COVID-19 Updates

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

We now have a Letter of Understanding with York University regarding COVID-19 related issues.

Know your rights during this disruption.

Read the summary and FAQ arising from our recent Townhall (May 7th)

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.

Are you in Unit 1? Fill out our Unit 1 Summer 2020 Contracts Survey. York has not provided the Union with a clear picture of how they are handling Unit 1 work impacted by the cancellation of face-to-face classes. Please fill out this survey to help us gather information and advocate for our members.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The Local has received conflicting information from CUPE National about the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) eligibility and criteria. CUPE National are now indicating that it’s unclear if CUPE 3903 members without canceled work would qualify for CERB. This contradicts earlier, more optimistic, assurances from National.

Members can read a more detailed report on the changes in our understanding of CERB eligibility here. We sincerely apologize for the confusion and we will continue to seek clarification.

As this eligibility criteria continues to change, and given that the interpretation of the criteria is unclear, we are now advising members to contact their Chief Steward if they are unsure of their eligibility. The Chief Stewards will work with members to find answers relevant to their individual circumstances.

York: What we know

Please note: York has said that the most reliable address by which members will receive any emails regarding COVID-19 is their 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: 

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.

On April 16th, York released procedures for requesting one-time or other restricted access to specific campus spaces. Requests must be made at least a week in advance and members must comply with York’s Screening Protocol. In no circumstances can classes be taught on our campuses nor can students be asked to come onto campus.

York stated that any work required past the Winter term, April 30 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.

Record of Employment (ROE)

We have also received assurances that Records of Employment (ROE) will be issued automatically when there is an interruption of earnings, as normal. For example, if your contract ended on April 30th and you have no contract in the summer then York should have issued an ROE after April 30th.

Switch to online delivery

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.

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 found themselves unable to teach due to the switch to remote delivery should receive severance as per 12.17 of the Collective Agreement. For members with CSSP contracts in Summer 2020, cancelled courses will not affect one’s eligibility to remain in the CSSP Pool.

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 ( 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:  under “if you don’t have a computer at home”.

We were able to negotiate an expense reimbursement fund as part of  our Letter of Understanding with York. Please read here for more details.

Unit 2 members with regular purchases they would normally pay for with PER funds can use York’s SmartBuy platform and have purchases shipped to their home address.

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

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.

CUPE 3903 Funds

Union funds are still being adjudicated. There are online application forms for all funds. Members who previously submitted a paper application and have not yet received funds are encouraged to re-submit electronically. These funds may be of special interest:

  • The Ways and Means fund is available to members who have experienced a recent, unexpected hardship that resulted in unexpected financial stress. The committee adjudicates approximately every two weeks.
  • The Extended Health Benefits fund supports members with health care costs that would cause an undue financial burden and that are not covered by the Sun Life Insurance plan. The committee adjudicates about every 4-6 weeks.
  • The Sexual Assault Survivor Support fund’s next deadline is not until May 31st but the committee is still monitoring their email address for emergency applications.

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.