Strike Hardship Fund

Click here for the application form.


UNIT 2 DEADLINE: JUNE 29 — Now that Unit 2 is no longer on strike, the Strike Hardship Fund has set a deadline of June 29, 2018 for Unit 2 members to submit all applications to be considered.

2018 Strike Hardship Fund Information, updated May 22

This page sets out the criteria used in adjudicating the Strike Hardship Fund. These criteria were set by Strike Committee (SC) and have been amended at SC meetings through the strike.

What is the Fund?

The Strike Hardship Fund (SHF) is designed to assist CUPE 3903 members who are participating in the strike and is intended to supplement strike pay. The SHF supports members in purchasing items they need for picketing or alternate duty (Section A) and in dealing with financial hardship resulting from reduced income during the strike (Section B).

Amount: Maximum amount to be issued per member is $800. It was originally $600, but this has been raised. Leaves are an exception; see “Leaves” below for details.
Early in the strike, except in cases of exceptional hardship, members were given a portion of the amount they were adjudicated for — 80% — to ensure as many members as possible could access the fund. At this point, first disbursement cheques have been topped up in a second disbursement, and cheques are being issued for the full amount granted.

Throughout the strike, other unions and organizations make donations to assist CUPE 3903; many of these have been added to the SHF. Donations have allowed us to raise our limit to $800. If you requested $800 or more in your original application, you will be re-adjudicated to see if you qualify for up to $200 in additional funds. This will be automatically done by the committee; members will not need to reapply. If you requested less than $800 (i.e. $600) in your original application, and would like to apply for the extra funds, please email us a second application form.

Strike Participation (and Prioritizing Research)

To be eligible for the SHF, there is an expectation of full strike participation: that people either picket at least 20 hours a week, or register with the 8th line to arrange alternate duty strike work, unless they have exceptional circumstances.

SHF Committee understands that people will sometimes miss days picketing or other strike work and that people who do 8th line work may also need reduced hours. Reasons the committee considers include: illness and injury, as well as other things which may interfere with strike participation, as deemed appropriate by the committee. They exclude: conference participation, unpaid strike work, and research-related commitments; people are ineligible for SHF when they prioritize academic work to the extent that their strike participation is consistently and substantially below 20 hours a week.

In the case of a member who has a high level of strike participation which is less than 20 hours a week, without an included reason (see above), the adjudication will calculate the member’s income as including 20 hours a week’s strike pay, but will treat the member as eligible.

In the case of a member who has a high level of strike participation which is less than 20 hours a week, with an included reason (see above), the adjudication will calculate the member’s income as including their actual strike pay, and will treat the member as eligible.

If you are participating less than 20 hours a week (picketing and/or alternate duties) please explain this on your SHF application, accounting for any exceptional circumstances. If you cannot picket and are not registered with 8th line, please explain why not on your application, accounting for any exceptional circumstances.

Income Cut-off

For a Section B claim only (financial hardship, not strike related costs), there is a pre-strike monthly household income cut-off of $2300 per member + $1500 per dependent (including a non-CUPE spouse), barring exceptional circumstances.

Note: Where the household includes two CUPE members, the cut-off is $4,600 so that, for example, two CUPE members with one child dependent would have a pre-strike income limit of $6,100. (In this case, we will calculate the fund allotment for the applications jointly and separately and award the amount that is the highest).

Income for the entire household may be averaged for the period of October 2017 – February 2018 or taken for just the month of February, whichever the applicant prefers. Include York pay stubs for October to February, or just for February, as required.

Any external funding (SSHRC, OGS, etc.) is included in the income calculation.

If your income exceeds the cut-off, you will not usually be eligible for Section B of the SHF. However, if you are in exceptional circumstances (for example, if you have extraordinary or unusual expenses), please explain them in your application or contact the SHF directly at to ask questions.

Section A of the SHF (expenses directly related to strike participation, such as extra transportation, clothes for picketing, or expenses related to 8th line work) does not take income into account; there is no income cut-off for this category.

Section A: Strike-related Costs

If a CUPE 3903 member who is eligible for strike pay requires something to help them fulfil their strike duties, they can apply for this portion of the fund.
To qualify for funds you will need to provide evidence of:

  • need: Briefly tell us what you need and why you need it. For example: “My shoes are not waterproof. I need a good pair of boots to keep my feet dry on the picket lines.”
  • cost: Provide the receipt for the purchased item. If you cannot afford to purchase the item in advance, please contact the SHF directly at

For transit costs, provide us evidence of the cost per trip (not necessary for TTC) and the number of times you attend York to picket, as well as the number of times you usually attended York per week before the strike, to show your strike-related additional transit expenses. If you have other transit or travel expenses directly related to your strike work, please list them and explain on the form. Travel expenses not directly related to your strike work go in Section B.

Section B: Financial Hardship

This part of the fund is intended for members that are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the strike.

Eligibility: Applicants must be a CUPE 3903 strike pay eligible member who either:

has participated in the strike (picket line or 8th line); provides proof of income, AND had a pre-strike income of less than $2300/month plus $1500 /month for each dependent (including spouse)
has exceptional circumstances.


Members who would, bar the strike, qualify to begin a Leave (Compassionate Leave, Bereavement Leave, Sick Leave, Paid Maternity Leave, Paid Caregiver Leave, Caregiver Leave (unpaid), Paid Adoption Leave, Jury Leave or Transsexual Transition Leave) that is available to them under their Unit 1, Unit 2 or Unit 3 Collective Agreement, are understood to be in exceptional circumstances. If you are in this situation, you may be eligible for the Strike Hardship Fund, with funding of up to $1,000. In some circumstances related to leaves, the Fund can reduce or waive the strike participation requirement.

On your application, please note:

a) the circumstances which would otherwise qualify you for a leave
b) the date when those circumstances began
c) any additional expenses you may be facing as a result of these circumstances, such as travel expenses or supplies.

We will respond with a request for any needed documentation. Please do not send medical documentation with your application. Medical or other sensitive documentation will be reviewed only by Sheila Wilmot, the CUPE 3903 Equity Officer.
You need to submit an application to be considered for a leave-equivalent. Please let us know on the application which type of leave applies.

How to Apply:

Members can fill out the 2018 Strike Hardship Fund form and submit the necessary supporting documents to or drop them off at Strike Headquarters (45 Four Winds Dr, Unit Q-1).


The Strike Hardship Fund criteria are set by Strike Committee, and they are applied to all applications using the same set of policies, software, and mathematical formulas. If you would like more information about your rejected application, please email us and we will provide it. If you disagree with the SHF Committee’s decision, and would like to appeal it, there are two steps:

  1. Please email the SHF Committee using the subject line, “Appeal”. The SHF Committee will re-review the decision with at least three members to determine if a mistake was made. We will correct any error we find, and contact you with the result.
  2. If you disagree with the SHF re-review result, you can then appeal the decision to the CUPE 3903 Executive for a procedural review. To do this, send an email to the CUPE 3903 Equity Officer, Sheila Wilmot, at, with the subject line, “Strike Hardship Fund Appeal”.

Questions: If you have questions, please contact the SHF Committee at

Criteria for the 2018 Strike Hardship Fund were set by Strike Committee on March 12, 2018.

Leaves and Appeals criteria and procedures were set by Strike Committee on April 18, 2018.

Maximum amount for non-leave applications was raised from $600 to $800 by Strike Committee in May.