Article 32: Benefits

32.01 The Board agrees to continue the employee benefits as they were on the signing of this Collective Agreement, except as may be modified in this Collective Agreement or as they may be modified by agreement of the Board and the Association following a report of the Employee Benefits Committee or the Advisory Committee (established under the provisions of the Pension Plan). These include:

(a) waiving of tuition fees for Members and their dependents in accordance with Clauses 32.03 and 32.04;

(b) the Dalhousie University Staff Pension Plan in accordance with Clause 32.05;

(c) Group Life Insurance including coverage for accidental death and dismemberment, and the survivor income benefit;

(d) the Salary Continuance Programme;

(e) the optional Dental Care Plan, pursuant to Clause 32.13;

(f) Major Medical Insurance, subject to Clause 32.18;

(g) the Professional Development Allowance, pursuant to Clause 32.19;

(h) Voluntary Personal Accident Insurance;

(i) Voluntary Group Term Life Insurance;

(j) Health Spending Account.

32.02 The following general insurance provisions shall apply to all Members:

(a) malpractice insurance, pursuant to Clause 32.08;

(b) multi-peril insurance against loss of property, pursuant to Clause 32.09.

32.03 The Board agrees to waive tuition fees for Members, their spouses and children on the following bases:

(a) for Members, up to twelve credit hours in the 12 month period ending 31 August of each year in any Faculty of Dalhousie University,

(b) fees for non-credit courses at Dalhousie University for Members may be waived for reasons of professional development where approval is given by the Dean of the Member’s Faculty (Vice-President where there is no Faculty) or University Librarian, as appropriate, in advance of registration,

(c) for spouses and children, fifty percent (50%) of tuition fees in all courses offered at Dalhousie University in any undergraduate program in any Faculty other than Dentistry (excluding the School of Dental Hygiene), Law and Medicine. Where both parents are Members the tuition fee waiver in this Clause 32.03(c) shall be 100%,

(d) Where a Member has a child in respect of which any waivers claimed under Sub- Clause 32.03(c) do not exceed 15 billing hour fees (30 if both parents are Members), the Board agrees to waive tuition of $3,953 for that child (until age 25) in respect of a Dalhousie MD, DDS, or LLB (prorated for an LLB student enrolled at less than full-time fees). Where both parents are Members, the tuition waiver in this Sub-Clause shall be $7,906. The waiver amounts will be adjusted by the general increase in University tuition for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17. This Sub-Clause 32.03(d) may only be used for one degree program. The fees are based on the standard annual tuition for the Bachelor of Health Science.

32.03A For purposes of Clauses 32.03 and 32.04 the following definitions shall apply:

“Spouse” shall mean a person who either is married through an ecclesiastical or civil ceremony to an employee, or although not legally married to an employee, cohabits with the employee for at least 12 months in a conjugal relationship. The term “conjugal relationship” shall be deemed to include a conjugal relationship between partners of the same sex.

“Child” shall mean any dependent child of the Member to the end of the academic year of the child’s 25th birthday, or beyond that date if dependent on the Member by reason of mental or physical disability. Dependents are defined as children of the Member for whom the Member is entitled to claim tax credit under the Income Tax Act in the year in which the tuition waiver is requested or children not over the age of twenty-five (25) to whom the Member declares that they provide regular financial support.

“Tuition Fee” shall mean the basic tuition fee applicable to specific programmes and shall include auxiliary fees which are for required instruction but shall exclude any other fees such as international student differential fees, co-op fees and student union fees.

32.04 Tuition waivers, in accordance with Clause 32.03, shall continue to be available to:

(a) Members who have retired, having been employed for five or more years, and to their spouses and children, and to the spouses and children of former Members who are deceased and who had been employed for five or more years;

(b) the children of those Members who are divorced or legally separated provided satisfactory documentary evidence of support equivalent to 7% of annual earnings is provided;

(c) Members who are ill or disabled and to their spouses and children, provided the Member is in receipt of salary pursuant to Clause 30.05 or long term disability benefits pursuant to Clause 30.06.

