This is a legacy provincial website of the ATA. Visit our new website here.

Limits on assignable time take effect

September 12, 2017 Bromley Chamberlain, ATA News Staff

Although all teachers in Alberta are now covered by limits to instructional and assignable time, it’s not necessary to track workload on a daily basis.

“Teachers should be aware of how many hours their assigned duties, including instruction, add up to,” said Sandra Johnston, co-ordinator of the Teacher Welfare program area. “Teachers provide professional services to school boards and they should know how much service they are providing.” 

Teachers provide professional services to school boards and they should know how much service they are providing.
Sandra Johnston,
Teacher Welfare co-ordinator

A central table agreement reached in the spring caps instructional time at 907 hours per year and total assigned time at 1,200 hours. Such limits were already in place for teachers in urban areas, but they are new for roughly half the teachers in the province.

The ATA will be providing spreadsheets for teachers to track their time, Johnston said.

The central agreement was the first reached through a new bi-level bargaining model introduced by the NDP government in late 2015. With this central deal in place, local bargaining is proceeding throughout the province.

While time limits are new to teachers in rural areas, they have been in place for 40 years in all urban school divisions.

“What this does is leaves time during the work- day to do all the work that’s required for teachers to provide the best possible instruction,” Johnston explained. “Research shows that, for every hour of instruction, teachers do another hour of other work.”

Johnston recommends that teachers add up their instructional time, supervision, staff meetings, parent-teacher interviews and professional development days to calculate their yearly number of hours.

Teachers should not be assigned all 1,200 hours because that does not allow for any flexibility throughout the year, she said. It is also contrary to the collective agreement provisions, which state maximum numbers of hours, not targets. For teachers who were previously under the caps, their lives should not change. School jurisdictions have no reason to increase assigned duties because there is now a cap on the number of hours they can assign.

For teachers who were over the caps, Johnston said the time limit provisions will help provide relief to those teachers who don’t have another minute in the day.

“That isn’t healthy for individuals,” she said, “and it’s not healthy for the teaching profession either.” ❚

Interpretation bulletin available

A three-page interpretation bulletin is available to members to explain the particulars of assignable and instructional time as they relate to the central table agreement. The document was distributed to local presidents, communications officers,
political engagement officers, PD chairs, teachers’ convention
association presidents and specialist council presidents.

View the bulletin here or by clicking: > For Members > Members Only > Bargaining 2016/17 > Central Table Bargaining.

Also In This Issue