November 2021
  • President's Update
  • Treasurer's Report
  • Labour Relations Officer Update
  • MRSA Events
  • General Announcements

President's Update 

Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation's history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. We give thanks for those who have fought to protect our freedom and safety and as we prepare to recognize Remembrance Day on November 11, I want to acknowledge National Indigenous Veterans Day on November 8. 

MRU's first documented Indigenous student, Wesley Bird Steinhauer, was a war veteran. He is featured in the Library's current exhibit, Collections & Conversations, on the 4th floor of the RLLC. Thank you to Courtney Montgomery for sharing this important history and highlighting an insightful film we have access to, Forgotten Warriors. Like Wesley, this documentary tells the story of thousands of Indigenous Canadians who enlisted and fought alongside their countrymen and women during World War II. Ironically, while they fought for the freedom of others, they were being denied equality in their own country and returned home to find their land seized. 

In further recognition, the Office of Indigenization and Decolonization will be showing films in the Ideas Lounge (EL1270 in the RLLC) throughout this day.

For your Information
For your viewing pleasure, I am including the media release that I did with Lee Easton, MRFA President, Rachel Notley and NDP Advanced Education Critic David Eggen, calling on the UCP to provide post-secondary schools proper vaccine passport guidelines and supports to implement these systems and help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our campus' safe. Start it at the 1.25 mark to avoid delays.

Further, in the quest to stay informed of the ever changing COVID environment, I am attaching the Requests for (Post-Secondary) Exemptions that  have been made to the Chief Medical Officer of Health. You may find this helpful in understanding the "rules" of engagement for post-secondary settings.

Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
ORDER 42-2021: Record of Decision

Request for Exemptions
ORDER 12-2021: Post-Secondary Institution Libraries
ORDER 42-2021: Cafeterias and Physical Distancing in Post-Secondary Institutions 
ORDER 44-2021: Convocation Ceremonies at Post-Secondary Institutions
ORDER 47-2021: Record of Decision (Modification of Record of Decision CMOH Order 44-2021)

MRSA Survey Results
Please find the results of our MRSA Survey conducted in September. 

The purpose of this survey was to poll our members to gather stronger data for previously expressed interests (such as Long Service Increments) and mental health and safety satisfaction with returning to campus. Please note, that the data presented represents the responses of those that selected to answer individual questions, and not every question was answered collectively.The results were divided out by regular staff (full time, part time, term certain, etc) and casual employees.  

We look forward to presenting this information at our next Coffee Chat, but in the meantime, should you have any questions please email us at

Coffee Chat
Great to see those that attended our Coffee Chat October 16. We had 84 attendees and some great information was shared. A reminder that this meeting was recorded if you were not able to join us.

Thanks to Crystal Koch, Employee Co-Chair of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) who updated us on Environmental Health and Safety concerns and procedures, as well as an overview of JOHSC and to Laine Fowler who updated us collective bargaining, policy grievances, the employer vaccination directive and human rights concerns.

Collective Bargaining
I will be handing this update over to Laine going forward. The MRSA Executive approved the motion to appoint the Labour Relations Officer to the Co-Chair role on the Joint Negotiations Committee. 


Michelle LoGullo | President
Mount Royal Staff Association

Treasurer's Report


Happy fall everyone!

1. The annual audit of the MRSA financial processes and documents is being finalized and the results will be presented at the Annual General Meeting scheduled for 11:00 am on November 17th. Thanks to Christine Pepper for her meticulous record keeping throughout the year that makes it so much easier for the auditors to do their work. I will be away for the AGM so Rona Reitsema will be presenting the Audit and Finance Committee's report in my stead! 

2. A change has been made to the process for those individuals who are reimbursed through the Personal Development/Interest grant (Article 28.4). Because the money a member receives back through the EDT funding is considered a taxable benefit, in addition to income tax, the member's CPP and EI (payroll taxes) and the "employer's" portion also has to be deducted. In the past, the member has paid their portion of the payroll tax and the employer's portion has been charged to general MRSA revenue. We are in discussion with the employer about who is responsible for the "employer" portion but in the meantime this amount will be charged against that total grant amount of $25,000.

3. The Audit and Finance committee's priorities have been set for the year and we have been tasked with the following:

  • Purchasing and Procurement Policy (currently in process);
  • Streamline Financial Reporting processes (quarterly reports in a more timely manner);
  • Start a long-term budgeting process;
  • Continue with PIPA implementation (in process);
  • Records Information Management (for Audit & Finance Committee related documents i.e. retention schedules and policy); and
  • Convert EDT Dependent/Spousal Bursary Application Process from paper-based to online format.