32.05 (1) The Board agrees to continue the Dalhousie University Staff Pension Plan as it was on the signing of this Collective Agreement, except as it may be modified in this Collective Agreement and in the Memorandum of Understanding dated 13 November 1987, or by agreement between the Board and the Association after the approval of the Advisory Committee. Within thirty (30) calendar days of the approval of any Plan amendment by the Nova Scotia Superintendent of Pensions and by the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (formerly Revenue Canada), the Board will provide an updated electronic copy of the complete Pension Plan text to the Association in addition to updated hard copies of the altered pages of Plan text.

A. Any reports of the Advisory Committee to the Board, the Association and any represented bargaining unit will be directed to the President of the University, the President of the Association, and the President or other representative of the other bargaining units respectively. The Board will cooperate in providing information and actuarial services as the Advisory Committee may require. The Board will invite bargaining units to confirm the name(s) of their representative(s) on the Advisory Committee within thirty days of the signing of this Agreement.

B. Notwithstanding Rule 28 of the Dalhousie University Staff Pension Plan, any rights or entitlements which a Member, former Member or beneficiary of a Member has or might have under the Dalhousie University Staff Pension Plan shall be grievable in accordance with the provisions of Article 29 of this Collective Agreement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, grievances may include disputes on the interpretation, application or administration of the Dalhousie University Staff Pension Plan.

C. Subject only to the approval of the Advisory Committee, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (Taxation) and the Superintendent of Pensions of the Province of Nova Scotia, the Board and the Association agree that any definition of spouse in the Plan shall include a person of the same sex with whom the Member has been cohabitating for at least one year in a conjugal relationship.

D. No part of the capital or income of the Fund shall be withdrawn from the Plan to be used for purposes other than the benefit of employees and former employees under the Plan, except with the agreement of the Advisory Committee.

E. No portion of any surplus money held in the Pension Trust Fund shall be withdrawn from that Fund or used to pay employer contributions without the prior approval of the Board and all of the various bargaining units, including the Dalhousie Faculty Association, and the Administrative Group. Any such action shall, in any event, be subject to the prior consent of the Superintendent of Pensions if required under the Pension Benefits Act of Nova Scotia.

F. The preceding Sub-Clauses in this Clause 32.05 do not apply with respect to Members who were employees of the Technical University of Nova Scotia on 31 March 1997 and who were members of the Public Service Superannuation Plan on 31 March 1997 and who elected to continue as members of that Plan. These Members shall retire in accordance with the terms of that Plan and the Public Service Superannuation Act. The preceding Sub-Clauses in this Clause 32.05 do not apply with respect to those Members who were “Designated Employees” as defined in subsection 1(d) of the Dalhousie University-Nova Scotia Agricultural College Merger Act who were members of the Public Service Superannuation Plan on September 1, 2012. These Members shall retire in accordance with the terms of that Plan and the Public Service Superannuation Act.

G. All actuarial reviews and valuations except for preliminary drafts shall be made available to the Association representatives on the Pension Advisory Committee within two (2) working days of receipt by the University Administration. Requests for written reports from the actuary which are to be paid for as costs of administering the Pension Plan shall be directed through the Pension Advisory Committee and all such reports received from the actuary shall be made available to the Association representatives and the President of the DFA within two (2) business days of receipt by the University Administration. Excepted from this provision are reports regarding benefits of specific individuals.

(2) The provisions of this Clause 32.05(2) shall apply only to full-time Members employed on 9 October 1981 at the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS) and continuously employed by TUNS until 31 March 1997 and by Dalhousie University thereafter (herein called 1981 Sexton Member) and shall not apply to any Member hired after 9 October 1981.

(a) A 1981 Sexton Member who is retired or who is about to be retired because of age or mental or physical incapacity shall be granted an award, the equivalent of five (5) calendar days pay at his/her then salary for each completed year of service. For example: A 1981 Sexton Member with twenty-two (22) years service would be eligible to receive an amount equal to:

5 X 22 X Last Yearly Salary
365

(b) If a 1981 Sexton Member dies while still employed by the Board, and if he/she would have been entitled to the Service Award had he/she retired immediately prior to his/her death, the amount to which he/she would be entitled shall be paid to the person who is eligible to receive the deceased pension benefits or to his/her estate if there is no such beneficiary.

