Attendance Policy

A Professional Obligation

Teachers' conventions provide an excellent means of professional development. Teachers have a responsibility to be informed and knowledgeable about educational issues and changes. The Teaching Profession Act, the legislation that established The Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) and sets out its mandate, lists as one of the objects of the ATA,

"to improve the teaching profession... by organizing and supporting groups which tend to improve the knowledge and skill of teachers, by meetings, publications, research and other activities designed to maintain and improve the competence of teachers."

The annual convention is an important component of the overall professional development program for teachers. Convention planners work with organizers of school-based and local-level professional development activities as well as with ATA specialist councils to ensure that the professional development opportunities available to teachers are coordinated, comprehensive and relevant. Through convention speakers, workshops, exhibits and social activities, teachers can keep up with educational developments, identify and propose solutions for common problems, expand their educational knowledge and skills, and meet and exchange ideas with colleagues. Conventions are intended to motivate teachers to further explore and study topics of interest, areas of need and new developments in education. The ATA endeavors to make these events, which are an integral part of teachers' continuing professional development, interesting, challenging and stimulating.

A Legal Obligation

In addition to having a professional obligation to attend conventions, Alberta teachers have a legal obligation. Section 78(1)(d) of the School Act defines "teaching day" to include the two days per year on which teachers' conventions are held. These days are for attending the convention "authorized by the Alberta Teachers' Association." "Convention days are, by law, teaching days for which teachers receive pay." As in the case of emergency school closures, board-declared holidays and professional days, teachers receive pay for their attendance at teachers' convention if they normally work on those days and/or if they are required by the employer to attend beyond an amount of time commensurate with their normal work obligations. School boards have the right to deduct pay from teachers absent from convention without legitimate reason and, in fact, have done so. A charge of unprofessional conduct under the Teaching Profession Act and ATA discipline bylaws may be lodged against a teacher who fails to attend the teachers' convention unless permitted to do so under ATA bylaw 108 (alternate professional development). The ATA's Discipline and Professional Conduct Committees have returned verdicts of guilty in several such cases. Regular school board administration of collective agreement leave provisions, such as sick leave, applies.

  • If you are sick (or cannot attend convention for other personal reasons) then the provisions in the collective agreement apply and you must follow the same procedures for obtaining sick leave (or other forms of leave) that you would if it was a normal teaching day.
  • Part-time teachers are being paid “only for the time the teacher teaches” (School Act (Section 103(b)). Your teaching assignment is your shift, which is a defined time. Any addition to or adjustment of time must be done with your agreement and proper compensation. In simplest terms, whatever is consistent with your assignment for that day is your obligation. Notwithstanding all of the above, part-time teachers aren’t prevented from voluntarily attending sessions.
  • Any teacher wishing to engage in other professional development activity during teachers’ convention must contact the attendance chairperson of the convention board. This person, in conjunction with the attendance committee, will make a judgment regarding the request. Requests to be absent from the Mighty Peace Teachers’ Convention for reasons of alternate professional development are to be made via written letter prior to January 25, 2017.
  • Any teacher required to coach at an ASAA Provincial Finals Event during teachers’ convention must complete the form and send it to the attendance chairperson of the convention board.
Letters and forms can be sent to:

Chantal Gallant