December 1, 2020
As 2020 draws to a close, I want to take a moment to acknowledge all your hard work this past year. This time last year we were entering a season of end of year gatherings. We enjoyed lifting a glass with co-workers and friends. We looked forward to time over the holidays with our families. We could not have foreseen what the following months would bring. Since our rapid pivot (aren’t you tired of that word?) to mostly remote delivery, you have not stopped working. I know of the challenges of not only adapting a course to the online setting, but then delivering it in such a way that keeps one connected with students and keeps students engaged and succeeding. I know that many of you and your students have faced challenges with technology and equipment. I know that often you were sharing resources and space with family members, and that none of it – none of it has been ideal. I know that for those of you who returned to campus in the spring and summer, there was additional stress of ensuring the safety of your students and yourself while together on campus. I know that many programs have seen a decline in enrolment, and that this is a stressor. I know that there are term faculty who have lost work. I know that many of you are out of pocket for necessary expenses incurred in the transition to remote learning. I know that you are exhausted and frustrated. And I know that to top off the work stress, there is the generalized stress of living through a pandemic; going to the grocery store or walking on a busy sidewalk can cause anxiety. I don’t think there is any doubt that this has been an unforgettably trying year.
Frank, John and I are doing all we can to ensure that all faculty who are out of pocket for reasonable expenses related to remote working will be reimbursed. Please hold onto your receipts as we anticipate this could take quite some time to resolve. We learned today that the Canadian government is offering a tax grant to anyone working from home in light of the pandemic. “To simplify the process for both taxpayers and businesses, the CRA will allow employees working from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 with modest expenses to claim up to $400, based on the amount of time working from home, without the need to track detailed expenses, and will generally not request that people provide a signed form from their employers” (National Post, December 1, 2020). We will keep you informed about this as things unfold.
Thanks to those of you who have volunteered your time on VCCFA committees, on governance, or on FPSE standing committees. Thanks to our Executive, Stewards and Bargainers. We value your contributions greatly.
We encourage you to rest as much as you can over the holiday break and to find ways over the next few months to take holidays or PD. If you have questions about any of those things, please get in touch.
In the words of Robert Frost, we have “miles to go before [we] sleep.”
Rest, recuperate, find fun and joy wherever you can. Happy holidays in whatever way you celebrate.