Welcome to the TSSU


The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) has been an independent, non-hierarchical feminist labour union since 1978.

We represent the Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessionals, and the English Language & Culture/Interpretation & Translation Instructors (ELC/ITP) only here at Simon Fraser University. 

Our current Collective Agreement expires April 30th, 2014.

Please feel free to explore our website for more specific information.
Want to see all of the Main Page posts of a certain topic? Click on one of the links below (or at the bottom of any post).

CUPE’s university locals call for end to funding cuts

The campaign encourages people to take action by sending a letter to the Minister of Advanced Education, Amrik Virk, at: http://universitieswork.cupe.ca/stop-the-cuts/


BURNABY – CUPE’s Universities Coordinated Bargaining Committee (UCBC) has launched a new campaign to draw attention to the BC Liberals’ abysmal record on funding post-secondary education.

Earlier this year, the Christy Clark government announced a three-year budget plan that will see the total operating grant for post-secondary institutions drop by almost $50 million.  By 2016, per-student operating grants will have dropped by more than 20 per cent since 2001, when the BC Liberals took office and changed how universities and colleges receive core funding.  Meanwhile, tuition fees have increased more than 80 per cent under the BC Liberals.

Record high tuition fees are another example of the increases that average families are now paying out-of-pocket for public services.

While the BC Liberals have allowed universities to raise tuition costs to levels that significantly limit access to post-secondary education for many young British Columbians, they have also made deep cuts to StudentAidBC and eliminated needs-based grants to students.  These changes have negatively impacted students pursuing post-secondary studies. Student debt has risen and accessibility has declined.

“We cannot allow post-secondary education to be pursued only by those with the means to afford its rising costs,” says CUPE BC president Mark Hancock. Continue reading

Bargaining Update: Sept. 16th Meeting

TSSU met with the employer for a fifth day of bargaining on September 16th. TSSU completed the presentation of all of our language proposals and answered all the questions posed by the employer’s bargaining team. TSSU is now awaiting a reply on our package, which was originally tabled on June 4th, 2014. This package contains significant proposals which are designed to meet the current issues of our members on the ground and the future issues that will occur as SFU’s instructional model evolves.

The employer has finally provided TSSU with an enunciation of most, but not all, of its proposals. TSSU’s bargaining committee is now able to commence analysis and examination of the enunciated proposals. TSSU is still waiting for the employer’s bargaining team to provide sufficient clarity, or produce actual contract language, on several items.

TSSU is committed to bargaining a new collective agreement that moves SFU forward, not backwards, in its treatment of Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessional Instructors and ELC/ITP Instructors. TSSU’s proposed package includes:

  • a sustainable solution to the administrative problems of the childcare fund that gets money into the hands of parents, Continue reading

“More Ladders, Less Snakes!”

Do you remember Snakes and Ladders as a kid?

P1190548We had a very successful Week of Welcome on September 2nd with our Snakes, Ladders, Sessionals, and You game that talks about the real-life circumstances and cconsequences of tenuous adjunct labour such as Sessionaling.

Right now 1 in 4 classes at SFU are taught by a Sessional. These highly qualified individuals usually have a PhD, with a number of publications and research projects to their name. They are doing the same job as faculty in the classroom, however they are being paid pennies on the dollar comparatively. This effects not only their own lives, but their classrooms, and academic freedom itself.

Universities relying on these poorly compensated and overworked individuals is a growing trend in Canada and around the world. The CBC has released a few excellent articles on the topic.

CBC: Most university undergrads now taught by poorly paid part-timers

CBC: Exploitation in the ivory tower

P1190546We are working towards a system in which there is a system for sessionals to earn a way into a more permanent position with benefits and security. Many sessionals have worked for SFU for ten years, yet don’t have any benefits, job security, and even have to take on additional teaching jobs at other universities just to pay the bills.

More more information on our proposals and the research that we have completed on this topic, contact us. Also look for our research report that will be coming out later this semester.

Together we can do great things.




Good News Update: Tuition Deferment and Not Being Paid on Time

Hello TSSU,

Thank you for those who have responded to our previous poll, unfortunately it looks as though around 18% of our members where not paid on time this semester. Further this would mean that these members could not sign up for Tuition Deferment without financial penalty.
We have received assurance that this will not be the case, and all members who were not paid on time will be able to sign up for tuition deferment with no financial penalty!
As a reminder for those who are on payroll now, today (the 15th) is the last day to sign up for tuition deferment without financial penalty (as tuition is due by the end of the 15th). If you have not been paid, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help get you paid ASAP.
More info on wage theft: http://www.tssu.ca/?p=3172
More info on tuition deferment: http://www.tssu.ca/tuition-deferment/

Successful BCTF Solidarity Event Sept 12th: Photos!


