Dec 102018

Faculty are advised to check the upcoming changes effective January 2019 in coverage limits for amounts reimbursed for individual visits to the various paramedical practitioners covered by the Sun Life Extend Health Benefits.

While the overall yearly maximum coverage amount remains in effect at $500 per year, changes are occurring in the maximum per visit R & C (reasonable and customary) amounts reimbursed for paramedical services effective January 2019.

Check the new R & C Paramedical effective January 2019:

For some paramedical claims, there may be an impact on the amount reimbursed per visit if the provider charges more than Sun Life’s standard R & C limit. If these changes affect you, remaining balances may be submitted to your Health Spending Account (HSA). As the deadline of December 31 for allocating amounts in your Flexible Spending Account between the Health Spending Account or Personal Spending Account is fast approaching, now is the time to determine if more should be allocated to your Health Spending Account. Strict CRA rules mean any changes must be made by December 31.

Allocate your funds in PAWS:

  • login to
  • select My Employment
  • select Flexible Spending Program

Important Reminders:

ConnectionPoint is closed December 22 through January 1 – ensure you have access to your allocation screen in PAWS well before this date in case there is trouble with your account.

Last year’s (2017) funds must be used before Dec. 31, 2018 or they expire

  • Expenses incurred in 2018 cannot be reimbursed with 2019 funds
  • Flexible Spending Program FAQs are in Knowledge Base
  • Sun Life will not process claims (FSP, Health and Dental) received after March 31, 2019, for claims incurred in 2018
  • Paramedical reasonable and customary (R&C) limits are changing January 1, 2019. Review limits and allocate funds to your health spending account if needed.

For more information, please contact; 306-966-2000.

Nov 272018

UFCW Local 1400 members have been on strike with the Saskatoon Coop since November 1, 2018.

Saskatoon and District Labour Council will be walking the picket line with UFCW 1400 members at the Saskatoon Coop Attridge Drive location on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 from 5 pm to 7 pm, and invites affiliated unions, their locals, and others to join them.

The USFA is hopeful that the parties will soon reach a settlement. In the meantime, take some time between 5:00 and 7:00 on the 28th to walk with striking UFCW members and other workers from Saskatoon and district. (Dress appropriately.)


Nov 152018

Recently, research employees and out-of-scope employees in the College of Arts and Science received an email regarding contingency planning “in the event of an emergency or if relief work is needed during a CUPE 1975 strike.” The message requested recipients to complete a “confidential” skills inventory form itemizing their credentials or experience in the trades, […]

Nov 132018

Labour relations are in a poor state at Canadian Universities and we are not immune here at the UofS. In July, some 3,000 contract faculty and graduate teaching and research assistants at York University were legislated back to work after 143 days on the picket line (the longest strike in the post-secondary sector in Canadian […]

Oct 022018

During the busy summer season, the USFA published an e-Letter about the Ryerson Arbitration on teaching evaluations, where the arbitrator ordered that student-based evaluations of teaching not be used to measure teaching effectiveness in tenure and promotion cases, effective immediately. The decision stated that the evaluations “are imperfect at best and downright biased and unreliable […]

Sep 212018

Recently, questions have arisen about CV formats for collegial processes. Should the 29 point version (current) or the 24 point version (revised) be used? The website for the Vice-Provost Faculty Relations includes the statement: “The university is transitioning to a new Standardized CV format. It is anticipated that the transition of received CVs to UnivRS […]

Aug 212018

We invite you to a Free Pancake Breakfast: Thursday, September 6 7:30 – 10:00 a.m. (or until food runs out) in The Bowl   Everyone welcome! Gluten free pancakes will be available.   Sponsored by: USFA ASPA CUPE 1975 CUPE 3287 St. Thomas More Faculty Union PSAC Local 40004

Aug 212018

USFA members are invited to submit an application to the Executive Committee for reimbursement of attendance at a conference/workshop/meeting related to the USFA including, but not limited to, labour relations, academic freedom, employment equity, and workplace health and safety. The USFA Conference/Workshop/Meeting Attendance Policy was instituted as a way to ensure that there is an […]

Aug 012018

The recent arbitration award at Ryerson University directed that Faculty Course Survey results are not to be used to “measure teaching effectiveness for promotion or tenure.” After USFA reported on this, members requested further details. The reports of expert witnesses R.L. Freishtat and P.B. Stark have been published by The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty […]

Jul 232018

Following the publication of a recent CBC News article that described the working atmosphere at GIFS (the Global Institute for Food Security) with strong language – “horror story”, “bizarre”, “complete disintegration”, “toxic environment” – several members wrote to USFA relating similar experiences in their own units. USFA cannot comment on the specifics of this or […]

Jul 192018

The following USFA table officers were elected at a meeting held June 22, 2018. Chair: Douglas Chivers, Department of Biology Vice-Chair: Susan Fowler-Kerry, College of Nursing Secretary/Treasurer: Mark Meyers, Department of History Senior Grievance Officer: Patricia Farnese, College of Law The terms of these officers began July 1, 2018, along with those of newly-elected members […]

Jul 112018

There will be a reduction applied to the cost of premiums for Sun Life Optional Life Insurance for the month of July only.  The University is making the adjustment to refund to members the provincial sales tax (PST) paid on the  premiums.  The Saskatchewan Government retroactively abolished the PST on life insurance premiums necessitating the […]

Jul 112018

An arbitrator’s decision at Ryerson University released July 6, 2018 has ordered that student-based evaluations of teaching not  be used in tenure and promotion cases, effective immediately. The decision stated that the evaluations “are imperfect at best and downright biased and unreliable at worst”. With respect to the evidence provided Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) […]

May 282018

It has been a challenging two years for many Canadian faculty at the bargaining table. You may be interested in the following outcomes. Most recently, Carleton faculty have reached an agreement after hundreds of hours and one year of collective bargaining, with the assistance of a mediator. Details will be reported soon. Earlier this month, […]

May 082018

Several faculty members were surprised to receive letters at their homes from Connection Point advising them of benefit packages that will expire as they approach “normal retirement age”. The first round of letters contained references to a normal retirement age of 65; the subsequent letters changed this number to 67. The language of “normal retirement […]

May 042018

Two recent events in Eastern Canada suggest that University Employers are taking a cynical attitude towards collective bargaining. At Carleton University, the faculty association negotiating team found out just a day ahead of their May 3 regular bargaining session that the Employer had unilaterally filed for conciliation, then advised faculty how mutually beneficial this would […]

May 032018

Recently, members of CUPE 1975 set up information tables across campus on the theme “PAWS off our Pensions”. CUPE’s Employer, the University of Saskatchewan, went to arbitration to determine whether it had the power to unilaterally change the terms of the CUPE pension plan. The arbitrator ruled in favour of the Employer. Though it is […]

Apr 232018

The Collective Agreement offers significant protection for collegial governance, and resolutions to recent grievances help to illustrate these various protections. The Collective Agreement is clear that the collegial committees established pursuant to the Collective Agreement (renewal and tenure committees, promotion committees for example) are required to determine their own operating procedures provided they are consistent […]