September 2021
  • President's Update
  • Labour Relations Officer Update
  • MRSA Events
  • General Announcements

President's Update 


Team Building Lessons We Can Learn from Geese

Teamwork Fact #1 – As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if one bird flew alone.

Lesson Learned – People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the strength of one another.

Teamwork Fact #2 – Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

Lesson Learned – If we have as much sense as geese, we will stay in formation with those who are ahead of where we want to go and be willing to accept their help as well as give ours to others.

Teamwork Fact #3 – When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.

Lesson Learned – It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.

Teamwork Fact #4 – The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson Learned – We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging, and not something else.

Teamwork Fact #5 – When a goose gets sick or wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again, or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation, or they catch up with their flock.

Lesson Learned – If we have as much sense as geese do, we too, will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

--Milton Olson

Thanks to Christine Pepper for posting this very timely reminder in our MRSA office area. Please read and reflect....we need to support each other more than ever right now.


MRSA Executive Board Appointments

Because we did not have a successful election for the positions of Member at Large - EDI and one of the Vice President positions in May, the Executive has appointed Andrew Smith (DaL - EDI) and Crystal Koch (VP) for these positions. Andrew will serve a two year term ending in 2023 and Crystal will serve the remainder of the vacant VP position until 2022. A big thank you to both of these amazing people for stepping up. Look for a By-election in the coming weeks to fill the two remaining vacant positions for DaL roles. 

Recording Coffee Chats

At this time, we will continue to do our Coffee Chats virtually. This decision has been made with the health and safety of our members in mind. As such, we will start recording these informal chats so that those who cannot attend will be able to feel included (since we don't keep formal minutes).


For those of you who park in gated lots, a communication was sent out regarding how to manually end your session. The gates will automatically open at the exit now, but you will have to end your session before entering again. This communication was sent out August 27 should you need to trace it.

 Day of Truth and Reconciliation (September 30)

As you know, the President has made the decision to remain open on September 30. We are concerned that this does not align with other post secondary schools and school districts within Alberta. I have sent a request to Tim to ask for reconsideration of this decision which creates a very negative image of prioritizing the advancement of Indigenous human rights. We should be striving to respect Truth and Reconciliation Recommendation #80 of the Calls to Action: "We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process. 

While the MRSA supports "meaningful activities for the whole campus community to participate in '', we question how this is to happen when staff are expected to work and students are expected to be in classes. I will share the response once I hear from Tim.

 Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC)

Due to a number of members stepping down from this committee, there have been some changes in the employee members. Crystal Koch (MRSA VP) and Joe Frazao (Facilities Management) will be representing the staff on this committee. However, we are looking for one additional "replacement" member in the event Crystal or Joe cannot attend the meetings for some reason. This committee currently meets four times a year but may have additional meetings due to our current health and safety challenges on campus. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Crystal at

Vaccination declarations and rapid testing

Effective Monday, Aug. 30, you must wear a mask in all indoor spaces on campus. This includes, but is not limited to, classrooms, labs, hallways, meeting/study rooms. Masks are not required while outdoors. For additional details on masking, including exceptions, please refer here

 A rapid testing program will be required for all students, staff, and faculty who come to campus. People who are fully vaccinated can opt out. Details are still being confirmed but this is what we can share at this moment:

  • All students and employees will be asked to declare if they have been fully vaccinated with an approved MRNA or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine.

People who are fully vaccinated will not have to complete rapid tests. If you do not declare as being fully vaccinated you will be required to participate in frequent rapid testing and complete a daily self-check for symptoms before coming to campus.

  • People who do not complete the declaration will be automatically submitted to a rapid testing program.
  • More details on the rapid test program will be shared as soon as possible via email.

We want to advise all staff that we have consulted with our legal team and confirmed that our employer can legally ask for this information from staff. You have a choice to confirm or opt out of this request, but if you do not vaccinate or confirm your vaccination status, you will be required to complete rapid testing. At this time, we are not being asked to provide proof of our vaccination status, this is on the honour system. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this request, please contact Laine Fowler, Labour Relations Officer at

 MRSA Survey

In the next week, you will be receiving a survey from the MRSA. The purpose of this survey is to help us better understand our membership interests as they relate to employment hours and years of service, as well as comfort level for returning to work and feeling supported by management and leadership. We strongly encourage you to fill out this survey as it will assist us with understanding how to move forward with collective bargaining interests and supporting our membership.

 Remote Working Requests

We thank those of you who have identified and shared your interests and requests for remote working. Senior Administration has not shared this plan with us yet, despite numerous requests. We do understand that there are a number of pressing issues for them at this time. Should we move ahead with Grievances as we shared with those staff, we will be up against the mid-October pilot date. While happy to pursue this if requested, we are currently paused.

