SFUFA Services

What We Do

SFUFA serves as collective bargaining agent for research faculty, teaching faculty, practitioner faculty and librarian and archivist faculty at Simon Fraser University. From negotiation of collective agreements to member advocacy to informal advice, we work to provide a collective voice for our members, to defend and protect the integrity of the academic mission and public post-secondary education, and to provide a range of services of benefit to our members and the university community as a whole.

SFUFA is the sole legal collective bargaining agent for all faculty at SFU, whether in research, teaching, practitioner, or librarian/ archivist streams. A certified trade union trade under the law, SFUFA bargains collective agreements that legally bind the University, the Association, and members. SFUFA has both rights and responsibilities vis a vis the administration of those agreements and enforcement of their provisions, and SFUFA representatives can legally represent members in any employment dispute with the University.

Collective bargaining is the foundation of SFUFA’s work. It involves periodic negotiation of salaries, benefits, and terms and conditions of employment that are legally binding until such time as the Agreement expires and the University and the Association form a new agreement. On SFUFA’s side, the bargaining process typically involves: consultation with members at special meetings, through surveys, and via advisory committees; research into and development of proposals; a series of meetings with a team chosen by the administration to consider proposals from both sides and attempt to reach agreement. Should the parties be unable to reach agreement, the Labour Code’s default options are strike/lockout, though we always have the option of seeking mediation and/ or arbitration to resolve disputes.

SFUFA’s bargaining proposals are developed by the bargaining team based on priorities identified by members, and we strongly encourage members to bring forward recommendations and to participate in the various fora provided to consider, develop and select priorities for collective bargaining.

One of SFUFA’s primary roles is to advocate for the interests of members and to represent them in disputes with the University. Representation takes a number of forms, from informal consultation and advising through to formal legal representation in grievance and arbitration proceedings (see below).

Members may reach out to the Association at any time for assistance with any matter arising from or impacting work or the workplace. There are legal limits to our jurisdiction, and we cannot guarantee that we are always able to represent members as they would hope, but we are committed to being available in all ways possible, including acting informally wherever possible even if legal options are constrained.

While not exhaustive, the following is a general breakdown of the ways SFUFA represents and advocates for its members on a daily basis.

A Note on Confidentiality

As a general principle, SFUFA treats member consultations as confidential. We may have need to discuss issues internally, but members can feel confident that their concerns will not be shared with colleagues or with the University without the express permission of the member and/ or until a formal (and more public) process such as a grievance is initiated. There are limits to confidentiality, of course. For example, should an issue come to our attention which causes concern for the safety of the member or the community, or should an issue be raised that is significance to the Association and demands attention organizationally, it may be necessary for us to act even contrary to the preference of the member. Such situations are, however, extremely rare, and the Association does not take such action without consulting with legal counsel as to our obligations.

Faculty members at SFU often participate in confidential procedures, such as search committees and evaluative processes, and have access to confidential information through teaching and service obligations. SFU policies govern treatment of confidential material, but members should note that consulting with one’s Union is permitted regarding any aspect of employment. That is, should a concern arise in or with respect to a confidential process, members may feel confident in approaching the Association for advice on how to handle the situation, and in no case should be threatened or admonished for seeking counsel from SFUFA.

Consultation and Advising

SFUFA staff are available to meet with members regarding any and all workplace related issues, and can be a useful sounding board when an issue arises that is troubling or unclear. Whether related to rights or benefits, University procedures or protocols, interpersonal conflicts, or personal events impacting one’s work – for any reason, at any time, members can seek out the Association for information, advice, or simply an ear to listen.

Informal Processes

Most often, when an issue arises that requires attention, the Association’s first step is to seek an informal solution. Through consultation with the member, we will identify possible solutions and discuss the various avenues available to pursue those solutions, and will work with whatever creativity and flexibility are possible to find the simplest solution for the greatest number of people. The University is a decentralized and dynamic institution, rooted in collegial relationships, and the Association strives to focus on problem-solving, prioritizing what works for real people in real circumstances. Informal resolutions can be pursued at interpersonal, unit, decanal, or University levels as appropriate, and engagement in an informal process neither precludes nor requires more formal action later.


Grievances are formal processes concerning the intepretation or application of the Collective Agreement; formal procedures outlining formal complaints, a grievance is not always the most appropriate response, nor even an option if there is not a breach of the Agreement or policy that we can rely on. The grievance is, however, the most standard complaint process available to unions, and initiates a formal process that can lead to a third party, binding process resolve disputes (arbitration).

