COVID-19 updates for co-op students

  • Learn about changes to the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 work term, including: 
    • Flexible pathways in place to help you complete your work term
    • Updated interview procedures
    • Current University travel policies
    • Resources to help you search for work in light of the current climate
  • Have you been asked to work remotely? We've put together six great tips to help you navigate this transition as a co-op student.
  • For other campus-wide announcements, visit the University's COVID-19 website.

Health coverage

Student reading and researching

​Quick links:

Note: You must have health insurance coverage for as long as you’re on your international co-op work term.

WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan at UWaterloo

Full-time undergraduate students who are enrolled in 1.5 on-campus credits and co-op students on an officially recognized work term are automatically enrolled in the Federation of Students/ Graduate Students Association (WUSA/GSA) Health and Dental Plan) unless you opt out of the plan because you have alternative coverage).

Full and part-time graduate students paying tuition to the university are also automatically enrolled in the WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan. The plan gives you international coverage for 150 days per trip.

WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan insurance is only valid if you also have Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) provincial coverage, or UHIP coverage.

Extending health and dental coverage for your international co-op work term

Additional insurance coverage under the WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan is required if you will be working internationally for more than 150 days.

You must purchase your additional coverage before leaving for your international co-op work term. Please allow at least 3 weeks for purchasing additional insurance.

You can make your payment by cheque or money order to the WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan Office.

The WUSA/GSA Health & Dental Plan office is located on-campus in Health Services, Room 1006. Or, you can call toll-free 1-866-369-8794 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. 

Don’t opt-out of Waterloo’s plan for an international work term

You and any other full-time Waterloo student have the choice to opt-out of the WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan, if you have proof of coverage by an equivalent health plan.

If you choose to opt-out of the plan, you will not have health or dental insurance coverage for your international work-term and will have to purchase an additional health plan, either from the visa sponsor, or from a third party insurance provider, which might be more expensive.

Opt-outs are valid for the whole policy year, from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31. To opt out and for more information about opt-outs, please visit ihaveaplan.

You can contact the WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Office for more information (see contact information above).

Travel health insurance card

Verification of health coverage

Depending on the country of your international work term, you might be required to provide a Verification of Health Coverage Letter, in order to obtain a work permit or visa.

To receive a Verification of Health Coverage Letter from WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Office, you should call toll-free: 1-866-369-8794.

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Out of Canada for more than seven months in a 12-month period?

This would include if you have two international four-month co-op work terms, or one eight-month co-op work term.

Inform the local Ministry of Health Office

You must inform the local Ministry of Health Office in person, if you’re covered by OHIP and are leaving the province for seven months or more (including other provinces).

  • Complete the Change of Information Form (014-0280-82) and submit the form to the Ministry of Health Office in person.
  • If you don’t complete and submit the form, you may not be covered while you’re on your international work term and/or for up to three months when you return.

The Ministry of Health has now combined offices with Service Ontario. The closest local office is located at:

  • Service Ontario
    105 Lexington Road unit 16,
    Waterloo, Ontario
    N2J 4R7
    Phone number: 519-746-8332

Preparing for your visit to the Ministry of Health Office

1. Take these original documents with you.

  • A verification letter from Co-operative Education that proves your previous, current, or future international work term. Before your international employment specialist can create this letter for you, you need to complete a request for a Student letter of support.
  • A verification letter from the Office of the Registrar proving that you are: a full-time student, the purpose for leaving the province (i.e., co-op work term), and the length of your international work term.
  • An offer letter from your international employer stating your job title and start and end dates
  • Birth certificate and passport.
  • Driver’s license bank statement, home utility bill, to prove name and address.
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN), ATM, or credit card.
  • Visa documentation.

2. Health card

  • If you have the old red and white health card, before you leave for your international work term, you must register for the new photo ID health card. Your return date will be printed on the new health card.

3. OHIP coverage

As of January 1, 2020 the Ontario Health Insurance Plan no longer covers any portion of out-of-country medical expenses. More info about this change found on the Ontario Ministry of Health website. Ensure that you have medical coverage through the FEDS/WUSA plan, or an equivalent plan. Contact OHIP directly for any questions you might have.

4. Health insurance coverage under another province

  • Check with the Ministry of Health if you’re covered by another province’s insurance.
  • Inform Provincial Insurance Plan officials of your international co-op work term, to ensure medical insurance coverage.

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If you have a medical emergency while on your international work term

  • You will have to call World Wide Assistance immediately to verify your medical coverage.
  • World Wide Assistance will direct you to a medical provider.
  • Arrange for the billing to go directly to the medical provider.

Call collect from anywhere 24 hours a day:

  • In Canada and the USA: 1-800-511-4610
  • In Mexico: 001-800-368-7878
  • Anywhere in the world: 202-296-7493

When you call, provide the following information:

  • The WUSA/GSA Health benefits group number: 83307.
  • Your UWaterloo student ID # (eight digits).

Note: At this time you should also notify UWaterloo Police Services at 1-519-888-4911.

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Submitting a claim from an injury on your international work term

For coverage of non-emergency medical services, you can submit a claim. You will get a refund in Canadian dollars. The refund is calculated with the Canadian exchange rate on the day the claim is processed. Processing takes about 1-2 weeks.

Claims may be coordinated with your provincial health care coverage (OHIP).

  • Submit detailed receipts for the medical services provided while on your international work term.
  • Fill out a claim form, which is available from the WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Plan Office.
  • Use photocopies or blank claim forms.
    • Group # for the WUSA/GSA Health Plan: 83307.
    • Group # for the WUSA/GSA Dental Plan: 50149.

Send claims to:

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada                                    
Group Claims Department
PO Box 11805 Stn. CV                                                                    
Montreal, Quebec H3C 0H3

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Verification of health coverage

Depending on the country of your international work term, you might be required to provide a Verification of Health Coverage Letter, in order to obtain a work permit or visa.

To receive a Verification of Health Coverage Letter from WUSA/GSA Health and Dental Office, you should call toll-free: 1-866-369-8794.