Leave of Absence Policy: Concerns Raised
To date, we’ve raised the following concerns to the Office of the Vice-Provost Students and/or the University Affairs Board:
- Definitions (p. 2) – Every Student Support Team should include at least one medical professional.
- Guiding Principles (pp. 2-3) – The right to be accompanied by legal counsel and/or your own medical professional throughout the process should be included as a guiding principle.
- Threshold for Intervention (p. 4) – The basis for intervention should always be evidence-based (meaning medical evidence, produced by a medical professional who’s assessed the situation). Scenario 2 in Section 17 is too broad.
- Notification to the Vice-Provost, Students (p. 4) – The Student Support Team should always include a medical professional from the outset, and the medical professional should be a full member of the team, not an “external adviser.” The student should have input on the composition of the SST.
- Availability of Accommodations (p. 4) – The student’s enrolment status as a ‘student’ should not be affected. The student should receive financial supports and advice. If necessary, the student should receive assistance from a certified immigration specialist so that the student may remain in the country.
- University-Mandated Leave of Absence (p. 6) – The words “wherever time permits” should be removed from s. 36.
- Terms and Conditions (p. 7) – The final point should be changed to “such other term as the University and/or the student considers appropriate.”
- Review by the Provost (p. 8) – The student’s legal counsel should be able to correspond with the university on the student’s behalf throughout the process (meaning not just at the review-by-Provost/University Tribunal stage).
- Ongoing Ability to Provide Information (p. 9) – If the Vice-Provost dismisses the new information, the student should be able to appeal that decision to the Provost and then to the University Tribunal.
- Return to Studies (p. 9) – Removal of minimum duration for leaves (see s.61)
- Return to Studies after Leave of Absence (p. 9) – There should be a precise definition of “monitoring” (see s. 64).
- Confidentiality and Privacy (p. 10) The Personal Health Information Protection Act should also be mentioned.
- Appeals (Section III, IV) – the decisions should be stayed pending appeal (meaning that the decisions don’t take affect until the appeals process has been exhausted).
- It should be made clear that a student placed on leave will be refunded for the duration of the leave period. So, for example, if the leave is backdated to the beginning of the term, the student should be refunded for the entire term.