Grievances may arise from complaints of individual members, groups of members, or the Association as an organization, and once launched set into motion a process that is laid out in the Collective Agreement (Article 21, Dispute Resolution). That process is ultimately governed by BC’s Labour Relations Code, and the Labour Relations Board is the ultimate authority over how disputes are resolved.  As legal processes, grievances are not disputes between individual members and the employer, but between the Association and the University. That is, while an in individual’s specific situation may form the basis of the grievance, the grievance itself is “owned” by the Association. It is the Association that has the authority to launch, settle, withdraw, or arbitrate a grievance.

To say that the Association owns the grievances is not to suggest that the member involved has no role. Throughout grievance processes, and in proposal of or consideration of settlement options, the Association works closely with the affected member(s). Ultimately, however, as the grievance regards violation of the Collective Agreement, and the Collective Agreement is a legal document binding the University and the Union, it is the Union that is both responsible for and has authority for if and how grievances are pursued.  There may, then, be cases in which a member wants to file a grievance and the Association declines to do so; and there may be issues in which a member might prefer not to file a grievance, but the matter is of such significance that the Association needs to act regardless.

In determining whether, when, and how to pursue a case, the Association may consider a range of factors, but much not act in a way that is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith. Among the factors that may be considered are the following:

  • the seriousness of the breach
  • the likelihood of success in a formal complaint process
  • any conflict between the interests of the member(s) involved and the wider interest of the membership as a whole
  • the availability of Association resources to pursue the matter, evaluated against the significance of the case and the chances of success

That is to say, the Association must listen to a member’s concerns, take those concerns seriously and evaluate them against the Agreement, and determine if there has been a breach and whether that breach might be addressed through a grievance, and it must do so in a way that is fair and appropriately considers the interest of the member. That does not, however, mean that all cases will be taken up, either at the initial grievance stage or in consideration of whether a case ought be pursued to arbitration.


Arbitration is the final stage in the grievance procedure, and is available to the Association where a settlement (formal or informal) has not been possible with the University. It involves both parties making arguments and presenting evidence to an independent third party whose authority derives from the Labour Relations Board and who is empowered to issue a decision that is final and binding. Arbitrations are generally public processes, leading to public decisions that form part of case law for future reference.

Not all, nor even most, grievances are pursued to arbitration, and often issues that are deemed appropriate for a grievance will be withdrawn rather than taken forward to this stage. There are a number of factors that are considered in determining whether to pursue a case, including but not limited to:

  • chances of success (normally based on a formal legal opinion)
  • implications of both success and failure of the case for the future
  • cost of pursing a case vs what may be achieved

As arbitration is a binding process that leads to a public decision, the Association will always need to consider not only what may be gained through a successful case, but what may be lost through an unsuccessful one. As procedures that can be lengthy and involve significant legal resources, the Association also may consider the costs and resources necessary to pursue a case.

Decisions regarding arbitration are ultimately the purview of the Executive Committee, based on advice from staff and legal counsel.

Representation in non-Grievance Matters

SFUFA’s formal representation of members is not restricted to grievance and arbitration processes. A Tenure and Promotion Advisor who is a faculty member rather than staff, assists members in preparing for tenure and promotion review, addressing concerns in the process, and launching any appeals that may be necessary. There are also any number of investigatory mechanisms the University uses to address matters of concern, and SFUFA can advocate for members in any of these, whether as a complainant or a respondent. Additionally, members may have medical issues or face human-rights based barriers that call for accommodation (or adjustment of workplace norms). In these procedures, too, SFUFA can assist members as they navigate the processes involved. Whatever the situation, whatever the process, whether one is a complainant or a respondent to some kind of complaint, it is always worth a call to the Association to determine whether representation might be advised.

Appeals of and Complaints Regarding Association Representation 

SFUFA has a policy in place regarding member representation, and an internal appeal process for members who disagree with a staff or Executive decision regarding representation including handling of grievance and arbitration matters.

As SFUFA is the sole bargaining agent, and has the responsibility to manage grievances, members normally will not be able to retain independent legal counsel for workplace matters. In those rare occasions where a member does retain their own counsel, an Association policy also guides requests for financial support.