(c) The salary which shall be used to calculate the amount of the Service Award in accordance with this Clause 32.05(2) shall be the salary which the 1981 Sexton Member was receiving on the date of the termination of his/her employment.

(3) Designated employees as defined in subsection 1(d) of the Dalhousie University-Nova Scotia Agricultural College Merger Act who became employees of Dalhousie University on September 1, 2012 shall be granted a Public Service Award in accordance with the following:

(i) An employee who ceases to be employed either by retirement or resignation from employment, and is immediately eligible for and immediately accepts a pension pursuant to the provisions of the Public Service Superannuation Act, shall be granted a Public Service Award equal to one (1) week’s pay for each year of full-time service to a maximum of twenty-six (26) years. The amount will include a pro- rated payment for a partial year of service.

(ii) The amount of Public Service Award provided under Clause 32.01(a) shall be calculated by the formula:

Annual Salary = 1 week
52

(iii) The entitlement of an employee to a Public Service Award shall be based on the service credited to the employee as an employee of Her Majesty in Right of the Province and the employee’s service at Dalhousie University after September 1, 2012.
(iv) Where an employee dies and he/she would have been entitled to receive a Public Service Award if he/she had retired immediately before his/her death, the Public Service Award to which he/she would have been entitled shall be paid to the person who is eligible to receive the deceased’s pension benefits or to his/her estate if there is no such beneficiary.

The salary which shall be used to calculate the amount of the Public Service Award in accordance with this Article shall be the salary which the employee was receiving on the date of the termination of his/her employment or the salary used in the calculation of a pension under the Public Service Superannuation Act, whichever is greater.

32.06 The Board agrees to maintain a Dalhousie University Employee Benefits Committee representative of interested union and non-union staff groups (including two representatives of the Association), and the Senate and the Board, to consider issues relating to the Dalhousie University Salary Continuance Programme and other benefit programmes. Representatives named by the Board and the Senate to the committee shall not be more numerous than representatives named by staff groups. The committee shall consider matters relating to benefit programmes for staff, including the administration, participation in and contribution to benefit programmes. The committee shall report to the Association, the Board and others represented on the committee and when changes in benefit programmes or their administration are considered the committee shall also report on the costs that would be incurred as a result of changes. The Board will cooperate in providing information and consultative services as the committee may require. The Board will invite staff groups to review their representatives within thirty days of the signing of the Collective Agreement. The committee shall select its own Chair each year.

Any reports required of this committee by the Board and the Association will be directed to the President of the University, and the President of the Association respectively.

32.07 Within six months of the close of each fiscal year, the Board agrees to provide to the Association an audited balance sheet and income statement for the Dalhousie University Staff Pension Plan. Such statements shall show the rate of return earned in each of the previous two fiscal years.

32.08 The Board shall defend Members in any suit or claim for damages alleging malpractice by any Member arising from the activities of students under their supervision, and shall indemnify any Member for any damages awarded against the Member in such a suit, provided:

(a) the Member has met standards for supervision consistent with his or her professional responsibilities, and

(b) if the work of students under the Member’s supervision involves clinical or experimental work with human subjects, appropriate clinical standards or appropriate standards or protocols for experimental work with human subjects have been met.

32.09 The Board shall continue to provide multi-peril insurance against loss of the property of a Member, excluding vehicles, trailers or boats, which property is on the premises of the University in a University office or laboratory and is there for use in connection with the work of the Member, to a limit of $10,000 for each Member, and shall arrange for extended coverage beyond that limit for each Member who desires to pay for extended coverage, provided that the Member takes all reasonable precautions to avoid or minimize loss.

