement.

Academic Leave
  1. A Member who is requested to attend an academic conference by her/his academic supervisor shall be granted a leave of absence without pay to participate. If alternative work arrangements can be made with the course supervisor such leave shall be paid leave.
  1. A Member may, at least two weeks ahead of time, request leave to prepare for a comprehensive examination, or the defence of a proposal, thesis or a research report as part of her/his academic training. Subject to agreement with his course supervisor, such leave may be granted without pay for up to one (1) week. If alternative work arrangements can be made with the course supervisor such leave shall be paid leave.
Leave to attend the birth or adoption of a child
  1. A Member may be absent from work for five (5) days at the birth of their child, the adoption of a child or where there is a termination of pregnancy in or after the twentieth (20th) week of pregnancy. The first two (2) days of absence are without loss of pay, if the Member is credited with sixty (60) days of uninterrupted service.
  1. A Member must advise their course supervisor of their absence as soon as possible.
Adoption, Maternity, Parental and Paternity Leave
  1. The Employer shall conform with the Quebec Act respecting Labour standards in all matters related to Adoption, Maternity, Parental and Paternity Leave. See: http://www.cnt.gouv.qc.ca/en/all-standards/index.html.
Bereavement Leave
  1. In the event of the death of a Member’s spouse, child, their spouse’s child, or their father, mother, brother or sister the member may be absent from work for up to five (5) consecutive days, one of which will be without loss of pay.
  2. If a Member must travel outside Quebec, they can be away for a longer period after reaching agreement with their course supervisor.
  3. A Member can be away from work for one (1) day without pay for the death or funeral of a son-in-law, daughter-in-law, one of their grandparents or one of their grandchildren, and the father, mother, brother or sister of their spouse.
Jury Duty
  1. A Member shall be granted leave of absence without pay for the periods where they are required to serve as a juror.

I have had my contract cancelled, been fired or dismissed. What are my rights?

Cancellation of a contract

Article 15.08 of the current Collective Agreement stipulates that “[w]hen the Employer cancels a contract for an administrative reason, the Employer shall, at its discretion, either offer the Member an equivalent appointment or pay the Member one week’s wages in lieu of notice. The Member cannot refuse such appointment.” If you have had a contract terminated, be sure to reach out to TRAC’s Grievance Officer ([email protected]), as what constitutes an “administrative reason” may require clarification.

Dismissal and Discipline

You cannot be fired or dismissed without first being issued verbal and written warnings. You are allowed to have a TRAC  representative present at any disciplinary hearing. – Article 14.01.

No disciplinary measures shall be imposed without just and sufficient cause, of which the burden of proof rests with the Employer – Article 14.03

When can I expect payment for a contract?

You are to be paid no later than 1 month after signing a contract. If you are experiencing delays in payment, please contact TRAC’s Grievance Officer ([email protected]).

Am I eligible for an insurance plan through TRAC?

Our members do not have coverage through their workplace. Students can access insurance plans through the the CSUGSA and Blue Cross (for international students).

I have a workplace issue. What can I do?

The first step is to contact TRAC ([email protected] OR [email protected]). They will take the time to listen and explain what options are available to you. Together, you would decide how to move forward with your case. This process is always free and confidential. Keeping us informed also helps us understand what is happening in the different workplaces at the University.

What is a grievance? 

A grievance is a formal complaint lodged by your Union against the University. The grievance may be generalized, referring to all workers rights (no payments are being issued, for example).They can also be individual grievances that affect only yourself. A grievance is carefully prepared to explain the current situation as well as what solutions the griever is seeking to settle the case. In the case of an individual grievance, the Grievance Officer and Union Representative will take the time to identify the damages and reparations requested. This process is always free and confidential.

When should I file a grievance?

