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Athabasca University

What We Offer

Athabasca University has been named one of Alberta’s Top Employers four times in the Alberta’s Top Employers competition. And in 2011, we received a Premier’s Award for Healthy Workplaces. There’s good reason for all the accolades — with benefits like free AU courses for staff (and their family members), a designated week off for everyone each year between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, and competitive salaries, the compensation and benefits packages at AU are among the most generous and comprehensive in Canada.

We also have a unique mission among post-secondary institutions in Alberta: to remove barriers to education and provide learning opportunities to people who otherwise might not have access to such opportunities. This mission has motivated us to reach out to hundreds of thousands of students who couldn’t attend traditional university, and it’s inspired our faculty to undertake leading-edge research on online and distance education.

Unions at AU

Most staff at AU are represented by unions or associations that perform union duties for different groups of staff.

Each union works with the university to determine the benefits and terms of employment for the staff represented by that union. Different groups of staff have different benefits packages, though you’ll see many similarities in benefits among the groups.

The Unions and Who They Represent

Represented by Unions

Some positions, such as managerial roles, are not represented by any of the unions, and they’re called excluded staff. Although they're not union members, their benefits are generally similar to union staff.


We’re proud to offer extensive benefits for our staff and their families.

Here are some highlights of the benefits offered. If you’re invited to interview for a position, you'll be provided with a detailed summary of the benefits package for that job.

Health Care Benefits

  • Alberta Blue Cross - coverage for dental, vision, prescription drugs, and out-of-country health care coverage.
  • Counselling services

Life Insurance and Related Benefits

  • Life insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Death-in-service benefit

Pension Benefits

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP)>
  • Pension Plans or Group RRSP

Vacation and Time Off

  • Paid vacation days and statutory holidays
  • Holiday break from Dec 25 - Jan 1 each year
  • Sick leave
  • Special leave.
  • Parental leaves (maternity, parental/adoption).
  • Compassionate care leave.
  • Paid time off for professional development and research.

Learning, Professional Development & Research Benefits

  • AU course allowance
    Entitlements vary per Employee Group.
  • Professional development funding and time off.
    Paid time off and funds each year for professional development activiites.
  • Research and study leave.
    Paid research and study leave for academic, professional and tutor positions.
  • Academic leave for CUPE members.
    After at least 6 years of service, CUPE members can apply for a leave of absence up to 6 months long, with full pay and benefits, to do research or other academic activities.

Other Benefits

  • Home loan program. AUFA and AUPE members moving to Athabasca to take a permanent position are eligible for this loan.
  • Computer loan program.
  • Discretionary benefit fund.
    Each July, AUFA and AUPE members receive this $875 bonus fund, and can be allocated towards health care benefits, professional development fund, or cash payment.
  • Free parking (with plug-ins).
    For staff located at or visiting the main campus in Athabasca.
  • Free exercise facilities and outdoor trails for walking, running and skiing.
    For staff located at or visiting the main campus in Athabasca.
  • Flexible work locations.
  • Coverage of home Internet and phone costs for staff who work frequently from home.
    This applies particularly to teaching staff but can apply to other staff members as well.

Updated May 03 2016 by Employment Services, Human Resources

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.