Policy 70 – Co-op Student Petitions and Grievances

Co-operative and Experiential Education is committed to supporting students throughout their co-op program, including providing exceptions to students in extenuating circumstances. Your co-op advisor is here to help you. Reach out to your co-op advisor if you are facing an experience that is having a negative impact on your success in co-op.

Petition for Exception to Co-op Regulations

Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) indicates that a petition “is a request by a student seeking exception to, or relief from, normal faculty or University rules and regulations”. Examples of co-op petitions include co-op credit eligibility (i.e., graduating on a work term, work term following no/part load, work term requirements, retroactive credit consideration), suppression of a work term evaluations, and reconsideration of WaterlooWorks status or co-op credit (i.e., leaving a work term early, reneging on employment agreement).

Submitting a petition is your opportunity to articulate, in writing, your perspective on why an exception is warranted. Each petition is reviewed independently, and each decision is made on a case-by-case basis. The final decision considers your submission, any documentation and your WaterlooWorks record— including your sequence, work history and any communication with Co-operative Education. You should include all important and relevant facts, with supporting documentation, in your petition. Examples of documentation may include:

  • certification of illness/injury from a medical professional*
  • employment agreements/contracts
  • statements from employers regarding work hours/conditions
  • documentation for personal difficulties from an appropriate counselling individual/body (e.g., Counselling Services, AccessAbility Services, a university chaplain or other clergy, etc.)*
  • verification of bereavement (e.g., obituary notice)
  • court documents or police reports
  • hospital records with dates*

All medical documentation is reviewed by a clinical records evaluator and are not retained or reviewed by Co-op.

Petitions for exception are reviewed by the Co-op petitions committee which includes four voting members:

  • a Co-operative Education student advisor,
  • an account manager
  • a faculty relations manager, and
  • a student representative from WUSA.

The committee is chaired by the director, student and faculty relations. The committee meets weekly and emails out final decisions within a week of that meeting. The process may take up to three weeks, based on your petition submission. The committee will review your case once the petition and all supporting documentation are received. Petitions may be expedited in the case of workplace safety issues, harassment or discrimination.

Decisions related to co-op degree requirements, including work term reports/reflections and PD courses, are not under the jurisdiction of Co-operative Education. You should follow your faculty’s standard petition or grievance processes for such matters.

Questions regarding petitions for exception to co-op regulations can be directed to co-op.petitions@uwaterloo.ca.

Steps to submit a petition

  1. Discuss the petition process with your co-op advisor or your academic/program advisor, including relevant timelines and desired outcome.
  2. As appropriate, gather all relevant supporting documents (see examples above) that support the petition.
  3. For Undergraduate students - Fill out the Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations (Form 70A) online (sign-in required) according to instructions given on the form.
  4. For Graduate students – Fill out the Petition for Exception to Academic Regulations - Graduate Students (Form 70A) online (sign in required) according to instructions given on the form.
  5. Provide a summary of your extenuating circumstances and, as appropriate, upload any documentation, before submitting the petition form.


If you feel that a decision made by Co-operative Education is unfair, unreasonable or made in error, and you have discussed the matter with your co-op advisor and remain dissatisfied with the resulting decision, you may choose to proceed with an official grievance under the Student Petitions and Grievances Policy (Policy #70).

Steps to submit a grievance

  1. Discuss the grievance process with your co-op advisor or academic/program advisor, including relevant timelines and desired outcome.
  2. Gather all relevant supporting documents (see examples above) that support the grievance.
  3. For Undergraduate and Graduate students - fill out the Notice of Challenge (Form 70B).
  4. Attach any documentation and submit the completed package via email to the director, Student & Faculty Relations, Co-operative and Experiential Education: co-op.petitions@uwaterloo.ca.

Questions? Email us at co-op.petitions@uwaterloo.ca.