Newsletter March 2014

Staffing Time Again!


By: Dave Najduch, WTA President

The following is an updated version of the staffing article provided in the WTA newsletter on a year-to-year basis.

Once again we are approaching the end of the school year and I know some of you are waiting for the staffing process to begin. If you are thinking about a move to a different school in the division for the fall, you might want to review the following information.

The dates and times provided in the table below have come from the WSD and reflect those which the division will use as it moves through the staffing process over the coming months.

WSD Staffing Timelines
Friday , May 2 1st Ad in Schools
Tuesday, May 6 12:00 p.m. Deadline for Applications
Friday, May 23 2nd Ad in Schools
Monday, May 26 12:00 p.m. Deadline for Applications
Thursday, June 5 3rd Ad in Schools
Friday, June 6 4:00 p.m. Deadline for Applications

Things to remember:

  1. If your employment situation is such that you must get a change for the coming school year, you need to write a Confidential letter to, Christine Rhodes, the Assistant Director of Human Resources ASAP asking for the change and providing a brief explanation as to why this must occur. If you would like assistance in preparing the letter, please contact me at the WTA office 204-831-7104 or at In writing the letter; you should accept the fact the division may place you in a different program for the fall without the opportunity of applying for specific jobs. Writing the letter is not a short cut to obtaining interviews through the staffing process.
  2. Every year at staffing time there is some confusion about school intention sheets. Members feel that if they indicate on a school intention sheet that they are not applying for positions and a great job is advertised in the bulletin, they can not apply. This is not accurate. An intention sheet is simply that, at the time you are completing it, I would always indicate that my intention is to stay in the building / program. If something comes out in the job postings that you are interested in later, your intention has now changed and you are free to apply for the positions that are posted.
  3. Surplus Declarations: It is our understanding that if a staff member in a building is to be declared surplus, it should be occurring prior to the first “Ad” being posted to the schools. If declarations are taking place after the postings have occurred, please contact the WTA office.
  4. The “ad” is actually the list of open positions that the WSD has available and would like individuals to apply for. The electronic version of the ad may be available on Employee Connect the day before the date indicated in the table. If you are thinking about a move, check the posting.
  5. Our office always receives questions about who can and cannot apply for posted positions in the bulletins. If you are a person on a permanent fulltime contract you are able to apply and will be considered for positions. If you are a part time permanent person, you can apply for the same percentage position or, you can look for an increase in contracted time through the staffing process. Term teachers and substitutes are not able to apply for the posted positions.
  6. Your application should consist of a current resumé and a covering letter. You can start working on the resumé now, be sure to include teaching and other experience. The resumé is the general description of who you are and the experience you bring to the table as a teacher. The covering letter is job specific and should be written for the position you are applying for and be included with the resumé. Both the resumé and covering letter need to be sent to HR.
  7. Don’t miss the deadline (date and times indicated). The staffing process moves very quickly and many people are moved. You need to have your application in on time to be considered.
  8. Don’t apply for a large numbers of jobs. Be selective. I would always advise members to pick the two or three positions you really want verses applying for ten or fifteen positions at a time. Try to tailor what you apply for to what you teach and have a background or training in. This will increase the likelihood of obtaining an interview.
  9. If you get an interview for a new position, practice some responses to some sample questions with a family member or trusted colleague. Many teachers have not been interviewed in a long time and it is helpful to reflect on what questions you might be asked and how you will respond to them. In practicing your responses it is also helpful to hear yourself answering the questions and make adjustments to your responses based on the feedback provided to you.
  10. A permanent contracted member can apply for a job which is listed as “term” in the staffing bulletin. If you are successful at obtaining the position, next year you may have to go through the staffing process again if the term person returns to their job.
  11. Contact the WTA office (204-831-7104 or and speak to me if you have :
  • applied for positions over the last few years and have never received an interview.
  • had a difficulty with the electronic posting system.
  • had a difficulty or concern about the staffing process this year. It is best for our office to hear about these situations as they occur rather than trying to address issues in September or October of next year.

Frequently Asked Questions Version 2!

By: Nathan Martindale, Vice-President

My November 2012 newsletter article focused on frequently asked questions from members during school visits.   This month’s article is an updated list based on questions asked over the past year and a half.

  1. What are the details of the Personal Leave Day?


  • Each full-time member is entitled to one personal leave day per school year.
  • Each part-time member is entitled to one personal leave day per school year on a pro-rated basis.
  • This personal leave may accumulate up to two days (banking the day in Year 1 and taking two days in Year 2).
  • Members do not have to provide a reason for this leave.
  • Members will not be deducted any salary for this leave.
  • This leave can be taken adjacent to a weekend or long weekend.
  • This leave can be taken in conjunction with the Compensatory Day Leave.
  • Term teachers receive the personal leave day but it cannot be carried over to the following year.


