Please call 1-800-232-7208 and ask to speak to the Professional Development Duty Officer if you have any questions that are not answered below.

 

Protocol for Convention AttendanceTop of page

  1. All active members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association under contract to public, separate, and Francophone school authorities have legal as well as professional obligations to attend the annual teachers’ convention to which they are assigned.
  2. Members are expected to consider their convention dates as a professional priority when planning for the school year and as an essential component of their ongoing professional development.
  3. School authorities, Association subgroups, school staff and individual teachers shall not organize any activities on convention dates that conflict with members’ obligations to attend their assigned convention. Any activities so scheduled may be contrary to the School Act.
  4. No person at the school or district level has the authority to direct a member to not attend their assigned convention. Requests from members regarding the use of negotiated leave provisions may be approved only by those personnel specified in the member’s collective agreement. All other requests concerning convention attendance must be made to the Association.
  5. Although worthy enterprises, the following are not sufficient reasons for requesting to be absent from convention:
    • School, district, or government meetings/events
    • Travel for school, district, or government meetings or events
    • Supervision of school field trips, activities or exchanges
    • Volunteering or other employment
    • Personal meetings, events, travel or recreation
    • Self-directed study, university classes, course work or research
    • Individual or group planning, marking, or administrative work
    • Diploma exam marking or provincial curriculum writing
  6. In exceptional circumstances, members may contact the Association to request release from their convention attendance obligations or to seek permission to attend a convention other than the one to which they are assigned. Requests will only be considered from those members who meet all eligibility criteria and application deadlines.
  7. Unless released from their convention attendance obligations, a charge of unprofessional conduct under the Teaching Profession Act and/or Association discipline bylaws may be lodged against any active member who fails to attend their assigned convention. School authorities have the right to deduct pay from any teacher who is absent from their assigned convention without proper authorization.
  8. For the purposes of defining convention attendance in relation to negotiated assignable time limits, Joint Interpretation Bulletin No. 1-2017 (August 25, 2017) between the Association and the Teacher’s Employer Bargaining Association (TEBA) states, “Six (6) hours are allotted to each day of Teachers’ Convention”.

 


Release from Convention AttendanceTop of page

In addition to accessing the leave provisions included in their collective agreement, a member may request to be released from all or part of their assigned convention to attend an alternate professional development event that is scheduled during their assigned convention or to coach at a provincial finals competition organized by the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association.  Eligibility, application, and appeal information is listed below. 

Negotiated Leave Provisions

Eligibility Criteria
The School Act defines the days on which conventions are held as “teaching days”. As such, active members may, with few exceptions, access all the medical, bereavement, parental and other leave provisions in their collective agreements on their assigned convention days as they would on any regular teaching day.

Conditions
Members who are on leave during convention are released from their obligation to attend. No convention registration fees will be refunded to members who are on leave during convention, but salary and benefits may be deducted from their pay (based on the type of leave and provisions specified in their collective agreements).

Members on leave who would like to attend their convention should refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Application, Approval & Appeal
Members must request leave from their duties by contacting their employer in the same manner they would if they were requesting to be absent on a regular teaching day. Requests are approved or denied by the employer in accordance with the appropriate collective agreement and district policy. Members who experience difficulty requesting a leave should contact the Association’s Teacher Welfare Duty Officer at 1-800-232-7208.

Alternate Professional Development

Eligibility Criteria
Any active member may request to be released from their convention attendance obligations to attend an alternate professional development activity that is scheduled during their assigned convention, provided the alternate activity:

  • is an organized professional development event that is permitted under the Association’s Protocol for Convention Attendance;
  • cannot be accessed at another time when it doesn’t conflict with convention attendance; and
  • presents the member with a learning opportunity that exceeds what is available in their convention program and will enhance their professional practice.

Conditions
If a member’s request is approved they must attend their assigned convention for two consecutive years before they may apply to attend an alternate professional development event during convention again. They are responsible for all costs associated with attending their alternate activity. No convention registration fees will be refunded.
 
Application, Approval & Appeal
Release from convention attendance to attend alternate professional development activities is administered by each convention board’s attendance committee.  While some application procedures vary from convention to convention, requests must be made in writing (using the format or form specified on each convention’s website) and must be received at least six weeks before an applicant’s  assigned convention. The convention’s attendance committee will review and either confirm or deny all applications. The committee’s decision can be appealed to an ad hoc appeals committee of the convention board and then to the Association’s Convention Factotum, the executive staff officer responsible for teachers’ conventions. The Factotum's decision is final.

For your convenience, a directory of convention websites and contacts can be accessed here

Alberta Schools Athletic Association Finals

The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association (ASAA) have a formal agreement regarding the release of teacher-coaches from their convention attendance obligations. If a school team makes it to the ASAA finals in their sport and the competition is scheduled during teacher's convention season, the ATA will provide an opportunity for any teacher-coaches of these teams to be absent from a portion of their assigned convention. For its part, the ASAA will attempt to schedule final competitions so as to impact as few teachers as possible.

Eligibility Criteria
Members may request release from part of their assigned convention to coach at ASAA finals a member provided they meet all of the following conditions:

  • The member must be the coach or assistant coach of a school team that has advanced to the ASAA  finals for their sport.
  • Requests will only be considered if the member’s team will be competing at ASAA finals that are scheduled on the day or night of the member’s assigned convention dates. Typically these competitions are limited to rural wrestling finals, provincial wrestling finals, provincial curling finals, and provincial cheerleading finals.
  • Requests will not be considered for members who are parents of athletes on qualifying teams, for members who want to support their school team at the finals, or for members who want to coach at a zone/regional finals or other tournaments. These members must meet their convention attendance obligations.
  • Permission for a member to be absent from their assigned convention to coach can only be granted by the Alberta Teachers' Association; school and district administrators do not have the authority to grant release from convention attendance for coaching.

