Updated September 28, 2020.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we are continuing to work with faculty and campus partners to help you complete your work term and stay on track to fulfill your degree requirements. Please continue to check this page for updates leading up to your Fall 2020 work term.
If you have any questions or concerns, please send a message to your co-op advisor via WaterlooWorks.
Note: These changes are in place only for the Fall 2020 work term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be reviewed each term until no longer required.
Learn more about:
We know the Fall 2020 work term will likely 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.
Note: Students in the following programs should reach out to their faculty/program advisors to learn about the flexible pathways in place for their programs:
- Pharmacy students: please reach out to Anthony Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- AFM and Math/CPA students: please reach out to Victoria Salim (email@example.com)
1) A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF WORK TERMS REQUIRED TO GRADUATE FOR STUDENTS UNABLE TO OBTAIN A CO-OP CREDIT
Across all programs (except Pharmacy and GBDA), for any student unable to obtain a co-op credit for a Spring and/or Fall 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).
Please note that the reduced number of work terms is not cumulative (i.e., if a student is unable to obtain a co-op credit for both for Spring AND Fall 2020, they are still only eligible for a reduction of one work term).
Only students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in Spring and/or Fall 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 are unable to obtain a co-op credit for the Spring or Fall 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|
2) AN OPTION TO TAKE UP TO FIVE COURSES IN FALL 2020 (INSTEAD OF A SEQUENCE CHANGE)
- During the course selection period, students with a Fall 2020 work term will be able to select one course in addition to their WatPD course.
- During the Drop/Add Period (August 4-5), students interested in taking 2 academic courses during their Fall 2020 work term should discuss this with their academic program advisor and will also require permission from their employer, once employed.
- As of August 18, co-op students who are still unemployed will be able to register for additional courses (subject to availability). Please contact The Centre if you are unemployed and unable to register.
- 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.
- For information on how courses will be delivered this Fall 2020 term, visit the University’s COVID-19 website.
- Students are asked to contact their academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor for Math students) with any questions they have. If you are an international visa student, we also encourage you to consult with the Student Success Office’s team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants to determine if changing your sequence will have any impact on your study or co-op work permits, and/or your post-graduation plans of staying in Canada.
Please note: you can choose to enroll in academic courses and continue searching for a job at the same time!
If you’ve enrolled in 2 or fewer courses for the Fall 2020 term, you can continue searching for work until November 2, 2020.
If you get a job before November 2 and you are interested in dropping down to less than 2 courses, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to see whether a 100% refund is possible.
Students interested in taking 2 academic courses during their Fall 2020 work term are encouraged to discuss balancing courses and work term expectations with their employer, once employed.
If you’ve enrolled in 3 or more courses for the Fall 2020 term, you can continue searching for work until November 2, 2020.
Please note that you cannot be enrolled in full-time courses and receive co-op credit in the same term.
If you end up finding a job for co-op credit before November 2, the Registrar’s Office will contact you to ask you to drop down to 2 courses (part-time), and will offer you a 100% refund on the courses you are required to drop.
If you would like to drop down to less than 2 courses, you can email email@example.com to see whether a 100% refund is possible. After November 2, you will only be eligible to receive co-op credit if you WD courses with no refund.
If you have questions about taking courses, you can email The Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 519-888-4567, ext. 42268.
Generally, sequence change requests to defer or postpone the Fall 2020 work term to a future term will not be considered. As indicated above, programs have reduced the number of required work terms by one for students unable to obtain co-op credit in their Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 term. Please see below for criteria that may warrant an exception for a sequence change request.
Programs are intentionally designed to balance course offerings, program requirements and job availability in each work term. A sequence change does impact all three to varying degrees in each program. For example, programs structure course offerings based on sequences and Co-operative Education works to develop jobs based on enrolment demands each term.
Given that, students should normally remain in their sequence as planned and should not move a scheduled work term to a future term. To address the impact of not earning a co-op credit due to COVID-19, programs have reduced the number of required work terms by one for those students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in their Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 work term.
Where there is a need to consider an exception due to situations that include course offerings, eight-month work terms and other unique scenarios, a sequence change form can be submitted to your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) with a clear rationale to explain the extenuating circumstances. The Faculty and Co-operative Education will review the request for an exception together and inform the student of their decision. Please contact with your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) if you have any questions about the exception process.
