The Wilfrid Laurier University Staff Association (WLUSA) and the University recognize the organizational and individual benefits to be gained through staff development. A professional development fund has been created to allow WLUSA Members opportunities to enhance their skills and career development. The Fund will be jointly administered by WLUSA and the University, through the Joint Professional Development Fund Committee, to ensure fairness and equity in the application of employee professional development opportunities. These opportunities could be in the form of seminars, workshops, courses, and/or conferences.
The WLUSA Professional Development Fund is not intended to replace professional development opportunities that would typically be provided by the Member’s department. It is intended to supplement these opportunities when the departmental budget does not have sufficient funding to cover the full cost or when the development opportunity is not related to the Member’s current role.
Annually, on July 1st, the University shall transfer $35,000 to WLUSA for the sole purpose of providing benefits under the Professional Development Fund. A detailed annual report of expenditures and applications will be provided by WLUSA to Human Resources for review by June 1st each year. The report shall also be provided upon request throughout the year and funds for the following year will not be released until the report has been submitted and reviewed by Human Resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I apply multiple times in one year?
A: Yes. However, to allow for as many opportunities as possible, there is a $500 maximum per Member in each fiscal year. For example, if you have one opportunity approved for $250, you may apply for additional opportunities until the $500 maximum is reached.
Q: What if there is funding leftover at the end of the year?
A: Leftover funding does not carry over into the next year. As such, the Joint Professional Development Fund Committee will meet on or around June 1st to determine if any leftover funds could be applied to existing approved applications to further supplement costs.
Q: What if the course/opportunity that I want to take falls during my working hours?
A: If the opportunity is directly related to your current position, you will be released from it to participate in the opportunity without loss of compensation or benefits. If the opportunity is not directly related to your current position but relates to another position at Laurier, you will be expected to make up for the time lost by using a flexible working arrangement, banked overtime or vacation. You must have your manager’s permission to do this prior to applying for the opportunity.
Q: What if the course/opportunity that I want to take falls outside of my working hours?
A: These opportunities are meant to be optional. As such, you will not be compensated for additional hours to attend them. If this course/opportunity is a requirement of your position, then Article 220.127.116.11 in the Collective Agreement shall apply.
Q: Can I use the Fund to pay for an undergraduate or graduate course at Laurier?
A: No. You may not use this fund to pay for tuition or fees. Benefits for taking courses at Laurier are outlined in Article 22.2 of the Collective Agreement.
Q: Can I use the Fund to pay for an internal training course (put on by Human Resources, for example)?
A: No. Internal training opportunities at Laurier should be fully funded by your department. If you are denied access to an internal training opportunity at Laurier, please contact the WLUSA Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can I use the Fund to pay for a membership to a website that provides resources that would help me?
A: No. Due to the limited funds, the Joint Professional Development Fund Committee will not be approving these types of applications. While memberships do provide access to resources, it does not guarantee that those resources will be utilized. When possible, it is recommended that departments cover the cost of a membership, and distribute the login information to those employees that can benefit from the resources.
Q: Can I use the Fund to pay for a course that is not related to my job at Laurier?
A: No. The course must be related to your current position or another position at Laurier. If it is not related to a position at Laurier and is more for your personal development, your application for funding will be denied.
If you have any further questions, contact the WLUSA Office by email at email@example.com.