While McGill gives the impression that it is among Canada’s top 100 employers, here are 7 reasons why that might not be the case.
1. Supplemental health plan
McGill supplemental health does not cover benefits common to other employee health plan such as massage therapy and glasses. The plan is also not available to part time employees.
2. Pension Plan
Most Canadian Universities offer a “Defined benefit” pension plan. With a defined benefit plan, the amount of receive when you retire is fixed and guaranteed by the university. For example, Concordia, Université du Québec establishments, University of Toronto, and Université de Montreal all have defined benefit plans.
McGill’s pension plan is a “defined contribution” plan, where a defined amount if invested, but the amount on retirement is not guaranteed. Unfortunately, the contribution amounts are extremely low. For a new employee, McGill contributes 3.2% of an employee’s salary to their pension plan. In comparison, Western University and the University of Saskatchewan contributes 8.0% and 8.5% respectively to their employee’s salary to their pension plan.
3. Pay Equity
Quebec’s Pay Equity Act introduced in 2001 requires employers to compare the salaries of positions held mostly by women to the salaries of positions held mostly by Men. This audit must be completed every 5 years. For McGill this audit must be done December 21st of 2010, 2015, 2020 etc. Each time McGill has completed an audit it has determined numerous positions that required a pay equity adjustment. However, these audits are always many years delayed, and McGill uses multiple excuses to delay implementation of fair salaries for positions held mostly by women. It’s 2010 and 2015 audit is still not finished and is 13 years late. McGill has requested a delay in posting the results of the 2020 audit. The pay equity act is designed to ensure that the salaries of positions held mostly by women are not discriminated against. At McGill, pay equity means that the salaries of positions held mostly by women today are equivalent to the positions held mostly by men in 2010. By always being late, McGill is always behind the times on equity.
As stated in its own article, “McGill University maintains an action plan to address anti-black racism and is committed to increasing the representation and career opportunities for Black administrative and support staff as well as tenure-track or tenured professors (with targets for 2025 and 2032),”.
There is no plan, policy or any actions to promote diversity in research staff, teaching assistants and research assistants, course lecturers, faculty lectures, non-tenure tract professors, casual administrative staff, or the trades. The positions in these areas of the university suffer from underrepresentation in all areas of employment equity, including representation of people with disabilities, women, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ , and racialized people. There is no action plan or policy by McGill to address this underrepresentation of diverse groups.
5. Sick Days
The Quebec Labour standards act provides employees with 2 sick days per year. McGill only provides these 2 days provided by law.
6. Parental Leave
McGill’s parental leave policy consists of 20 weeks of paid maternity leave, 1 week of paid paternity leave, and 10 weeks of paid adoption leave, which tops ups Quebec’s Parental Insurance Policy (QPIP). This amount of paid leave is lower than other Canadian Universities. For example, the University of Toronto parental leave covers 30 paid weeks of maternity leave, and 10 weeks of paid paternity leave, and 27 paid weeks of adoption leave.
In addition, McGill has no policy or program to assist employees returning from a leave if their previous position’s contract expired during their leave. If you return from McGill after a parental leave and your contract has expired, you are treated the same way as someone applying for a position from outside of McGill.
7. Vacation Days
McGill offers new employees 3 weeks of vacation a year. However, vacation is earned one year and taken the next. For example, if you were to start June 1st 2023, you would only be able to start taking your 3 weeks vacation on June 1st 2024. That means that at McGill, for your first 2 years of employment, you have 3 weeks of vacation total. McGill also does not allow for employees to carry forward vacation days. Any unused vacation days are lost.
Most modern employers have a capable human resources system where vacation is earned on a monthly basis. For example, at the University of Toronto vacation is accrued on a monthly basis and any unused vacation may be carried forward into the subsequent vacation year or paid out.
Bonus: French Courses
If you are coming to Montreal from outside Quebec, do not count of McGill to offer French courses. French courses at McGill as not offered for free to employees and there is no program or policy to allow employees to take these courses as part of their work schedule.