  • This leave may not be attached to the Summer, Winter or Spring Breaks.
  • This leave may not be taken on one of the ten designated Professional Development/Administrative Days.
  • The request for this leave exists on a first-come, first-served basis in each school. In schools with forty or more full-time members, no more than three members can access this leave on the same day. In schools with less than forty full-time members, no more than two members can access this leave on the same day.
  1. Can I be directed to stay after 3:30 PM to supervise students, attend a meeting or participate in Professional Development?

If you are directed by your administrator to do something, you should comply, otherwise it can be considered insubordination (which can be grounds for dismissal).  You should ask for the directions in writing and also contact the WTA Office at 204-831-7104.
If you are directed to participate in a Professional Development activity before 8:45 AM, during the lunch hour, or after 3:30 PM, please contact the WTA Office, as P.D. should take place during the school day or on a school closure day.

  1. I don’t know which leave to access for _____________ .

Please call the WTA Office at 204-831-7104 and we can help you find the appropriate leave for your situation.  The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association has more leave provisions for various days than any other division.

  1. How many hours can I accumulate toward my Compensatory Day if I attend an overnight camp with students?

The maximum # of hours that you can accumulate overnight is 8 hours (for a school night) and 16 hours (for a non-school night).  Teachers are not obligated to stay overnight.

  1. Will the WTA ask the Division to change the number of hours required for the Discretionary Day?

The WTA did not negotiate the Compensatory Day (one day with pay for 50 hours of volunteer service), it is found in WSD Policy.  The WTA believes that participation in extra-curricular activities is voluntary.

  1. Can I opt out of the health plan?

Active teachers can only opt out of the health plan if they can prove reciprocal coverage through their spouse’s/partner’s insurance plan.

  1. I have more questions regarding Manulife.  Who should I contact?

If you are an active teacher, contact Sue Lee, Plan Administrator at the Winnipeg School Division (204-775-0231).
If you are a retired teacher, contact Glenda Shepherd, Plan Administrator at the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association (204-831-7104).

  1. Has the Winnipeg School Division put a cap on its substitute teacher list?  Can retired teachers still apply to be substitutes?

Individuals can apply to be on the WSD substitute teacher list but the Division is under no obligation to hire any of the applicants (even if they are retired teachers).  There are approximately 1000 substitute teachers on the WSD list this year.

  1. I have been up all night with a sick child and they are not attending daycare/school so I need to stay at home with them.  Is there a leave I can access for this situation?

There is a provision for an emergency illness leave in the family or household that you can access for both of these scenarios.  You can typically access one emergency medical leave per emergency.

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions section on the WTA website for more questions and answers.
Enjoy your Spring Break!


By: Terry Willerton, Reception Committee Chair


The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association Retirement Reception


When…June 11th, 2014

Where…Shaarey Zedek Synagogue

More Information to follow….

Contact Terry Willerton at:

Group Benefits-Mid-Career Seminar

By: David Harack, WTA Group Benefits Committee Chair

On Tuesday March 4th 2014, a group of 30 of so teachers settled in for a very fast paced, information filled evening. For the past few years your Group Benefits Committee had been thinking about a workshop to create awareness amongst the Membership on a variety of poignant topics. This year it has come to fruition.

Enter the Mid-Career Planning Seminar, or perhaps better called “Things every WTA teacher should know workshop!” The night started off with myself reviewing many of the benefits we have with the focus of trying to increase Members knowledge of our services. I covered the Disability Benefits Plan, Extended Health Care, Group Life and My Life My Plan insurance and the Dental plan. We discussed the rules and guidelines around plan Status Changes and the duty to report these changes within 90 Days. The deferred salary plan was discussed, questions were asked and answered. Having our MTS Business Agent Henry Shyka available to answer questions was critical. All and all it was informative and pertinent.

Following our presentation, TRAF came out and had personalized information for each member on their pension. The presenters had an extensive PowerPoint that covered lots of information. It was a well paced session filled with many member questions for the presenters. In fact when the evening wrapped up, many teachers stuck around to continue to speak with TRAF who were eager to provide clarification. On to the main event; Mr. David Christianson.

In our planning process, we had brainstormed the idea of having someone come in and talk to the membership regarding finances and who better than David Christianson BA, R.F,P, CFP, TEP and author of Managing the Bull-Detect and Deflect the Crap-A No-Nonsense Approach to Personal Finance. You may also recognize his name from his financial columns in the Winnipeg Free Press. Dave came on as the closer to the event and he did not dissappoint. For the most part you had 30 teachers eagerly hanging on his every word. He didn’t use a power point or any handouts but was able to effectively guide us through some difficult concepts. He was well spoken, down to earth and was quite funny. He made analogies that helped the group understand some topics that would be otherwise confusing and dry. You could truly tell this man is passionate about what he does and really conveyed that message to us. I guess the best part of his presentation forced us to really think..What matters to you? This is a difficult question to answer, but one that needs to be looked at especially when you are planning for the future. Dave spoke about having SMART goals, something we which all can attest to. All and all, it was enlightening and informative; we probably could have kept him talking all night.

