2019 Updates

January 25, 2019

An interest arbitration award finalized a first collective bargaining agreement between the University and The Public Service Alliance of Canada, representing Post-doctoral Fellows. This first collective bargaining agreement formalizes terms and conditions for most Post-doctoral Fellows as employees at USask. The duration of the agreement is from November 1, 2016 (date of certification) to October 31, 2020.

The highlights of the agreement include:

Salary / Wage Adjustments

  • Minimum salary = $36,000 effective November 1, 2016
  • Each active Postdoctoral Fellow shall receive salary increases as follows:
    • November 1, 2018 – 1.5%
    • November 1, 2019  - 1.5%
    • Lump sum payment of $500 for each active PDF as of the date of ratification
  • Employees shall receive either the salary increase identified within the agreement or the increase provided within their existing appointment, whichever is greater
  • Any retroactive wages shall be paid only to members of PSAC who continue to be USask Post-doctoral Fellows at the time of ratification
  • Any current provisions which are more favourable to an employee than those contained in the agreement will remain in place for the duration of any existing appointment or extension to existing appointments

Hours of Work and Overtime

  • No more than 162 hours worked in 4 consecutive weeks
  • If more than 162 hours are worked and up to 173 hours worked, hours are paid at straight time
  • Excess of 173 hours worked in 4 consecutive weeks, hours are paid at 1.5x or equivalent time off in lieu (as determined by the Supervisor)


  • Employee benefit plans for eligible Post-doctoral Fellows, including:
    • Family Extended Health Care Plan
    • Family Dental Plan
    • Group Life Insurance Plan
    • Business Travel Insurance
    • Premiums for all plans listed above are paid by the Employer with the exception of group life insurance, which is paid by the employees

Sick Leave and Family Responsibility Leave

  • 10 paid working days per year for the purpose of sick leave and/or family responsibility leave


  • Post-doctoral Fellows will earn vacation at the rate of twenty (20) working days per year, pro-rated based on the length of the appointment

Probationary Periods

  • Three (3) month probationary period for all Postdoctoral Fellows
  • Feedback regarding the Postdoctoral Fellow’s performance and suitability for the position is required in writing
  • One (1) month notice or pay in lieu of notice is required in the event of dismissal during the probationary period
  • Reasons for dismissal of a probationary period shall be provided in writing

Termination of Employment

  • Dismissal for just cause must be conducted under the discipline process
  • Employment may be terminated due to frustration of contract with a minimum of six (6) weeks’ notice or pay in lieu of notice

December 14, 2018

The university and PSAC entered into voluntary interest arbitration on December 6-7 to address outstanding items. The Arbitrator will issue a decision within the next few months. 

September 24, 2018


Mediation has concluded after two days of discussion. The parties were successful in agreeing to a number of outstanding items, however, there are several items that remain unresolved:

  • hours of work
  • benefits
  • maternity leave supplemental benefits
  • salary

Together with PSAC, we are proceeding with voluntary interest arbitration to address the remaining items. The timeline for the process is still undetermined. The decision of the Arbitrator will be binding on the parties.

June 25, 2018


We are committed to ensuring that our Post-doctoral Fellows continue to receive a fair and equitable wage. Our most recent offer in bargaining has also included a benefits plan with health and dental coverage. Together with PSAC we have agreed to seek the assistance of a mediator to reach this first collective agreement. PSAC has indicated that they are unavailable to begin mediation until the fall. As soon as mediation can commence, we will work to come to an agreement on the few remaining outstanding items.

2017 Updates

December 14, 2017


  • Collective bargaining poses some interesting challenges due to the unique relationship Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) have with the university. PDFs are not primarily funded by university operating funds, but through research grants that may be held by faculty members or the university.
  • We have recently completed consultations with senior leaders and current PDF supervisors.
  • Bargaining commenced on October 4, 2017 lead by David Stack, QC, McKercher LLP. The bargaining team includes:
    • Trever Crowe, Interim Dean, CGPS;
    • Colin Weimer, Labour Relations Manager, People and Resources; 
    • Brandy Halter, Labour Relations Specialist, People and Resources.

