IMPORTANT UPDATE

Gaps gaps at triumf.ca
Fri Nov 8 13:11:46 PST 2019


Dear GAPS,


Please see below for an important message from Reiner!


Cheers,

Your GAPS Committee


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Dear GAPS community,



I wanted to take a moment to follow up on the announcements I made at the GAPS All Hands Meeting in the summer where I indicated that we were close to a solution that would provide resident graduate students access to reduced transit passes and extended health benefit. This is the information also currently  posted on the GAPS web-page.



Let me first apologize for not having been able to implement a solution by the start of the term as intended (See the background information below for more details).



Please be assured that TRIUMF is fully committed to find a solution that addresses your key concerns; however, due to some complications the implementation of a solution will look different from what was envisioned earlier this year.



In the near future, TRIUMF will roll out the advertised policy on minimum financial support levels for TRIUMF resident graduate students. This will also include the formal appointment of resident graduate students, e.g. UBC and SFU students who spend most of their time at TRIUMF. Non-local students will receive a defined top-up to cover additional expenses not experienced by UBC and SFU students, such as transit and extended health. The implementation may come in phases with further details to be announced as we roll out the policy.





Regarding the hiring process for postdocs, which has been raised as a concern, we are currently developing standardized guidelines for the hiring process which will ensure all supervisors aware of the pertinent policies. TRIUMF HR will provide oversight of this process and assist with their consistent application, supporting hiring and onboarding.



The new guidelines will include information on length of employment and multi-year work permits, as well as the corresponding financial support for obtaining Work Permits. We will also provide clarification on existing practices including relocation expenses, initial housing support, and vacation allotments.   Also provided in early communications to newly hired postdocs, will be general information on local childcare options.



Once again, I am personally committed to implement viable and fair solutions for your benefit as soon as possible.



I appreciate your patience and support as we work through this process.



If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me directly at reiner.kruecken at triumf.ca<mailto:reiner.kruecken at triumf.ca>



All the best,



Reiner





Background information:

As presented in the GAPS All Hands meeting, TRIUMF and UBC agreed in early 2019 to an in-principle solution to register TRIUMF resident graduate students at UBC and provide them with access to transit passes, extended health and other benefit by way of paying certain student fees at UBC.  However, as details of this implementation were worked out, it was determined that the immigration considerations for international students (either from international or domestic universities), as well as the exact requirements at UBC, were more complicated and less clear than originally believed.



For example, it turns out that discounted transit passes (U-Pass) are, per contract between Translink and the universities, only accessible to students registered for at least 3 credits or paying at least $174/month tuition. However, TRIUMF students were only intended to be registered in a non-credit course that would trigger fees but avoid the requirement for tuition payments. No exceptions can be made to this requirement. This only became clear after a summit meeting between TRIUMF and UBC administrators in September, and therefore, the original plan has proven not to be feasible.



Similarly, it was also found that there are significant challenges in registering international students, who have come to TRIUMF on work permits, at UBC, given that their immigration status explicitly precludes studying.



While we keep exploring potential solution within the UBC Student Programs, TRIUMF is investigating other pathways to provide students with the proposed benefits. Possibilities include

  *   increasing the minimum financial support requirement to make up the difference in transit cost between a full cost and U-pass ticket or
  *   setting up an extended health benefit plan outside of the TRIUMF/UBC benefits plan, which is not available to Grad Students.

We are currently evaluating the feasibility of such plans based on cost analysis and hope to implement a feasible solution.





Dr. Reiner Kruecken

Deputy Director, Research

TRIUMF



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