Job Training Information for Departments

At the University of Toronto, students working as teaching assistants, teaching laboratory assistants, graders, and course instructors are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3902, Unit 1. Depending on the nature of the teaching appointment (teaching assistantship or course instructorship), graduate students receive first-contract training to support their pedagogical development. It is the responsibility of the hiring department to provide the job training. However, the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) offers several services to support departments in meeting this mandate.

Teaching Assistants

As per the 2021-2023 Collective Agreement between CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and the University of Toronto, first-time Teaching Assistants shall receive 4 hours of paid job training. TAs can request additional training, up to 4 hours, for each subsequent appointment. As of September 1, 2014, all TAs who are asked to lead tutorials are required to receive training that focuses on a particular tutorial category.

Course Instructors

As per the 2021-2023 Collective Agreement between CUPE 3902 Unit 1 and the University of Toronto, first-time Course Instructors are entitled to 6 hours of paid job training. CIs shall be paid for their participation in such training at the SGS II rate by the hiring department in addition to their regular contract stipend.

Understanding the Training Process: Job Training for Teaching Assistants

Identifying A Tutorial Category 

Instructors who have been assigned TAs should contact the appropriate designate in their division/department to determine the process for categorizing tutorials and identifying TA training. In most cases, this contact will either be an Associate Chair Undergraduate or Graduate, or a faculty or staff member charged with overseeing TA contracts in the division/department.

At the University of Toronto, the term “tutorial” is used to identify interactive and participatory sessions primarily led by TAs. During tutorials, TAs are responsible for gauging student understanding and providing formative feedback, in line with assessment structures and guidelines set by the Course Instructor.

These categories include:

  • Discussion-Based Tutorials
  • Review Q&A Tutorials
  • Laboratories/Practices
  • Skill Development
  • Tutorials:
    • Critical Reading and Reflection
    • Supporting Student Writing
    • Problem Sets

In cases of tutorials with 100+ students, TAs are also entitled to training on how to scale their learning activities for larger groups (see the Thresholds for Additional TA Training table in Appendix D of the Report of the Joint Working Group on Undergraduate Tutorials).

Identifying Training Options for TAs

By Departments

Departments can develop and deliver the entire 4-hour training session.

By TATP Hybrid

Departments can refer TAs to “us” for 2 hours of training via TATP’s asynchronous online modules plus 2 hours of live (in person or online) training.

By TATP Hybrid Tailored

If your department has more than 30 TAs you can book a 2-hour department-specific live training (in person or online) in addition of 2 hours of training via TATP’s asynchronous online modules.

TATP Training Options for TAs

TATP Online Training Modules:

TAs can self-enrol for the following online asynchronous training modules. Each module should take approximately one hour to complete. Online Training Modules FAQ for Administrators.

Self enrolment links below:

*All first time TAs should complete this module

2-Hour Synchronous Training Sessions:

A Note about CUPE 3902 Unit 1: As stipulated in the collective agreement between the TA union and the University, a CUPE 3902 union steward must be allotted 30 minutes to speak at the end of any training session for first-contract TAs facilitated by the TATP. A CUPE 3902 representative will be present in all TATP 2-hour synchronous training sessions (this includes departmental-specific training sessions).

TAs must register prior to attending one of the 2-hour synchronous online or in-person training sessions hosted by the TATP. In-person training sessions will take place in the Blackburn Room, on the 4th floor of Robarts Library (130 St. George Street). Online sessions will be hosted on Zoom. Registration now open.

  • Key instructional techniques
  • Time management
  • Communicating with students
  • Effective student support
  • Working with your Course Supervisor

2-Hour Departmental-Specific Training Sessions

For departments with more than 20 TAs who require first-appointment training, a 2-hour synchronous online or in-person training session can be booked with the TATP. Please book your training session no less than 3 weeks in advance and provide 3 possible dates for your session. Our preference is to offer training online. If there is a strong preference to hold an in-person, on site training session, you must adhere to all University of Toronto health and safety policies, and book a room with sufficient room for all of the TAs who require training. All TATP facilitators will be masked, and it is our strong preference that attendees are masked as well.

All training requests are booked on a first-come, first-served basis and are confirmed only once the availability of TATP staff has been determined. Once a TATP staff member has been assigned to deliver TA training in your department, this peer graduate student trainer will contact your to finalize the details of the session. If you are booking a September training workshop, your session will be confirmed after August 1.Please Note: The TATP is staffed by experienced graduate student TAs and Course Instructors. They work with a suite of training materials that have been developed by TAs for TAs. TATP peer trainers are not subject matter experts and will not be able to train your TAs to teach specific disciplinary content.To book a departmental training session, please fill out the Fall 2023 Departmental Training Session Request Form.

Understanding the Training Process: Job Training for Course Instructors

CI Training Options

Course Instructors are eligible to attend training as soon as they have a contract to teach from their hiring department (which, in some cases, may be prior to the beginning of the term in which they are teaching).

The TATP will not develop or deliver customized in-department workshops for first-time Unit 1 Course Instructors. Hiring departments have several options for making paid training available to first-time CIs. These options include:

By Departments

Development of all training materials and delivery of the training is handled by the hiring department. TATP and CTSI staff are available to consult on the content and method of delivery of such training.

Combined by Department and TATP

Departments can prepare a 2-hour introductory training session. Then, CIs can attend additional TATP workshops to complete the remaining 4 hours of paid training.


First-time CIs may attend the TATP’s Course Instructor Training Camp to receive all 6 hours of paid training. The CI Training camp takes place in August, December, and April.

Additional Paid Training for TAs and CIs

As per the 2021-23 Collective Agreement, in addition to the first appointment training for TAs and CIs, the University shall provide 2 hours of work-related paid training per academic year in which they hold at least one teaching appointment.

Departments should communicate to their TAs and CIs about this training entitlement. TAs and CIs are not required to participate in this training. The 2 additional hours of paid training are completely optional.

Training in the following subject areas will be considered work-related training for all appointments:

  • Pedagogy and inclusive pedagogy
  • Anti-oppression and anti-racism
  • Intercultural competency
  • Accommodations and crisis referrals

In addition, the following training will be considered work-related for teaching appointments that require remote delivery:

  • Online technology
  • Online course design and management

A Note on Attendance Records from the TATP

As of the 2021-22 academic year, the TATP has been providing records of attendance for all students who participate in our programming. If a student completes an asynchronous online module, or attends an online or in-person session, an electronic record of attendance will be made available to them either via Quercus or email. A record of attendance from the TATP can confirm that the student has completed the number of hours of training identified on the record of attendance.