September 19, 2017


Collective bargaining will begin in October 2017. The University is in the process of finalizing its bargaining mandate, including the goals and interests to be achieved through discussions with PSAC.

June 27, 2017


The University and the union are planning first contract negotiations and the University will be consulting with senior leaders for input.

May 30, 2017


  • The university and PSAC, representing Post-doctoral Fellows, are preparing for first contract negotiations.
  • The university is waiting to hear from the union to schedule dates to commence bargaining.

March 21, 2017


  • We are in the process of collecting data and engaging in consultations with colleges and units to inform our strategy.
  • The university is waiting for information from PSAC as to who will comprise their bargaining team, as well as dates upon which to commence discussions.

February 21, 2017


  • PSAC has notified the university that they wish to commence bargaining for a first collective agreement. The university is awaiting proposed dates from PSAC to begin negotiations.
  • The university's bargaining team will begin consultations with individual colleges and units in the coming months.

2016 Updates

November 29, 2016

Certification PDFs

PSAC was successful in certifying Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs). The university is in the process of establishing its bargaining team and waiting to hear from PSAC to commence first-contract negotiations.

September 20, 2016


Parties are actively meeting and continue to make progress on outstanding issues. The next bargaining dates are scheduled for the end of October.

August 23, 2016


Bargaining will resume on August 29.

Certification PDFs

Hearings before the Labour Relations Board (LRB), with respect to the issue of certification for Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs), took place on July 22 and August 16. A decision is expected in September.

July 26, 2016


Both parties are working on establishing dates to continue bargaining discussions, in the near future.

June 28, 2016


Significant progress is being made on issues, including appointments and hours of work. The university and PSAC are looking to schedule discussion dates over the summer and early fall.

Certification PDFs

PSAC has also applied for certification of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and we are awaiting the outcome of that process. A hearing before the Labour Relations Board (LRB) is scheduled for July 22, 2016. The outcome of the PDFs certification vote will not be determined until the conclusion of that hearing.

May 17, 2016


  • Bargaining will continue in late May.
  • A key principle of discussion will be an agreement that supports the teaching, research mission of the university.

April 19, 2016


Significant progress in negotiations has been made and further bargaining dates have been scheduled through April and May.

Certification PDFs

  • As previously reported, the Labour Relations Board (LRB) will hear the matter of PDFs certification. A hearing was delayed and parties are awaiting new dates.
  • The outcome of the PDFs certification vote will not be determined until the conclusion of that hearing.

March 22, 2016


  • First contract negotiations began Mar. 3, with PSAC representing graduate student employees. The parties exchanged opening proposals.
  • The next meeting dates for bargaining are scheduled for March 23-24, 2016.

Certification PDFs

The union applied for certification of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and rejected the university's request to have PDFs and graduate student employees represented by one bargaining unit. This matter will be heard before the Labour Relations Board (LRB). The outcome of the PDFs certfication vote will not be deteremined until the conclusion of the hearing.

February 23, 2016


  • Discussion between the university and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) are scheduled for Mar. 3.
  • Outstanding issues regarding representation of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) and graduate student employees are scheduled to be heard by the Labour Relations Board (LRB) on Mar. 21.

January 26, 2016


The university and PSAC are scheduled to meet on March 3 to begin first contract negotiations for graduate student employees.

Certification PDFs

PSAC has applied for certification of Post-doctoral Fellows (PDFs) but rejected the university’s request to have PDFs and graduate students represented by one bargaining unit. This matter will be determined upon the conclusion of a hearing before the Labour Relations Board (LRB). 

2015 Updates

June 16, 2015


The university, in consultation with campus leaders, has agreed to meet with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) representing graduate students on campus, to begin initial contract negotiations in the fall.

May 15, 2015


The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board certified graduate student employees as a bargaining unit on April 23, following a successful vote in March (see related OCN Article). Graduate student teaching assistants, teaching fellows, student assistants and research assistants will be represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). The bargaining team for the University of Saskatchewan is consulting broadly with university leaders in preparation for negotiations for a first collective agreement, which will begin soon.