Updated as of March 30, 2020.
Learn more about changes to your Spring 2020 co-op work term. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your Co-op Advisor by messaging them via WaterlooWorks. These changes are in place only for the Spring 2020 work term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be reviewed each term until no longer required.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada advises that you avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In alignment with this advisory, Waterloo has suspended all University-related travel outside of Canada, including co-op work terms.
This decision follows direction from the University travel policy, the Faculties and our existing travel advisory policy for international work terms. Work terms outside of Canada have always been assessed based on the risk level published by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) travel advisories, in conjunction with any overall directives from our central University leadership.
When the GAC risk level for a country is listed as high ("Avoid non-essential travel" or "Avoid all travel") prior to the start of a work term, the University will not approve a work term for co-op credit. This applies to all individuals, regardless of citizenship or intended destination.
Given Waterloo’s decision to suspend all University-related travel and GAC’s listing of all countries as high risk, we are required to follow that direction and can’t approve work terms outside of Canada for credit for the Spring 2020 term.
Spring 2020 work terms with employers based outside of Canada, including an Arrange Own Job (AOJ), can still go ahead if employers can relocate you to their Canadian office or allow you to legally work remotely from within Canada.
- Your employer is expected to do their due diligence about the legality of remote work and investigate any inter-country restrictions (e.g., payroll, workplace insurance). Although rules vary by location, we’ve collected some key questions that employers should consider when hiring a remote worker from Canada. The University cannot consult or advise in any manner. If your employer has questions, they need to seek their own independent legal counsel.
- Additional details on how you can submit an AOJ form to work remotely from within Canada for an internationally-based employer (including the USA) will be shared soon.
- For students who are new to working remotely, we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the transition.
The Spring 2020 work term is going to present unique challenges for you and your employer. To address that, we’ve developed a number of flexible pathways to help you complete your work term.
1) An option to take up to five courses in the Spring 2020 term (instead of a sequence change)
Students are allowed to replace their Spring 2020 work term with up to five academic courses. Students are encouraged to reach out to their academic program advisor with questions.
- Students will be able to register for 1 course during the Drop/Add Period from April 2-3 in addition to their WatPD course. Students interested in taking 2 academic courses can discuss this with their academic program advisor.
- As of April 4, unemployed students will be able to register for additional courses. Please contact The Centre if you are unemployed and unable to register. Note: Engineering students may enrol only in courses that would normally be allowed in a non-degree term and should contact their academic program advisor for more information.
- Sequence changes to defer or postpone the Spring 2020 work term to a future term will not be considered. This is to ensure we don’t increase the number of students seeking fall term employment during this time of social and economic uncertainty.
- Sequence changes to defer or postpone the Fall 2020 work term to a future term have been put on hold until May 1, 2020 so we can review conditions at that time.
2) A reduction in the number of work terms required to graduate for students unable to obtain a co-op credit in Spring 2020
Across all programs (except Pharmacy and GBDA), for any student unemployed for Spring 2020 work term, the minimum number of work terms required by the program will be reduced by one (with a minimum of three work terms in undergraduate programs, and one in master’s degree programs that are supported by Co-operative Education). Only students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in Spring 2020 will be considered for this reduced minimum.
For example, if you have six work terms scheduled in your sequence with a minimum of five work terms and remain unemployed for the Spring 2020 work term, your new minimum is four work terms. Otherwise, the minimum remains five work terms. Please consult your academic program advisor for details.
Here's a visual to show you what that looks like for UNDERGRAD co-op students:
|Number of work terms in the sequence||Approved minimum||New minimum|
Here's a visual to show you what that looks like for GRAD co-op students who are enrolled in programs supported by Co-operative Education:
|Number of work terms in the sequence||Approved minimum||New minimum|
3) A reduction in the minimum number of weeks/hours required for credit
We have adjusted the minimum requirements for a Spring 2020 co-op credit.
- Typically, the minimum timeline for co-op credit is 12 weeks or 420 hours, but a Spring 2020 work term can range from 8-16 weeks with a minimum of 280 hours.
- The Spring 2020 work term will remain from May to August. The start date has been adjusted to Monday, May 11, and work terms must be completed before the start of the Fall 2020 academic term. We will allow you to start your work term before or after May 11, based on the arrangement you have with your employer.
- A student with fewer than 8 weeks and fewer than 280 hours will be able to petition for credit.
4) Removal of consequences for reneges (student declining a job)
Students who renege on a match will continue to have access to WaterlooWorks for the spring (and future) terms.
5) Increased flexibility for arranging your own job (AOJ) in Canada
Due to the current Government of Canada travel limitations, we are not processing or accepting AOJ forms for international or USA-based jobs for Spring 2020. We will be in touch with students if this changes.
- If you have already received approval (or submitted an AOJ form) for an international or USA-based AOJ, we will work with the employer to convert the work term to allow the student work remotely from within Canada. If this is not possible, the job will need to be cancelled.
- Please use the AOJ Canada form located in WaterlooWorks to submit any AOJ (for jobs based in Canada, USA or an international location).
However, we will be increasing flexibility around the standard work term Arrange Own Job requirements for work terms within Canada. Please speak with your co-op advisor if you have an opportunity you would like to bring forward to be considered for co-op credit. Some changes include:
- Adjusted criteria to qualify for a flexible work term
- We are adjusting your flexible work term criteria. This will allow a greater variety of work experiences to be considered for a flexible work term co-op credit in Spring 2020.
- This includes allowing students to work with more than two employers within the 8-16-week work term and allowing a greater variety of work terms in non-traditional places of employment (e.g., a combination of retail, volunteer positions, remote work).
- Consideration for unpaid and underpaid work terms
- Co-op work terms should be paid. However, given the current economic and financial uncertainty, some employers will not be able to pay as much (or at all). Co-operative Education will consider off-campus unpaid/underpaid work term opportunities for credit. A student will need to provide a strong learning rationale for how the opportunity aligns with their career/professional goals.
Note: If you’re a GBDA or Pharmacy student, please reach out to your program to learn about flexible pathways available to you:
- We are maintaining the number of PD and work term report requirements. However, programs may make adjustments as required through their normal processes.
- If you choose to replace your spring work term with academic courses, you can still take your PD course. If you have concerns about completing your PD course requirements, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or your academic program advisor. If you have questions about work term reports, please contact your academic program advisor.