Dear Members,

We recognise that these are very trying and stressful times. We also realise that the COVID-19 crisis is new to all and it is difficult to manage. There are many things to consider and many challenges to face, however, MUNACA members have been through tough times before and have proven their resilience.

In our recent open letter to Principal Fortier, we decried their management of this crisis and their lack of concern for the wellbeing of McGill’s staff. We offered our assistance in this time of worry and stress but as yet they have not contacted us and continue with their paternalistic attitude towards the employees of McGill. 

We have also expressed our concerns over their lack of leadership, evidenced by their recent communiques on the subject, and the hesitancy to make clear decisions like Concordia University, Ecole Polytechnique and UQAM where days ago they  informed their community that they will be closed and staff would be paid.

McGill’s Administration seems to prefer confusion over clarity. This is not new, we have seen this before. When they introduced the Family Leave Pilot Project they did so while the Unions and Associations were waiting to hear back from them as we had made some suggestions for improvement. The same has happened with the Flexible Work Arrangements. Unions and Associations have pointed out problems and yet they release the pilot project for their managers and supervisors to administer and interpret in a multiple of confusing and erroneous fashions. We have learned that some supervisors are demanding that staff come to work in areas that are not essential to the functioning of the university.


Now to practical issues. 

-We believe that until March 30th, the University is to be shut down except for essential services.

-If you are required to go to work take note of your hours worked. 

-Working from Home, see below Fabrice Labeau stated that where possible you should work from home. If your supervisor insists that you are on campus please let us know.

-Do not risk being insubordinate, but remind your supervisors that you have a collective agreement that needs to be respected. You are supported by your Union and if you deem it a threat to your health and safety, you have the right to refuse to work under these conditions (see below). 

-Whatever you do please keep your Steward and the Union office informed! or 514-398-6565 or 514 -398 5355

LaBeau’s missives:

“We ask staff members to extend the weekend until Tuesday, March 17. No work is expected on Monday and compensation will be maintained. “

“we are working to promote social distancing to reduce the number of individuals who are physically present on our campuses” 

“As per clarifications from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, McGill will remain operational during the two weeks, but only necessary functions and activities will be provided on campus”

“Where possible, employees will be expected to work remotely, unless otherwise notified”


19.01 If, as a result of circumstances beyond its control, the University decides to authorise the majority of employees to leave their work before the end of their regular work day, the employees shall not suffer any loss of regular salary because of this. 

19.02 An employee who remains at work, at the specific request of the University, is eligible to take either time off equal to the number of hours actually worked between the authorised time of departure and the end of the regular work day at a mutually agreed time, or payment, at the regular rate, of the hours actually worked between the authorised time of departure and the end of the regular work day. 

What do you know about the right of refusal?**

What can the worker do?

By law, a worker has the right to refuse to do work that presents a danger to him or to another person. He cannot exercise this right if the refusal endangers the life, health or physical well-being of another person (e.g. a firefighter on duty). He must immediately notify his supervisor (or a representative of the employer), and give him the reasons for his refusal to work. He must remain available at the workplace, to perform other tasks, if necessary.

What should the employer do?

The employer summons the worker representative (prevention representative, union representative or designated worker). The employer and the worker representative examine the situation and suggest solutions to make corrections.

If there is a disagreement?

If the employer and the worker’s representative do not agree on the danger or the solution, they may request the intervention of a CNESST inspector. If the worker believes that the danger is still present, he can maintain his refusal and request the intervention of a CNESST inspector. The CNESST inspector determines whether the danger justifies refusal. His decision takes effect immediately. It must be followed even if the parties do not agree. The employer and the worker, or their representative, may however request a review of the decision from the CNESST.

**  For the official text please follow this link. Que savez-vous du droit de refus?

See also Appendix 6 of our Collective agreement.

Yours in Solidarity, 

The MUNACA Executive Committee