COVID-19 Update – April 7, 2020

April 7th 2020.

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all staff of CUPE 3261– who are making sacrifices to support the COVID-19 coronavirus fight. You are our heroes.

The Union have been actively engaging with the employer, to deliver the latest information to our members.

There have been questions on Employees who fill out the COVID/Illness Declaration Form, and the extension on the Pay Continuity which goes to April 30th, 2020.

The Employer has indicated on a revaluation on our current situation and will inform staff accordingly after the April 30th deadline expires.

Members have indicated there was a deleting of two options on the current form:

  • Immunocompromised Self Isolation.
  • Those impacted by COVID School or Daycare Closures.

Management has confirmed that nothing has changed, and members should continue to talk to their manager and Supervisors to access a) COVID sick leave, b) COVID self-isolation, c) COVID childcare, d) COVID immunocompromised.

The process remains the same, i.e. the work from home arrangements and all other issues, including sick leave, quarantine and/or self isolation, childcare, etc., are to be discussed with the employee’s manager. The form is not and never has been a substitute for the discussion with the employee’s manager in respect of the employee’s status, so nothing material has changed, just the format of the form.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, resulting in the closure of on-campus activities, Transportation Services will suspend parking charges for the month of April 2020. Going forward, you will also not be charged for any subsequent months the closure remains in effect. Parking fees will be reinstated once all on-campus activities resume.  

Important: Regardless of your method of payment, should you wish to permanently cancel your permit, you must electronically submit a completed cancellation form. There are no exceptions.

Together, we can get through this. My appreciation and gratitude to all members knowing how much our union value your service and commitment.

Take Care and Stay Safe!

Allan James

President CUPE 3261

COVID-19 Update – March 23rd, 2020

Dear Friends,

As we cope with a new realty of the COVID-19 virus, it is important for our members to be safe and help one another in these difficult times.

Our members are brave and resilient.  We will get through this together.

I personally want to thank everyone for your work and dedication, in this unprecedented situation.

Here is some information to consider if you decide to stay at home:

All Employees must fill out a COVID/Illness Declaration Form through your ESS.

Members must indicate one of the following Absence:

  • Self-Isolation
  • Sick Leave
  • Immunocompromised Self Isolation
  • Those impacted by COVID School or Daycare Closures

COVID-19 sick leave will not be included in any attendance management process under our Collective Agreement

For the purposes of absences due to sickness caused by COVID-19, requirements to provide a medical note will be waived, to prevent additional strain on healthcare providers

 COVID-19 Sick Leave

While many of our appointed employees have sick leave provisions in their respective collective agreement or employment policies that sufficiently address such absences, the University has, on an exceptional and without prejudice or precedent basis, temporarily modified and/or improved upon some of the existing provisions for employees who become sick due to COVID-19.

  • Employees with paid sick leave in their collective agreement or employment policy should use paid sick leave if they become sick due to COVID-19.
  • Employees who have exhausted paid sick leave in accordance with the applicable collective agreement or employment policy will be provided additional days of paid sick leave sufficient to cover a sickness due to COVID-19
  • Employees in bargaining units or employee groups that do not have paid sick leave provisions will suffer no loss of pay as a result of sickness due to COVID-19, pursuant to the following:
    • Hourly paid employees will be paid for the greater of either any scheduled shifts that they miss up to and including April 5, 2020 if the absence is due to sickness caused by COVID-19, or the average weekly wages for casual employees calculated on the basis of the formula set out in the Employment Standards Act (ESA) for public holiday pay if the absence is due to sickness caused by COVID-19

COVID-19 Self-Isolation

  • COVID-19 Self-Isolation refers to employees who are instructed to self-isolate as follows: by a healthcare professional, or:
  • Due to recent travel as set out in applicable direction from an applicable government authority, or
  • Due to potential exposure as set out in applicable direction from an applicable government authority
  • Employees in self-isolation whose roles allow them to work from home are expected to perform the full scope of their duties to the extent possible while in self-isolation
  • Employees in self-isolation whose roles are not suited to work from home will continue to receive their regular salary (for salaried employees) or for casual / hourly paid employees, the greater of either any scheduled shifts that they miss up to and including April 5, 2020, or the average weekly wages for casual employees calculated on the basis of the formula set out in the Employment Standards Act (ESA) for public holiday pay (see Appendix A) for the period March 14 – April 5, 2020

My thoughts and prayers are with you in these times, stay safe and take care of your coworkers, family and love ones.

If you have any concerns, feel free to contact me.


Allan James

President CUPE 3261

Pay Continuity

To all members: please note that the university has enacted a “pay continuity” policy that is currently active from March 16th to April 5th. This means that regardless of your situation (sick, self-isolating, or well), you will be paid your regular wages during this time. This applies to all employees, including term, temporary and casuals. If you have been sent home, or your hours have been cut, you will be paid your regular wages.  Please review the guidelines to understand how the policy works.