The relevant polices are as follows:

The SFUFA Equity Committee is dedicated to human rights and equity. Its mandate is to address equity issues related to faculty across all sectors of the university and within the Association, propose policy changes, advise the SFUFA Executive Committee on any matters requiring attention, acquire and share relevant information, and conduct member-engagement initiatives as appropriate.

Priorities that the Equity Committee is addressing in 2022-2023:

  • Reviewing SFU workload policies
  • Supporting members with disabilities

Examples of issues that the Equity Committee addressed are:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on faculty in a joint project with SFU Academic Women and SFUFA. The report “Invisible Struggles: Impacts of COVID-19 on SFUFA Members” may be accessed here.
  • SFU and SFUFA Salary Anomaly Joint Committee recommendations and report are available here.

The Equity Committee blog “Tales from the Mountain (and Beyond)” may be found here.


Members of the SFUFA Equity Committee are representatives from various Faculties. The Chair of the Committee is a member of the SFUFA Executive Committee. The Terms of Reference (ToR) may be found here.

Members (Fall 2022 – Summer 2023):

  • Ouldooz Baghban Karimi, Computing Science
  • Kumari Beck, Faculty of Education
  • Leanna Jantzi, SFU Library
  • Mohsen Javdani, School of Public Policy and Urban Studies
  • Krishna Pendakur, Department of Economics
  • Bidisha Ray, Department of History
  • Jennifer Scott, SFUFA
  • Ljiljana Trajkovic, Faculty of Applied Sciences (Chair)
  • Wenona Hall, Indigenous Studies

SFUFA members are encouraged to suggest areas of concern and engage with the Committee

SFUFA maintains an email list for members to share information and discuss issues of concern ([email protected]) The list is unmoderated, and there is no requirement to join. The list facilitates communication amongst faculty on a variety of topics of interest to the academic community.

As with most other discussion lists, there will be a requirement to agree to  Terms of Usage which are reviewed as part of the sign-up process and have been approved by the SFUFA Executive Committee.

To join the Academic Discussion email list, please email Melanie Lam at [email protected].

SFUFA does not legally represent people who are not (or not yet) members of the bargaining unit. We will, however, do what we can to assist prospective members who have been offered a position at the University.

If you have a job offer, and are considering joining SFU as a faculty member, Association staff may be able to help you:

  • understand your offer of employment, its terms, and which aspects of the offer may be negotiable
  • determine whether the offer you have received is within the bounds of what would be expected in your particular discipline or sub—discipline
  • understand the pension and other benefits available to faculty at SFU
  • identify community resources that might be important in determining whether to move to SFU, or to help ease the transition
  • in some cases, explore connection with existing SFUFA members who might be able to answer or assist with more specific questions regarding one or more aspects of a potential position

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has produced a resource document for  those who are negotiating a faculty appointment. This document is not specific to SFU but is intended as a general resource for faculty at or coming to Canadian universities. Nonetheless, this New Faculty Handbook is a valuable resource, will help in identification of key things to consider and formulation of specific questions.

To contact a SFUFA representative regarding the hiring process, please write to us at [email protected]

SFUFA advocates on behalf of its members on a wide variety of issues and in a wide variety of venues.


The Faculty Association, either on our own or in cooperation with other unions, employee and student groups, advocates for faculty members’ rights and interests with the administration on a range of issues covering everything from intellectual property to collegial governance. We do so through a variety of channels including regular meetings with other unions on campus (Employees’ Council), ad hoc committees, and monthly meetings with SFU’s senior administration.

If you have an issue you’d like us to raise with the university administration at one of our regular consultations, please do let us know at [email protected].


SFUFA is a member of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA/BC), which acts as a provincial lobbying association for faculty at SFU, UBC, UVic, UNBC and Royal Roads. CUFA/BC lobbies for public post-secondary education provincially, and works with students, university administrators, and the public to fight budget cuts and political interference in university governance. It coordinates communication across faculty associations, produces provincial advisories, tracks provincial legislation and spending, and liaises with others (students, universities, colleges) in the public post-secondary sector. Through its council meetings twice per year, CUFA/BC provides a forum for the sharing of information and coordination of strategies on issues of common concern.


The Canadian Association of University Teachers, or CAUT, is our national organization, representing faculty associations and academic staff unions across the country. CAUT provides invaluable lobbying support on the federal and international levels and assistance with collective bargaining, grievances and arbitrations. On matters ranging from health and safety to equity to academic freedom and intellectual property, CAUT has extensive experience and information to assist member organizations such as SFUFA.

