Sessional Faculty Dental Plan Information (Enrollment, Opt Outs, Family Coverage)

Brad WalchukUncategorized

As you might be aware, CUPE 3906 has bargained a comprehensive dental plan for Sessional Faculty (and their dependents) that offers 100% reimbursement on many procedures and provides up to $1000 per calendar year in coverage (or $2000 for those who enroll in family coverage). Information about specific details, costs, exceptions, and processes can be found here:  and full details about the opt out and family enrollment procedures can be found here..
All sessionals are automatically enrolled in this plan.
You may opt-out of the Dental Plan by completing the ‘CUPE DENTAL PLAN OPT-OUT AUTHORIZATION’ and CUPE 3906 direct deposit payment forms and by providing the required proof of alternative coverage. You must submit the ‘OPT-OUT’ form and ‘proof of coverage’ to by October 2nd, 2023For returning members, please note that opt-outs must be completed EACH YEAR to keep your opt-out status valid. You can find the opt out form here:
Family coverage is available for both spouse (married, common-law, or same sex) and children. To activate  coverage, complete the ‘CUPE DENTAL PLAN FAMILY COVERAGE ENROLLMENT AUTHORIZATION.’ You must submit the forms to by October 2nd, 2023No forms will be accepted after October 2nd, 2023. For returning members, please note that these forms must be completed EACH YEAR in order to keep your family coverage valid. You can find the family enrollment form here:
Please see the attached letter for the specific details of the plan, including costs, information about deadlines, and an overview of processes.
For any questions about the Dental Plan, please email
Please direct any other questions to or

The CUPE 3906 Potluck Picnic

Brad WalchukUncategorized

We are all part of the union: we work together and share together, and in that spirit we are organizing a Park Potluck Picnic party!
The party will take place on Tuesday October 3rd, as part of the CUPE 3906 Week of Welcome (October 2-6). Location: Alexander Park, in the Ainslie Wood neighbourhood just south of campus.
Sign up now to take part in the potluck! Once you have signed up through the form, you can come pick up a $25 Food Basics grocery card at the union office on campus, to buy ingredients and cook a meal you would love to share. Besides the food we will all bring, the organizers will also be supplying hot drinks to stay warm 🙂
Union office location: basement of Kenneth Taylor Hall (KTH) B111

September General Membership Meeting – Sept 20th at 2 pm (online)

Brad WalchukUncategorized

CUPE 3906 will be hosting it’s first General Membership Meeting, or GMM, of the new academic year on Wednesday, September 20th at 2 p.m. Due to scheduling and room availability on campus (which is especially busy this time of year) the meeting will be in an on-line only format. We expect to be back with hybrid meetings for our October 18th meeting.

You can find the registration link for the September GMM here:

At this meeting, we will be holding elections for Vice President and Chief Steward, Unit 3. The latter position is restricted to current postdoctoral fellows. We will also be presenting and voting upon an operating budget for the 2023-24 fiscal/academic year.

NEW Postdoc Benefits and Entitlements as September 1, 2023

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Dear Postdocs,
We wanted to remind you about important changes to your entitlement under the collective agreement that came into effect today (September 1, 2023). These improvements were the direct result of the support that the bargaining team received from postdocs during our most recent round of collective bargaining.
  • Effective September 1, 2023, the minimum salary increases from $40,000 per year to $42,500 per year for full-time work (or a pro-rated equivalent). Anyone making less than $42,500 per year for full-time work will see a wage increase on your next pay cheque. If you are entitled to this increase and do not see it, please let us know.
  • Your entitlement under the Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) has increased from $300 per academic year to $450 per academic year, also effective September 1st. This account covers many items that are not covered or not fully covered by your SunLife health and dental plan. More information on the HCSA, including an expense form, can be found here:
  • Most importantly, the new (and vastly improved) SunLife health and dental plan is now in place. The new plan offers considerable improvements to virtually all items, and covers many at 100% (up to a maximum of $500 per year). A comparison of the previous plan to the new plan can be found here:
  • The new SunLife plan is available at no cost to you and your dependents, though you will need to enroll your dependents to ensure they have access. You should have received a link to this form from human resources: The new SunLife plan means that the existing Equitable Life dental plan ended on August 31, 2023. Existing expenses incurred prior to September 1, 2023 can still be made and must be submitted to Equitable Life within 60 days of when the expense occurred.
  • Your professional development allowance recently increased to $1000 per year. More information on that, as well as the application form, can be found here:
  • In our most recent round of bargaining, we also secured a Gender Affirmation Fund and Reproductive Health Fund, which covers up to $2000 per academic year for eligible expenses. More information on that, as well as the application form, can be found here:
  • Finally, we also secured improvements to the Postdoctoral Support Fund, which now provides up to $750 per year to cover eligible expenses, including child care, moving/relocation costs, and other unexpected or one-time emergency costs. The application for that fund is available here: (please note you only need to fill out ‘part B’ in your initial application).
In solidarity,
CUPE 3906 Staff and Executive Committee

