Your Fall 2020 co-op work term

NOTE: This is an archived webpage.

View of the Tatham Centre during the Fall

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.

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Flexible Pathways for students with work terms in Fall 2020

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:


Procedures for remote interviews

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.

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Fall 2020 University travel policy

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is currently advising 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 until further notice, 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 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.

Work terms abroad: Situation-specific considerations for Fall 2020 co-op credit

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
  • At any point, consideration for approving Fall 2020 co-op terms for work term credit may be given for international visa students (whose status on their university records is “study permit”) who are returning to their home country.
  • In this case, enhanced risk management procedures will be required before leaving Canada, or within one week of reaching your destination. Once you submit an Arrange Own Job Form for a work term abroad, you'll receive a message with more information about this mandatory step (can be completed online from wherever you are located)
  • Please note: this does not apply if you are a dual citizen of Canada and another country. In this case, you will be considered a Canadian citizen and will need to provide documentation to verify that you have been outside Canada since before June 1, 2020 in order for your work term abroad to be considered for co-op credit.
  • Next steps: Please speak with your co-op advisor about your specific situation and be ready to provide supporting documentation. As always, review the flexible pathways above for more options that can help you to complete your work term and maintain your degree requirements.
Students who have already left Canada and are currently abroad
  • If you have been abroad since June 1, 2020 and are unable to travel back to Canada, Fall 2020 co-op work term credit may be considered for your work term abroad. This applies to all individuals, regardless of citizenship.
  • In this situation, co-op credit will be assessed on a case-by-case basis with safety as our primary consideration. Factors such as the location’s level of risk before COVID-19 and other safety considerations will be taken into account when determining credit eligibility.
  • Enhanced risk management procedures will be required before leaving Canada, or within one week of reaching your destination. Once you submit an Arrange Own Job Form for a work term abroad, you'll receive a message with more information about this mandatory step (can be completed online from wherever you are located).
  • Next steps: Please speak with your co-op advisor about your specific situation and be ready to provide supporting documentation. As always, review the flexible pathways above for more options that can help you to complete your work term and maintain your degree requirements.

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.

Tips for working remotely:

  • 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.

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Job search resources for your Fall 2020 work term

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:

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. 

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