Professional Development and Education Assistance Program

Policy

Category: Human Resources
Subject: Professional Development and Education Assistance Program
Division: Human Resources and Corporate Services
Policy Number: CA.52.01.102
Effective Date: October 1, 2015

POLICY STATEMENT

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) seeks to provide opportunities for professional development through approved participation in courses and attendance at seminars, conferences and workshops.  Education Assistance will be provided to employees to support positive career development within a continuous learning environment. WDGPH will ensure that opportunities are provided in an equitable manner.

General

Professional development and education assistance opportunities will support the vision, mission and core values of WDGPH by encouraging the sharing of information from these sessions with others, and by providing external and internal training where applicable. There are limited resources available within the Agency to support the educational assistance program and requests will be prioritized based on the overall needs of the Agency.

Full-time or part-time permanent employees are eligible to apply for the Education Assistance or Professional Development funding prior to their enrolment in a course of study or conference/workshop. Eligibility for casual and temporary employees is approved on a case-by-case basis.  Employees on leave, paid or unpaid are ineligible.

Factors in determining approval will include relevance to work assignments, employee career goals, and availability of funds. Employees must remain actively employed by WDGPH throughout the duration of the course of study to qualify for reimbursement. 

Participation in the Professional Development or Educational Assistance Program is optional and does not guarantee promotion, or transfer.

Professional Development

WDGPH will provide financial support and/or unpaid leave to support and encourage increased knowledge, to maintain current professional status, and to continually upgrade skills. 

Education Assistance Program

WDGPH offers reimbursement for pre-approved educational courses to encourage employees to upgrade their education, and/or skills by enrolling in part-time studies at recognized colleges or universities.

The Education Assistance Program applies to studies that are:

  • Offered by a recognized educational institution or professional organization;
  • Relevant to the employee’s job; and
  • Designed to broaden the employee’s knowledge, and/or develop potential skills to assume greater responsibility within the organization.
Exclusions:

The following are not eligible for Education Assistance refund unless taken at the specific request of WDGPH:

  • General interest courses; and
  • Courses at schools, colleges, universities and professional organizations not recognized by WDGPH.
Ineligible Fees for Reimbursement

These fees include, but are not limited to the following examples:

  • Course materials, including text books;
  • Deferred or Late payment;
  • Exam fees;
  • Parking fees;
  • Course credit transfer fees;
  • Student medical insurance;
  • Transportation expenses;
  • Capital projects;
  • Hours spent in class or traveling to class;
  • Meals – unless part of travel policy; and
  • Miscellaneous supplies.

SCOPE

Professional development applies to all employees requesting and/or required to attend seminars, conferences or workshops.

Education Assistance applies to full-time and part-time permanent employees who are employed by WDGPH. Eligibility for casual and temporary employees is determined on a case-by-case basis.

DEFINITIONS

AODA Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

Conferences – a gathering of individuals at a formal meeting to exchange information discuss and share new information related to a specific topic. Conference formats may vary.

Seminar – a presentation on a topic covering some facet of knowledge or skill. Seminars tend to be a blend of lecture and discussion with the speaker’s goal to impart knowledge of the topic.

Training – Includes an individual course, or a “formal program of study” involving more than one course leading to a degree, graduate degree, diploma, certificate, or professional designation; or an internet course when offered by an accredited educational institution

Tuition Fees – Required fees for completing a credit course at an accredited educational institution.

Workshop – a meeting with a greater degree of attendee participation, interaction, and hands-on exercises to discuss and/or perform practical work relating to a subject or activity. 

Degree requirements – the degree being pursued must be in a field related to the employee’s employment. The employee must provide written acceptance or equivalent acceptable documentation from the college or university indicating that they may be officially enrolled, the degree is one the employee is working towards, and an outline of the course.

Non-degree requirements – a non-degree course(s) must be job related, improve an employee’s performance on their present job, or help prepare them for future WDGPH job opportunities. The employee must provide written acceptance as outlined above in the degree requirements.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Procedure:  CA.52.02.102 Professional Development and Education Assistance Program
CA.51.02.118    Travel & Kilometrage Expense Claims
CA.52.01.104    Leaves of Absence
CA.30.01.113    Request to Attend Professional Development Program
CA.30.01.114    Professional Development Report
CA.30.01.115    Education Assistance Application Form
CA.30.01.201    Travel and Kilometrage Expense Report

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services  

APPROVED BY

Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services  


Procedure

Category: Human Resources
Subject: Professional Development and Education Assistance Program
Division: Human Resources and Corporate Services
Procedure Number: CA.52.02.102
Effective Date: October 1, 2015

PROCEDURE

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is committed to supporting employees at all levels in their professional development as well as providing ongoing educational assistance. It is also recognized that there are limited resources to support employees in this endeavor. While acknowledging all development may have positive impact and advantages on both the individual and the work of the Agency, the criteria for evaluating any requests will include but is not limited to the following:

  • Is this learning essential for the employee to be successful in their current job;
  • Is it a request by WDGPH that the employee attend;
  • Is it developing skills to be eligible for promotion within WDGPH; and/or
  • Does it align with the strategic direction of the Agency.
Professional Development Expenses:

Reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in the course of attending work related conferences, seminars or workshops will be made by WDGPH. Permission to attend such events during and/or any other related expenses eligible for reimbursement up to $1,000 must be pre-authorized by the immediate Manager.

If professional development opportunities are out of Province or greater than $1,000, attendance and expense eligibility must be pre-authorized by the divisional Director.  