The feedback from the Membership was overwhelmingly positive; that can be summed up by these thoughts; “Thank you it is wonderful to have this well before retirement comes” and “All teachers young and old should be here”. “Why isn’t this done in the early part of people careers” and my favourite: I wish I had gone to one of these years ago.

So in closing, I highly suggest that when these seminars come around make a point of attending, it can only help with your future planning. The more you know…the better off you are!

Reminder for Manulife Plan Members – Confirmation of over-age dependants

This annual update helps to ensure over-age student dependants continue to receive uninterrupted health coverage for the duration of their formal education, or until they reach the maximum age as outlined in your benefits plan contract of 25.

Plan members who need to extend benefits for over-age student dependants must complete a Request for Over-Age Dependant Coverage form (GL4408E/F), and return it to Manulife by July 31.

Who qualifies as an over-age student dependant?

An over-age student dependant is a plan member’s unmarried child who falls within a designated age range, as defined by your benefits plan – 25 years of age, and is a full-time student enrolled in accredited post-secondary education.

What happens when they finish school?

If a plan member’s over-age student dependant graduates, leaves school or no longer qualifies as an eligible dependant, plan members need to complete the Termination of Over-Age Dependant Coverage form (also GL4408E/F). This form is available online for plan administrators who have registered for the Plan Administrator Secure Site, on the ‘Forms and Brochures’ section.

General Information


• Original claim receipts are always required.  Copies will not be accepted (other than when Manulife is the second payor.)

• Prescription Drugs:  there is a $1200. threshold for drug expenses incurred in each Pharmacare benefit year (April to March) for an insured or family under age 65.  Reimbursement of drug claims will cease once Manulife has paid $1200.  At that point, the claim is returned and the insured must apply for Manitoba Pharmacare.  Once application has been made, resubmit the claim to Manulife with a copy of the Pharmacare application.  Your annual deductible will be entered on the system and future claims for the year will continue to be paid until the deductible is reached.  To avoid payment interruption it is suggested that everyone make application.
• Threshold for insureds age 65 or over is $800 before they must forward their Pharmacare Form to ManuLife.
• Pharmacare applications are available at any pharmacy.

• For all Practitioners:  i.e. Physiotherapist, Athletic Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Massage Therapist, Audiologist, Psychologist, Chiropractor, Chiropodist/Podiatrist, Osteopath, Naturopath and Dietician.  Be sure that the receipt clearly indicates the Practitioner’s Provincial registration number and their designation:
eg:     Chiropractor – D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractry)
           Massage Therapist – R.M.T. (Registered Massage Therapist)
           Psychologist – (Ph.D. in Psychology)
• Some generic receipts do not always indicate this information.
• This information will be necessary on each claim.

• For Chiropractic services incurred prior to reaching the maximum under Manitoba Health (first 12 visits in a year), ensure that the Chiropractor’s receipt clearly specifies that the charges are for servicesnot covered by Manitoba Health, i.e. ‘non-insured services.’  These may include x-rays, examinations, pre- and post-treatment evaluations, instrumentation and adjunctive therapies.

• Orthotics ($400. per three (3) calendar years):  due to fraudulent practices by some suppliers in recent years, Manulife has been forced to tighten the requirements for reimbursement of this benefit.  The following documentation is required with each claim:

From the physician/practitioner:

    1. A copy of the recommendation or referral from the prescribing physician, podiatrist or chiropodist,which includes the medical condition(s) necessitating the use of orthotic appliances.

From the supplier:

  1. Copies of the biomechanical examination and gait analysis performed.
  2. Complete description of the process used to create the orthotics, including the casting technique and the raw materials used.
  3. Confirmation that the orthotics have been paid in full (supporting receipt) or confirmation that the patient has received the appliances.

Out-of-Country Travel/ManuAssist [9505] (for active members only – not retirees):

For medical expenses in excess of $200:
In the event you or your dependents incur over $200. in expenses, contact ManuAssist via the toll-free number on the reverse of your blue card (active members only.)
• The caller provides ManuAssist with the Employee’s name, policy, certificate number and the imprinted ID number on the card (9505).
• ManuAssist will confirm your group coverage with Manulife and arrange for the payment of medical expenses (provided they were contacted before the expense was incurred.)
• You will be asked to sign an authorization form, allowing them to coordinate payment of the claim on your behalf through Manitoba Health and your Manulife plan.

For medical expenses under $200:
• Pay for the expense and obtain receipt.
• When you return home, submit claim to Manitoba Health.
• Once reimbursement is received from the Provincial plan, submit ‘Out-of-Province/Out-of-Canada Health Claim’ form to Manulife, accompanied with copies of receipts and the statement from Manitoba Health.  Manulife will pay the remaining balance of eligible expenses.

Please refer to the ManuAssist brochure that you received with your card for further details on this benefit.

The views expressed in articles in the Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.
Deadline for submissions for the April WTA Newsletter is: April 14th, 2014.