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AGSEM Invigilator Newsletter - Fall 2023

Dear Invigilators,


Welcome to another final exam session at McGill! This newsletter contains an introduction to our union, our upcoming assembly and holiday party, tabling sessions, as well as important information about your rights as an invigilator.



The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) is the labour union that represents nearly 3000 Teaching Assistants and Invigilators at McGill. When you sign your membership form and start working as an invigilator, you become a member of AGSEM.

All invigilators at McGill are protected by AGSEM’s Invigilator Collective Agreement—even if you only invigilate one exam.


Remember to sign your membership form!

If you haven’t yet signed your AGSEM membership form this semester, you can do it online—it only takes 2 minutes. Remember to sign a membership form each semester you work!


If you test positive for COVID-19:

In general, you should self-isolate and inform your work supervisor as soon as possible. DO NOT show up to work a shift if you are sick, think you may be sick, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is within your rights under 17.06 of the Collective Agreement to cancel your shift in case of illness. 


For any other issues or questions that come up, feel free to email the grievance officer Teresa at


In solidarity,


The AGSEM Executive Committee

Save the date: Invigilator Assembly and Holiday Party December 15!

Join us on December 15 at 6pm for our annual Invigilator Assembly followed by a holiday party with hot chocolate and cookies to celebrate the holiday season! Dinner will be served during the assembly. The location of the party will be announced via email to everyone who RSVPs on our website.


If you currently work or have worked as an invigilator in the past 12 months and have signed your membership form, you are a member of AGSEM and you are invited.


We will be electing invigilator delegates at this assembly! If you want to get involved in the union, you can nominate yourself as a representative in the meeting! All delegates are eligible to earn honoraria for attending Delegates’ Council meetings, tabling during final exams, and attending delegate training. Email if you want to nominate yourself, or if you have any questions.



Look out for our tables!

During the final exam period, you can come talk to fellow union members at our tables! During several shifts this exam period, we will have snacks and swag for AGSEM members, including AGSEM T-shirts. 

When and where can you find an AGSEM table?


  • Gym/Fieldhouse (outside of the split between the Gym and the Fieldhouse on the second floor of the Currie Gym) - Dec. 7 & 12, 7:30-8:30pm; Dec 19-21, 10-11am

  • Bronfman foyer - Dec. 12 & 18, 7-8pm

  • 680 Sherbrooke - Dec. 14, 9:30-10:30am  

We will announce more dates, times, and locations on our Instagram. Make sure to follow us!


New Collective Agreement: Now in full effect!

After a year and a half of negotiations, Invigilators approved the tentative agreement reached between the Bargaining Committee and McGill University at our November 17, 2022 assembly. The new Collective Agreement was signed on March 31, and is now in effect! 


A Collective Agreement (CA) is a binding contract negotiated by representatives of AGSEM and representatives of McGill’s Board of Governors. ​ 

Here is a summary of the main changes, including many key wins:


Rate of Pay

  • An hourly rate of pay of $16.50 plus 6% vacation ($17.23) is currently in effect. 


Next Raise: May 1, 2024

  • Wages will increase every May 1 until the Collective Agreement expires in 2025: 

  • May 1, 2024: $17.00 plus 6% vacation ($18.02)

  • May 1, 2025: $18.00 plus 6% vacation ($19.08)

  • The total pay increase is 26.2% between November 2022 and May 2025. 

Paid Breaks: Extra pay if you can’t take yours!

  • You already had a 15-minute paid break for every 4 hours of work. Now, if you are unable to take your break, you will receive an additional 15 minutes worth of pay for that shift.

  • Remember to add 15 minutes to your timesheet whenever you are unable to take your paid break because of overwork.

  • The method of scheduling, timing, or taking breaks will be determined in each hiring unit and communicated to you during your shift.


Membership Form: Now online

  • Your membership form to the union can now be signed online: membership form. Remember to sign your form every semester. 


Invigilators vs. Circulators

  • The job of circulator / float has now been further defined to include relieving invigilators so they may take their breaks.

  • Whenever possible, invigilators and circulators / floats will be provided with something that will identify them in their roles.


Unexcused Absences / “No-Shows”

  • If you are absent or fail to notify your supervisor of an absence at least 1 business day before an exam shift 2 times in an academic term or 3 times in an Academic Year, you will lose your priority status in that unit for the next hiring period.

  • A business day is Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. 

  • It remains the case: in an emergency situation or with a valid excuse, you can be absent for a shift without 1 business day’s notice. Make sure you communicate with your supervisor as soon as possible if you are running late or must be absent!


Probationary Period

  • It has always been the case that while you are under probation, you can be terminated from your position without being able to contest the termination, unless the termination is based on a discriminatory motive. 

  • Top hiring priority is given to those who have passed their probation period in that hiring unit.

  • Previously, you passed your probation after working 2 consecutive academic terms and getting hired for a third.

  • Now, you pass your probation once you have worked a total of 25 hours in that hiring unit. You have up to three consecutive terms to work 25 hours.

  • Training does not count towards the hours of your probationary period.

  • If, at the end of the 25 hours, your supervisor decides you did not meet the requirements for the position, they will meet with you to explain their reasoning. You have the right to bring a union representative to this meeting.


Disciplinary Measures

  • The employer is encouraged to use a verbal warning before engaging in the disciplinary process.

  • The employer must notify the union and employee in writing within 45 calendar days of knowledge of the action that caused the disciplinary measure (written reprimand, suspension, or dismissal).