If you're an international visa student, we also encourage you to consult with the Student Success Office's team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants to determine if changing your sequence will have any impact on your study or co-op work permits, and/or your post-graduation plans of staying in Canada.
Waterloo’s co-op program requires jobs to meet standard or flexible requirements in order to be granted co-op credit for your work term.
In order to graduate, undergraduate co-op students must complete a minimum of three standard work terms, plus 1-3 additional work terms that meet standard OR flexible work term criteria (depending on your academic program’s study/work sequence). All work terms for Graduate students must be standard work terms.
- Standard work terms: Work terms with a single employer/position that meets the standard work term criteria below.
- Flexible work terms: Work terms with a single or multiple employers/positions that together meet the flexible work term criteria below. Flexible work terms allow students to receive credit for a wider range of work experiences that don’t quite fit the standard requirements.
We know the Spring and Fall 2020 work terms may present unique challenges for students searching for work in light of COVID-19. That’s why we’ve increased our flexibility around our existing work term requirements to consider a wider variety of workplaces, positions and rates of pay for co-op credit.
If your position does NOT meet one or more aspects of the standard/flexible criteria below, please speak to your co-op advisor. We review each job opportunity on a case-by-case basis, so we may be able to make an exception depending on your situation and rationale.
|Standard work term||Flexible work term|
|Requirements||Existing||Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 only||Existing||Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 only|
|Job type||• Single employer/position
• Job must be related to your academic/ career goals
|• Increased flexibility in the types of jobs that will be approved for credit (employer type, job level, etc.)||• Single or multiple employers/positions (e.g., combining two part-time jobs)
• Rationale for how the job(s) will help you meet your career goals is required
|• You can combine 2+ positions that together support your professional goals, or help you develop transferable skills (e.g., 2+ part-time jobs)|
|Work term length||• Job must be 12-16 weeks||• Job must be 8-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) must be 12-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) must be 8-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)|
|Hours||• Job must be full-time (35-40 hours/week)||• Job can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)|
|Pay||• Job must be paid at least minimum wage (or usual local minimum practice) for where the organization is located, OR
• Job must meet unpaid/underpaid guidelines
|• Job(s) must be paid at least minimum wage (or usual local minimum practice) for where the organization(s) are located, OR
• Job(s) must meet unpaid/underpaid guidelines
|Supervisor||• You must not be supervised by a family member (can work for a family business as long as your supervisor is not a family member).|
|Performance Evaluation||• Your supervisor/coordinator must submit a Student Performance Evaluation||• Your supervisor(s)/coordinator(s) must submit a Student Performance Evaluation (one per job)|
|Job location||• Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 work terms must adhere to current University travel policies.
• You must follow our existing travel advisory policy to ensure that the location of your job complies with the University’s travel requirements for the safety and protection of UWaterloo students. Work terms outside of Canada are always assessed based on the level of risk published by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) travel advisories, in conjunction with any overall directives from our central University leadership.
• If you're an international visa student, any work completed for a co-op credit must be done on a co-op work permit.
• If you're interested in working outside Canada, visit our working abroad webpage (not applicable for Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 work terms).
To help with your work search, we’ve increased our flexibility around standard and flexible Work Term Requirements for Fall 2020 to give co-op credit for a greater variety of workplaces, positions and rates of pay (see above).
If you’ve arranged your own job outside WaterlooWorks, please follow the steps below to determine whether it is eligible for co-op credit:
- Ensure that it meets the Work Term Requirements and the University’s current travel policies.
- Speak with your co-op advisor to let them know that you’ve found an opportunity outside WaterlooWorks.
- Use the AOJ Canada form located in WaterlooWorks to submit any AOJ (for jobs that will be based in Canada – whether the employer’s office is located in Canada or USA/international).
- For more information, review our Arrange Own Job process.
For tips on how to talk to employers about hiring and supporting the cost of a co-op student, visit our arrange own job webpage and funding opportunities webpage. Talking about funding opportunities can be particularly helpful when talking with potential employers or negotiating job offers as a “selling point” to make it easier and more cost-effective for them to hire you!
