Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most frequently.

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Rights & Benefits

When do I qualify for Benefit coverage?

For more information about coverage, consult your Collective Agreement. Appendix III-A, page 102, of the Collective Agreement has a Chart that summarizes when instructors are eligible for the various medical and dental benefits.

You will find all current Health and Dental benefits for you and your family:

  • on the Pacific Blue Cross website. You will need to get your ID and group number from the plan admin in HR.
  • in the College’s “Employee Benefits Booklet”, available from the Human Resources department.
When does coverage start?

For all Regular Instructors, coverage is as below, except that qualifying periods are shortened from 10 months to one month.

For Term Instructors at half-time or more, and with appointments of one month or more in length, holidays and vacation are included in one’s pay.

For Auxiliary Instructors (those appointed for on-call work usually a day or two at a time) and for less than half-time Term Instructors (those appointed for a set period), there are no benefits except statutory holidays and vacation time, which is pre-calculated in one’s rate of pay.

After 10 months within 12 consecutive months:

  • Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability coverage starts (STD is Employee-paid and LTD is Employer-paid).
  • Dental Plan coverage starts (Employer-paid).
  • Group Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance starts (Employer-paid). Instructors may elect to purchase further Life Insurance at this point at their own expense.
  • Medical Services Plan and Extended Health Benefits start after the first month (Employer-paid premiums).

Contact a steward if you still have questions.


How do I get in the plan?

Enrolment in the pension plan is mandatory if instructors are initially hired as full-time regulars (rare at VCC) or once their salary reaches one-half of the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE). This is an amount set annually by the federal government.  As of 2020 it's $58,700.

How much do I pay?

The premium is currently 10.24 per cent of your salary.  The employer contributes 10.34 per cent of your salary on your behalf. Much more detailed information about the plan is available here.

How is my pension calculated?

Your pension in retirement will be based on your years of service and the average salary of your best five years of service (these years can be part time - for example someone who worked part time just before retirement might have their pension calculated based on 3 years full time and 4 years at half time).

There is a pension calculator on the College pension website that will give you a personalized estimate.

Who can I call about pensions?

For detailed information about your personal pension, we advise you to first check out the plan’s website and contacts at college.pensionsbc.ca.

We also advise you to contact the College’s Human Resources Department. For questions about union policies regarding Joint Trusteeship, plan administration and future directions, our rep to the FPSE Pension Advisory Committee is Alison Woods 7366.

Can I combine pension service?

Some members may have accumulated pensionable service in other BC public sector pension plans that they want to transfer to the College Pension Plan. There is an agreement regarding such transfers.

Also note that the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) and the ICBC Pension Plan have been added to the list of BC public sector pension plans covered by the transfer agreement. You may also be eligible to transfer service from public sector plans in other provinces; contact the Pension Corporation at www.pensionsbc.ca.

What if I take a leave?

You can purchase pension service for some types of leaves up until 5 years after your return date.  For most leaves you must pay both the employee and employer contributions.  Purchasing pension service can be very expensive.

If the case of maternity, parental and adoption leaves, the college will pay its portion of the leave if you purchase your share. Pension service is an equity issue - your earnings in retirement should be equivalent to someone who didn't take time away from paid work for child rearing - but at present the only way to ensure your own pension equity is to purchase your service upon return from the leave.

Layoffs & Recall

Can members receive a layoff notice while on leave? Sick leave? Maternity leave?

They can receive an advanced notice. It is the union’s position that they cannot receive the actual notice while on leave. This would contravene our Collective Agreement rights and Employment Standards. The person would receive their notice when they return to work from leave.

When does a person on layoff notice take their holidays?

Holidays are paid out at the time the person is laid off. Holidays are not part of the notice period. However, if the member requests to take holidays during the notice period, they may do so. It would be best if the request were in writing and copied to the VCCFA.

Can a member on layoff notice get professional development time?

An instructor must work at least 7 months at 50% in the fiscal year to be entitled to PD. So, yes a member on notice may be eligible for PD. If entitled to PD time, then also entitled to PD funds.

How does a member get on a recall list?

Members are automatically on recall for their own area unless they take severance. If instructors apply to transfer to an area where they meet the hiring criteria, but do not have the necessary seniority to transfer, they can go on the recall list for that area. Members could be on the recall list for as many areas as they are qualified for.

Where can I find the Hiring Criteria?

There is Hiring Criteria for each area in the College (see the list of areas in Appendix II, Pages 88-91 of your Collective Agreement). Binders with the Hiring Criteria are in the Broadway and downtown union offices, in Human Resources and online.

Can a member apply to transfer or go on the recall list for an area later on?

No, the time to apply for transfer and/or recall is within one month after the actual notice is issued. The College will let those on the recall list know when there are new postings.

