Updated as of May 13, 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.
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.
Note: If you’re a GBDA or Pharmacy student, please reach out to your program coordinator to learn about the flexible pathways available to you (GBDA students: email@example.com, Pharmacy students: firstname.lastname@example.org).
1) An option to take up to five courses in Spring 2020 (instead of a sequence change)
- 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
Across all programs (except Pharmacy and GBDA), for any student unable to obtain a 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 credit 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) Increased flexibility around existing work term requirements
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 (see below).
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 are required to be within Canada due 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.
4) 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.
That said, you can still search for AOJ opportunities that can be completed from within Canada! You can either find a job with a Canadian-based employer, or ask employers located outside Canada if you can be relocated to a Canadian office or work remotely from within Canada.
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 found a job that you would like to pursue for co-op credit:
- Speak with your co-op advisor
- 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.
- If you haven't yet received approval, please use the AOJ Canada form located in WaterlooWorks to submit any AOJ (for jobs that will be based in Canada – whether the employer is located in Canada or USA/international).
5) Adjusted PD and Work Term Report requirements for Spring 2020
- We are maintaining the number of PD and work term report requirements. However, programs may make adjustments as required through their normal processes.
- 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.
- AHS 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.
- 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 email@example.com or your academic program advisor. If you have questions about work term reports, please contact your academic program advisor.
6) 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.
That said, it’s important that you read job descriptions carefully and only apply to jobs that you would realistically take if your interview resulted in a match. With the current economic climate around the pandemic, it’s important that we preserve job opportunities and employer relationships to help as many students find employment as possible. Declining a job offer may result in lost opportunities for other co-op students in the future.
7) 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.
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.
Since we cannot confidently predict when this will change, students are advised to prioritize jobs that can be completed from Canada. Spring 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.
Of course, students can still choose to work outside Canada but will not receive a co-op credit from the University as this goes against the University’s current policies. To accommodate for situations such as this, we worked with the faculties to establish the flexible pathways above which allow for a reduction in the number of work terms required to graduate for students unable to obtain a co-op credit in Spring/Fall 2020.
If you will be working remotely from 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.
- For students who are new to working remotely, we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the transition.
If you’re searching for a Spring 2020 co-op job, you still have time – the last day to secure employment to receive co-op credit is Monday, July 13th (for an 8-week work term ending the week of September 4, 2020).
To increase your chances of finding a job, here are some things you can do:
- Continue monitoring the Hire Waterloo: Other and External job boards in WaterlooWorks for new postings that could be eligible for co-op credit under our adjusted work term requirements.
- As of June 15, all co-op jobs for the spring 2020 work term will be posted on the “Other” job board as this date marks the 12-week deadline for jobs to be approved under our standard work term requirements. In light of COVID-19, any jobs that are 8-12 weeks in length will be posted on the “Other” job board and could still be eligible for co-op credit if they meet our updated work term requirements.
- Be sure to review jobs posted as “Summer,” “Contract/Temp,” “Part-time” and “Volunteer,” as well as “Potential Co-op Opportunity.” Not all potential co-op jobs will be under this last category, so be sure to review the others.
- 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’s “skill up this spring term” resource for tips on finding work in the current climate, including:
- A weekly online webinar series on how to find a job for Spring 2020 (among other topics)
- 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, 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.
- Access COVID-19 wellness information compiled by Waterloo's Campus Wellness team to help you navigate the present situation.
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.