Thursday, January 23, 2020

Human Resources updates campus on pension and benefits

A message from Human Resources.

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, 2020:



Previous maxima

New maxima

Extended Health

Paramedical/hearing aids



Private duty nursing

$21,344 per year

$21,739 per year

Out-of-pocket cap

$127 single / $256 family

$129 single / $259 family


Basic services



Major services






Retiree Life Insurance

For eligible employees who retire on or after January 1, 2020



What does this mean?

The amount available for reimbursement has increased to the new maxima as outlined above. For example, the coverage for paramedical practitioners (e.g. physiotherapy, massage therapy) now has an annual reimbursement maximum of $717, instead of $704 per year.

Please refer to the Employee Benefits Program booklet for more comprehensive details about the pension and benefits arrangements.

Other benefit updates…

Great-West Life has changed their name to Canada Life

On January 1, 2020, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life came together as The Canada Life Assurance Company (Canada Life). This means you’ll begin see the Canada Life name. However, as this transition is still underway you will still see references to Great-West Life.
Please note: there is no change to your benefit cards at this time.

OHIP ends Out of Country Travelers program

The Ontario government announced that as of January 1, 2020, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will no longer cover emergency expenses that are incurred while traveling outside of Canada. As a plan member you do not need to acquire additional insurance while travelling as the delisted OHIP coverage will be picked up by the University’s extended health benefit.

Lunch and Learn Session presented by Great-West Life: Understanding your benefits

Great-West Life is coming to campus on January 30, February 3 and February 7 to host lunch and learn sessions for plan members who are interested in learning more about their healthcare benefits.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Canada Life brand
  • Out of country coverage and changes 
  • Coverage levels (including understanding maxima amounts)
  • Coordination of benefits
  • GroupNet and online claims submission
  • Claim submission requirements for orthopedic shoes/appliances

Come out and meet Great-West Life on either of these days listed above from 12 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in room 1111 at East Campus 5. If you are interested in attending, please registerYou are welcome to bring your lunch and eat during the session (food and drinks won’t be provided).

Waterloo International welcomes two interim assistant vice-presidents

Professors Bessma Momani and Christine McWebb.

Professor Bessma Momani and Professor Christine McWebb have joined Waterloo International as assistant vice-presidents.

A message from Waterloo International.

Waterloo International welcomes interim assistant vice-president of international relations, Bessma Momani, PhD and interim assistant vice-president of international operations, Christine McWebb, PhD. Both professors commenced a one-year secondment, in January 2020, to fill the position of associate vice-president international, held by Ian Rowlands, who is presently on sabbatical.  

No stranger to international affairs, Dr. Momani is a professor in the Department of Political Science, senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI), and a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, D.C. She was a non-resident senior fellow at both the Brookings Institution and Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, and formerly a visiting scholar at Georgetown University's Mortara Center. She was a 2015 fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and now sits on its board of directors. She is also a Fulbright Scholar. Professor Momani currently sits on the National Security Transparency Advisory Group, which advises the Deputy Minister of Public Safety Canada and other Government officials on improving transparency to Canada's national security and intelligence departments and agencies.

Professor McWebb also has an impressive background in international affairs and management. She is the founding director of academic programs at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, where she focused on combining fine arts, humanities, and technology to address challenges in the world of business. Before coming to Waterloo in 2003, she worked as assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. As director and a researcher of the MARGOT project, she led several international collaborative initiatives in the area of Digital Humanities.

Please join us in welcoming Professors Momani and McWebb to the Waterloo International portfolio.

Health Services issues bulletin on Coronavirus

This is an excerpt of a message from Health Services.

In January 2020, a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China. The situation is rapidly evolving and UWaterloo Health Services, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, Public Health Ontario, along with the Ministry of Health, is closely monitoring the outbreak, conducting surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and providing public health and infection control guidance. There are no direct flights from Wuhan, China to international airports in Ontario. The risk to Ontario is currently considered low.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that originate in animals but are known to cause respiratory illness in humans, particularly during the fall and winter months. Other novel coronaviruses have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

At UWaterloo Health Services, we routinely screen all students see in the medical clinics for recent travel and mask and follow other precautions for anyone with potentially infectious respiratory symptoms, no matter where they have been. 

This situation is evolving rapidly, and our website will be updated with significant development along with campus messaging when appropriate.

Check out Health Services' tips on how to prevent the spread of illness.

3MT registration deadline on Friday

Graphic in white lettering on a black background that reads 3 minute thesis

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a university-wide competition for research-based (thesis & MRP) master’s and doctoral students at the University of Waterloo.

Competitors have 1 static slide and 3 minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research to a non-specialist audience. Students compete at the Faculty level to advance to the university-wide final competition on March 26. One lucky finalist will be selected to represent UWaterloo at the Ontario Provincial 3MT finals.

Graduate students who are interested in participating can register online. For more information, visit the 3MT website.

Link of the day

Bounty Day

When and Where

Music Ensemble auditions for Winter 2020 open for registration, December 2019 to Friday, January 24.

Office of Research drop-in Q&A session with CIHR Project Grant reviewers, Thursday, January 23, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Applied Health Sciences, Room 2677.

Akindi training session, Thursday, January 23, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., Davis Centre (DC) 1304. 

Chemistry Seminar: “Strategies for Selective C–C and C–O Bond Cleavage in Cyclopropanols and Nitriles” featuring Sophie Rousseaux ​​, Canada Research Chair in Organic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Thursday, January 23, 2:30 p.m., C2-361 (Reading Room). 

Mindfulness Meditation: A Stress Reduction Program, Thursday, January 23, 2:30 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

WaterTalk: The future of water law and governance - Stories from the west, presented by Oliver Brandes, Thursday, January 23, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Developing Your Compassionate Mind, Thursday, January 23, 3:00 p.m., NH 2447 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Grad Student Community and Conversation Circle, Thursday, January 23, 3:30 p.m., HS 1106 – Register is on GoSignMeUp.

Instructional Registration Deadline, Friday, January 24.

Office of Research drop-in Q&A session with CIHR Project Grant reviewers, Friday, January 24, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Pharmacy, Room 2024.

FAUW Indigenization Reading Circle, January 24, 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., HH 235.

Social class patterns in child-rearing and current debates on ‘good parenting’ in Germany, Friday, January 24, 11:30 a.m.,  Hagey Hall room 1102.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “You should work in conservation: why KI students are well-suited for a career protecting the environment”, speaker: Vanessa Minke-Martin, Marine Science & Communications Specialist, Pacific Wild, Friday, January 24, 1pm, EV2-2002

The Reading Series at St. Jerome’s Presents... Ben Ladouceur, Friday, January 24, 4:30 p.m., SJ1 3027.

Lectures in Catholic Experience series, “You've Come A Long Way Baby! Or Have You? featuring Sheila Ager, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo, January 24, 7:30 p.m., Vanstone Lecture Hall, St. Jerome’s University. Please register in advance. 

Concept $5K Grant applications open, “Previously known as the Velocity Fund $5K, student teams can apply to win a $5K grant for their startup idea” Monday, January 27.

Office of Research drop-in Q&A session with CIHR Project Grant reviewers, Monday, January 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Biology 1, Room 266

Office of Research drop-in Q&A session with CIHR Project Grant reviewers, Monday, January 27, 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Applied Health Sciences, Room 2677

Coping Skills Seminar - Empowering Habit Change, Monday, January 27, 3:30 p.m., HS 2302 – Register on GoSignMeUp.

Faculty Lunch & Learn: Definite-term Contracts, Tuesday, January 28, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., MC 5479. Please register by January 21.

Concept by Velocity - Graduate Meet & Greet, “Talk about a startup or side hustle, commercializing research, and get to know other grad students.” Tuesday, January 28, 6:00 p.m., The Grad House, Green Room.

Research Ethics drop-in session for faculty and students, Wednesday, January 29, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library (study booth on the main floor).

NEW - Canadian Blood Services Clinic, Wednesday, January 29, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays presents: Community-Based Digital Storytelling with Aynur Kadir and Kimberly Lopez, Wednesday, January 29, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., NH 3308.

NEW - Moving Careers Forward: A community of practice for women, Wednesday, January 29, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

NEW - Chemistry Seminar: Nanoscale heat transport at plasmonic interfaces and in 2D crystals featuring Simone Pisana, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University, Wednesday, January 29, 2:30 p.m., C2-361 (Reading Room).

NEW - Indigenous Speakers Series presents Jean Becker, Wednesday, January 29, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, ML.

PhD oral defences

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Terence Ma, "The Storey-Based Stability of Steel Frames Subjected to Variable Gravity and Fire Loading." Supervisor, Lei Xu. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence Thursday January 30, 10:00 a.m., E2 2350.

Recreation and Leisure Studies. Richard Norman, "Troubling Dominance in Sport: Deconstructing Curling Culture(s) through Narrative Inquiry." Supervisors, Heather Mair and Katie Misener. On display in the Faculty of AHS, BMH 2212. Oral defence Friday January 31, 10:00 a.m., BMH 3119.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Haohao Liao, "Electromagnetic Fault Injection on Two Microcontrollers: Methodology, Fault Model, Attack, and Countermeasures." Supervisor Catherine Gebotys. On display in the Engineering graduate office E7 7402. Oral defence Tuesday February 4, 9:30 a.m., EIT 3142.

Sociology & Legal Studies. Rowland Robinson, "Settler Colonialism and Native Ghosts: An Autoethnographic Account of the Imaginarium of Late Capitalist/Colonialist Storytelling. On deposit in the Arts graduate office PAS 2428. Oral defence Thursday February 6, 3:00 p.m., BSIA 2-33.