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GA and TA Appointments for Winter term 2021

Guidelines for departments

Winter term postings: application deadline / duties / appointment duration /

Deadline for submitting contracts to Graduate Studies / Preparing the contract / Instructions for submitting GA/TA contracts to Graduate Studies /

 Completing Form 1 / Mandatory training for new GA and TA employees /Online teaching supports for GAs and TAs / Winter term FAQs for GAs and TAs


GA and TA Winter term 2021 posting guidelines:

Application deadline:
The application deadline for GA and TA positions must be no later than 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the term, i.e. for Winter 2021 the application deadline must be no later than December 9th, 2020. An earlier deadline is strongly encouraged, to allow for sufficient time for assignments and contract processing. 
  • All GA and TA postings must be posted on the AAU website. A standard posting period is considered to be 5-7 days prior to the application deadline. 
  • Departments should email a copy of their posting to for review before it has been posted on their website.
  • Students interested in applying for a GA or TA position in a specific program/department are encouraged to visit the departmental website where available positions will be posted before each term. 
Duties and requirements:
  • Specify on the posting whether all duties will be performed remotely. Identify any specific requirements related to supporting online delivery, such as:
    • Internet access requirement, e.g.: 'must have access to a computer with a reliable internet connection with video and audio capabilities'.
    • Blackboard experience, e.g. "must be familiar with Blackboard and MS Teams or be able to acquire knowledge through training". 
  • If there is an expectation that Graduate and Teaching Assistants may be required to be on campus to support class activities (e.g. for lab demonstrations), the posting should clearly identify and describe such duties. 
  • Any GA/TA positions with duties that may involve face-to-face responsibilities must be clearly identified and described on the GA/TA postings.
Appointment duration:

START DATE: The start date of all appointments should reflect the date the student is expected to begin working which may be the first day of classes (i.e. January 7, 2021), or earlier.

END DATE: The end dates for full-term appointments must align to the last date of the last month of Winter term 2021, i.e. April 30th, 2021, to allow for completion of all duties including the seven-day marking period after final exams.

Deadline for submitting contracts to Graduate Studies 

The deadline for submitting contracts from departments to Graduate Studies is December 15, 2020, for payment to the student on the first payroll for Winter term (January 29, 2021). Contracts received after December 15th will be paid on the next student payroll date - review all contract submission deadlines for Winter term 2021.

Preparing contracts - instructions for Departments: 

  1. Download the UPDATED "Notice of appointment to assistantship" contract form and save it to your computer.
  2. Open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader and fill in the information. 

Note: you must open the PDF form in Adobe Acrobat Reader and not in your browser. If the PDF form is opened in a browser (e.g. Chrome or Edge) you will not be able to properly fill in the form and to insert digital signatures. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, the free version of Adobe Reader can be downloaded from Adobe. After you have installed Adobe Reader, open the form in Adobe Reader and fill in the information. If your form still opens in a browser, follow the instructions to open the file with Adobe Reader.

  1. Review the GA/TA contract checklist to ensure registration and other eligibility requirements are met, and email the completed contract to the assistant along with the instructions for inserting a digital signature.
  2. Review the final signed contract and ensure all information listed is accurate and complete.
  3. Submit the contract following the instructions in the next section:

Instructions for submitting GA/TA contracts to Graduate Studies:

All contracts are to be submitted by the AAU via the new GA/TA workflow - review the detailed instructions for departments.

Instructions for completing "Form 1 - Description of Duties and Allocation of Hours":

In addition to the GA or TA contract ("Notice of appointment"), Form 1 must be completed for each GA or TA appointment prior to commencement of the duties (article 12:06 of the GA/TA Collective agreement) and kept on file in the department. 

Signatures on Form 1 will be applied digitally:

  1. Download the updated "Form 1" (.pdf)  which has been updated to allow for insertion of digital signatures.
  2. Complete the Form 1 and obtain required signatures following the instructions for inserting a digital signature.

‚ÄčNote the following:

  • Before signing Form 1, GA/TA supervising instructors and AAU Heads should ensure that the form is fully completed, with a detailed description of the duties and breakdown of the assigned hours. Any expectations for on-campus duties or duties that involve face-to-face meetings or interactions must have been clearly identified on the GA/TA job posting, and must also be documented on Form 1 and discussed at the meeting between the GA/TA and their supervising instructor.
  • The GA/TA supervising instructor must make arrangements for a virtual meeting with the Assistant to discuss the duties in detail (e.g. via ZoomMS Teams, etc.). The meeting must be held no later than 10 days after the commencement of the GA/TA employment (article 14:04). 
  • For training purposes, instructors can refer GAs and TAs to the online teaching supports for GAs and TAs including CTL's Blackboard support and guidelines for new GAs/TAs
  • The format of Form 1 provides for a mid-course review and, where appropriate, revision of the initially assigned duties and distribution of hours. Any changes must be recorded on the same form with the date of the review meeting noted, and the form should be digitally signed again by assistant, supervisor, and AAU Head. If there are no changes only the date of the review and signatures should be recorded on the form.
  • An assistant must NOT work more hours than the total hours listed on their contract. If an assistant believes that they are likely to exceed the assigned hours in their contract, they must inform their supervisor in writing at least 20 hours prior to completion of the total hours in their contract (article 14:06). A notation to this effect appears also on Form 1. 

The completed and signed Form 1 for each student is to be kept on file in the department. 

Mandatory training for new GA and TA employees:

Review the information about required training as part of the hiring package provided to all new University employees, including new GAs and TAs.

All online training modules are available at: and must be completed only once. Returning assistants who have already taken the appropriate training in previous terms do NOT need to repeat the same training. Departments should establish their internal procedures and deadlines for verifying training completion.

Please ensure to include on Form 1 "Description of duties and allocation of hours" the hours for the required training - below are suggested guidelines provided by HR:

(1) for the Health and Safety modules:1.5 hours total - contact

(2) for the Accessible Customer Service Training & the AODA and Ontario Human Rights Code training: 2 hours total - contact Alternative Accessible Customer Service training options for TAs only may be available as detailed below:

  • (2a) TA appointments of 5 hours or more: the training should be completed through either the standard 90-minute online e-learning tool (same as GAs) or through arranging for a 60-minute training workshop with OHREA office (a minimum of 10 participants is required for the 60-minute training workshop) - for details contact the OHREA office (
  •  (2b) TA appointments of fewer than 5 hours:
    • if duties involve direct contact with students: the 90-minute online e-learning module and quiz must be completed.
    • if duties involve no direct contact with students: the training of such TAs can be completed through provision of brochures followed by a 30-minute online quiz - contact the OHREA office (

Online teaching supports for GAs and TAs

A variety of resources targeted to GAs and TAs in all departments are available, including GATA Network workshops and drop-in hours as well as Blackboard support and guidelines from CTL for new GAs/TAs. Resources are summarized on the Winter term resources for students webpage.

Winter term FAQs for GAs and TAs

FAQs for graduate students including GAs and TAs have been posted on the Winter term resources for students webpage.