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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Tuesday, June 24, 1997

Two Canadian cultures celebrate

Today is the Feast of St. John the Baptist, or St. Jean Baptiste, a day of special, multiple, Canadian interest:

As it is every year, it's a major day of celebration for French Canada, and the public holiday of Québec ("Fête Nationale"). UW's Cercle Français accordingly has an invitation, and I sure hope I get all the accent marks right in it:

Venez célébrer la Saint-Jean avec nous le 24 juin au bord du Lac Columbia (emplacement du milieu). Rendez-vous à 18h. Ce sera un barbecue partage. Nous fournissons le barbecue et le charbon de bois, amenez la bouffe. Si vouz avez une guitare ou tout autre instrument de musique, venez avec. Le barbecue aura lieu si le temps le permet.
Barbecue at Columbia Lake, 6 p.m., pot luck. More information: ext. 6857.

And today we're reminded why the capital city of Newfoundland is St. John's and not St. Febronia's, which it would have been if John Cabot's ship had been one day slower. It was on June 24, 1497 -- five hundred years today -- that Cabot "discovered" Newfoundland on behalf of England. The anniversary celebrations in Newfoundland reach their climax today with a visit from the Queen and the arrival of a replica of Cabot's ship, the "Matthew", and -- as the song says -- they'll rant and they'll roar like true Newfoundlanders.

Meanwhile, the other big national celebration is a week away: Canada Day. Planning for UW's Canada Day celebrations on the north campus is in high gear, but there's still an urgent need for volunteers, says Jeremy Steffler, who's helping to round up helpers. "Help is needed with setup and take-down, assisting with the children's games, stage help, cooking and serving food, ambassadorship and security." There's a meeting for volunteers today -- 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1350 -- or interested students, staff and faculty can get in touch with Steffler at jr2steff@novice.

Children get their freedom

Also ranting and roaring today are the children of Kitchener-Waterloo, for it's the last day of classes in 1996-97 for the public and separate schools. (Insert here the usual warning about reckless kids on the streets; drivers and bicyclists should keep a sharp eye out.)

Several children's programs based at UW will go into operation shortly after the Canada Day holiday, and I'm told that in a number of cases applications are down this year and there are last-minute spaces available. Here are the three principal on-campus programs:

Staff policies under revision

The Staff Relations Committee has issued a memo inviting feedback from staff members about changes proposed to three UW policies. Here's a summary of the changes:

Policy 4, Benefits to Faculty and Staff Undertaking Part-time Educational Programs, and Policy 24, Tuition Benefit for Children of Faculty and Staff

In both policies, wording changed to reflect recent changes in staff appointment categories (appointment duration of two years or more to qualify for benefit; addition of a pro-rated benefit for part-time staff). In both policies, eligibility for retired staff and faculty limited to those receiving a UW pension. ("Human Resources has been interpreting the policy in this manner for some time; offering benefits only to those retirees who take a UW pension has been reconfirmed by the Pension & Benefits Committee.")

In Policy 4, a phrase added: "maximum of two courses per term". Also added, a note that courses at other educational institutions, relevant to someone's job, will be paid for only if "similar courses are not offered at UW".

Policy 39, Unpaid Leaves of Absence for Staff Members

Says the committee: "The new Policy #39 brings most full and partial leaves of absence into one policy, and clarifies the approval process; also, the Policy has been reorganized for purposes of clarity. Policies #59 (Reduced Workload to Retirement) and #14 (Leaves Related to Pregnancy or Adoption; also under review) remain as separate policies." A sentence in the new Policy 39 refers readers to those two policies.

The current Policy 55 becomes a new Section I, "Paid Study Leaves of Absence".

Several changes are made to the details of which administrators must give approval to leaves.

This section has been added: "University approval is required if a staff member wants to increase her/his workload and/or return to full-time employment. However, the University has the right to require an increase in workload and/or return to full-time employment with the provision of at least three months written notice."

A statement from the Staff Vacation Policy (#6) has been added for purposes of clarity: "A full unpaid leave of absence in excess of 10 consecutive or accumulative working days will reduce the amount of vacation available proportionately."

The section on self-funded leaves of absence will now say that salary may be deferred over a three- to six-year period; current version allowed deferral for a three- to five-year period. The following statement has been added: "The staff member must return to work after the leave of absence for a period of time not less than the staff member's leave of absence. For example, if a staff member takes a one-year leave, the staff member must return to work for at least one year after the end of the leave."

A statement has been added describing Revenue Canada limitations about pension. Benefits details have been omitted and replaced with a sentence "Detailed information is available from Human Resources."

Comments are now invited

Copies of the current and draft policies may be found on the Secretariat Web site. Comments should be directed to Trenny Canning, secretary of the committee, university secretariat, Needles Hall, e-mail tcanning@secretariat, by August 5.


June 24, 1993: "Mathematicians are atwitter this morning," the Daily Bulletin begins, "at the report that Fermat's Last Theorem has been proven."

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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