The process to appoint or re-appoint an RA paid out of fund 13 or the 30s for the fall semester will be slightly different from the current process – namely that processing will be done by the RPI team rather than Payroll, and the PAF has been revised to allow for the additional information needed to create an employment contract.

In the coming months, active RA appointments with an end date beyond March 1, 2021 will require a signed Offer of Employment from the university, that reflect the terms and conditions agreed to by the Supervisor and the RA.

Supervisors or the department representative will complete and submit the required information to the RPI team, who will create an Offer of Employment and send to the RA for signature (via DocuSign). 

Employment contracts are required by the ESA (Employment Standards Act) and are intended to provide clarity for the university, the Supervisor and the employee, and as such, they should accurately reflect what will be expected of and provided by each party.


A few things to note

A PAF is not required for active appointments with end dates beyond March 1, 2021.

RAs with active appointments with an end date earlier than March 1, 2021 will be processed if/when their appointment is renewed.

The revised PAF requires additional information to support new appointments and re-appointments in Fund 13 and the 30s. 

An Offer of Employment is not considered complete until signed acceptance by the employee has been received.

A signed Offer of Employment is required before employees can begin work.

A valid work permit, SIN Confirmation Letter and other relevant documents must be received by SFU before a temporary foreign worker can begin work and be paid.

The Supervisor continues to be responsible for recruiting, appointing, training, and supervising an RA.

ESA (Employment Standards Act) requires the tracking of employees’ time to ensure compliance with vacation, overtime, early ending notice periods and/or payouts are handled appropriately.

ESA requires overtime pay for employees who work more than 40 hours per week “total employment”:

  • RAs may already hold other paid roles that contribute to the total number of hours worked – departments should check for other work assignments at SFU to ensure the expected hours are within the proposed Offer of Employment. Check SFUDA_WORK_ASSIGNMENTS.

Employees in this group will no longer be governed by Policy R50-02.


Types of employment contracts 

There is no minimum duration for RA appointments.

SFU employment contracts are typically “indefinite term” although the option exists to create a “fixed term” employment contract.

Fixed term employment contracts are typically used for appointments less than 60 days when there is no expectation of renewal or for an early end to the appointment.


Duties to be performed

The Supervisor will continue to determine the work the RA will perform.

The Offer of Employment needs to capture an accurate description of the work the RA will be doing, as it will form the basis of the Offer of Employment.

checklist of duties is available to choose from, or custom ones may be used. Pages 3 and 4 of the revised PAF offers several options for identified the work to be performed: 

  • Check the boxes for all duties that apply, and/or
  • Write a list of duties in the ‘Other Duties’ box or attach a Word document
  • The duties listed should be those that occupy the majority of the RA’s time but need not include every eventuality. All employment contracts will contain wording to allow for a degree of ‘other duties as assigned by the Supervisor’.

Note that there is no requirement to use the title “research assistant”. Appointments may be made with different titles that more appropriately reflect the work being done.


Rate of pay & benefits

Rates of pay are determined by the Supervisor but must meet BC’s minimum wage ($14.60/hour in July 2020).

  • The Supervisor’s grant will continue to be responsible for CPP, EI, WCB, EHT.
  • Supervisors will continue to be able to offer health and dental coverage if allowed by the granting agency (employer portion of benefits is 50%, the RA pays 50%). Health benefits are still considered discretionary. 
  • Employees who are offered discretionary health benefits are not enrolled automatically. Once a signed offer of employment is received by RPI, RAs eligible for benefits will receive enrolment forms to complete and submit to HR.     

Use this Calculator to estimate:

  • minimum amount of time required and/or 
  • cost to the grant.

See 'Planning for the cost of benefits' on the Planning tab for information about vacation pay and benefits.


Employee/employment documentation

SFU requires the collection of information about each new employee in order to pay them:  

For temporary foreign workers:

  •    SIN Confirmation Letter with SIN number and expiry date
  •    Work permit/Study Permit

If this information has not changed since the last appointment, there is no requirement to re-submit for re-appointments.

The RPI team will maintain new employee files for the duration of the project.


Steps for creating an appointment or re-appointing

A signed Offer of Employment is required from all employees before they can begin work.

The following is the process that applies when appointing or re-appointing RAs. Much of it is the same as it is today:

  • Department or Supervisors completes a revised PAF  
  • Departments request relevant documents from the employee
  • Departments submit revised PAF and documents to Financial Reporting (Fund 13) or Research Accounting (Fund 30s)
  • RPI creates Offer of Employment and sends a copy to the RA via DocuSign
  • RA signs and returns to RPI along with any required documentation that was not submitted with the PAF
  • RPI enters RA information into the system
  • RPI confirms RA employment status with Department and PI

For the creation of Offers of Employment for active RA appointments, the process varies only in that a PAF is not required - a department representative will submit the terms and conditions agreed to by the Supervisor and the RA in order for the offer letter to be created.

Appointments other than Fund 13 and 30s or scholarship income appointments to any fund: process as usual.

NOTE: The following query can be used to determine the status of an appointment in myINFO: SFUDA_RA_ADMINISTER_EES.