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.

Updates to research activities and international travel

Thursday, December 16, 2021

This message was originally sent to employees by Charmaine B. Dean, Vice-President, Research and International.

In follow-up to the message from the President and Provost on campus activities, sent earlier this week, the Office of Research has reviewed research protocols to ensure research can continue, while keeping our communities safe. Further, we are providing an update on international travel in light of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 – Global Travel Advisory, issued Dec. 15. The University of Waterloo will continue to monitor and further adjust our approach to research activities and international outbound research travel as the Omicron situation evolves and as we receive further guidance from public health and the Government of Canada.  

Effective today, the following changes apply: 


  • Travel outside of Canada, including forthcoming international travel already approved, is not permitted until at least Jan. 12, 2022. Exemptions to this are considered using the existing processes.  For those currently registered with Safety Abroad at Waterloo International (i.e., currently abroad or with forthcoming travel), institutional offices will be in contact to support and advise. 
  • All human participant research with vulnerable populations is to be paused at least until Jan. 24, 2022. With approval, rare exceptions may be made, for example, for those studies that are almost at completion. The Office of Research will be in contact with Principal Investigators in this regard.  
  • All other human participant research may continue. 
  • Occupancy limits: All research labs shall follow these occupancy limits until at least Jan. 24, 2022:  
    • Everyone will maintain two-metre distancing from others in labs. 
    • Spaces that primarily consist of seated work may base occupancy on a two-metre separation. 
  • Principal Investigators are accountable for scheduling in the lab to ensure adherence to occupancy limits. 
  • We encourage community members, where possible, to revisit approved domestic travel that has not yet occurred, to determine the possibility of changing to remote interactions. We caution the community not to make commitments for domestic travel for the first few months of 2022 as provincial guidelines may change in the next few weeks. We need to understand the impact of the Omicron variant during and shortly after the holiday break to be able to make decisions on travel during the winter term. 
  • Domestic field work continues to be permitted. 

Process oversight accountabilities

All accountabilities and approval processes remain the same for oversight of research activities.

It continues to be a difficult time for our communities as we navigate the challenges of the pandemic. The holiday period is a time to rest and rejuvenate and create special moments. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. Please stay safe.