On taking Risk - "Never test the depth of a river with both feet" - Warren Buffet


Submitted by Craig Baskett on behalf of the Audit and Finance Committee - Mariberth Blanco, Johanna Franconeri, Michelle Logullo, Christine Pepper (Ex officio), Rona Reitsma.

Labour Relations Officer Update

Happy Fall Y’all

As we’re well into fall and Halloween has just passed, the MRSA is bussing with much labour relations work.  Here are a few topics I will provide update on below:

  • Remote working Policy Grievance;

  • *NEW* Vaccination Directive Policy Grievance;

  • General advice regarding vaccination mandates;

  • Bargaining environment; and

  • Human Rights complaints for Unionized Employees.

 The Remote working policy grievance has unfortunately not seen much progress.  We had a meeting on October 19, 2021 with senior administration where they advised that due to COVID they have not been able to complete their preparations on their documentation for the program.  They advised that some work was done in the preceding month, but that this information review needs to be continued, and there was no specific date provided for when this would occur.  We have advised this is not satisfactory, requested a firm date and requested that the grievance hearing be scheduled.

 On October 28, 2021, MRSA filed a policy grievance regarding the employer’s Directive relating to the vaccination mandate.  This grievance is not disputing the directive in its entirety, but honing in on the “unpaid leaves of absence” which the employer believes they are allowed to instigate.  This is not inline with Article 10: Disciplinary Process.  The employer ought to be placing employees on paid leaves of absence, then investigating and determining what the appropriate, if any, disciplinary action should be issued.

I had missed sharing this legal opinion providing advice to unions on vaccination mandates with the MRSA community last newsletter, I am attaching it here for your information.  This opinion was issued by our legal advisors, but is publicly available and was provided to the Alberta Federation of Labour.

 I provided a brief update on the bargaining environment at our coffee chat, but I wanted to make sure we share this information to all members.  We are starting to see a fairly significant shift in public sector bargaining.  You may have seen in the news that the United Nurses of Alberta have received a modified bargaining position from Alberta Health Services - a change from a 3% roll back to improvements in the final years of what would be a 4 year agreement.  We have also seen recent news of a mediated settlement between the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and the Government of Alberta - which is a 4 year term agreement ending in March 2024, including across the board improvements to salaries of 1.25% in January 2023, and 1.5% in September 2023, with a potential for an additional 0.5% if economic conditions warrant it.  

We are aware that the current government introduced legislation which imposes mandates for all public sector collective bargaining, therefore, we are hopeful we will soon see changes to the post secondary sector mandates.  While Mount Royal has not provided us formal notice of its mandate, we do know that other university bargaining units had received concessionary mandates.

We are also aware of  Mount Royal’s surplus over the last year, and therefore, we do not see there is any reasonable argument for concessions in bargaining, but do see possibilities of improvements.  Therefore, when we re-engage in bargaining on November 2, we do expect to move forward and make progress with the employer.  We do have quite a bit of work to do, so I don’t expect that bargaining will be complete this year, but we are hopeful that we make good progress and are working towards reaching a tentative agreement as soon as possible.

Lastly, I also mentioned this at the coffee chat, but it has significant repercussions for employees in unionized settings, so I am reiterating here.  On October 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision which clarifies dispute resolution processes related to unionized employees for human rights complaints.  I have linked the decision here.  I am in the process of reviewing all the implications, however, in short “A labour arbitrator should decide all disputes under a collective agreement, including human rights disputes, unless another law states otherwise.” (Case Brief). There are a few implications for MRSA, however, the important aspect for you as a member is to be aware that you most likely MUST use the grievance process to dispute Human Rights concerns in employment.  Therefore, should you have any human rights concerns, please contact the MRSA immediately, as we only have 10 days to file grievances as per the grievance process.  

 As always, should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me @ .


Stay safe,

Laine Fowler
Labour Relations Officer

MRSA Events

MRSA Annual General Meeting
You are invited to attend, or watch, the online Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, November 17 from 10:45 a.m.-12 p.m. Members will receive links via email to attend the online meeting or to watch the live stream. 
If you are unable to join us, the meeting will be recorded and made available to members.    
Please note, access to the live stream will only be available to email accounts.

Staff are invited to submit questions and comments for the Executive Board ahead of, and during, the meeting.

Collective Agreement Article 7.3 states: 

“Time off with pay shall be granted up to a total of two and a half (2.5) hours to be used over two meetings to Association members for the purpose of attending the Annual General Meeting and the General Meeting provided these occur during the Employee’s normal working hours…”

We hope you can join us. 

