Each month, our advocates answer your questions about workplace challenges, the AD 10 policies, and how they’re applied. Questions? Submit them anonymously here. These questions will be answered in a monthly advocacy corner issue. For an immediate answer, please contact APSA.
Hello, I'm Andrew Boden, APSA's Executive Director and an advocate on our Advocacy Committee. I'm answering your questions this week.
Can you tell me why everything seems like such a mess at SFU? The big controversies over the Human Rights Office and the Research Ethics Board, the general counsel, the human rights director and the previous VPA all leaving, and now the stuff happening with football. This isn't even the whole list! What's going on???
Thank you for your question. It's not usually one we answer here in our Advocacy section; however, it is one that we've heard in different forms from many members over the last six months.
A small story that will at first seem unrelated. Many years ago, I had the privilege to travel to Iceland on vacation. I took a boat tour of an iceberg-filled lake that drains into the Norwegian Sea. I learned on that trip that icebergs sometimes flip upside down: the iceberg topples over, and everything underwater is now exposed for everyone to see.
The same, I think, happens to organizations: what was perhaps lingering below the surface is suddenly exposed to the bright light of day. Iceland is also a land of volcanoes: sometimes, the tensions in organizations that have been building up over years or decades erupt. There's a chaotic period for a time, usually followed by a cooling off into a new arrangement.
Unfortunately, SFU seems to be going through one of those eruptive times. It will be intriguing to see how it all falls out over the coming months.
Is there a way to forgo some of our benefits in one area to get additional funds for an area we need more of? I am in desperate need of psychological counselling and have used up my funds for the entire year. But there are other benefits I have that I will never use. I'm just trying to explore options, as therapy is incredibly expensive.
If you're comfortable doing so, I'd recommend arranging a confidential appointment with us. We have a couple of potential solutions for you, but these would require further information about your personal circumstances. Meanwhile, if you're not aware of SFU's Employee Family Assistance Program, you can read more about how to access its counselling services, which are part of your benefits, here.
Can we advocate for at least 21 hours a year of paid leave to deal with family illness?
Thank you for your great question. Leave to deal with family illness is certainly a critical issue that our Salary and Benefits Committee is strongly considering. Please do see us for a confidential meeting, if you need further assistance.