COVID-19: Important Information

We hope this post will help you find information and answer some of your questions about York’s response and our response to COVID-19. This post will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

Know your rights during this disruption.

Share questions or concerns you have regarding York’s and/or CUPE 3903’s response to COVID-19 by filling in our COVID-19 Member Concerns Survey. Survey responses will help us advocate for our members and shape our priorities and communications by by sharing what’s on your mind.


Please note: York has said that the most reliable address by which members will receive any emails regarding COVID-19 is their yorku.ca employee email address. If you are not sure how to access your employee email, please see our How to Access Your Employee Email page for more information. Members can also find up-to-date information at: coronavirus.info.yorku.ca 


York: What we know (updated March 24th)

York campuses have moved to required services only. This move includes shutting down lab-based research and restricting access to campus buildings. York suspended all face-to-face instruction beginning on Monday, March 16th.

York has confirmed that Unit 1 and 2 contracts scheduled to conclude on April 30th will be fully paid out as normal. They also stated that if work is required past the contract end date it will be compensated. See our post for more details. Members should track all of their hours and especially keep track of all hours worked after April 30, 2020. The Union will, if necessary, file grievances on behalf of its members.

Switch to online delivery

On March 11th we met with the employer to discuss their response to COVID-19. They had very little answers. While York has now suspended face-to-face instruction, they still haven’t provided much clarity. We are working to find out more and address our members’ concerns. There are many things about the pivot to online instruction that remain unclear. All that is certain is what has been communicated through York’s COVID updates.

On March 16th, York announced the cancellation of in-person exams. Like with the switch to online classes York has provided very little additional guidance or support. The Senate Executive changed policies regarding course completion to allow CDs to re-weigh term material if 70% or more of the course is completed and avoid the final exam, for individual students.

If you are asked to complete tasks in a way that is unreasonable or violates your medical needs, please get in touch with the union and we will assist you.

Summer Semester

York will proceed with the summer term though it will start one week later and all offered courses will move to remote delivery. Course Directors were to report to their departments/programs any issues that would prevent them from moving online by March 30th.

Unit 2 members who already had signed summer contracts and now find themselves unable to teach due to the switch to remote delivery will receive severance as per 12.17 of the Collective Agreement.

York has not addressed compensation for those who were expecting work and had not yet signed contracts, along with many other issues. We are still pushing York on these issues.

Expenses Incurred Due to Cancellation of Face-to-Face Classes

We understand that members are concerned about expenses incurred due to the switch to online teaching. We have brought this concern to York and made it clear that all expenses needed to place courses online due to the cancellation of face-to-face instruction should be reimbursed. York has said they will look into this possibility  We encourage all members to keep track of expenses.

Members can also contact UIT for support (http://computing.yorku.ca/offcampus/). York has said UIT has material, such as old phones that can be used for data tethering, that members could make use of.

York has secured 1500 laptops for all students, faculty and staff who don’t have a home computer to work remotely. Members who need a laptop are encouraged to register for one immediately as they are in short supply. You can read more details here: https://computing.yorku.ca/offcampus  under “if you don’t have a computer at home”.

FGS Emergency Bursary

Graduate student members who need financial assistance may apply to the FGS Emergency Bursary. The bursary is limited to emergency rent, emergency utilities, emergency medical and emergency food. FGS Emergency Bursary forms are available electronically upon request to fgssaa@yorku.ca.


CUPE 3903: Updates

In response to COVID-19 concerns our AGM has been postponed. The post-AGM Social, Stewards’ Council Lunch & Learns, Glendon Let’s Talk Bargaining, TFAC AGM and other events have also been postponed. At this moment we do not know when these events will be rescheduled.

Executive Committee and Bargaining Team Elections must begin at the AGM. As the AGM is postponed so is the start of elections. The Election Officers have been in communication with all candidates and we are discussing potential solutions.

The CUPE 3903 Office (143 Atkinson) is temporarily closed. Staff and Executive Officers remain available through email and/or phone. We know that members have many concerns and we are here to support you despite the office closure.

COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches and tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing

Less commonly: sore throat, headache and diarrhea have been reported.

The World Health Organization says that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 10 to 14 days after being infected.

You can read more about the symptoms, risks and prevention at the City of Toronto, COVID-19 site or the Public Health Agency of Canada.

What if you think you have COVID-19?

If you have symptoms and believe you may have contracted the virus public health officials are asking you to self-isolate and contact your public health unit. A list of Ontario Public Health Units can be found here. You may also phone Telehealth (1-866-797-0000), their doctor or a medical clinic. People are being asked not to visit the hospital, doctors’ offices or clinics unless their symptoms are severe or a health professional has advised them to do so.