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Frequently Asked Questions

Campus Planning + Communications

Here, you will find information related to campus-wide planning and communications. Please reach out to with any questions. 

The August 27 Employee Town Hall is now available for viewing at your convenience. Note the very beginning of the session is missing due to technical difficulties.

Employee Relations, General

Below are frequently asked questions the HR Department receives from employees and prospective employees. Please send your questions to

Where there are collective agreement provisions in place, the Employment Standards Act does not apply. If a collective agreement is silent on an issue, then Employment Standards Act applies. A collective agreement cannot include provisions that are lower than Employment Standards.

In the HR world, managers and supervisors are two very different things.

What is a Manager?

A manager is responsible for meeting the institutional expectations of an area, process and/or employees that they are responsible for. Managers are also responsible for making recommendations in the hiring and disciplining of staff in their respective areas to the VIU President or designate.

What is a Supervisor?

A supervisor is responsible to oversee a work area (department, section, team) to ensure it meets its operational obligations and the expectations of its manager. Supervisors are generally members of the bargaining unit over which they supervise.

What is the difference?

It is the ability to impact the employment of another employee that separates the two.

According to the BC Labour Relations Board, a manager is a position that has “authority and responsibility” over other employees. This means that a manager has the ability to recommend the hiring, firing and/or discipline of another position, making decisions that will impact the employment relationship of another employee and/or engage in activities, on behalf of the employer, that may impact the employment relationship of other employees. It is for these reasons that managers are part of the excluded employee group and not represented by a union.

For further information, please read PDF icon Manager and Supervisor.

Provisions relating to union leave are set out in the VIU/CUPE 1858 Collective Agreement. Through the Collective Agreement, both the University and the Union have identified these rights and obligations as necessary in maintaining positive labour relations.

The VIU/CUPE 1858 Collective Agreement provides leaves of absence for CUPE executive members, stewards and other union members for union business. Article 2.09 outlines the two general types of union leave, though other leaves are noted elsewhere in the Collective Agreement. These leaves are identified as union paid or employer paid. When “leave without pay” is granted, the employee is paid by the employer and the union reimburses the employer for the appropriate salary, benefits costs and any travel time incurred. When “leave with pay” is granted there is no union reimbursement and wages and benefits are paid by the employer.

Union paid leaves (leaves without pay) include leaves for CUPE representatives to:

  1. Attend conventions of the Union and bodies to which the Union is affiliated;
  2. Attend union business that requires them to leave their premises of employment;
  3. Attend meetings of union bargaining committees.

“Union business” includes a variety of activities including CUPE training and executive meetings; “premises of employment” means an employee’s primary work location.

The reimbursement of wages and benefits by the Union enables the employer to backfill the position, where feasible.

Employer paid leaves (leave with pay) includes leaves for:

  1. Employees who are on the CUPE Bargaining Committee to carry on negotiations with the employer;
  2. Stewards, or their alternates, to perform their duties pursuant to Article 8.01;
  3. Employees called to appear as witnesses before an Arbitration Board.

For further information, please read PDF icon CUPE 1858 – Leave for Union Business.

The VIU/CUPE Collective Agreement Article 28.03 Rates of Pay outlines the bus driver rate of pay:


An employee shall be paid in accordance with the rates set out in attached appendices.

  1. Bus Driver

Premium pay one dollar ($1.00) per hour to an employee assigned bus driver duties. However, individuals engaged primarily to drive a bus will be paid the rate determined through the job evaluation plan.

Questions have been received on who is eligible for the bus driver premium and who is not. To provide clarity, HR interprets this language to mean:

  1. If a CUPE position has bus driver duties as part of its Joint Job Evaluation documents, then this position is not entitled to the bus driver premium.
    • Rationale: As the JJE process would have already considered the obligations and responsibilities of the role (including bus driving), if they were to receive the premium, they would essentially be being paid twice for the same activity.
  2. For a CUPE Casual Bus Driver you should be using position 00504 when creating the appointment and this position already includes the premium. This would apply for the entire duration of the trip – including the drive to location, the wait at location, and the drive back.
    • Rationale: The position is already receiving the premium so if the premium was added to the timesheet, they would be being paid twice for the same activity.
  3. For positions that do not have driving a bus as part of their JJE, but the employee has the license, willingness to drive and has completed the Driver Responsibility Form through Health & Safety Services, the employee will be paid the bus driving premium for the duration of the trip to location and returning from location.  However, they will not receive the premium during the time between the two.
    • Rationale: While they are driving, they are doing an additional service for VIU and should be compensated for that, hence the premium. However, during the time between trips to/from location when they are performing their primary role, they are not performing the role of driving the bus or attending the vehicle, and therefore cannot claim they have control or responsibility over the bus.
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