The Collective Agreement is a document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of graduate assistants and their employers. The GSA negotiates with the University on behalf of UCalgary graduate students to make sure that the agreement is fair.
To learn more about this agreement, please view the documentation at:
About the Labour Relations Committee
The Labour Relations Committee (LRC), chaired by the GSA AVP Labour, exists to represent and support Academically Employed Graduate Students at the University of Calgary through education and advocacy. This includes but is not limited to collective agreement negotiations, the handling of disputes with employers, and advocating for a high standard of graduate student employment. email@example.com
Brit Paris – 2020-2021 AVP Labour
Frequently Asked Questions
The responses to the frequently asked questions below are paraphrased excerpts from the Collective Agreement. Please refer to the Collective Agreement for the specific language. Any questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. What categories of appointments are included in the Collective Agreement?
See Article 5.1
Graduate Assistants (Teaching)
A Graduate Assistant (Teaching) is an appointment to assist with the instructional responsibilities of departments. The duties involved in this appointment may include teaching or instructional service, lecturing assistance, laboratory supervision, being available for office hours, grading assignments, providing tutorial direction, and assisting in the preparation of demonstration and instructional aids.
Graduate Assistants (Non-Teaching)
A Graduate Assistantship (Non-Teaching) is an appointment made out of funds normally held by the Department Head or equivalent to assist departments and/or academic staff with research responsibilities. The duties, distinct from the graduate student’s program of study, may include collecting research data, interviewing research subjects, conducting bibliographic work, performing general research services and carrying out academic projects.
Graduate Assistant (Research)
A Graduate Assistantship (Research) is an appointment made out of funds held by a Researcher to assist with his/her research responsibilities. The duties, distinct from the graduate student’s program of study, may include collecting research data, interviewing research subjects, conducting bibliographic work, performing general research services and carrying out academic projects.
Business and Administrative Units may receive an exception to the funding restrictions noted above – please refer to the Letter of Understanding RE: Graduate Assistant (Research) Appointments in Business and Administrative Units.
2. My appointment requires that I do some admin tasks, is that allowed?
See Article 5.1
Yes, as long as it is directly related to your teaching or research duties. Graduate Assistant duties shall not include routine duties commonly associated with secretarial, clerical, technical or administrative work – unless it is directly related to the Graduate Assistant’s teaching or research duties.
3. How much will I get paid for my Graduate Assistantship position?
See Schedule A
The payment schedule for Graduate Assistants (Teaching) and Graduate Assistants (Non-Teaching) is indicated in Schedule A of the Collective Agreement. The remuneration of a Graduate Assistant (Teaching) and Graduate Assistant (Non-Teaching) consists of two components:
- scholarship (one-half)
- salary (one-half)
From Schedule A: GSA Collective Agreement 2020-2022
|Level of Appointment||scholarship||salary||total|
|May 1, 2020 – December 30, 2022||full-time||4,447.21||4,447.20||8,894.41|
In exceptional cases, Graduate Assistants may receive a one-twelfth appointment.
The period of work refers to the semester.
Graduate Assistants (Research) will be paid hourly. The minimum hourly rate of compensation is $18.03 per hour. Graduate Assistants (Research) may be paid above the minimum hourly rate.
4. How many hours will my appointment involve?
See Article 5.2(a)
The table below describes the number of hours for the total period of work, i.e. the semester.
|Appointment||Normal hours of work/period|
The normal hours of work assigned to Graduate Assistants is 12 hours of work per week during Fall and Winter terms for a full-time appointment, though this may vary from week to week. Hours should not exceed this amount without advance notice and consultation with the Graduate Assistant. Completing the Assignment of Assistantship Duties Form along with the Instructor or Researcher will help you plan for the hours of work each week.
Part-time appointments will have the normal hours of work pro-rated. Spring and summer appointments will require more hours per week because of the shorter period of the appointment.
In exceptional cases, Graduate Assistants may receive a one-twelfth appointment. Please refer to the Letter of Understanding for details.
