Update on benefit changes for 2017
Human Resources has sent an update to Waterloo employees outlining how the maxima for extended health and dental benefits has changed, effective January 1, 2017.
The amount available for reimbursement has increased to the new maxima as outlined below. For example, the coverage for paramedical practitioners (e.g. physiotherapy) has an annual reimbursement maximum of $671, instead of $649 per year.
|Provision||Previous Maxima||New Maxima|
|Private Duty Nursing||$19,653 per year||$20,331 per year|
|Out-of-Pocket Cap||$122 single/$245 family||$124 single/$250 family|
In addition, in keeping with the 2 year lag in the dental fee guide used to calculate eligible dental expenses, the 2015 guide will be used to determine eligible expenses commencing January 1, 2017.
|Provision||Previous Maxima||New Maxima|
Retiree life insurance, which provides coverage for eligible employees who retire on or after January 1, 2017, increases from $4,600 to $5,300.
The maxima has also increased for the out-of-pocket cap. Eligible paramedical and prescription drug expenses are shared between the University and employees, with 80 percent reimbursement being provided until the out-of-pocket cap is reached and then 100 percent reimbursement applying, up to the benefit maxima, as outlined:
|Eligible Extended Health Expenses per calendar year||Employee reimbursement||University reimbursement|
|Up to $620 (single coverage) or $1,250 (family coverage)||20 percent||80 percent|
|Over $620 (single coverage) or $1,250 (family coverage)||$0||100 percent|
Please visit the Human Resources website for further information.
Waterloo researchers help launch autonomous car
A research team at the University of Waterloo played a key role in the development of a highly autonomous vehicle that Renesas Electronics America unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Using sensors and powerful computers, the car is capable of detecting and responding to other vehicles, stop signs and traffic lights to provide a safer driving experience. For example, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications allow the vehicle to detect in advance when a traffic light will change.
More than 25 researchers from the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) contributed a framework architecture of computer programs to enable the car to operate autonomously, as well mechanisms to ensure safety in different driving scenarios. The team includes professors Sebastian Fischmeister and Steven Waslander, from Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering, and Krzysztof Czarnecki, cross-appointed to Waterloo Engineering and the Cheriton School of Computer Science in the Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics.
“Working with Renesas, we’ve made great strides in developing a reference design for autonomous driving, and greatly accelerated our research agenda in all-weather autonomy and functional safety,” said Waslander, the autonomy lead on the project and professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering at Waterloo.
Prior to the demonstration, Waterloo researchers conducted extensive testing of the car at a local test track and in a parking lot in Stratford, Ontario, modelled on the Las Vegas demonstration site with the added complexity of adverse weather conditions.
“We are pleased to have the University of Waterloo as a contributing partner to our new autonomous vehicle,” said Amrit Vivekanand, vice president, Automotive Business Unit, Renesas Electronics America. “With Waterloo, we have established a deep working relationship, engaging with them beyond traditional academic levels of collaboration.”
The team is demonstrating the prototype on a closed course at CES. It uses the same Lincoln MKZ base model as Autonomoose, Waterloo’s automated car that received approval from the Government of Ontario in November as the first autonomous vehicle approved for testing on public roads in Canada.
Numerous other partners, including BlackBerry QNX, also contributed to development of the modified Lincoln MKZ sedan unveiled at CES. Acerta Systems Analytics, a UWaterloo spinoff, is providing performance and safety monitoring for the autonomous vehicle fleet.
Why not try a Skype meeting?
A message from Information Systems and Technology (IST)
With winter weather upon us, why not try Skype for Business (S4B) audio/video conferencing for your next meeting with attendees from across campus? Skype for Business is available to all users in academic support departments, and a meeting can be easily scheduled in Outlook, by clicking ‘New Skype meeting’. Your Skype meeting invitation will now be populated with all the pertinent information to determine the best method to connect to the Skype meeting.
Any computer with speakers and a microphone can participate in the meeting with either the Skype for Business client or the Skype Web App. Additionally a webcam can be used for the full video conferencing experience. If you do not have an S4B account or a compatible device to join the meeting, you can participate via audio by dialing the conference number and conference ID provided in the meeting details. Skype for Business can also be made available in faculties through Information Systems and Technology (IST) at the request of the Associate Dean for Computing, or faculty IT Director.
For more information, visit our Skype for Business help site.
Remembering William Elsdon
Human Resources has reported that retired professor William Elsdon died December 5, 2016.
Elsdon, one of two founders of the University's co-operative chemistry program, joined the University in October 1958 as an assistant professor of the chemistry department.
Shortly after his arrival, he became involved in a study to see if Waterloo's concept of co-operative education could be applied to chemistry students, and he was involved in the design of Waterloo's science buildings.
In 1963, Elsdon was promote to Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He taught thermodynamics and physical chemistry.
In 1983 he was one of 14 people named to Waterloo's 25-year club.
He retired in October 1987 after 29 years with the University. He continued to serve as an adjunct professor in the chemistry department for several years. Chemistry later established the William Elsdon Thermodynamics Award in his honour. The award, valued at $400, is presented to the highest ranking Science student in second-year thermodynamics courses offered by the Chemistry Department.
He was predeceased by his spouse, Faye Elsdon.