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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) are an integral part of the university community and make an indispensable contribution to its mission.

It is the general purpose of this guide to establish a working relationship between the university and its GTAs, to define rates of pay and other working conditions, as well as to ensure the prompt and peaceful resolution of issues that may arise from time to time.

For information related to academics, GTAs should consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

As noted on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, a GTA assists academic units in the teaching mission. A GTA provides assistance to faculty with the teaching responsibilities and a graduate student employed as a GTA receives valuable teaching experience as they advance their education and further develop their skills.

Responsibilities may include any of the following:

  • To provide informal and formal advice to students.
  • To assist in the grading of tests, papers, lab reports and final exams.
  • To assist faculty in course development and/or course renewal.
  • To conduct tutorial or lab sessions.
  • To present one or more lectures in a class.
  • To supervise field trips.
  • To proctor final examinations (expected for courses that have a final examination scheduled by Enrolment Services).

This list is not exhaustive, but in all cases, assistantship functions shall not include clerical, technical or administrative work not related to teaching.

University Policy and Procedure

No Discrimination

It is agreed that there will be no discrimination, interference, restrictions, coercion, or intimidation exercised on or practiced by the university or GTAs in regard to any matter associated with the terms and conditions of employment by reason of race, creed, colour, sex, gender, marital status, ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, political or religious affiliation, sexual orientation, citizenship, age, record of offences, family status, disability, or language (unless an occupational requirement of a position).


Harassment is defined in Ontario’s laws as "engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” Generally, these comments or conduct must be related to one of the prohibited grounds such as race, sex, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, marital status, same sex partner status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status or religion.

It is expected that all employees will act in accordance with university policy 6.1.

Occupational Health and Safety

The university is committed to the occupational health and safety of employees and in providing a safe work environment at all times. This commitment encompasses striving to identify and minimize workplace hazards and the prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses, including ergonomic related injuries. The university will operate and the employees shall work in compliance with the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Environmental Protection Act, their regulations, and any applicable municipal, provincial and/or federal legislation. The university and the employees shall make every reasonable effort to prevent personal injury and to maintain safe working conditions. The university will make every effort to ensure that all employees comply with the legislation and with the occupational health and safety practices, procedures and policies established by the university.

Please see the department of Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management’s web page for more information on services provided.

Employment Accommodation Policy

It is expected that all employees will act in accordance with university policy 8.7, approved by the Board of Governors.

“Wilfrid Laurier University is committed to providing equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offence(s), marital status, family status, disability, colour or ethnic origin as described by the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The university has both a legal and moral obligation to accommodate the needs of its employees so that barriers to equal participation are eliminated wherever possible.”

Issue Resolution

Laurier is committed to the maintenance of a civil workplace. Promoting civility and respect and early intervention will reduce the risk of incivility, including workplace harassment and violence. Whenever conflicts arise, Laurier employees are encouraged to deal directly with the other person(s) who are involved to respectfully engage in dialogue to achieve resolution.

Laurier has established resources and a process to facilitate achieving a respectful workplace to foster clear communication and candor, facilitate respectful interactions and yield solutions of mutual agreement.

Please contact Human Resources at 519.884.0710 x2007 for a copy of the Employee Issue Resolution Process (EIRP) guide. This includes a form as an appendix that will assist in documenting concerns that you would like to present for assistance in finding a resolution. Documentation related to any concerns regarding disrespect and incivility will be kept confidentially within Human Resources.

Compensation and Benefits

Rates of Pay

Students with GTA contracts are eligible to receive both employment earnings for services performed, and a fellowship to recognize the advancement of their education and the further development of their skills through the GTA experience.

The employment earnings will be based on an hourly rate and subject to all statutory deductions, and will include 4% vacation pay. The fellowship available to students undertaking Teaching Assistant (TA) contracts and performing TA duties as specified by the department is tax-exempt and will be reflected on a T4A at year end. Students not undertaking TA duties are ineligible for the fellowship.

The university sets the rates which apply to all faculties. These rates are reviewed regularly.


Graduate students are required to participate in the health and dental plan provided by the Graduate Student’s Association (GSA).

TAs do not qualify for participation in the university pension plan.

Overtime, Vacation and Holiday Pay

Graduate Teaching Assistants are subject to the Ontario Employment Standards Act 2000 (ESA). All employees are encouraged to review the information provided on the ESA website.

Hours of Work

GTAs expected to work an average of 10 hours per week or a maximum of 130 hours per term.

Assistants are required to serve the university in teaching for no more than the hours specified for the contract period. Please note that full-time graduate students may not be gainfully employed more than 10 hours per week on average within the university (520 hours per academic year).


Employees do not accrue vacation time but are entitled to 4% of their gross earnings as vacation pay as per the ESA. Vacation pay is in addition to the regular wages and is paid to employees on each pay deposit.

Public Holiday Pay

Public holiday pay shall be in accordance with the ESA.

Pregnancy / Parental Leave


Students who become parents may elect to take an uninterrupted parental leave during the first year of birth, adoption, or when the child first comes into their custody, care and control. The maximum duration of the parental leave is twelve months (three consecutive terms). This leave can be taken regardless of the application for or receiving of a parental leave grant (see "General Regulations: Regulation Status" information in the graduate calendar for the Laurier policy). To receive a parental leave grant during a parental leave period, the following eligibility criteria must be met:

  • Master’s students: Registered as a full-time graduate student in a research-based program with a funding package for at least one complete academic term, but not more than two academic years (six terms), prior to the start of the leave.
  • Doctoral students: Registered as a full-time graduate student in a research-based program with a funding package for at least one complete academic term, but not more than four academic years (12 terms), prior to the start of the leave.

Students remain eligible for the grant only within their normal period of eligibility for financial support.

Only students in good academic standing with no outstanding fees will be eligible for the grant. Students are only eligible for the grant if they are the primary caregiver for the child. If both parents are eligible Laurier graduate students, the parental leave grant can be shared and each parent may take a portion of the leave for a combined maximum of three terms (e.g. one partner can take two terms and the other can take one term) but both parents cannot receive the grant at the same time. Each parent must fill in a separate grant application and the leave must be taken within the first year of birth, adoption, or when the child first comes into custody, care and control of the parent. Graduate students can apply for this grant for each incident of birth, adoption, custody, care and control of parent during their graduate studies, in accordance with the eligibility criteria outlined above.

Parental Grant Amount

The parental leave grant, together with any other available Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or continuing support, will maintain financial support at the level of 95% of the average pre-leave, per term funding amount, less tuition, to a maximum amount per term as follows:

  • First-term maximum = $4,000
  • Second-term maximum = $3,000
  • Third-term maximum = $3,000
  • Total maximum = $10,000

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