It’s cold and flu season, and COVID is certainly still around us, so we’ve been getting a few questions on what to do if you’re sick and need to miss a class.

This is a graphic advertising a sick day blog post. The background is pink with various medical devices like masks, needles and pills free-floating. There is a clipboard that reads: Sick Days The text on the graphic reads: What should I do if I'm SICK and need to miss a class? The OCADFA logo is at the bottom left.

Firstly, it’s important to know that all OCADFA members have the right to access Sick Leave. For Faculty the relevant article in our Memorandum of Agreement is 19.8.1, and for Academic Staff you can find the Sick Leave provision in article 31.6.1. Both define sick leave in the same way:

Sick leave refers to occasional absence due to illness, injury, or medical appointments that prevent the faculty / academic staff member from performing his/her duties.

OCAD University MoA (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2023)

The Memorandum of Agreement also outlines the process for accessing sick leave: you are to promptly inform your Associate Dean, or for Academic Staff your supervisor, of your need to access sick leave along with an estimate its duration. If your absence is more than seven calendar days, you’ll need a note from a qualified medical practitioner.

The exact procedures may differ slightly depending on your faculty and/or program area, but if the need to cancel a class arises, we advise you inform your Associate Dean, as per Article, and copy your Faculty Office Manager and Program Chair/Graduate Program Director. You should also inform your students as soon as practical via Canvas.

There are structures in place to ensure that your students will still receive the full benefit of your course even if you must cancel a session due illness. If there is enough time to arrange it, sometimes it is possible to have a non-Sessional colleague fill in for your class (there is currently no provision to compensate Sessionals for such labour). Typically, though, the class is made up at a later point, usually during the flex week/critique week at the end of the regularly scheduled classes. Each term schedule does include a date for makeup classes that have been cancelled due to illness. Your Chair/GPD and Faculty Office can be a helpful resource in either arranging for a substitute or making alternative arrangements. Once you know how/when the class will be made up, you should advise your students via Canvas.

If a situation is immediately affecting your ability to perform work requested from another entity, like Student Accessibility Services, it is okay to inform them that you are not able to attend to the request as soon as ideal due to illness or personal circumstances.

If the illness you are experiencing has longer-term effects, contact OCADFA as soon as possible. We are here to help you navigate the channels that will get you the supports you need to continue your work in the event of chronic health conditions

In Solidarity