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TA Support

Teaching Assistants – General Description

A teaching assistant (TA) assists faculty members with various duties which may include conducting labs or study groups, assisting with lecture preparation, and marking assignments and tests. Your TA work assignment may take place outside the department to which you are applying if your academic record shows strengths in other areas. Priority TAs receive a TA award as part of their funding package at the time of application. If you do not receive a TA award with your admission package, you may still apply as an Outside Priority TA. To inquire about TA opportunities while in your program, please contact your department directly. Several departments also hire TA Mentors.

All Priority Teaching Assistants can complete or update their TA Profile immediately after accepting their TA award through the TA Management System in Carleton Central. You do not have to be registered nor have paid your tuition fees in order to fill in your profile. As these profiles are used to determine appropriate and relevant assignments, it is not only important to fill in your profile but also important to keep your information updated. As long as you are an active TA, you can easily update your profile through Carleton Central. Please note that you must be a registered full time student to commence your TA assignment.

Your TA Supervisor will complete an Assignment of Duties form in Carleton Central and will send to you for your electronic confirmation. This online form, developed by your union (CUPE 4600 Unit 1) and the University, clearly establishes how your assigned hours will be used. Weekly duties such as office hours, preparation time, discussion groups, lecture attendance, lab demonstration, supervision and cleanup, as well as other duties like grading and proctoring are all outlined in the assignment of duties form. Please note that you will need to confirm the Assignment of Duties for each of your assignments separately.

TAs are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 4600 (Unit 1). More information can be found on the CUPE 4600 website

Accepting Your TA Assignment

Please note that as per the Collective Agreement Section 13.04 (f) TA assignment offers shall be accepted or declined within 10 working days of the date of the offer. Failure to accept an assignment offer by the above deadline without reasonable cause will constitute declining of the position for that term.

New TAs

New TAs – please submit the appropriate forms to HR asap to set up an account (see “payroll information” below).

We ask that all graduate students who have a TA award must register for their programs as soon as possible. This will allow your Faculty to begin the TA assignments, and allow for a better match between your skills, abilities, previous TA experience and your course assignment.

If you plan not to take up your TA Fall assignment, please inform your department Graduate Supervisor immediately, and also complete a Leave from Duties form via Carleton Central (if applicable). More information can be found by scrolling down on this page.

Payroll Information

For TAs who have never been paid by Carleton, you will need to set up an account with Payroll Services. Visit the New Employees page and follow the instructions in the “For New Casual Employees” tab for online submission of documentation.  Any questions can be emailed to or by calling the office at 613-520-3628.

Carleton’s payroll schedule is twice a month. For the first month of the term in which you begin your studies, you will be paid on the second pay date of this month. If you would like to assign your TA pay to your Student Account, you can do this through Carleton Central when you register for your courses. More information regarding paying your tuition fees by payroll deduction can be found on the Student Accounts Receivable website (scroll to bottom of the page).

For a listing of upcoming pay day dates, please visit the Human Resources website.

Note: Only 92% of your TA and total graduate student funding will be applied to your student account or paid out to you. 8% is held back for taxation purposes.

TA Orientation

New TAs are strongly encouraged to attend the mandatory New TA Orientation as part of the FGPA orientation for all new graduate students. Returning TAs are not required to attend this session. New international TAs should also attend the International TA Orientation. TAs who attend the TA Orientation can claim one hour towards their pedagogical training hours (see below for more information on pedagogical training).

Required Compliance Training

According to article 14.01 of your CUPE 4600 (Unit 1) Agreement, there are two different categories of TA training. The first is compliance training. This training is mandatory, one-time training that you must complete in the first 4-6 weeks of employment. After completing the training, you will be compensated, one time only, for 5 hours of pay at the regular TA rate (see article 23). For more information, please click on this website and also click on this web page.

Pedagogical Training

The second category of training is pedagogical. Pedagogical training refers to ongoing, voluntary training opportunities in the art and sciecne of education. These paid hours are available to all graduate TAs holding an assignment of 65 hours or more per term, as outlined in your CUPE 4600 collective agreement. TAs have an opportunity to complete five hours or less of pedagogical training for the academic year when the student is employed as a TA. Please note, training must be completed during the term(s) in which the student is working as a TA and must be completed before the deadline, November 30, for a fall-only TAship, and March 30 for a full academic year TAship or a winter-only TAship. TAs will receive payment for five or less hours (i.e., whatever exact number of hours you have completed) on their pay.

There are a number of options for TAs looking to earn their voluntary paid pedagogical training hours:

  • Professional Development and wellness workshops and they all count towards pedagogical training hours.
  • Carleton Central lists workshops, teaching talks, and department specific training under the ‘TA Training’ tab.
  • On the Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) website, the Teaching Assistants page lists details on workshops, alternate and self-directed training options, including peer feedback, peer mentoring, TA articles, and online workshops.
  • Students should also talk to their departmental administrators and Graduate Chairs to ask whether their department has a TA mentor, and whether they offer department specific training.

The process for capturing session attendance is largely manual. It may take up to 2 weeks to see your pedagogical training reflected on your TA training transcript. If 2 weeks have passed and your attendance at the session is still not showing up on your TA Transcript, then it is time to contact someone. If your session was with the TLS, please contact TLS directly. If your session was with Co-Op and Career Services, Student Affairs, Health & Counselling, or Mitacs, please contact FGPA directly. If you don’t know which department hosted your session, then you should contact the session facilitator directly. Please note: You are strongly encouraged to track your progress independently of the TA Management System in order to ensure its accuracy. In the event of a discrepancy, you are responsible for ensuring your training is captured in Carleton Central.

Still unsure about how to earn your pedagogical training hours? Check out the following FAQ on the TLS website or contact David Lafferty, Coordinator of Graduate Professional Development.

Outside Priority TAs

All full-time graduate and undergraduate students who have NOT been awarded a TA with their offer of admission can still express interest in becoming a TA. Some examples of reasons to apply for an Outside Priority TA assignment include:

  • students who do not hold a Priority TA;
  • students who are on an approved program extension, and;
  • students who have already completed all of their Priority TA assignments.

Deadlines to submit your Outside Priority TA application are as follows: December 15 (Winter term), April 15 (Spring/Summer term) and August 15 (Fall term).

If you require assistance, please email

To express interest, go to Carleton Central. On the Main Menu, look under TA Management, then choose TA Outside Priority Applications and follow the instructions.

TA Leave From Duties

Under some circumstances, you may choose not to work as a Priority TA for a term and subsequently request a leave from your TA duties. Leaves can be requested for the following reasons:

  • academic research, exchange, and co-op positions;
  • certified medical leave, family leave or;
  • any other reason where the Academic Supervisor and/or the Department Head provides reasons in writing as to how the leave would benefit the student academically.

In order to take a Leave from Duties and maintain your priority status, your leave needs to be approved in advance by the Office of the Deputy Provost. To request a leave from TA duties, complete and submit the TA Leave From Duties Form in Carleton Central.

In some cases, although you maintain your priority for future terms of employment, the term you do not work is not replaced. In others (e.g. medical leave), the terms of future employment may be extended to make up for the lost term.  Please check details in your CUPE 4600 collective agreement.

TAs who receive an assignment and cannot accept the assignment (e.g., if they are not located in Canada during part or all of their TA assignment) may apply for a leave from duties. In order to apply for a leave from duties, please follow the normal procedure of applying in the “TA Leave from Duties” link in Carleton Central.

*Please note TAs who have not held a regular position and are entering their first term as a TA are not eligible to take a leave from duties. Instead, TAs should contact their department and request that their TA funding be delayed to a later term.