TA Professionalism, Rights, and Responsibilities Workshop

Brad WalchukUncategorized

Teaching Assistants at McMaster University are required to complete paid training to do their jobs. This year, there is the opportunity for some of that training to take place in-person, on the McMaster campus, on the morning of September 6th or September 11th.

This workshop reviews what it means to be a CUPE Local 3906 Unit 1 member and covers different aspects of professionalism to set TAs up for success at McMaster.

Registration for the in-person training is required, and spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis:

Register via Eventbrite

Note: this is an in-person offering of one of two required workshops for mandatory TA training. New CUPE Local 3906, Unit 1 employee are required to complete 5-hours of mandatory training. The training includes a module on Anti-Oppression (2-hours) and TA Rights & Responsibilities (1-hour). The additional 2-hours of training are selected from a menu of centrally offered elective workshops. Online asynchronous versions of all workshops are available on Avenue to Learn. Register for the remaining workshops through the regulatory training tile in Mosaic to complete the 5 hours. Once registered, the training will be available in Avenue to Learn approximately 15 minutes after registration.

Please bring an electronic device with you and enroll in your Faculty-based course prior to attending the in-person workshop as you’ll be completing a short online quiz at the end of the workshop. This quiz must be completed to receive payment for the training.

Fall 2023 Teaching Assistant (UNIT 1) and Sessional Faculty (UNIT 2) Dental Rates and Change of Coverage Forms are Now Available!

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Dental coverage rates and change of coverage forms for CUPE 3906 Members working as Classification “A” Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants (in Lieu) and/or Sessional Faculty in the Fall 2023 Term are now available!

Classification “A” Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants (in Lieu) with contracts to work in the Fall 2023 Term should click here for an important dental coverage letter, and visit our dental coverage website to obtain more information and forms to opt-out of dental coverage or enroll in family dental coverage for the 2023-2024 academic year. The deadline for Unit 1 members to submit forms and supporting documentation is: September 24, 2023.  Please submit forms and supporting documentation to

Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty members with contracts to work in the Fall 2023 term should click here for an important dental coverage letter, and visit our dental coverage website to obtain more information and forms to opt-out of dental coverage or enroll in family dental coverage for the 2023-2024 academic year. The deadline for Unit 2 members to submit forms and supporting documentation is: October 1st, 2023.  Please submit forms and supporting documentation to

Please note that Classification “A” Unit 1 members and Unit 2 members must submit change of coverage forms every academic year to maintain opt-out or family coverage status.  Members who wish to default to single dental coverage do not need to submit enrollment forms. (In other words, Classification “A” Unit 1 members and Unit 2 members are automatically enrolled in our single dental coverage by the Employer).

Finally, please be aware that there is a coverage “black out” period that occurs starting every September 1, which can last into October.  This means that members who are eligible for our coverage but incur eligible expenses during this period may experience significant delays in the payment of eligible dental claims.  Unfortunately, this is the result of payroll schedules over which we have no control.  Eligible members can incur eligible expenses during the blackout period, but there will be a delay in reimbursements for these claims.