On Friday Sept 12th, TSSU joined SFU’s Education students to show our solidarity with the BCTF Teachers in their effort and sacrifice to make BC classrooms better, negotiate honestly, and stand up to governmental bullying and illegal actions (twice found illegal by the BC Supreme Court).  Continue reading

Solidarity with BCTF teachers on SFU Burnaby Campus, Friday Sept 12th

Did you know there is a elementary school on BBY hill across from Nesters?

BC teachers are STILL locked out, and they’re on the picket lines every day.

TSSU and the SFU’s Education Student’s Solidarity Committee are inviting all SFU community members to join them in solidarity tomorrow (Sept 12th) around lunch.

  • 10am – meet at Archaeology Museum Atrium to make signs
  • by 11am – march to Elementary school across from Nesters Market.
  • (Should be done by 1pm, come for as much or little as you can, all solidarity is greatly appreciated)

BCTF Solidarity Poster




Tom Kertes (SFU Education Student) sfueducationstudents(at)gmail.com
(604) 600-4926

Future Teachers at SFU to Demonstrate Solidarity for Public Schools and the BCTF

Bargaining Update – September 8, 2014

TSSU met with the employer for bargaining on August 26th. TSSU gave a thorough presentation of our proposals on Teaching Assistants (TAs), Tutor Markers (TMs) and Sessional Instructors (SIs). Despite having received TSSU’s package of proposals on June 4th, the employer again did not come prepared with their proposals. At the table, SFU’s bargaining team committed to finally providing TSSU with a full enunciation of their proposals via email by September 12th. The parties next scheduled bargaining date is September 16, 2014.

To find out more information on TSSU’s bargaining position, please follow our bargaining website at http://bargaining.tssu.ca. Members can also come by our office on Burnaby Campus at AQ 5129 to discuss bargaining with one of our contract committee members.

Members who are interested in getting involved are encouraged to join one of our committees. Please email tssu(at)tssu.ca or see http://www.tssu.ca/committees/ for more information.

Did you get paid on time??

Many of you will remember the series of emails last fall semester asking if you have been paid on time. We found that an incredible 20% of our members were NOT paid on time a year ago. Here is a simple 4 step process to see if you did in fact get your first paycheque today.

  1. First find your paystubs. Log on at myINFO.sfu.ca.
  2. Click “Payroll and Compensation Home”
  3. On the next page click “View Paycheques”
  4. You are now viewing your most recent paystub.
  • If on your paystub the date circled on the below screenshot reads Sept 5th, 2014 (2014/09/05) you’ve been paid on time.
  • If the date does NOT read Sept 5th, 2014 you have NOT been paid on time. Please email our member representative at kdean(at)tssu.ca with the subject line “Not Paid On Time” and we can help fix the issue.

3 view paycheque


(Note: you do NOT have to have signed your contract to get paid on time, if you are international there may be a work around to get paid even if you don’t have your SIN yet.)

Union accuses SFU in Burnaby of gouging international students

Union accuses SFU of gouging international students

International students at Simon Fraser University are being gouged on their health insurance premiums, says the Teaching Support Staff Union.

Derek Sahota, of the TSSU, says international students at SFU are paying, on average, more than double for their health insurance than students at other post secondary institutions in the province like the University of British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnical University and the University of Victoria.

In the fall of 2013, there were more than 4,000 international students enrolled at SFU, representing about 16 per cent of the school’s total student population.

Sahota says the $353 international students pay for health insurance provided by Guard.me is almost triple the cost of the university’s previous health insurance provider, which charged $126 per student.

“We have clear evidence of a public institution who forced their students into the most expensive option when students would have chose a different option,” says Sahota.  Continue reading

Fall 2014 Semester Checklist

It’s that time of year again when deadlines quickly approach!

Fall 14 GM poster
Below is a list that has everything in one place, and for easy google calendar of meetings check our calendar at: tssu.ca/calendar/

This Friday is TA/TM Day FREE or up to 6 hours PAID Professional Development day on BBY campus for members. Schedule: sfu.ca/tlc.html

Afterwards all GSS & TSSU Members are invited to our joint social at 4:30pm-9pm at Highland Pub for free burgers/salad, and $2 GIB/Crooked Creek beers! It’s always lots of fun so feel free to bring your fellow members or meet new ones there.

  • Don’t forget to turn in your logbook lotto sheet by the first GM for two chances to win $125!
  • Remember to fill out your Time Use Guideline (TUG) Sheet with your professor sometime in the first two weeks of semester (Page 69 or 74 of our Collective Agreement) & record your hours with our logbook! It makes your life and your professors life easier by getting both of you on the same page.

For more information on benefits and how to read your forms, visit: tssu.ca/resources/

Guard.me: ‘Grievance filed over exorbitant University private health care plan’

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980
August 27, 2014 09:38 pm
The Teaching Support Staff Union at Simon Fraser University has filed a grievance with the post secondary school claiming international students are getting gouged by its private health insurance provider.“This is causing international students to pay two or three times what international students are paying at other comparable Universities and we don’t think that’s right.”