Once a member has transferred, can they go ‘back home’?

No, the area to which the member transfers becomes the new home area. One can only go back home if there is another layoff in the future from the new home area and one applies for transfer back, etc.

What is temporary recall?

It is recall for less than 4 months or less than the time status one had before layoff. A member can say no to temporary recall without losing recall rights.

Can a member on recall work as a sub? Does it count as recall work?

All members on recall should let the College know if they wish to be considered for sub work. Deans will encourage departments to call those on the recall list first. Any work done while on recall is recall work and treated as such. This means it is paid at the appropriate step placement and extends the recall date.

What happens when a person is recalled and they’re not able to take the work?

They can say no if it is temporary recall. If it is full recall, they will receive a letter and have 15 days to reply. If they do not accept full recall, they will lose their recall rights. Before this happens, they will want to claim their severance if applicable. Anyone in this situation should contact the union.

When can a person take their severance?

Any time within the 24-month recall period. Once the severance is taken, the employment relation is broken and there is no right to recall.

Can instructors on recall take courses sponsored by Human Resources?

Yes. It is on a first come, first serve basis. The information will be available on the VCC website.

Can instructors on recall keep access to their College email? Library card?

Yes, they need to let the College and Library know before they leave.

Can instructors on recall attend Union meetings?

Yes, they remain union members for their recall period. Anyone on recall can attend meetings, vote, and work on committees, or be elected to a union position.

How does severance impact on Employment Insurance?

We advise you to contact the EI office.

Can a person on recall be covered by medical/dental benefits?

Yes, a person on recall can purchase their benefits. If working 50% on recall, for 30 days or more, benefits will be covered. You do not have to purchase all the coverage.

Benefits need to be paid quarterly. There is no option in and out.

Please contact a steward for more detailed information.


What is Regularization?

This is the process by which instructors move from term status to regular status.

Most instructors start under term appointments. If these term appointments continue at half-time or more for about 19 months (380 days) out of any continuous 24 months they automatically become regular instructors on the first of the month following. Not more than 202 days (about 10 months) in a fiscal year can count towards regularization. After 6 months of term appointments, further appointments must be offered by seniority so one can have an expectation of re-appointment. Term instructors are expected to have successful summative evaluations. There can be no more than two in any two-year period.

Notes: It is possible for a person to be hired directly as a regular instructor at VCC; in these cases one’s first year is probationary during which one goes through summative evaluation. We do not have regular status at less than half time.

For more personalized questions and advice for regularization, contact a steward.

Step Placement

How is my salary determined?

Article 5.6, pages 19-21 of the Collective Agreement sets out the parameters for step placement. There is only one eleven step scale in our agreement and one is placed on it according to Article 5.6.

Placement criteria are set out for consideration and the College must provide a written rationale for how they have placed someone. Instructors may discuss their placement with the College and can ask for a steward to go along with them.

Can I get my step placement changed?

Within six months of the initial placement an instructor may ask for a review with a different administrator and may at that time submit any additional information. It’s advisable to consult a steward first.

Union Management

Where is the line between union and management?

As is often the case in the college sector some traditional management functions such as scheduling are handled for the most part by the department and at the department level. These functions are set out in our Collective Agreement.

The forty plus Department Heads are in the union as are 3 Instructional Associates and several Coordinators and Assistant Department Heads.

Excluded management effectively has three levels: Dean or Director, Vice-President and President.

Union/Management Consultation Meetings

Article 3.11 of the Collective Agreement obligates the College to manage “significant matters” using “consultative processes” and both parties acknowledge that the “active and continuing” participation of the VCCFA is required.

“Significant” applies to any matter so identified by another party and “consultative” is defined as “processes that involve the serious exchange of information and ideas before action is taken”.

The Union and College meet regularly under the auspices of this Article to discuss a wide range of issues. If you wish to have the Union raise a significant issue please contact the office.

Joint Steering Committee

Article 3.10 sets up this task-oriented union/management committee. Since 1990 it has worked on a variety of issues and procedures that have become part of the Collective Agreement.

The Election or Selection of Instructors with Responsibility Allowances (IRAs); Evaluation and Appraisal of IRAs; Evaluation and Appraisal Procedures for Instructors; Hiring Procedures and Area Designation have all gone through the Joint Steering Committee. *

* Currently the Joint Steering Committee continues to monitor and review the general Evaluation and Appraisal processes.

Wage Scale

How much do I make?

In our system we negotiate the annual wage and all other wages are derived from it. There is therefore only one scale for all members. Members may notice a “rate” on their pay slips, which do not conform to the derived hourly rates below. This is because that “rate” is an artificial number that the College’s computer system uses in order to come as close as possible to the correct pay amount.

VCC-VCCFA Collective Agreement – 2014-2019 – Salary Schedule – Draft