Any changes to PD course requirements will be communicated to you by your faculty.
- Arts students: please see the COVID-19 work terms webpage on your Faculty’s website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- Health students: please see the Co-op Procedures webpage on your Faculty's website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- Environment students: please see the Program requirements webpage on your Faculty's website or reach out to your academic advisor for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
In the absence of any updates from your faculty, your PD requirements remain the same, as outlined in your academic calendar. Please contact your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) if you have any questions about your PD requirements.
If work term report requirements are being reduced in your faculty, they will be communicated to you by your faculty.
- Arts students: please see the COVID-19 work terms webpage on your Faculty’s website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- students: please see the Co-op Procedures webpage on your Faculty's website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- Environment students: please reach out to your academic advisor for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
In the absence of any updates from your faculty, your work term report requirements remain the same, as outlined in your academic calendar. Please contact your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) if you have any questions about your work term report requirements.
With the current economic climate around the pandemic, preserving job opportunities and employer relationships to help as many students as possible find employment has never been more important. Declining a job offer or leaving a work term early may result in lost opportunities for other co-op students in the future. As a result, consequences may apply.
To avoid this, it’s your responsibility to read job descriptions carefully and apply only to jobs that you would realistically take if your interview resulted in a match. In addition, be sure to ask questions when interviewing in order to understand the specifics of a position before you accept a job offer.
If you decide to decline a job offer or leave a work term early please see below for an overview of how we typically handle these situations, as well as accommodations in place for Fall 2020.
- Reneges (declining any accepted job offer [match/AOJ/return] prior to starting the job):
- We review each renege situation on a case-by-case basis to determine what consequences may be applied (see our Co-op Roles and Responsibilities for more information).
- For Fall 2020 work terms, we will consider removing consequences for students who renege on a match due to health concerns related to COVID-19.
- Resignations (leaving a work term early after starting a job):
- We review each resignation situation on a case-by-case basis to determine what consequences may be applied (see our Co-op Roles and Responsibilities for more information).
- For Fall 2020 work terms, we will consider removing consequences for students who leave a job early due to health concerns related to COVID-19.
Remember: You always have the options below to give you choice when interviewing for jobs and submitting your rankings through WaterlooWorks:
- Requesting interview relief: If you're feeling overwhelmed with your interview schedule, you can contact your co-op advisor to discuss available options and/or fill out a Request for Interview Relief Form on WaterlooWorks. Depending on your situation, you may be able to choose to be removed from one or more of your upcoming interviews by having your job application(s) withdrawn.
- Request to Withdraw Application: If you have serious concerns about a job or employer immediately after an interview, you can request to have your application withdrawn.
- Ranking a job as “Not Interested”: You can now submit up to three “Not Interested” rankings per term to guarantee that you will not be matched with a job and/or prioritize other jobs of interest. If you decide against a job after attending an interview, consider using this option rather than reneging on a match.
If you have questions about your specific situation, please reach out to your co-op advisor.
9) WORKING AS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR FOR CO-OP CREDIT
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently allowing co-op students to pursue independent contractor positions for the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 work terms, as long as they meet our work term requirements for co-op credit. This decision was made to increase your options when searching for work in the current climate.
Review the resource below to learn more about some key considerations and implications of working in Canada as an independent contractor.
All co-op interviews will continue to be conducted remotely via phone or webcam. This decision follows the University’s closure of all academic buildings and the provincial government’s emergency orders.
This means that no campus facilities are available to be used for interviews, regardless of the interview type – you can proceed with your interviews remotely from a location where you feel safe.
Remote interview instructions:
- All students have been asked to complete a remote interview form in WaterlooWorks to let employers know how to reach you directly.
- All scheduled interviews in WaterlooWorks will show the method listed as “Phone” and the interview room listed as “Contact Direct.”
- If you are selected for an interview, more detailed instructions will be sent to you via WaterlooWorks.
- An employer may send you a video link directly if they prefer.
If you need help with your interview skills, please note that Centre for Career Action services continue to be available virtually.
In addition, if you have questions about a scheduled interview or interview conflict, click the "Send a message" button in WaterlooWorks and select "Interviews" as the category. This will direct your message to one of our interview coordinators who can help answer your questions.
