I am excited to announce that as a result of our proposal in the last round of bargaining, the Academic Benefits Plan has been expanded to cover psychological services effective October 1. This means registered psychologist and registered social worker services will now be eligible for coverage under the existing amount allotted to paramedical benefits. You can find more details on the Employer’s Benefits Overview page.
Our push for expanded benefits was in direct response to feedback from members who were frustrated with the lack of flexibility in the benefits plan. When ongoing disagreements with the Employer in that last round of bargaining led to a mediated labour relations dispute, the mediator ruled that psychological services be examined and considered by the joint AASUA-Employer Academic Benefits Management Committee (ABMC), which manages the benefits plan. This outcome is the result of their consideration.
The expansion of psychological services is a huge win for those of us who are covered by the Academic Benefits Plan. It is yet another example of how the uncertainty we shouldered in our last round of bargaining paid off in strides. However, if we are to continue to improve working conditions for all members — especially those who are on contract and don’t receive benefits — we will have to come to the table in January with even more resolve to stand up for what we deserve. This is certainly a step forward for our member’s mental health, but the Employer has a long way to go to account for the wellbeing of all AASUA members, especially those facing precarious employment.
If you have additional questions about expanded benefits, you can reach out to the Employer at the Staff Service Centre.