MRSA Coffee Chat

You are invited to join us for coffee and conversation on November 23 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. The October Coffee Chat recording can be found here

MRSA Social Committee

The Social Committee will continue virtual events for the months of November and December. Thank you to all of you who participated in sending us photos of yourselves in Orange Shirts in recognition of Sept. 30th Orange Shirt Day.  There is no shortage of events coming up, we hope you’ll participate in one or two; you can find more information listed below on our upcoming events.
Documentary at Lunch
Please join us in Google Meet on Nov. 25, 2021.  12:00 - 12:55 p.m.
Title: Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
We look forward to gathering virtually to watch this informative and cute documentary about the lemurs of Madagascar.  Add the Google Meet link to your calendar now, so you don’t forget to join us!  As well, this documentary is connected to our November crossword puzzle, see more information below.
November Crossword Puzzle
This month’s crossword puzzle is connected to the Documentary at Lunch on Nov. 25.  Watch the documentary with us and then participate by completing this puzzle prior to Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m. Make a copy of this November Crossword Puzzle and share your correctly completed puzzle with Charissa Hovdebo at the MRSA Social email account ( to enter a draw for a $20.00 gift card.
Finishing School (No class Nov. 11)
Edith Koprek is here for you every Thursday at lunchtime if you are also a fabric arts artist.  Maybe you knit, crochet, do macrame or something else, please join us virtually on Thursdays from 12:30 - 1:30 pm. Finishing school will run until December 23 and then will start up again in January. Stay tuned for information about Finishing School starting up again in 2022.
Gingerbread House Competition
We will be hosting our annual Gingerbread House Competition again this year, although it may look a bit different (not in person) we hope you will gather in small teams or as an individual to participate live via Google Meet! More details will be coming soon...
Recognition of Important Dates
The MRSA Social Committee would like to recognize the following important events for the month of November: All Saint’s Day (Christianity), Durga Puja (Hinduism), Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh), Diwali (hinduism/Sikhism), Mahavira Nirvana and Diwali (Jain), The Birth of the Bab (Baha’i), The Birth of the Baha’ulah (Baha’i), Remembrance Day, Birthday of Buru Nanak Dev Sahib (Sikhism), Transgender Day of Remembrance, Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdon (Sikhism), Day of the Covenant (Baha'i), Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha (Baha'i), First Day of Advent (Christianity), Hanukkah (Judaism)

If you would like to inform the Social Committee of any special 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 please fill that you would like acknowledged by the Social Committee.  Fill in this form to share them with uslet us know. Submissions will be anonymous unless you would like to provide your name to help with an event.
If you would like to contact the Social Committee, you can reach us at  All Social Committee events and activities are open to all MRSA Members.

MRSA Staff Lounge

For staff working on campus, the MRSA staff lounge is open. 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 one 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.


Events and Activities

Reminder: Choose your 2022 HSA and PSA options between November 1 and 12
All employees with benefits can choose to divert funds from their health spending account (HSA) to a personal spending account (PSA); the PSA covers a wide range of health-related goods and services, including fitness equipment, classes and clothing. Read about your options here. Employees will receive an email from Benefits with instructions on how to make your choice. If you do not respond, your funds will revert to HSA only.


Mount Royal University: Student Massage Therapy Clinic is Open

Fall 2021 appointments are now available!

Whether you need a relaxation massage or have a condition that requires a therapeutic treatment, our students are trained to the highest standards nationally and can meet your needs. Book Now


The $30 fee for one-hour massage treatments supports our student scholarships. Present your MRU OneCard for a special MRU Advantage rate of $20. Please bring exact change or a cheque. 


The Massage Therapy Student Practicum Clinic is located in EC 2120 in the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning. Arrive 15 minutes before your appointment (for example, be at the clinic (EC 2120) at 12:45 p.m. for a 1 p.m. appointment) so your student therapist can take you through the necessary protocols. If you’re running late, call 403-440-6866. 

COVID-19 update and protocols

Masks or face coverings are mandatory in indoor spaces on the Mount Royal campus, including the Massage Therapy Student Practicum Clinic. This applies to student therapists, employees, clients and visitors. Please bring your own mask or face covering. Visit Mount Royal’s COVID-19 website for the latest requirements.

For more information, please visit our website:

Thank you for supporting our students. The experience they gain in the clinic is a critical piece of their education and we are proud to provide this vital service to our community. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you.


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

Introducing Old Street Optometry
Have you heard about Old Street Optometry? This family-owned business was founded by a local couple in 2020 and is located on the lower level of Wyckham House. If you are in need of an eye exam, or new prescription eyewear, consider a visit to Old Street Optometry. For more information on the comprehensive services available, or to book an appointment, visit the Old Street Optometry website.

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