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December 6, 2016

’Tis the season to get answers about teachers’ convention attendance

While all active members have a professional and legal obligation to attend teachers’ convention each year, there are a number of ways a member can request to be absent during convention. The following are the two most commonly used.

Any member can apply to attend an alternate professional development opportunity that occurs during their scheduled convention as long as the requested professional development activity is an organized event that will enhance their professional practice, exceeds what is provided at their convention, and cannot be accessed at another time of year. Applications must be made directly to each convention association using forms found on each convention website. The deadline to apply for alternate PD is approximately six weeks before convention, so now is the time to apply!

Members may also make use of the leave entitlements in their collective agreements to be absent from convention, but they are strongly advised to contact Teacher Welfare staff at or 1-800-232-7208 prior to requesting a leave during convention.

For more details on the above and for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about convention attendance that apply to your unique situation, please visit or contact

A revised Staff Relations Services program is available

Member Services (MS) has been offering a program for the past number of years called Staff Relations Services (SRS). The program was initially designed to work with either the majority of or an entire school staff in conflict, and was a joint venture between the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the College of Alberta School Superintendents. Over time, MS has been receiving fewer and fewer requests for the program.

At the 2016 Annual Representative Assembly, MS received funding of $25,000 to pilot a new SRS program, which is now being launched. In reviewing the previous program, it was discovered that school conflicts were usually confined to a smaller group within the staff. The new SRS program will continue to work with up to six staff members in conflict using a certified mediator to facilitate the process at the school.

To initiate an SRS, a school rep or principal contacts the MS co-ordinator (1 800 232-7208 or 780-447-9400) to discuss the program. The co-ordinator or an MS staff officer will go to the school to meet with potential SRS participants to review the program. Participation will be on a voluntary basis. Upon completion of the SRS, feedback will be provided by the mediator to the co-ordinator indicating whether the mediation was successful or not. 

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