  • There shall be at least 2 business days’ notice of any disciplinary meetings. Both the employee and the union will be invited in writing, and the employee shall have the right to be accompanied by one union representative.

  • After 12 months, if there are no further disciplinary measures, previous disciplinary measures shall be removed from the employee’s file.

  • You can request to see the entire contents of your employment file, and this request will be processed within 14 calendar days.



  • Employees with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations, for any part of the application process or during the course of their appointment, may contact the Hiring Unit Designee or the Disability Management Team in Pensions & Benefits (Human Resources) at

  • Employment files containing information about an Employee's disability and accommodations shall be treated as personal and confidential information.



  • Invigilators no longer need to inform their immediate supervisor to file a grievance if their rights are violated.

  • The delay to file a grievance has been increased from 30 days to 40 calendar days of knowledge that your rights were violated.

  • If you feel like your rights have been violated, want advice, or you would like to understand the grievance process better, email Teresa at

Additional Provisions against Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Violence

  • The Collective Agreement now contains explicit protections against discrimination in the workplace, including systemic discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, religion, Indigenous identity, ethnicity, disability or class.

  • Employees can initiate a report under University Policies as well as a grievance under the Invigilator Collective Agreement at the same time.

  • Employees have the right to be accompanied at all steps of a grievance, disclosure, report, or complaint by their Union Delegate.

  • Any grievance relating to harassment, discrimination or sexual violence may be filed within 2 years after the last incident. 

How to Refuse Unsafe Work

If you believe your work environment is unsafe and you wish to refuse work—it can even be a refusal of a kind of work, or working in a particular place—you must notify your supervisor or a representative of McGill that you are refusing work, and indicate why you are refusing work. This refusal can be done a number of ways, but we suggest informing your supervisor via email, and copying AGSEM ( A representative from McGill—most likely HR—will then contact AGSEM, as AGSEM is your labour union. If AGSEM and McGill are not able to find a solution to the problem, AGSEM will ask that a Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) inspector decide if there is an unsafe situation that justifies a worker refusing to work. The inspector's decision is effective immediately, but McGill, AGSEM, and you (the worker) have the option of requesting that the CNESST review the decision in question.


Know Your Rights: General

1. Applying for a job

You can apply for final exam postings for 10 days after they are posted. All invigilation positions must be publicly posted on a centralised website, such as Workday.


Previous invigilation experience at McGill gives you hiring priority. Top hiring priority is given to those who have passed their probation period in the Hiring Unit. Next, priority is given to those with any previous experience in the Hiring Unit, then to those with experience invigilating elsewhere at McGill. If your application is rejected in favour of someone with a lower hiring priority, the decision can be contested. 


An employee who, without valid reason, is absent or fails to notify their immediate supervisor of their absence as soon as possible but no later than 1 business day prior to the beginning of a confirmed assigned examination shift, on two (2) occasions in an Academic Term, is deemed to have lost all hiring priority for the next term. A business day is Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. 


You should fill out your online AGSEM membership form to the Hiring Unit after training or before your first shift. 


2. Training

Every invigilator is entitled to paid training before they begin their first appointment in that Hiring Unit. Invigilators will be compensated at the standard rate for the length of the training session. 


Invigilator duties and responsibilities will be clearly stated during the training sessions organised by the Hiring Unit. Any additional instructions specific to a given exam will be provided at the beginning of a given shift.


3. Shift length and breaks

All invigilation shifts need to be at least one hour longer than the length of the exam (4 hours for a 3-hour final exam). If you have not received training before your first shift, you must also be given time before the start of your shift for training. 

Unless unusual circumstances make it impossible to do so, you must be given a 15-minute paid break for every consecutive four hours you work, in addition to a 30-minute unpaid lunch break for every 8 hours you work within a single day. It is now your right to be paid for an additional 15 minutes per shift, if you are unable to take your break.


If you are scheduled for a shift, you cannot be asked to give it up because too many people have been scheduled. 


If you are unable to make your scheduled shift, make sure to inform your supervisor as soon as possible and at least one business day in advance of the start of the shift (unless in case of emergency or other justified absence). Failure to do so may result in loss of hiring priority for next term.


4. Pay

You are entitled to be paid for every hour you work. You cannot be asked to arrive early for a scheduled shift, or to stay late, without being paid. However, you should not expect to be paid extra if you arrive at work before your supervisor tells you to show up, or if you continue to work beyond the end of your shift. If you find that you do not have enough time to complete all tasks required, clarify with your supervisor whether or not you will continue to be paid for any extra time.


The University must pay you an overtime premium of 50% if you cumulatively work more than 40 hours in a week at all jobs at McGill, including invigilation. Because of this, you are required to list any other job appointments you hold at McGill on your application form.


5. Leaves of Absence

All invigilators are entitled to a number of unpaid leaves (as well as paid bereavement leaves). Unpaid leave is available in cases of illness, as well as to attend an academic conference if requested by your supervisor at McGill, provided that you give notice before the beginning of your shift. Unpaid leave means that you cannot be penalized for missing work, and will be allowed to accumulate hiring priority. 

6. Protecting your rights

As a union we have a number of tools to protect your rights. The Collective Agreement describes a grievance procedure for resolving disputes in cases where you feel your rights are not being respected. As a union we are here to help you at every point in this process and can accompany you for any disciplinary meetings. Email if you have any questions.


All members should be aware of the deadlines for grievances. To be able to ensure that we can protect you, we need to be able to prepare a grievance file within 40 days of learning about any incident where you believe your rights have been violated. Any potential grievance involving harassment, discrimination, and/or sexual violence can be filed within 2 years.


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