32.10 The Board agrees that:

(a) the present annual general parking fees to be paid by Members for unreserved, outdoor parking on Dalhousie University parking lots shall not be increased beyond the Income Maintenance Change awarded to Members for the year preceding that for which the fees apply. If the Parking Committee can demonstrate that a larger increase is required in response to increased annual operating costs, a special increase proposal shall be brought to the Association- Board Committee for a final decision, subject to the Parties right to grieve;

(b) the fees for reserved outdoor parking shall not be increased beyond the Income Maintenance Change awarded to Members for the year preceding that for which the fees apply. If the Parking Committee can demonstrate that a larger increase is required in response to increased annual operating costs, a special increase proposal shall be brought to the Association-Board Committee for a final decision, subject to the Parties right to grieve;

(c) the fees for reserved indoor parking shall not be increased beyond the percentage equivalent of the average overall change in salary to Members for the year preceding that for which the fees apply, unless it can be demonstrated through the Parking Committee to the Association-Board Committee that a larger increase is required to cover increased operating costs;

(d) the Board may make significant changes to the capacity and accessibility of Dalhousie University parking lots by agreement with the Association, but lacking such agreement the Board may make such changes if it has a bona fide case for doing so in terms of the actual costs necessary, the needs of staff for such parking space and the building requirements of the University, and if the change will not result in a reduction in the overall number of parking spaces available to the University community;

(e) Members whose offices are on the Sexton campus and who are precluded from acquiring term parking permits by virtue of the “near zone” parking policy of Sexton campus will be sold, on request at the commencement of each term, eight daily parking passes.

32.11 The Board agrees to pay the transportation costs for a newly-appointed Member, his or her spouse and dependent children from the place of residence of the Member when appointed, to Halifax, at the rate of economy-class airfare or lesser actual cost, by the most direct route, subject to recovery in circumstances provided in Clause 32.12(c).

32.12 The Board agrees to reimburse the costs of moving household and other effects of a newly-appointed Member when estimates of costs are submitted in advance to the Dean or Vice-President concerned who shall approve the amount of reimbursement to be paid either in advance subject to satisfactory accounting thereafter, or upon presentation of receipts following the Member’s move to Halifax, subject to the following limitations:

(a) the full costs shall be paid for moving essential professional equipment and books, when separately estimated in advance of any move and then approved by the Dean or Vice-President;

(b) in the case of a Member newly appointed the costs of moving household goods and personal effects (not including automobiles) by surface freight shall ordinarily be reimbursed up to two-thirds of the costs actually incurred or $3,781, whichever is the lesser (in exceptional cases, by agreement in advance, the limit on moving costs may be increased at the discretion of the Board);

(c) the reimbursement of moving costs shall take the form of an interest-free loan. One-third of the loan shall be forgiven on the date the Member commences employment, a second third shall be forgiven on the first anniversary of employment commencement and the last third shall be forgiven on the second anniversary of employment commencement. In the event the Member ceases employment prior to any of the dates mentioned, the amount owing shall be paid on those dates to the Board.

The Association agrees that if, through a procedure which is acceptable to the Association-Board Committee and in consultation with the Association’s nominees to that Committee, the Board contracts with a company for moving services and if that contract is endorsed by the Association-Board Committee by concurrent majority, the Board shall include the offer of moving services (including applicable discounts) from that company to each newly-appointed Member. The Board agrees that if a newly-appointed Member agrees to use the services of the contracted company, estimates from other companies of the costs of the move shall not be required.

32.13 The Board agrees that it will keep available the Dental Care Plan presently in existence, or its equivalent, for all Members and their dependents who choose to participate. The Board shall pay fifty percent of the cost of the premiums. The coverage provided will be adjusted each year to the current Nova Scotia Dental Fee Guide, unless the Employee Benefits Committee, after a review of the plan costs, decides by a majority not to endorse such an adjustment. The Board shall also keep available the current level of orthodontic coverage for Members’ dependent children and on the same cost-sharing basis.

32.14 The Board agrees to allow Members, their spouses and their dependents access to all sports, athletic and recreational facilities of Dalhousie University on the same basis and at the same cost as for other University employees. Dalplex membership fees for Members, for individual, or family memberships (as that term is defined in the Dalplex fee schedule), shall be 50% of the fee charged to the general community.

