GSA Blog: Know your Rights and Responsibilities in your Collective Agreement – July 2019

 Are you currently academically employed with the University? Or do you plan to work as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant in the future? If yes, the Collective Agreement (CA) is your go-to source of information about your rights and responsibilities that the GSA negotiates on your behalf.

The GSA Labour Relations Committee (LRC) is a new committee that separates the business of the GSA operations from the business of a student union. The Committee comprises of the Associate VP Labour acting as Chair, representatives from faculty with at least ten Academically Employed Graduate Students (AEGSs) in the last 12 months acting as voting members, and the GSA President as a non-voting member. The Labour Relations Committee advocates on behalf of all AEGSs through CA consultation and negotiation, educates graduate students about the CA, and supports students to understand their options when facing labour dispute with the employment supervisors.

Some activities to look forward to this year from the Committee are CA lunch and learn sessions in partnership with Department Graduate Associations (DGAs), consultation events in preparation for CA negotiation, and an AGM in September 2019.

Brit Paris, past President of the GSA and current AVP Labour and Chair of the LRC, emphasized the importance of graduate students knowing their rights as university employees.

“Graduate students are often a vulnerable group on campus, because of the inherent power imbalances in the work place. If you know your rights and responsibilities, you’re much better protected as a student and as an employee.”

Brit also shared the four most common labour concerns for graduate students. They are: not getting paid in time, required to work more hours than what is agreed in contracts, asked to do tasks outside the scope of contracts, and provided unclear information in regards to maternity leave.

The major goals that LRC has for this year are to:

  1. increase awareness of the LRC so graduate students can take advantage of this service; and
  2. negotiate a strong CA to get the best possible conditions for students and make the administrative process easy for the University and the GSA.

For more information about this Committee, please email the LRC at or visit our CA page: