Friday, January 5, 2018

Take steps to stay warm during the extreme cold

An iced-over window.

Call it a cold open: Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for Kitchener-Waterloo, with forecasted daytime lows of -21 degrees Celsius on Friday and significant wind chills that will make it feel like -36 degrees Celsius, dipping to -41 degrees Celsius overnight.

Brisk, you might say. And in case you were wondering, the University is open today.

When Old Man Winter comes calling, the University reminds students, faculty and staff to take steps to protect themselves against the cold, doing so in this instance with messaging sent out earlier this morning. To recap:

Tips to stay safe

Severe cold temperatures increase the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Exposed skin can freeze in minutes. Follow these tips from the University of Waterloo Health Services Centre to help you stay warm and safe:

Limit time spent outdoors

  • Move as quickly as possible
  • Take public transit

Dress appropriately for the conditions

  • Dress warmly and in layers
  • Wear warm and waterproof footwear with proper tread
  • Stay dry

Exposed skin (ears, nose, fingers and toes) lose heat the fastest

  • Cover as much exposed skin as possible
  • Wear mitts or gloves

We lose a large portion of body heat from our heads

  • Wear something on your head, such as a hat or toque
  • Protect your exposed face with a scarf

Find out more about cold weather safety on the Region of Waterloo Public Health website. The Region also has a list of warming centres that are available if you need to warm up.

Environment Canada gives Canadians as much advance notice as possible about potentially hazardous weather. Updates on weather for our region from Environment Canada can be found in a dedicated Twitter feed.

The University monitors the weather and will post relevant updates to its weather statement page, the homepage, at @uwaterloo on Twitter and other communications channels as needed. Read the Daily Bulletin's storm closing reminder and weather closing guidelines for more information.

Stay warm!

Benefit changes go into effect for 2018

The Pension & Benefits Committee has reviewed the maxima corresponding with retiree life, extended health, and dental benefit provisions and approved the following changes effective January 1, 2018:

Benefit Maxima Changes, Effective January 2018.



Previous maxima

New maxima

Extended Health

Paramedical/hearing aids



Private duty nursing

$20,331 per year

$21,242 per year

Out-of-pocket cap

$124 single / $250 family

$127 single / $256 family


Basic services



Major services






Retiree Life Insurance

Coverage for eligible employees who retire on or after January 1, 2018



In addition, in keeping with the 2 year lag in the dental fee guide used to calculate eligible dental expenses, the 2016 guide will be used to determine eligible expenses commencing January 1, 2018.

This means that the amount available for reimbursement has increased to the new maxima as outlined above. For example, the coverage for paramedical practitioners (e.g. physiotherapy) has an annual reimbursement maximum of $701, instead of $671 per year.

Eligible paramedical and prescription drug expenses are shared between the University and employees - 80 percent reimbursement is provided until the out-of-pocket cap is reached and then 100 percent reimbursement applies as outlined in the following table:

Out of Pocket Cap Changes, Effective January 2018

Eligible Extended Health Expenses (per calendar year)




Up to $635 (single coverage) or $1,280 (family coverage)

20 percent

80 percent

Over $635 (single coverage) or $1,280 (family coverage)

0 percent

100 percent

*Subject to the annual maxima and dispensing fee maxima; note that expenses for out of country, ambulance, dental and private duty nursing do not apply to the out-of-pocket cap nor do any pharmacist fees charged over the prescription drug dispensing fee cap.

Showcase your research in an NSERC video contest

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is running a contest for students to submit a short video showcasing research in the natural sciences or engineering fields. Students can enter the Science, Action! video contest on their own or as a team for a chance to win up to $3,500.

In addition to a cash prize, the top 15 videos will be featured in museum exhibits, shown at public science events, and as part of the Science Odyssey and Science Literacy Week national celebrations.

The contest will be open until January 19. Be sure to review NSERC’s website for full contest details and rules before entering. 

Link of the day

20 years ago: The Ice Storm of 1998

When and where

Winter 2018 Orientation, Tuesday, January 2, to Friday, January 5.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: Summer off? No — summer on! Friday, January 5, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

Winter Welcome Week, Monday, January 8 to Friday, January 12.

