Andrew Boden: APSA Executive Director

Advocating for You

Early each fall, my team begins preparing for our APSA AGM in November. There’s a lot to do—finances, an annual report, data on how we help our members. I was stunned when we tallied this year’s numbers on how many of you came to us for advocacy help.

713 of you met with my team of four last fiscal year. 713. That’s almost 42% of our total membership and up by 9% over last year. You’ve come to us with workplace issues, large and small. You’ve trusted us to help you, and I am beyond grateful for your confidence in us. Thank you for your ongoing trust—it’s something my team and our board cherish. Advocacy is one of the main pillars of our work for you, and we’ll continue to serve you, as you need.

At our AGM, you’ll see some other figures on our advocacy work for you. One of them is the number of grievances we filed this past fiscal year. Four. Of the 713 of you who came to see us, only four issues resulted in a grievance. Over 99% of our cases, were resolved informally. Behind the scenes. Diplomatically. Often our work in this regard is gentle, as we want to ensure your work relationships remain amicable; sometimes, the occasion calls for our APSA-brand feistiness. I want to reassure you, however, that if your situation calls for filing a grievance, that’s exactly what we’ll recommend to you. Our goal is to fulsomely represent each of you as regards your needs, not work to keep the number of grievances low.

When you come to us, we always assure you that what you tell us is between you and the advocate you’re speaking to. My team doesn’t work for the University; what you say to us stays with us here at APSA. Our volunteer advocates, all of them APSA members, also maintain strict confidentiality to uphold your faith in us. If we suggest a course of action, we only pursue it with your consent. If we suggest X and you’re not comfortable with X, we don’t do X.

Whether we’re answering your workplace questions or meeting with you and Organizational Health representatives; whether we’re representing you in a bullying and harassment investigation or pursuing a Human Rights matter on your behalf, we have your back. We thank you for trusting us to do so.

PS—I’m also providing a sample of some of the Advocacy services we provide. We recommend, in general, that if you have a workplace issue, it’s best to meet with us before meeting with University personnel: we’re here to represent your interests.

If there’s anything you don’t see below, please reach out to us, and we’ll help you.

  • Guidance on your terms and conditions of employment. This includes help with questions about overtime, job descriptions, sick leave, long-term disability, bullying and harassment concerns, among others.
  • Representation to protect your rights. This includes with Human Resources, Labour Relations and Organizational Health, and so on. We generally advise that if you meet with University personnel as regards your terms and conditions of employment, it’s best to have an APSA representative to safeguard your interests.