Our policies and FAQs

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)-funded Global Water Futures Observatories (GWFO) network provides lab analyses, lab and field equipment rentals, and access to field sites to support research and grant proposals by Canadian academic researchers and their partners in Canada. The analytical services and equipment rentals include a fee to (in part) cover the operating costs associated with the equipment, which includes technician support time, and equipment repairs, servicing and calibration.

Our overall policy and fee structure for renting field or lab equipment and for submitting samples for lab analyses

  • Fees for analyses and rentals have been pre-determined and are provided on the web page with the respective request form.
  • After an analysis or rental request has been submitted using one of the request forms, we will respond to the request within one week with either a quotation or to start correspondence to gather more of the information that is necessary to prepare a quotation. The quotation will be determined based on the number of samples you are submitting and the fee per sample (in the case of analyses, which are charged per sample) or based on the duration of the work you are doing that you are renting lab or field equipment for (in the case of equipment rentals, which are charged per hour or per day).
  • Discounts on the pre-determined fees will be given to:
    • Researchers affiliated with a GWFO network institution (University of Saskatchewan, Carleton University, McMaster University, The University of Western Ontario, Trent University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University) (25% discount)
    • Researcher is an early career researcher (ECR), according to the definition provided by CFI and the tri-agencies (10% discount)
    • Researcher is a member of an equity-deserving group, as outlined by the University of Waterloo (10% discount)
  • To finalize an equipment rental (whether lab or field) after a request is approved there will be a formal rental agreement signed between GWFO and the researcher renting the equipment. This rental agreement will outline the responsibilities of the researcher to ensure safe operation of the equipment and to, to the best of their ability, prevent damaging the equipment.

Specific policies for field equipment rentals, lab equipment rentals, and lab analyses

Lab analyses

  • We require one week to receive and respond to lab analysis requests.
  • Upon receiving your request, we will reach out to you to provide a quotation or to ask for more details about the requested analyses to be able to provide a quotation, as well as to discuss sample pre-treatments needed and sample shipping.
  • Following the arrangement of a quotation and request, we will also provide a timeline for the analyses. Typically, we will aim for a reasonable turn-around time.
  • We follow EPA method validation and MDL determination procedures and use certified reference materials to validate all of our analyses. As well, we provide extensive Quality Control (QC) information (e.g., evaluation of QC standards, blanks, matrix spikes etc.). However, our analytical laboratories are not certified or accredited through any system.

Lab equipment rentals

  • If needed, training for operating the lab equipment will be provided by a GWFO technician.
  • We require 2 weeks lead time to receive rental requests and to prepare lab equipment for rentals. We cannot guarantee that lab equipment will be available for the time span that it is requested for.
  • We require that most of the lab equipment rentals are used within our University of Waterloo GWFO laboratory premises.
  • Please fill out the form and we will let you know more about what the requirements are for using the equipment.

Field rentals

  • If needed, training for operating the field equipment will be provided by a GWFO technician. If necessary, arrangements can also be made for a GWFO technician to accompany users to the field site to assist with the safe operation of the equipment. For equipment that typically requires a GWFO technician to operate it, the cost of this technician time is already built into the pre-determined rental fee. In cases where technician time is not already built into the equipment rental fee, an additional fee will be added.
  • We require 2 weeks lead time to receive and respond to requests and to prepare field equipment for rentals. We cannot guarantee that field equipment will be available for the time span that it is requested for.
  • All equipment users are responsible for making the necessary arrangements for ensuring that their field work is covered by their respective institution’s insurance policy.