 Collective Bargaining 

We will renew our meetings September 7. These meetings will be regularly scheduled for Tuesdays (1:00 - 4:30) and Fridays (8:30 - 12:00).

 I hope you are all well. We continue to face unprecedented challenges in our work place but please know your MRSA Executive is here to support you. Please reach out if you need assistance with anything. Now fly like the geese!!


Michelle LoGullo | President
Mount Royal Staff Association

Labour Relations Officer Update


Collective Agreement Article 18: Health, Safety and Wellness

We know health and safety are top of mind for everyone this month.  We want to update you on activities MRSA has taken to support your health and safety in the workplace and clarify your rights.

 We have appointed members to our Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) - they are:

  • Crystal Koch - MRSA Vice-President and Special project Administrator in the Office of Institutional Research and Planning
  • Joe Frazao - MRSA member-at-large and Architectural Supervisor in Facilities Management

 We have one more position to fill on the JOHSC for an observer/alternate.  If you are interested please email the MRSA @ to express your interest.  All time on the committee is paid, and there are training opportunities.

 In addition to ensuring we have members to advocate for your rights you also have individual Occupational Health and Safety rights.  There have been changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Code in the past year, however, you continue to have rights to expect a workplace free from hazards and threats.  Within MRU you have access to safety reporting systems.  Your first point of contact is your direct supervisor/manager/leader.  You also may report safety concerns through the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) reporting processes.  Here is the link to the MRU EHS page with this information.  We do recommend that you attempt to engage directly with your leadership and EHS as a first point of contact.

 You also have rights to contact the Occupational Health and Safety commission directly with questions and complaints.  You may inquire and complain anonymously to the commission.  Here is a link from Alberta Occupational Health and Safety regarding worker rights.

 There has been a change regarding rights to refuse work in the OHS legislation, you may no longer refuse work that is “dangerous”,  but you may refuse work which is an “undue hazard”.  “Undue hazards” include hazards that pose a serious and immediate threat to health and safety.  However, regardless of this change, if you have safety concerns you have the right to ask questions, to make requests for changes and to have responses to your concerns.  You also  have the right to participate in hazard assessments, not just simply sign off of them.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding health and safety in your workplace please bring forward your concerns to your leader.  Please feel free to contact MRSA, particularly if your concerns remain unaddressed or unresolved.


Stay safe,

Laine Fowler
Labour Relations Officer

MRSA Events

MRSA Social Committee


Can you believe it's September already?  Fall semester has begun.  We know that many people are very busy in the fall with everything ramping up and students engaged in classes, therefore our activity for this month is a crossword puzzle that you can do from a desk any time prior to September 30, 2021. 

Click this link and make a copy of the puzzle. 

To enter for a draw prize, please make sure to share your completed puzzle with Charissa Hovdebo, The draw for a $20.00 e-gift card will be held on October 1, 2021 and the winner will be notified via email.  The winner will have 5 days to notify Christine Pepper of which e-gift card they would like to receive. Contest open to MRSA Members.

In an effort to become more inclusive, the Social Committee would like your feedback to help us become aware of any events or special dates that you celebrate that you would like acknowledged by the Social Committee.  Fill in this form to let us know. Submissions will be anonymous unless you would like to provide your name to help with an event.

MRSA Staff Lounge

The MRSA staff lounge remains open for those staff members working on campus. We have worked with Environmental Health and Safety to ensure COVID-19 measures are being followed. The furniture has been arranged to ensure appropriate physical distancing including only 1 chair per table. Wipes and hand sanitizer have been placed in the lounge.

 To ensure this space continues to be available please follow these measures...

  • Masks must be worn in the staff lounge except when eating or drinking. 
  • One person per table or couch - please do not move tables or chairs.
  • Wipe down microwaves and fridge after use.
  • Wipe down faucets and the water filter lever after use.
  • Wipe down the table and chair or couch that you use.
  • Wipe down the TV remote after use.
  • Please follow safe handwashing practices.

Thank you

Events and Activities

MRSA Coffee Chat

You are invited to join us for coffee and conversation on September 28 from 10-10:30 a.m. via Google Meet. Please click this link or copy and paste this URL in your browser:

This will be recorded for those who are able to attend.


General Announcements

Fall EDT Application Period Now Open

If you have any professional or personal development courses that begin between September 1 - December 31, you can apply for funding through the MRSA EDT Committee. 

 Applications are submitted via the EDT database; MRU login credentials are required to access.
The fall application period closes on December 31.

 If you have any questions, please contact the EDT Committee at

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