Sessional Faculty Training Fund (up to $300)- Continuing in 2023-24 academic year

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The Training Fund for Sessional Faculty will continue to provide limited, one-time payments for members who complete select training through the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching prior to August 30, 2024.
The eligible training includes the 2023 Sessional Faculty Orientation, the Learning to Teach Online Course, any of the EDUCATN courses that comprise the Teaching & Learning Certificates of Completion Program, the Instructional Skills Workshop, the Course (re)Design Workshop, the Assessment Development Workshop, and Professor Hippo-on-Campus (McMaster’s Student Mental Health Education Program for Educators and Navigators).
Payment is capped at $100 per member for each completed training, to a maximum of $300 per member, per year. More information, and the list of available courses, can be found here:

Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Sessional Music Faculty Training Opportunity and Training Funds

Mary Ellen CampbellUncategorized

Teaching & Learning Resource Fair (Aug 17, 2023), New Faculty Orientation (Aug 29, 2023), and Training Fund reminder
Unit 2 Members (Sessional Faculty and Hourly Rated Music Faculty) are invited to participate in McMaster’s Teaching & Learning Resource Fair, as part of New Faculty Orientation on Thursday, August 17th, 2023, from 12:30pm to 1:30pm in L.R. Wilson. The Resource Fair is intended to “provide new faculty with an opportunity to become familiar with teaching-related resources, departments, and facilities at McMaster.”
Also, Registration for the 2023 New Sessional Faculty Orientation, taking place on Aug 29, 2023 at 10:30 A.M., is now open: 
This orientation is put on by the MacPherson Institute, who states: “In this 1.5-hour online synchronous orientation, you will learn about the McMaster teaching context and effective teaching practices, and connect with other McMaster sessional faculty.”  Please click the link above for more information.
The orientation, as well as other select courses put on by the MacPherson Institute, are now eligible courses for which you can receive funding under our Unit 2 Training Fund.  For more information, and to obtain an application form, please visit

McCall-MacBain Postdoc Applications

Brad WalchukUncategorized

The McCall MacBain Postdoctoral Fellows Teaching and Leadership Program is now accepting applications for our 2023-2024 cohort.

This unique, one-of-a-kind program is open to all postdoctoral fellows at McMaster University and is now accepting limited spots for regional partners. Interdisciplinary postdocs from around the region will come together on the McMaster campus once a week to network, collaborate and hone their teaching, communication, as well as leadership skills. Postdocs will gain an edge in the highly competitive academic job market as well as expand their reach in industry (attached please find further information about this past year’s cohort)

The program runs from September – May (1 day/week). By the end of the 8-month term, postdocs will receive two certifications: one for Teaching (The Instructional Skills workshop from the MacPherson Institute) as well as one for Leadership (Postdocs Leadership Certification from the DeGroote School of Business).

If you are a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University and interested in this professional development opportunity, visit our website for more information or email the program manager Katie George

Ready to Apply? Complete the Application


Call for Proposals – Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowships

The University of Toronto is pleased to announce the second call for applications for  the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, which brings together the brightest minds who have completed a PhD in the natural sciences or engineering and who aim to pursue a research project that includes the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to their domain. The program will fund cutting edge applications of AI in the natural sciences and engineering and creates a community of interdisciplinary leaders.


Value: $85,000 CDN/year, plus benefits

Applicants must demonstrate clear expertise and promise within their field of study. Experience with AI is not a requirement, but applicants must have a desire to learn new AI methodologies that stand to accelerate discoveries in their domain. These Fellowships will fund research and provide training in AI and related computational skills to support new directions in the application of AI.

Award Start Date: Between May 1, 2024 and January 1, 2025

Duration: 2 years of funding through the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship program.

Note: there is a possibility for a 3rd year global research exchange, industry internship, and/or teaching-focused postdoctoral experience, pending the availability of funding from the host supervisor(s), Mitacs, and/or an alternate source of funding.

Application Deadline: Monday, October 2, 2023 (5PM EST)

Adjudication Meeting: November 2023

Notifications: December 2023

Further Information:

Questions? Please contact Amanda Mohabeer at


Developing Your EQ for Professional Success

July 25, 2023

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and regulate one’s emotions and understand the emotions of others. This is relevant as it allows you to communicate effectively, empathize with others, and be both self and socially aware. This talk will discuss emotional intelligence (EQ) and its impact on career success, job performance, and stronger mental health. Participants will learn the definition of EQ & understand how it differs from IQ, be introduced to the four parts of EQ, and acquire ways to develop and strengthen EQ, including increasing self-awareness, developing empathy, identifying emotions, and embracing differences.

Speaker: Diane A. Safer, Ph.D., director, career and professional development for graduate students & postdocs; assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Register for this online workshop from the National Postdoctoral Association