Know Your Rights!

Did you know?

As soon as you receive an appointment as a Teaching Assistant, Tutor-Marker, Sessional, SLC Grad Facilitator, ELC/ITP Instructor or Research Assistant/ Grant Employee; you automatically become a member of the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU). You remain a member of TSSU for Two Semesters after your last appointment.

The employer cannot penalize you for exercising your rights and benefits as a member of the TSSU.

General Rights

The employer must also provide, for free, all materials and facilities required for you to perform your job, including textbooks, whiteboard markers, etc.

You have the right to receive a copy of the Collective Agreement from the department. If you do not receive one, please contact us.

You have the right to be paid on time, and to have a manual cheque cut within 3 days if the employer fails to do so. The employer cannot deduct money from your pay without your express prior written consent. You can find your pay information at:

You also have the right to a workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying. If you experience any of these at work, you can contact the Union for assistance.

Other Benefits for Union Members

If you are enrolled as an SFU student and are working in a TSSU appointment, you may have your tuition deducted bit by bit from your paycheque, rather than pay all at once. You must apply before the payroll run occurs for that pay period, and ensure that your tuition is fully paid by the last payroll period of the semester to avoid late fees. See: 

You can set up the deduction at:

TSSU members with children under the age of 13, or under 18 with special needs, are eligible for the TSSU Membership Childcare Fund. This negotiated benefit disburses tens of thousands of dollars per semester, see:

If you create materials for your course, you maintain all intellectual property rights. See:

Health and Safety Rights

You have the right to know about things that could affect your safety. As a new or young worker in BC, you have the right to training and orientation covering all hazards you might be exposed to in the workplace. This training should include:

  • bullying, harassment and violence in the workplace;
  • chemical safety and lab safety training;
  • proper use of protective equipment, etc.

You always have the RIGHT TO REFUSE unsafe work.  You cannot be disciplined if you refuse to do work you reasonably deem unsafe. It is important to follow the right steps, so please contact the Union immediately when you exercise this right.

You have the RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE in SFU’s Health and Safety Programs and Committees. If you would like to join a safety committee, contact us. Committee time is paid in addition to your job appointment.

Evaluations and Employee File

As part of the Collective Agreement, you have the right to a fair evaluation of your work by your Supervisor (not your students). You must be informed of the criteria for the evaluation at the start of your appointment. If your supervisor takes issue with your performance, they must indicate how you can improve and give you the chance to do so before putting it on an evaluation. We frequently see supervisors ignore the requirements of a fair evaluation, including discrimination on the basis of race, illness, and gender.

If you have any concerns about your evaluation, please contact us immediately. You always have the right to see your evaluation. You also have the right to challenge it and, if demonstrated to be unfair, it can be removed from your file, by following the grievance procedure.