If the policy is not being enforced in your department, follow up with your manager to ensure they are aware. If you have any concerns, please contact your union. 

Download (PDF, 195KB)

COVID-19 Update – March 17, 2020

This email was sent to the UofT community on March 17th, 2020. Please read it to stay updated on the situation. 

As Canada continues to deal with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University remains committed to playing our part in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our community. Equally important is our commitment to three core activities:

  • ensuring that our students can complete their term,
  • providing a place to live for those students in residence who are unable to return home, and
  • supporting the critical COVID-19 and time-sensitive research endeavors of our world-class scholars.

As part of Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Premier of Ontario has today declared a state of emergency and the Prime Minister has encouraged all Canadians to stay home wherever possible. In response to these announcements, we are working to allow more employees to telecommute and to have more flex-time arrangements.

The University remains open but encourages employees who can work from home to do so. For the University to deliver on our commitments to teaching, residences and critical research, some employees will be required to come to our campuses, and we remain committed to their health and safety. Some employees may be assigned to other duties.

This memo contains more details about what this will entail.

Academic Continuity

At the core of our actions is our commitment to enable students to complete their term and start the summer session. Following our memo of March 13, faculty and instructors are now delivering the remainder of their courses without in-class instruction.

Libraries at the University of Toronto will be closed as of 11:59 pm, March 17, 2020. The Robarts Library at the St. George campus and the libraries at UTM and UTSC will be open to members of the U of T community with limited staff and very limited services to support technology needs for those students who need to access resources required to complete their courses. All digital services remain operational and accessibility services will also be available. 

Student Residences

We will continue to provide residences for those students who cannot return home at this point.  The University is working on ways to support students who will not be able to return home when the term ends. 

More information for students living in residences will be available on the Office of the Vice-Provost Students website.


In accordance with guidance from government officials, the University is advising that all lab-based research operations must be shut down no later than 5 pm, Friday March 20, 2020. We will consider exceptions for critical COVID-19 research and time-sensitive critical projects that are approved by the Incident Management Team based on the University’s protocol for the approval of critical or time-sensitive research.

Those who are able to continue their research off-campus should continue as long as it is safe to do so and should assign appropriate work to trainees and staff. For research staff who cannot be assigned remote tasks, HR & Equity has provided guidance (see below) about pay continuance and potential redeployment.

Shut down of laboratory research operations should be done in a safe and orderly manner according to the guidance provided by the U of T Research Oversight and Compliance Office. 

Maintaining Operations and Working Remotely

The University has been developing business continuity plans and together we are consulting with senior leadership to ensure that these plans allow the core functions of the University to continue.

Any employee who can work from home should do so. Guidance on telecommuting, flex-time arrangements, and pay continuity for those who cannot work from home can be found on the HR & Equity COVID-19 website.

For the University to deliver on our commitments to teaching, residences and critical research, and the services to support these activities, some employees will be required to come to our campuses. We remain committed to their health and safety. Managers should refer to the University’s Business Continuity website for guidance in determining these critical functions. In order for the University to continue its operations at this time, some employees may also be assigned to other duties.

All University buildings will be closed as of 11:59 pm, March 17, 2020 to the general public. Members of the University community will need key or fob access to enter them.

For all the latest information, please see the University’s Coronavirus page. Please take the time to review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), the HR & Equity COVID-19 website, and the Research Labs COVID-19 FAQs. If you or members of your unit have a question that is not covered, please consider using the Contact Us button located at the top of the FAQ section to submit your question. 

COVID-19 Update

March 13, 2020

Dear Members,

The Union and the University continue to monitor the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that members of the community are concerned, and we want to assure you that the Union, along with the University is actively planning for the possibility that the current pandemic may affect our work and activities here at U of T. 

Please note: Classes are cancelled as of Monday, March 16th, 2020 until April 3rd, 2020. 

However, university operations continue, and all three campuses will remain open.

Libraries, residences, food services, health & wellness centres, athletics and recreation facilities and other public spaces on all three campuses will remain open.

If you are sick:

We all have a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19. The University is asking that you stay home if you are sick.

The university has sent out its response to all union leadership, advising the following:

A temporary sick leave policy that will provide paid time off for casual or probationary employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

A telecommuting Guideline specifically developed for COVID-19 to provide a mechanism for employees who must work from home due to mandatory 14-day self-isolation after COVID-19 exposure, or for individuals who are immunocompromised. 

A self-declaration form that will allow employees to report a requirement for self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure, or to request sick time following a diagnosis of COVID-19. Generally, doctor’s notes will not be required in support of these self-declarations, subject to some exceptions/limitations. 

You can find more information and links to resources on the University’s coronavirus page, including links to travel advisories and public health guidance on self-isolation. 

We appreciate the efforts of all members of the University of Toronto community as we work together to maintain a healthy environment on our campuses and preserve normal operations as much as possible. 

If you have any concerns, feel free to contact the union. 


Allan James

President CUPE 3261