Given Waterloo’s current stance around international travel and GAC’s listing of all countries as high risk, we are required to follow that direction and cannot currently approve work terms that require students to actively travel to locations outside of Canada for the Fall 2020 work term.
Since we cannot confidently predict when this will change, students are advised to prioritize jobs that can be completed from Canada. Fall 2020 work terms with employers based outside of Canada, including an Arrange Own Job (AOJ), can still be approved for co-op credit if employers can relocate you to their Canadian office or allow you to legally work remotely from within Canada.
That said, we understand that each student’s specific situation is unique and have worked with University leadership to establish additional options for students to receive co-op credit. In recognition of students who are already abroad or international visa students who would like to return to their home countries, we have additional options for:
|International visa students who are currently located in Canada and wish to return home||
|Students who have already left Canada and are currently abroad||
The University continues to monitor GAC travel restrictions. If the University lifts this current travel ban and the GAC’s country-specific travel advisories are relaxed prior to the start of the Fall 2020 work term, we will be in touch with both students and employers.
Please note that these situation-specific considerations are in place for Fall 2020 work terms only. The University’s stance around Spring 2020 work term travel remains unchanged, as these decisions were made ahead of the Spring 2020 work term as a response to the global situation at that time. To accommodate the impact of this situation, programs have reduced the number of required work terms by one for those students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in their Spring 2020 or Fall 2020 work terms.
- 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. The University cannot consult or advise in any manner. If your employer has questions, they need to seek their own independent legal counsel.
- For students who are new to working remotely, we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the transition. You can also read another UWaterloo student's blog on maintaining professionalism while working from home.
Update on US visa restrictions
On June 22, 2020, the US Government extended and expanded on previously issued immigration restrictions to freeze several visa classes until the end of 2020, including the J-class visa. As this is a fluid situation with several implications and interpretations, we will continue to monitor advisories and seek counsel to determine what the impact may be on future work terms. We will update students and employers as we learn more.
If you’re searching for a Fall 2020 co-op job, you still have time – the last day to start work to receive co-op credit is November 2, 2020 for an 8-week work term.
To increase your chances of finding a job, here are some things you can do:
- Continue monitoring the Hire Waterloo Co-op, Hire Waterloo: Other, and External Job Boards in WaterlooWorks for new postings. Remember: jobs found in the Other and External job boards may be eligible for co-op credit through our arrange own job process and adjusted work term requirements.
- Tap into your personal network: think about who you know (and who they might know) to see if anyone is hiring, and follow the arrange own job process.
- Check out the Centre for Career Action (CCA)’s “Skill up this spring term” resource for tips on finding work in the current climate, including:
- Work search strategies
- Other things you can do if your plans to find work change
- Additional resources for students
- Learn how to make informed and safe employment decisions by asking the right questions during your interviews. This resource contains tips from the CCA's team of career advisors, as well as sample questions you can ask about remote positions, in-person positions and interview logistics in light of COVID-19.
- Attend other online workshops offered through the Centre for Career Action (see here for a full list).
- Develop skills to help you transition to a digital workplace through accessing online courses, a webinar series and resources provided by UWaterloo!
- Book a phone or webcam appointment with a career advisor who can help you with your work search, networking strategy, self-introduction and application documents.
- If you think you might be working from home, access the resources below:
- Access COVID-19 wellness information compiled by Waterloo's Campus Wellness team to help you navigate the present situation.
- For tips on how to talk to employers about hiring and supporting the cost of a co-op student, visit our arrange own job webpage and funding opportunities webpage. Talking about funding opportunities can be particularly helpful when talking with potential employers or negotiating job offers as a “selling point” to make it easier and more cost-effective for them to hire you!
We understand that this is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone, including our students. We know that your academics and co-op experiences are important and meaningful to you, as every class and work term brings exciting new experiences and challenges that help you grow both personally and professionally.
If you are feeling anxious or uncertain while you are searching for a job or on a work term, please feel free to reach out to your co-op advisor. Co-operative Education has designated student mental health advisors on every regional team across Canada (10 advisors today) to help support you no matter what time zone you’re currently in. This team of mental health advisors works directly with our central Campus Wellness team to ensure that students have access to the best resources for their situation.