The following is taken from the CAUT website, and presents a number of affinity programs and discounted services available to SFUFA members by virtue of our membership in CAUT. SFUFA plays no role in the arranging or administration of these partnerships, and provides this page for information only.

Affinity Programs

Because of its national scope and large buying power, CAUT has been able to negotiate special rates and services with several businesses and financial service corporations. These services provide added value to membership within CAUT and provide alternatives for CAUT members when facing decisions concerning travel, insurance, mortgages, investments, and credit cards.*

Car Rentals

Avis (Avis Worldwide Discount Code T613400)
Budget Rent-a-Car (Call 1-800-268-8900 and quote CAUT’s corporate account # A253000)
Hertz (CAUT program number CDP# 1158791).

Coursepacks and Custom Courseware

Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc. (CSPI) is pleased to be an affinity partner of CAUT. CSPI is Canada’s leading coursepack and custom courseware service. We have been serving CAUT members since 1986.

By identifying yourself as a member of CAUT, you support your professional association. We encourage you to contact us at 1-800-463-1998 ext. 25 or visit us on the web.

Credit Cards

CAUT and MBNA are pleased to announce the MBNA/Canadian Association of University Teachers Mastercard affinity program. For information on the cards, please click here.

Home, Auto and Professional Property Insurance

For more than 125 years, Johnson Insurance has been delivering high quality home and auto insurance and plan benefits to Canadians. Johnson is one of the country’s leading and fastest growing providers of insurance products offering award-winning customer service to individuals and to members and employees of more than 400 client associations and organizations nationwide.

As a CAUT member, you are eligible to benefit from Johnson’s competitive rates and outstanding service. For an online quote, please go to the CAUT/Johnson website.

You may also contact Johnson by telephone at 1-877-221-2127. Please quote Group ID U5.

Many academic staff members use their own equipment at their workplace. Generally, university insurance will not cover personally owned equipment in the event that it is lost, stolen or destroyed. Members of CAUT who insure their homes through Johnson Inc. may purchase additional protection that will cover professional property, such as books, computers, lab equipment etc. owned by the member, but used in the workplace. The coverage is all-risk, and extends to any location in Canada and the U.S.

Travel Insurance

Traveling outside Canada and wish to obtain travel insurance for trip cancellation and emergency medical coverage? Johnson Insurance has teamed up with MEDOC to provide CAUT members with a comprehensive group travel health insurance plan. For an online quote, please go to the CAUT/Johnson website, and click on the Travel Insurance tab.

Life and Personal Accident Insurance

Administered by Lee-Power & Associates, CAUT members have access to Optional Life and Personal Accident insurance coverage through Great-West Life, the largest insurer of group insurance plans in Canada. Your national association has negotiated benefit improvements which reflect the realities of today’s needs at discount rates for all members, spouses and their children.

Toll Free: 1-866-644-9007
Local: (613) 236-9007
Fax: (613) 236-0329

Mortgage Lenders

Metro City Mortgages

Office Products

Grand & Toy: CAUT member associations can take advantage of volume buying discounts for office products and furniture through the CAUT/Grand & Toy Office Products Program. Discounts range between 45% and 73% on office products and 20% off stock furniture. Associations interested in joining the program should contact Brian MacDonald at the CAUT office for an application form. Members of the program will be able to place their orders directly through the internet.

Relocation Services

Moving? Need a real estate agent? How about a mover? Want to save lots of money? CAUT has partnered with Relocation Services, a full service relocation company that could save you, as a CAUT member, hundreds of dollars on your next move. For more information, please visit Relocation Services.

* CAUT provides affinity programs with selected suppliers of products and services as a benefit to its members. Though these suppliers are to CAUT’s knowledge reputable, the CAUT and its staff and agents are not responsible for any losses, damages or injuries suffered by any person for any reason whatsoever, including negligence on the part of the CAUT and its staff and agents, arising from the use of such products and services.

SFUFA maintains a housing listing service through which members can seek temporary or long-term accommodations or offer space for rent to current, potential or visiting faculty. SFUFA hosts the listings, but is otherwise not involved in nor responsible for the arrangements in any way.

Click here to go to the current housing list.

To list accommodations, please email Melanie Lam at [email protected]