Spring 2024 applications to the TSSU Member Childcare Fund Open on January 8th, 2024!
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TSSU Member Childcare Benefits

TSSU offers two forms of assistance for members with childcare costs: (1) a childcare subsidy to assist members who attend TSSU meetings (in-person or remote), and (2) a childcare fund to assist with semesterly childcare costs. Both of these are detailed below.

We also have included information on two additional childcare benefits: (3) the SFU General Graduate Bursary, and (4) The BC Government Affordable Child Care Benefit.

Childcare Subsidy for TSSU Meeting

For TSSU members who attend General Membership meetings and other TSSU committee meetings, a small subsidy is available to help offset the costs of childcare. For more details, see the TSSU Childcare Subsidy Request Form (online or printable pdf). This form may be turned in at a TSSU meeting, at the TSSU office (AQ 5129), or by email to coordinator@tssu.ca.

TSSU Membership Childcare Fund

Childcare fund applications open at the start of each semester close at the end of week three of the semester. All members, including RAs, grant employees and unemployed members, with children can apply to the childcare fund. No receipts are required, just children.

Updates on Fund Disbursement Amounts

The TSSU Childcare Fund was changed in the last round of bargaining so we now control the fund. Over a series of meetings the General Membership and Childcare Working Group collaboratively developed a policy that governs the operation of the fund. All TSSU members who have children of certain ages receive a pro-rated disbursement. The application only takes a few minutes and does not involve a means test or disclosure of any financial information. 

After our most recent round of bargaining we now receive $215,000 per year from SFU to replenish the fund. which is now enough to fully fund all applicants on an ongoing basis! Should the number of applications increase we will eventually need to return to pro-rating, but for now the amounts in the chart below are the amounts applicants can expect. 

ClassificationDisbursement Amount if fully funded
TSSU member 0-36 months: $687.50
3-5 years: $497.50
5-12 years: $250.50
children with special needs, including those over the age of 13: $687.50

Where a child is born during the semester, the rate shall be prorated based on the number of weeks the child is born into the semester. o, a child born in the 7th week of a 17 week semester, would receive 11 weeks / 17 weeks ~= 65% of the rate.

History of the Fund and Bargaining for Improvements

TSSU also won a large grievance settlement, as SFU was misappropriating money from the fund. Because of this, we now have access to a childcare fund that is easy to apply to and accessible to all members. The TSSU General Membership decided to disburse the large surplus won through the grievance before the expiry of the current Collective Agreement in April 2019. As planned, the money has now run out -- through the fund we have disbursed more than $450 000 to hundreds of parents and children. In the 2019-2022 round of bargaining TSSU members voted to put part of our wage increase into the fund to bring the annual amount to $215,000!

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply?

All TSSU members (as defined by the TSSU By-Laws which includes Research Assistants and Grant Employees) with children under the age of 13, or those with children up to the age of 18 requiring additional care due to a physical or developmental disability, are eligible to apply.

When to apply?

For disbursement in a given semester, applications must be received by the end of the third week of that semester. TSSU decisions as to disbursements will be made by no later than the seventh week of the semester. Late applications will be accepted, but disbursement will not occur until the following semester.

What information might I need to give the TSSU?

Applications may require supplementary documentation of each child's age (birth certificate, passport, notarized letter, etc.), but these do not need to be provided during the application process.

Supporting documentation may be requested by the TSSU. If such a request is made, supporting documentation shall be one of the following:

Applicants lacking these documents may present a duly notarized affidavit or sworn statement or similar official documentation supporting the existence of the child/children.

How will I receive my money?

Students will receive disbursements as a bursary deposited into their student account. Non-students will receive disbursements as taxable income facilitated by SFU's payroll system.

How is the amount I receive determined?

Recently we won the increase in the Childcare Fund from $55,800 per year to $215,000 per year in our Collective Agreement!

(a) Funds will be provided based on SFU Child Care Society (CCS) rates as of September 1, 2017 (see table below).

(b) Funds will then be determined based on the age of each child on the first day of the semester. Example -- Margo turned 11 on January 28, 2018. They will turn 12 on January 28, 2019. They are considered 11 years old for the Spring 2019 application.

Children are grouped into three age categories for the fund: 0-36 months, 3-5 years, 5-12 years. In the case of children with special needs, including those over the age of 13, funds will be provided based on the 0-36 month rate.

More info: the 0-36 month rate applies from birth until the day before the child's third birthday, the 3-5 year rate applies from the child's 3rd birthday until the day before their 5th birthday, and the 5-12 year rate from their 5th birthday until the day before their 13th birthday.

Where a child is born during the semester, the rate shall be prorated based on the number of weeks the child is born into the semester. So, a child born in the 7th week of a 17 week semester, would receive 11 weeks / 17 weeks ~= 65% of the rate.

Who decided on the Fund's terms of reference?

The terms of reference are determined by the TSSU General Membership, and the information provided in the application will be used by TSSU to make disbursement decisions. A dispute over the amount of an award should be directed to the TSSU.

SFU General Graduate Bursary

TSSU members who are graduate students should continue to apply for the needs-based graduate student bursary through SFU's bursary program. If you received money through the old childcare bursary, then you will likely continue to receive funding through the general graduate student bursary. The TSSU childcare fund is meant as a top up to this bursary, not a replacement. When completing an SFU bursary application you should NOT include the money you received from the fund as income.

BC Government Affordable Child Care Benefit

The BC government has established a new Affordable Child Care Benefit. For non-international student members this can bring the cost of licensed care down to $0 for those families earning less than ~$45,000 / year (and then tapers out at $110,000 / year family income). Unfortunately, it doesn't help international student members. Information is here:


Additional Resources

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