President's Message

President’s Message

Hello fellow ASPA members! My name is Curtis Larson and the ASPA executive at the May 2019 executive meeting selected me to be president for 2019-20. I am both honouredcurtis 2 and humbled to be able to serve you for a second time in the role of President. For those of you that have been here a long time you may recall I was previously on the ASPA executive from 2001 to 2004 and served as President in 2002-03. Much has changed since that time, not least of which the ASPA membership has grown from under 500 members to almost 1400 members today, which probably means the workload will be a little heavier and the issues more complex than last time, but being able to hopefully make a positive difference, no matter how small, in the working lives of our members is one of the most satisfying and rewarding things I have done in my career. I am looking forward to working with our new executive and our members as we go into a very busy year. Joanie Crandall and LaVina Watts are your vice presidents and I will be looking to them for guidance and support as they have built a great foundation for ASPA over the past several years and I want to thank Joanie for her service as president in 2018-19. If you ever have any questions about ASPA, your rights in the workplace, or just want to have a discussion about an idea you have about how ASPA can make a positive difference in our members work life please don’t hesitate to contact the ASPA office or myself.

At the April 2019 AGM for the first time in my memory we actually had an election for the members of the executive with 11 members running for the 6 positions available. That is fantastic for ASPA and I believe shows our members are becoming more engaged and I congratulate all of you that allowed your names to stand for the positions. For those of you not elected this time please think about running again next year as we need you and in the interim there are opportunities to serve on any of the committees we have. I want to welcome the new members of your executive, Calvin ChiefCalf, Colleen Cochrane, Garett Federko, and Dan Zhao, as well as our returning executive team members. I also want to give a shout out to our staff members Darcy and Annetta who do all the heavy lifting in the ASPA office. Your work is greatly appreciated by all the members of ASPA and I look forward to working with both of you over the next year

The new executive held a planning retreat on May 21, 2019 which allowed our new members to get an orientation to their new roles and allowed us to have a discussion on some specific goals we want to accomplish over the next year. A couple of those goals involved reviewing the committees we have and if all were still relevant and if others may be needed. We made decisions on combining some committees and are in the process of updating the terms of reference for all committees. We are also looking at adding 3 new committees, ASPA Women’s committee, Education committee, and Social Justice committee and these will be brought forward for approval at the June executive committee meeting on June 13. We also discussed ways in which ASPA can play a role in members personal and/or professional development as this was one of the findings from the 40th anniversary survey we did last December. Please stay tuned for more on this topic as it is developed further.

As most of you are aware our collective agreement ended on April 30, 2019 but everything continues as is until a new collective agreement is reached. Your negotiating team led by Dawn Giesbrecht and Hugh Wagner have been meeting regularly to review where we are at and analyze the February 2019 member survey results to come up with a plan for the upcoming negotiations. The ASPA research committee is invaluable in these efforts and we encourage everyone to please participate in the surveys they send out to you as that is one of the main means by which the negotiating team gets to understand the membership’s wishes. We sent our notice to the university in March that we are ready to bargain and are waiting for them to form their team so that we can set dates to start negotiations but do not expect much to happen before fall.

Summer is a great time to kick back and get away from work for a while with friends and family and I hope all of you are able to do get away for whatever length of time works for you and make some new summer memories.