Conditions
If a member’s request is approved:

  • They will be released from a portion of their convention for an amount of time deemed satisfactory for them to safely travel to the ASAA finals and to coach their team.
  • They are expected to be at the remainder of their assigned convention in accordance with their professional and legal obligations to attend.
  • Release is granted for the current year only. Requests for release to coach at ASAA finals must be made each year.
  • No convention registration fees will be refunded to members for the portion of convention they do not attend.
  • If the Association’s Convention Factotum, the executive staff officer responsible for teachers' conventions, determines that a member has missed too much of their assigned convention to coach in a given year or over a period of years, the member may be required to attend an alternate convention that does not conflict with their coaching responsibilities.

Application, Approval & Appeal
Members must complete and submit an online application no later than two weeks prior to their assigned convention. Applications will be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Convention Factotum. The Convention Factotum’s decision can be appealed to the Association's Coordinator of Professional Development, whose decision is final.

The online application form can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ConventionAttendance2018.

 


Attend an Alternate ConventionTop of page

Teachers of Distance & Online Learning Programs

Eligibility Criteria
Any active member may request to attend a convention other than the one to which they are assigned (based on their employer and ATA local) if they work in distance learning or online learning programs and live outside of the geographic boundary of their assigned convention.

Conditions
If a member’s request is approved:

  • Permission will be granted for the member to attend an alternate convention for this year only. A request to attend an alternate convention must be made each year.
  • The member is responsible for arranging substitute release time for the days of their alternate convention through their employer, in accordance with their collective agreement and district policy.
  • The transfer of the member’s convention registration fees will be administered by convention treasurers under the direction of the Association's Convention Factotum, the executive staff officer responsible for teachers' conventions. No convention registration fees will be refunded to the member.

Application, Approval & Appeal
Members must complete and submit an online application prior to December 15. Late requests may be considered in some cases.  Applications will be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Convention Factotum. The Convention Factotum’s decision can be appealed to the Association's Coordinator of Professional Development, whose decision is final.

The online application form can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ConventionAttendance2018.

Teachers on Secondment

Active members who are seconded from their school authority retain all rights and responsibilities associated with their level of Association membership including the legal and professional obligation to attend convention.

Eligibility Criteria
Members on secondment may request to attend a convention other than the one to which they are assigned (based on their employer and ATA local) if:

  • Their duties while on secondment make it difficult for them to attend their assigned convention; or
  • They are required to live outside of the geographic boundary of their assigned convention during their secondment.

Conditions
If a member’s request is approved:

  • Permission will be granted for the member to attend an alternate convention for this year only. A request to attend an alternate convention must be made each year.
  • The member is responsible for arranging release time for the days of their alternate convention through the organization to which they are seconded, in accordance with the terms of their secondment agreement and organization policy.
  • The transfer of the member’s convention registration fees will be administered by convention treasurers under the direction of the Association's Convention Factotum, the executive staff officer responsible for teachers' conventions. No convention registration fees will be refunded to the member.

Application, Approval & Appeal
Members must complete and submit an online application prior to December 15. Late requests may be considered in some cases.  Applications will be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Convention Factotum. The Convention Factotum’s decision can be appealed to the Association's Coordinator of Professional Development, whose decision is final.

The online application form can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ConventionAttendance2018.

Teachers with Other Attendance Conflicts

From time-to-time, active members may find themselves in convention attendance conflicts which are beyond their ability to resolve.  Typically these conflicts are the result of school, district, and government staff scheduling activities (including those that are prohibited by the Association's Protocol for Convention Attendance) without considering the Association’s convention calendar and members’ attendance obligations. 

Eligibility Criteria
Members who find themselves in a convention attendance conflict may request to attend a convention other than the one to which they are assigned (based on their employer and ATA local) if:

  • They have attempted to resolve their convention attendance conflict by all the means at their disposal;
  • Their convention attendance conflict cannot or should not be resolved using the leave clauses specified in their collective agreement; and
  • The conflict will only impact their attendance at this year's convention.

Conditions
If a member’s request is approved:

  • Permission will be granted for the member to attend an alternate convention for this year only. Future requests from the member to attend an alternate convention due to a scheduling conflict will not be considered in most cases.
  • The member is responsible for arranging substitute release time for the days of their alternate convention through their employer, in accordance with their collective agreement and district policy.
  • The transfer of the member’s convention registration fees will be administered by convention treasurers under the direction of the Association's Convention Factotum, the executive staff officer responsible for teachers' conventions. No convention registration fees will be refunded to the member.

Application, Approval & Appeal
Members must complete and submit an online application prior to December 15. Late requests may be considered in some cases.  Applications will be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Convention Factotum. The Convention Factotum’s decision can be appealed to the Association's Coordinator of Professional Development, whose decision is final.

The online application form can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ConventionAttendance2018.

 


Frequently Asked QuestionsTop of page

Convention attendance can be surprisingly complicated. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page for convention information specific to: education students, substitute teachers, and central office staff; teachers employed part-time or on compressed work schedules; and teachers who are not active members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.