Overtime will not be paid for attendance at these meetings or for travel time involved unless authorized by the immediate Manager.  Refer to policy CA.51.02.118 Travel & Kilometrage Expense Claims.

Manager’s/Director’s professional development expenses for conferences, seminars or workshops will be covered under their predetermined training budget for their program/division.

The following outlines the steps to be taken when submitting a request for professional development:

  1. The employee will complete a CA.30.01.113 Request to Attend Professional Development Program Form (Request form) prior to registering for a seminar, conference or workshop.
  2. The employee will attach the program registration form indicating choice of workshops, along with the completed Request form, and will submit to their immediate Manager.
  3. Manager/Director pre-authorization must be acquired in order for expenses to be reimbursed.
  4. The Manager will review requests up to $1,000 ensuring the professional development event is appropriate and that all program components/modules are fully accessible to the employee. The Manager will work with the employee to ensure any required AODA accommodations are made to successful completion of the program are addressed with the program provider.  The Manager will approve or decline the request based on the goals and objectives of the program and budget constraints.
  5. Reimbursement of requests greater than $1,000 or incurred out of Province will be forwarded to the divisional Director for review and approval.
  6. The Manager/Director indicates their decision by completing the appropriate section on the Request form.
  7. If approval is granted the Manager/Director will indicate specifically how much paid time during the normal workday will be granted, and what costs are approved as per policy CA.51.01.118 and procedures outlined in CA.51.02.118 Travel and Kilometrage Expense Claims.
  8. If the request is not approved the Manager/Director will provide a written explanation of the rationale for the decision and the Request form will be returned to the employee.
  9. If the request is approved, the Manager/Director forwards a copy of the Request form to Human Resources for the employee personnel file, and updating of Human Resource electronic records; and also to Finance for payment on approved requests where required.
  10. Employees with permitted access to Employee Self Serve System (ESS) must submit a request through ESS once advised of approval. 
  11. If approved and applicable, Finance will inform the employee when registration has been processed, i.e. paid and accepted or verbal registration confirmed.
  12. Within two weeks upon attendance, the employee will complete the CA.30.01.114 Professional Development Report and forward the report to their immediate Manager.
  13. The Manager will review the report to determine if internal training is required to share information and/or resources from the session. If internal training is recommended, the Manager will coordinate with the employee to initiate the training.
  14. The Manager will forward a copy of the Professional Development Report to Human Resources for the employee’s personnel file.

If a Manager requests an employee to attend a professional development session in order to support a program requirement, the Manager will discuss and provide the details to the selected employee and the employee will initiate the Request to Attend Professional Development Program form.  

Education Assistance Program Expenses:

Reimbursement is limited to 50% of registration up to $500.00 per course to a maximum of $1,000.00 per calendar year. Reimbursement will not be made for the cost of examination fees, textbooks, supplies, transportation or other costs related to the course.

The following procedure outlines the steps to submit a request to the Education Assistance Program:

  1. Educational Assistance program expenses will be covered under their predetermined training budget for their division.
  2. Employees will meet with their Manager to discuss education plans and opportunities.  The Manager will confirm whether plans and courses identified meet the criteria in policy CA.52.01.102 Professional Development Education and Assistance Program.
  3. Employees will make a request for pre-approval of course reimbursement by completing the CA.30.01.115 Education Assistance Program Form and submitting it to their Manager prior to enrolling in the educational program.
  4. The Manager reviews the form and recommends approval or denies approval providing the rationale and forwards to the divisional Director. The Manager will work with the employee to ensure any required accommodations are addressed so the employee has access to all components/modules of the education program prior to recommending approval.
  5. The Director will review, confirming course aligns with WDGPH requirements and financial resources are available and provide final approval.
  6. Director will advise the Manager of the decision, as well as the amount of reimbursement to be paid upon successful completion of the educational course.
  7. The Manager provides a copy of the approved form to the employee which serves as the authorization for the employee to proceed with enrollment. If an employee request is not approved, a rationale will be provided for the decision to the employee. If the course(s)/education plan is acceptable but funding is not available, the employee may apply at a later date.
  8. The employee will apply for reimbursement by attaching a copy of the approved form along with a transcript and/or other evidence of successful completion of the approved course, plus a receipt for the registration and forward the documents to the Manager.
  9. The Manager will forward these documents with a cheque requisition to the Director.
  10. The Director will authorize the cheque requisition and attach relevant documents before forwarding to Accounts Payable, Finance for reimbursement to the employee.
  11. Finance provides a copy of the documents to Human Resources to update electronic records, which will then be filed in the employee’s personnel file.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Management will:
  • Promote professional development and education assistance program; and
  • Determine appropriateness of requests for professional development and education assistance.
Employees will:
  • Apply for professional development and education assistance as required;
  • Complete all necessary paperwork to attend courses, conferences, seminars and workshops; and
  • Apply for reimbursement as required for professional development and education assistance.

DEFINITIONS

Refer to policy CA.52.01.102 Professional Development and Education Assistance Program

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Corresponding Policy:  CA.52.01.102 Professional Development and Education Assistance Program
CA.51.02.118    Travel & Kilometrage Expense Claims
CA.52.01.104    Leaves of Absence
CA.30.01.113    Request to Attend Professional Development Program
CA.30.01.114    Professional Development Report
CA.30.01.115    Education Assistance Application Form
CA.30.01.201    Travel and Kilometrage Expense Report

CONTACT FOR INQUIRIES

Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services  

APPROVED BY

Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services