A grievance must be filed no later than 20 business days after becoming aware of the problem or no later than 40 days after the incident has occured. You should file a grievance if you are not able to resolve an issue and wish to have the union intervene. It is always best to notify your Union of any workplace conflict, so that we can assess and assist if necessary. Keeping us informed also helps us understand what is happening in the different workplaces at the University, even if you do not wish to file a grievance.

Invigilators

What if I require further detailed assistance to my invigilation related question or it is not included in the ones contained below?

The TRAC union encourages you to contact directly the Invigilators’ Representation & Grievance Officer by email at:  [email protected]

Additionally, for more general inquires please email: [email protected]

It is important to note that all emails are treated in a confidential manner.

What is the definition of the word invigilator?

It is someone who watches the examination candidates in order to prevent cheating.

In Ontario an invigilator is referred to as a:  monitor, proctor – someone who supervises an examination.     https://www.thefreedictionary.com/invigilator

How do I become an invigilator at Concordia for the final exams, with the Examinations Office?

Invigilation positions are offered to Concordia graduate students, and other interested parties who are not current undergraduate students. At the following link, please see #7:

https://www.concordia.ca/students/financial-support/jobs-on-campus.html

  1. Invigilate an exam

Applications are accepted during the months of September and January only. Bring your CV to the Examinations Office, 1550 De Maisonneuve West, 2nd floor, room GM 210 or e-mail it to [email protected]

What is the rate of pay for an invigilator at Concordia for the Examinations Office?

Unfortunately it is below a living wage; the rate of pay for an invigilator at Concordia for the Examinations Office is the QC minimum wage, which is currently $12 an hour (as of May 1st, 2018).

What is the total payment on a 3 hour final exam, for an invigilator at Concordia for the Examinations Office?

It is $12 an hour. So for example on a 3 hour final exam, you will be paid for the half hour prior to the start of the final exam because you need to retrieve the exam material and travel to your examination room. Also, you will be paid for the 30 minutes following the scheduled end time of the exam. So as to collect the completed exams, complete the official paperwork, and return to the temporary examination office.

How do I become a lead invigilator at Concordia for the Examinations Office?

Invigilation positions are offered to graduate students, and other interested parties who are not current undergraduate students.

What is the rate of pay for a lead invigilator (floor supervisor) at Concordia for the Examinations Office?

It is $13 an hour. So for example on a 3 hour final exam, you will be paid for 4 hours, plus your 4% vacation pay. Finally, if you are still waiting to retrieve exam materials after the 30 minutes that the final exam was scheduled to be ended, then by QC labour law, each minute extra should be remunerated.

What is a standard length of time for a Final Exam?

Exam shifts are usually in 4 hour blocks, for the standard 3 hour final exam.

Is there any Paid Training?

Candidates selected to work as invigilators are required to attend a mandatory (paid) orientation/training session that will take place on a Sunday or Monday evening before the start of the examination period.

How is the examination room break-time conditions setup?

Exam invigilators normally work in teams and at times on their own or with a professor. Invigilators are expected to remain in the classroom for the duration of the examination. Invigilators may not take restroom breaks during the first hour of the exam. After the first hour has lapsed, floor supervisors circulate from room to room to see if invigilators require a quick restroom break.

What can we not bring to an examination room?

The invigilation personnel is asked not to bring any electronic devices (such as cell phones, laptops, iPods/iPads, notepads, e-readers, etc.) into the exam rooms and all personal belongings (such as coats, backpacks, briefcases, magazines, newspapers, etc.) must be left in the staff room. This room is locked during exams. There is a one hour un-paid break for invigilation staff between each 4 hour exam block.

Describe the Judgment and Autonomy allowed?

The exam invigilator will have limited autonomy and exercise judgment within a restricted scope of activity. Any aspect of the exam invigilation process that falls outside the limited scope must be brought to the supervisor, the supervisor will inform the examination coordinator on duty.

What is the Reporting Structure?

The Exam Invigilator reports directly to the Floor Supervisor; who in turn reports to the Examination Coordinator in the temporary Exams Office H-439 or MB-S2.445.

