This update is provided for archival purposes only.

Public Health guidance and University of Waterloo operations may have changed. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our COVID-19 frequently asked questions.

COVID-19 Community Response – Staff Redeployment and Volunteer Opportunities

Thursday, January 20, 2022

This message was originally sent to employees by Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor.

As you are aware, the widespread transmission of the Omicron variant is straining our health and wellness system across the region and country. In response, the Region of Waterloo is reaching out to our University community with redeployment opportunities to support our frontline workers in local hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes and shelters.

We are writing to you today to consider two mechanisms for your support to our community. These include being temporarily redeployed to work in a hospital or other community setting, and/or volunteering on your own time in the following high-need areas:  

  1. Environmental services  — wiping down touch surfaces, moping and cleaning, disposing of garbage 

  2. Food services— portioning food, rolling cutlery, working in the dish room 

  3. Virtual visitswith residents at long-term care and retirement facilities

  4. Patient experience assistants  — answering call bells to determine patient needs, providing food/refreshments 

  5. Staffing the Emergency Child Care Services  for essential workers 

Commitment to these roles include: 

  • A minimum of 12 hours per week, over a 3-to-5-week period 

  • Full-time and part-time options 

  • Regular salaries paid for those working during regular office hours 

  • Training by the region will also be provided

All staff who request temporary redeployment must receive approval from their supervisors. Those who are deployed will not be replaced during the deployment period. Supervisors must ensure that these staff members can be freed up to volunteer their time during working hours, without detriment to their Unit. The University is negotiating a memorandum of agreement between Waterloo and the Region for staff who are temporarily deployed. Further information on this will be available soon.

Areas that are not permitted for redeployment include roles that are integral to keeping the campus operating safely. These include, but are not limited to, most roles in Plant Operations, Custodial Services, Campus Housing, Food Services and Special Constable Services and some roles in Campus Wellness.

If you would like to hear more about the potential of participating in this opportunity, we invite you to a Q & A session to answer your questions about the duties. We hope this will help you make an informed decision before speaking with your supervisor as to whether temporary redeployment during working hours is possible or whether you have interest in volunteering, on your own time.

To sign-up for the Q & A  please register here.

It will take all of us coming together to manage our way through this pandemic. Our community needs us, now more than ever, to ensure that we use our collective resources to support our frontline workers.

Thank you for your consideration. 


Vivek Goel