32.15 Members who are not on leave may apply, through their Chairperson, Head, Director or Chief Librarian, to the appropriate Committee on Research Development of the Office of Research Services for a research grant to be paid in equal monthly instalments for a period not to exceed 12 months. Application shall be made on the prescribed form available from the Office of Research Services. When the application is approved, the Board shall reduce the Member’s regular salary by the approved amount in the month or months in question and pay that amount or those amounts to the Member as a research grant. Such payments shall be reported by the Board as a research grant on a T4A form.

The following provisions shall apply to the consideration and payment of such research grants:

(a) research grant in lieu of salary shall not be less than $1,000.00 for any month and shall not exceed 50% of the salary that would otherwise be applicable in a calendar year;

(b) the Vice-President or Principal and the Dean must confirm that the amount of the research grant is for research which is reasonably equivalent in value to the reduction in the non-specific research component of the Member’s normal responsibilities;

(c) there is sufficient salary being paid, net of the research grant, to meet the cost of pension and statutory and insured benefits contributions, based on the nominal salary;

(d) the appropriate Committee on Research Development of the Office of Research Services must conclude that the amounts requested are reasonable and that the proposal appears to meet the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency definition of eligible research;

(e) the grant will only be used for the purposes for which the application was made; and,

(f) any tax withholding issues arising from a particular application shall be between the Member and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

32.16 Daycare facilities for Members’ children shall continue to be available during the term of this Agreement and the daycare centre will operate on a non-profit basis levying fees sufficient to meet its operating costs and liabilities.

32.17 The Board may enter into an agreement with a Member with tenure, appointment without term or continuing appointment who wishes to terminate his or her employment with Dalhousie, who does not have alternative employment at hand, and whose termination is consistent with the academic needs of the Programme and the financial interests of the University. The possibility of such an arrangement may be explored informally, but all communication prior to a formal application shall be without prejudice to the Member and the Board.

Formal application shall be made through the Association as the sole bargaining agent to the Board. The Board reserves the right to refuse any application. If through this process the Member and the Board agree to the separation the Member shall receive a severance allowance up to a maximum amount calculated as one year’s regular salary plus one additional month’s salary for each year of employment beyond 10, to a maximum of 12 additional months. Thus, the maximum severance payment would not exceed 24 months’ salary. This amount might be reduced in light of the Board’s interest in the termination and the individual’s employment prospects, as may be agreed upon by the Member and the Board. The individual would be free to withdraw or transfer accumulated pension benefits, subject to locking-in provisions of provincial legislation and any applicable income tax laws. The salary rate used to calculate the appropriate severance allowance would be the applicant’s regular salary rate at the time of agreement. The Member may also wish to take early retirement, subject to the provisions of the Dalhousie University Pension Plan.

The manner in which the severance allowance is paid shall be by agreement of the Member and the Board, subject to any applicable laws or regulations.

32.18

(a) The Board shall pay sixty percent (60%) of the premiums for all Members who participate in the Major Medical Insurance (Blue Cross) Plan.

(b) Effective July 1, 2012, the Board agrees to provide each Member with $500 annually in a Health Spending Account. The Health Spending Account is not intended to erode the benefit plans provided to the general membership. Its purpose is to provide flexibility to self-select and direct enhanced coverage.

32.19 The Board recognizes that Members face various expenses related to their occupation. For the fiscal years 2015/16 and 2016/17 and 2017/18 the Board, therefore, agrees to reimburse Members for allowable professionally-related expenditures which are not otherwise reimbursed by the University and which relate to the Member’s responsibilities to the University.

Allowable professionally-related expenditures are limited to the following: membership fees for professional and/or learned societies, subscriptions to professional and/or learned journals, purchase of books, equipment, and/or other items related to the Member’s research or scholarly activities and registration fees for attendance at scholarly conferences. Members’ eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $737 in the fiscal year 2015/16 and $750 in the fiscal year 2016/17 and $762 in the fiscal year 2017/2018, shall be reimbursed. Members may apply once during the period 1 January to 28 February for reimbursement up to the maximum amount and shall provide receipts and relevant information regarding their application. The Member’s application shall be considered by the relevant Faculty-level committee established pursuant to Clause 30.33 and, if approved, shall be paid by the Board.