Is there the occasional heavy lifting of paper materials?

Yes, for example rooms H937, MB2.210, and MB2.270 require the carrying of a large amount of examination papers, stationery and equipment prior to the examination and the delivery back to the temporary exams offices as appropriate.

When do the majority of Final Examination Offices’ exams take place?

Final exams are normally held on weekdays and Saturday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm (no evening exams on Saturdays).

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How do I become an invigilator at Concordia for the ACSD Office?

The Access Centre for Students with Disabilities (ACSD) is accepting CVs in person or by email from mid-August to the first weeks of September. Other positions, including tutors and transcribers, are also available on their website. Only Concordia graduate students in good academic standing are eligible. Employment emails should be directed to:   [email protected].

ACSD job postings are also visible on the Career and Planning Services (CAPS) at Concordia University, in the MyConcordia Portal.

*Please note that TRAC does not manage the hiring or job postings at the ACSD. Please contact the ACSD for more info*

What is the web link for other student jobs with the ACSD?

INVIGILATION AND OTHER JOB POSTINGS AT THE ACCESS CENTRE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (ACSD):        http://www.concordia.ca/students/accessibility/jobs-volunteering.html#work

Where is the downtown location of the Concordia ACSD Office?

Sir George Williams Campus; GM 300.00

1550 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.

Monday – Friday:  9 am – 5 pm

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How do I become an invigilator at Concordia for the departmental quizzes, mid-term, or final exams?

The most common method is to contact the department assistants one by one, and express your willingness to offer your services for their departmental invigilation exams.

Generally, who does an invigilator at Concordia of the departmental exams report to?

Invigilators supervise exams according to the instructions set out by the instructor, make announcements, and deal with any queries or problems raised by students. Therefore, they must have very good language skills

What is the rate of pay for an invigilator at Concordia for the departmental exams?

It varies greatly; here are a few examples: the Faculty of Engineering pays $15 an hour,

the JMSB exams gets you a wage of $12.50 an hour,

and the Math Dept. has their traditional Sunday mid-term exams which pay $12 an hour.

What are the Working Conditions?

The incumbent works in a classroom setting. They must be able to circulate quietly and comfortably around the room during the examination period. In addition, invigilators must be able to remain alert and monitor the class throughout the duration of the exam process. They will be required to deal with students under stress.

What are some of the personal traits required of invigilators or supervisors?

The general requirements are:

They are looking for mature, professional, ethical, responsible, reliable, committed, and punctual people who are fluent in English (spoken and written); who can communicate effectively (read aloud correctly and understandably); who are able to work in a stressful environment, handle difficult situations and resolve problems. They must be able to work as part of a team or individually. Basic to moderate French (spoken) is an asset. Remember that: current Concordia undergraduate students are not eligible for this position.

What is the Role of the exam invigilator?

The primary purpose of the exam invigilator is to ensure the integrity of the examination exercise as specified in Concordia University’s Academic Code of Conduct

https://www.concordia.ca/students/academic-integrity/offences.html

What is the Scope of the exam invigilator?

The exam invigilator is the primary contact for students in the exam room and is responsible for administering all aspects of the examination. They are required to adhere to the instructions for each individual exam as presented by the professor and ensure that students understand and comply with those instructions.

Invigilators report instances of offences committed by students under the Academic Code of Conduct during an examination including cheating, falsification of documents or other dishonest behavior; distribute and collect exam documents; monitor the class while the exam is in session; accompany students who need to leave the classroom for any reason once the exam is underway, including accompanying students to the restroom; act as the point of first contact for students and faculty who may have a problem in the exam room and escalate issues as appropriate to the Supervisor. Specific duties are further outlined in the orientation/training session.

What is the accountability factor: obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them?