5. What do I need to do to confirm my appointment?
Graduate Assistants will receive an Offer of Employment and must accept or reject the offer in writing. Prior to the beginning of the appointment, the Department Head/Researcher or Course Instructor will discuss the Employment Contract and complete the Assignment of Duties form, unless otherwise not possible.
The graduate student will receive copies of the employment contract. The contract consists of two components; the Offer of Employment and the Assignment of Duties form.
A copy will be sent via email to Human Resources (email@example.com) and the Graduate Students’ Association (firstname.lastname@example.org).
6. Where can I find a copy of the Collective Agreement and the templates for the new contracts?
The Collective Agreement and templates can be downloaded from the UCalgary’s Human Resources website.
7. How do appointments work for Graduate Assistants (Research)?
See Article 5.2 (b)
Graduate Assistants (Research) may be hired for periods of up to twelve months. Contracts may be extended or renewed, but carry no implication of extension or renewal.
8. How many hours can I work as a Graduate Assistant (Research)?
See Article 5.2(b)
Graduate Assistant (Research) contracts shall not exceed 450 hours. Assistantship contracts may be combined, however, the onus is on the graduate student to verify the terms and conditions of other funding sources to ensure compliance.
9. Why do I pay a 0.5% levy for each Graduate Assistant contract?
See Article 2.3
The amount of 0.5% will be deducted the from the scholarships and salaries payable to all Graduate Assistants covered by the Collective Agreement. The levy is paid to the Graduate Students’ Association for the administration of the Collective Agreement contracts and labour relations initiatives.
10. What if I think there has been a violation or improper application of the terms of the Collective Agreement?
See Article 13
The specific steps to follow are outlined in Article 11: Grievance Procedure.
It is important for Graduate Assistants to follow the procedures outlined for addressing issues related to the violation of the Collective Agreement or grievances, and to act promptly to seek resolution and/or to submit a grievance.
Graduate Assistants can contact the Labour Relations Committee of the GSA (email@example.com) to seek advice or guidance about issues pertaining to the Collective Agreement. All inquiries will be confidential.
11. What if I work more hours than agreed to on my contract?
See Article 13
You should track your hours throughout your contract to ensure that any trends in working higher hours than expected is caught early. As soon as you notice that you are working more hours than included in your contract, you should seek clarification and resolution with the Course Instructor or Researcher.
The GSA may act as an advocate for you in these matters, don’t hesitate to reach out for support!
12. Can I go away for a conference or vacation during the semester?
See Article 6.3
The remuneration for all appointments includes payment in lieu of vacation. Speak with your Course Instructor or Researcher as soon as possible, ideally at the beginning of the contract when completing the Assignment of Assistantship Duties Form, to discuss times you may need to be away and how that may be accommodated. Typical accommodations often include making up the hours or taking work (such as grading) with you, however there is no requirement for the Course Instructor or Research to accommodate your time away.
13. Why doesn’t my pay from the University change when I have a contract in Fall/Winter versus not in Spring/Summer?
Your graduate funding package may be made up of a combination of scholarships and pay from Graduate Assistantships. This means that you may receive a consistent amount of pay each month, but during a term or semester that you have a GA contract, the funds will come from different sources.
If you have questions about your funding package, you should contact your GPD, GPA, and/or supervisor. If you believe your funding package is not being properly applied, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
14. What can I do if I feel I cannot perform the tasks that have been assigned to me?
See Article 5.2. (g)
It is important to discuss the assigned duties at the beginning of your contract when completing the Assignment of Assistantship Duties Form. This is the best time to raise your concerns about the duties assigned to you. Keep in mind, you are entitled to receive any training necessary for you to complete your duties.
If the tasks have changed, or your ability to perform them have changed, you should follow the process outlined in Article 13. In the first instance, seek clarification and resolution in consultation with the course Course Instructor or Researcher. It is important to do this as soon as you become aware of the situation. Keep in mind, you are entitled to receive workplace accommodations if necessary. See https://www.ucalgary.ca/hr/work-compensation/working-ucalgary/workplace-accommodations for further information.