Derek Sahota says international students, including some of its members, are automatically enrolled in the expensive health plan at 353 dollars for four months– compared to around 150 bucks at other Universities.

Sahota thinks SFU picked the provider for the financial incentive.

“SFU is receiving 5% back from the provider, and we noticed in the other bids, some of which are much more affordable, do not include a financial incentive.”

Sahota says it’s tough to opt-out.

“We have filed a grievance with SFU and we will go to an arbitration hearing in December, we hope to resolve it at that point, but we always rather resolve it my settling beforehand, so we need SFU to look at what has gone wrong and come up with a new solution.”

An arbitration hearing is set for December.


For more information about Guard.me and other insurance plans, click here.

Contact us with questions or to get involved here.

Fall 2014 TSSU & GSS Social!

Are you a TSSU member and/or a GSS member?
You’re invited to the best fall semester kick-off bash!

Hope to see you and your friends there!

TATM day Fall 2014 PDF Poster

As always FREE beef/veggie burgers, FREE salad, & $2 Crooked Creek/GIB beers!

A great way to meet and socialize with new department members and meet people from other departments across SFU!

Immediately after TA/TM Day, but everyone is welcome
(even if you don’t go to the TA/TM Day)

(Gluten free drink option available this year for $3, simply ask the ticket seller)

To volunteer for an hour shift, contact organizer(at)tssu.ca. 


Are you an International Student? We have a question about MSP

Contact us if this has happened to you

After being enrolled in free MSP coverage (group enrollment) through SFU as a TSSU member, have you ever found that you no longer had any MSP coverage in later semesters (aka your card didn’t work)?

Please get in contact with the TSSU office ASAP if you answered yes.

We are finding that international students are finding that their MSP coverage is no longer in effect when attempting to visit the doctor after ceasing to be a TA or TM, even though they still have a valid visa. We can help you through the process of getting your card working again. This could be happening to domestic students as well although we haven’t seen any cases yet.

No one should ever be worried that they don’t have health coverage.

FALL Professional Development (Paid!)

Did you know that every TA and TM get SIX HOURS of paid professional development every contract? TA TM Day and any TLC workshop counts for that time!

All you need to do is put “6″ (hours) on the “Other” line in your Time Use Guidelines (TUG) when you fill it out with your professor. More details on this SFU benefit on page 54 & 55 in your GREEN collective agreement. 


August 27 – Registration deadline for Surrey TA Orientation
September 22 – Application deadline for Fall 2014 EdMedia Protege Program
October 10 – Proposal submission deadline for 20th Annual Spring TA/TM Day
October 17 – Application deadline for December ISW (Vancouver)
October 20 – Application deadline for Spring 2015 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning


Wednesdays, August 27, September 3, 10, 17 | 12:30–1:30 p.m. | Burnaby campus, Surrey campus, Vancouver campus
Bring your laptop and questions and learn more about Canvas, SFU’s learning management system. Find out how to create a course shell, how to use basic Canvas tools, and more. For details and to register >>



Things are getting busy in the office as school will start in less than three weeks…

We’ve been scheduling all of our departmental orientations recently, and have also been kindly invited to many departmental socials, and other similar September events.

If you’d like one of our reps at a particular event, don’t hesitate to contact our Organizer at organizer(at)tssu.ca. We are excited to help welcome all new employees and students, plus reconnect with returning members of our community.

(Topics vary by situation but frequently include how to get benefits, resources available to employees, stipended and paid positions available, rights and responsibilities, and where to learn more. Let us know if you have anything in particular in mind.)

Types of events we have been invited to in the past:

  • New student orientations
  • TA/TM employee orientations
  • Sessional employee orientations
  • Faculty meetings to answer questions on rights and responsibility in a TA/faculty relationship and updates in bargaining (e.g. what is a workload review, how to complete an evaluation, etc) Continue reading

Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development (CIIEID)

Have you heard of the new mining institute that SFU and UBC is involved in?

Well it just came out that SFU will provide the Institute with $4.15 million of ‘in-kind’ contributions over five years. 

In addition, when the Canadian government has gotten involvement in natural resource governance overseas, there has been a track record of privileging investment and profitability over reducing poverty and protecting communities, workers, and the environment.

2013 UBC Findings

TSSU’s Social Justice Committee is joining the SFU Accountability and Transparency in Public Education group to spread the word and demand the university explain what is going on to community members. (Accountability & Transparency at SFU Group’s Facebook Page Here)
Our school’s reputation and potentially our tuition being spent to increase human rights violations and increase private mining profits is in question. 
Click here for more information and how to contact us….  Continue reading