The invigilator is charged with upholding the university’s academic code of conduct and therefore must formally report all instances of cheating or dishonest behaviour during the final examination period. The invigilator will ensure that all exam-related paperwork and processes (such as incident reports) are completed during and by the end of each shift. They ensure the security of examinations documents.

What is the maximum delay for getting paid after our 1st examination work shift?

By the Quebec Act respecting labour standards for the PAYMENT OF WAGES:

An employer has one month to give an employee their first pay. Thereafter, the pay must be issued at regular intervals that may not exceed 16 days, or one month in the case of senior managerial personnel or contract employees. If pay day falls on a statutory holiday, the employee must be paid on the working day preceding this holiday.

The wages may be paid by: cheque cashable within 2 working days or in cash in a sealed envelope addressed to the employee, or by bank transfer.

What are some of the essential personal attributes required of a Concordia invigilator?

Accuracy and attention to detail;

A flexible approach to work;

The ability to relate to academic staff and students;

And the ability to work under pressure with tight deadlines.

Are there extreme situations that may arise during exams?

Possibly, invigilators may have to act as Emergency Wardens in the event of fire, complete power outage, or any life threatening situation. In the event of an evacuation of the examination room, students are to be directed to the fire exits. Students are responsible for exiting in a safe and orderly manner. Every effort should be made to secure the examination room.

Does the Concordia community at large benefit from proper training of invigilators and lead invigilators?

The importance of well prepared and fully trained invigilators cannot be underestimated. The invigilation team will not only make sure exams run smoothly, they will also help to create the conditions where students can perform to the best of their ability.

Inadequate or sub-standard training could lead to candidate malpractice, complaints from candidates (and parents) and possibly failing.

At the Final Exams what is not permitted in terms of communications devices and other materials?

You may not bring communication devices into the examination. If you are caught with a cell phone or any communication device during an exam you will be charged with an offence under the Academic Code of Conduct. These devices include but are not limited to:

Cell phones and smart phones such as iPhones, Blackberries or Android devices;

Smart watches; Blue tooth-enabled devices (such as earplugs); Spy glasses; Pagers; PDAs;

iPods; and MP3 players.

You should not bring supplemental materials or devices into the exam unless they are expressly authorized in the exam’s instructions. You must leave personal belongings, including materials, devices and backpacks, at the front or rear of the examination room. Prohibited devices and materials include but are not limited to:

Briefcases, Textbooks, Notes and other papers, Reference books of tables, Graphs and so on.

If you do not follow these instructions and regulations, you could possibly forfeit the examination.

What can a student writing a final exam, expect at their exam?

You may not enter an examination room after the first third of the examination has elapsed.

You may not leave before the first third of the examination has elapsed.

You will be randomly assigned a specific desk/seat location.

You must present your student ID card to write your final examination and place it on the top left-hand corner of the desk. Invigilators will collect it when you sign in and return it when you sign-out.

A government-issued, photo and signature-bearing Medicare card or driver’s license is an acceptable form or identification.

Follow the invigilators/supervisors instructions.

Actively listen and read instructions that are written in exam booklets and seat cards.

You must not tear or mutilate the examination booklet in any way and it must remain in the examination room.

Use the blank pages on the left-hand side of the booklet for any rough work you need to complete; you may not bring scrap paper into the exam.

You may not bring food or drinks to your exam (clear plastic water bottles are permitted, but must be kept on the floor).

You may not smoke during examinations.

You may not leave the exam room during the last 15 minutes.

If you do not follow these instructions and regulations, you may forfeit the examination.

What if I or my non-unionized friends have questions about the Quebec Act respecting Labour Standards?

The following useful website is available:

https://www.cnt.gouv.qc.ca/en/wages-pay-and-work/work-schedule/index.html

    The Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) is a labour union local comprising the teaching assistants and research assistants at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebéc.

    ADDRESS

    PR-204 and PR-205
    2100 MacKay, Montreal, QC H3G 2J1

    PHONE

    514 848 2424 extension 2917

    EMAIL

    [email protected]