Chamber Choir audition,Monday, January 8, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Conrad Grebel Chapel.

CTE550 LEARN for TAs, Monday, January 8, 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Instrumental Chamber Ensemble audition, Monday, January 8, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Grebel Room 1209.

Chapel Choir auditions, Monday, January 8, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Grebel Room 1204.

Winter 2018 Jazz Ensemble Auditions, Monday, January 8, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

University Choir auditions, Tuesday, January 9, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel. 

Instrumental Chamber Ensemble audition, Wednesday, January 10, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Grebel Room 1209.

Campus Life Fair, Wednesday, January 10, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

CTE759 Designing Teaching and Learning Research, Wednesday, January 10, 12:00 to 1:30 p.m., FLEX Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Information Session webinar, Wednesday, January 10, 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

Clubs and Societies Days,Thursday, January 11 and Friday, January 12, Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Getting it done: Productive writing strategies for big projects, Thursday, January 11, 10:00 a.m.

Improve your lab report writing, Thursday, January 11, 12:30 p.m.

WaterTalk: “Exploration of the Earth’s Deep Hydrogeosphere and Subsurface Microbial Life,”presented by University Professor Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Thursday, January 11, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., DC 1302. Please register as seating is limited.

orchestra@uwaterloo audition, Thursday, January 11, 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Ron Eydt Village.

Writing and Communication Centre webinar, "Improve your lab report writing," Thursday, January 11, 12:30 p.m.

Knowledge Integration Seminar: Sustainability & Business Decisions in the Built Environment, Friday, January 12, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

Biology Seminar: Redox proteomics and cell biology, Friday, January 12, 3:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

Clarity in scientific writing, Wednesday, January 17, 10:00 a.m.

GMOs: Facts and Misconceptions, documentary with director in attendance, followed by panel discussion, Wednesday, January 17, 7:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre. 

Beyond Essays: Approaching Peace Education Differently opening reception, Thursday, January 18, 2018, 4:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Gallery. Please note the corrected date.

Research Matters: Getting Published, Friday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Balsillie School of International Affairs.

Knowledge Integration Seminar, "The Web as Infinite Archive: Why we Turned to Machine Learning, Distributed Computing, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration to understand the Recent Past," Friday, January 19, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408.

Biology Seminar: Bacterial Phages shaping the gut microbiome, Friday, January 19, 3:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

Grammar studio series: Workshop 1, Monday, January 22, 10:00 a.m.

HeForShe Ideathon, Tuesday, January 23, STC 2002.

Grammar studio series: Workshop 2, Wednesday, January 24, 10:00 a.m.

Chemistry Seminar: Pushpull Alternating and Hypercoordinate Asymmetrical Architectures for Light and Moisture Stable Polystannanes, Wednesday, January 24, C2-361.

Getting organized: tools for resisting racism and white supremacy, Thursday, January 25 to Saturday, January 28.

PhD oral defences

Physics & Astronomy. Michael Mazurek, "Testing classical and quantum theory with single photons." Supervisor, Kevin Resch. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Thursday, January 11, 1:00 p.m., QNC B204.

Physics & Astronomy. Elena Anisimova, "Single-photon detectors for long distance quantum communications." Supervisor, Thomas Jennewein. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2013. Oral defence Friday, January 12, 9:00 a.m., PHY 352.

Pure Mathematics. Chadi Hamzo, "Classification of Finitely Generated Operator Systems." Supervisor, Matthew Kennedy. Thesis available from MGO - Oral defence Friday, January 12, 1:30 p.m., MC 2009.

Chemical Engineering. AbdulRahman Ghannoum, "Optical Properties of Lithiated Graphite in Relation to a Lithium Ion Battery Fiber Optic Sensor." Supervisors, Aiping Yu, Patricia Nieva. On display in the Engineering graduate office, DWE 3520C. Oral defence Monday, January 15, 1:00 p.m., E3X-4117.