Your Spring 2020 co-op work term

Co-op students at the Tatham Centre

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.  

Flexible Pathways for students with work terms in Spring 2020

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:, Pharmacy students:  

    Spring 2020 University travel policy: Spring 2020 work terms must be in Canada

    To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada advises 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, 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 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.

    Job search resources for your Spring 2020 work term

    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.