If you are a new or incoming member of the University of Waterloo postdoc community, this page should have all the information you need to get started and thrive within your role! Learn more about the topics below:

Meet the team 

Congratulations on starting your postdoc appointment! Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) is here to support you! At the University level, we advocate for the postdoc community by securing, developing, and promoting postdoc resources and benefits. We also support the postdoc community by hosting an annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week, in addition to other events designed to facilitate a positive postdoc experience at the University of Waterloo. 

At an individual level, we can answer questions you have about postdoc guidelines, and provide information and support related to your role. You can come to us with questions about many topics, such as being an international postdoc, or the family supports and resources that you have access to. We are happy to both support you directly and connect you with other relevant services for areas beyond our expertise.  

For matters relating to your postdoc appointment, onboarding, or work responsibilities, we encourage you to first reach out to your supervisor or the department/school/faculty contacts with whom you work directly. For questions about postdoc benefits, including pregnancy and parental leaves, please reach out to Human Resources directly. If you are having any difficulty resolving a question or concern, we are happy to facilitate dialogues with staff and units on campus to ensure you are supported. Please contact us if we can support you in this way.

Who are we? 

Your primary contacts at GSPA are: 

  • Sarah Howard, Manager, Postdoctoral Affairs and Programming Development 
    • Sarah Howard oversees the postdoctoral affairs portfolio in GSPA, which includes supporting staff and faculty who hire postdocs, as well as overseeing the development of programming and supports to enhance the experience of postdocs at the University of Waterloo.
  • Ashley Ryan, Graduate and Postdoctoral Programming Specialist
    • Ashley collaborates with partners across campus to support the postdoc experience through events and programs, including organizing our National Postdoc Appreciation Week.

You can contact the postdoctoral affairs team at postdocs@uwaterloo.ca.

Before you arrive

Understanding your appointment details

Ensure that you speak with your supervisor about the details in your appointment letter to understand the type of work that you will be expected to do, and to ensure that this is appropriately reflected in the appointment letter. Many postdocs also teach at the University of Waterloo during their postdoc appointment. If this is something you hope to do, ensure that you ask your supervisor whether it is an option. We also recommend that you confirm if you are expected to teach as part of your postdoc contract, or if you would receive a separate contract, and additional pay, for any teaching duties.

Speak with your supervisor to ensure you understand your salary and benefits. It is important to understand what fees you may be required to pay for your benefits or pension and what tax deductions may apply. To help with this, Human Resources has developed a net pay estimator, which can clarify expectations of what your take home pay (salary after all deductions) will be. Please contact Human Resources for questions about benefit and pension eligibility and costs.


If you are coming to the University of Waterloo from another country, Legal and immigration services provides expert legal advice and consultation to members of the University of Waterloo community, including information for international postdocs. They can help with guidance on things like applying for work permit, securing a work permit extension, or obtaining a social insurance number

If you have questions about visas or immigration, reach out to Fran Hannigan, Senior Immigration Specialist. Please note that Fran cannot provide information about immigration requirements until you have received an offer, as details of the appointment (duration, funding type, etc.) are required for Fran to advise appropriately.

Relocation and housing

If you are moving to (or within) the Waterloo region for your postdoctoral appointment, there are resources that can help make this transition as smooth as possible.  

Visit the Human Resources Relocation page for information on real-estate listings, bringing pets into Canada, utilities, and banking, as well as relocation guides for the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

The following resources may also support you in finding rental options in the area:

If you are moving from another country, you may also find it helpful to review the “before you move” considerations from Immigration Waterloo Region.

Connect with the postdoc community

Looking for a way to connect with other postdocs on campus? As soon as you’ve received an offer to join UWaterloo as a postdoc, you’re invited to join the University of Waterloo Postdoc LinkedIn Group! This group offers a space for postdocs to make connections with other postdocs, ask questions, and share advice or relevant resources. This is a great way to get connected, and perhaps learn about what it’s like living in the Waterloo Region or being a UWaterloo postdoc before you even arrive!

Visit our Postdoc LinkedIn Group website to learn more about how to join and how to create a LinkedIn profile.

Getting Started

Once your contract has been processed by Human Resources, you can begin getting yourself set up at the University of Waterloo. We are excited to have you here and want to make the transition process as smooth as possible! To help with that, use the checklist below to make sure you’re doing everything you need to get yourself set up.

  1. Activate your WatIAM account (new UWaterloo employees only): Access your personalized “Invitation Email” from watiam@uwaterloo.ca and follow the instructions to activate your Waterloo WatIAM credentials.
  2. Complete the payroll and benefits onboarding in Workday: Log into Workday and complete the onboarding items in your inbox. This will include: setting up direct deposit, completing tax forms, updating employee profile, and enrolling in benefits (if eligible).
    • Please note these onboarding steps are required for your pay to be processed.
  3. Activate your UWaterloo email address: Email accounts for all new employees are auto-created once the human resource system recognizes the individual as an employee – this should take place on your first day of employment, or as soon as your contract has been processed by Human Resources, if this is not processed before your first day. Follow the instructions on accessing your Microsoft 365 account to activate and access your email.
  4. Complete mandatory training: All University of Waterloo employees are required to complete mandatory training. Please also connect with your supervisor to determine if you require any additional training.
  5. Get your WatCard: All postdocs are eligible for a WatCard, which allows you to load money to make purchases from campus (and select off-campus) vendors, and is the preferred form of ID when picking up library resources. To obtain your WatCard, visit the WatCard service desk, located inside The Centre on the main floor of Needles Hall (NH). You will need your University of Waterloo offer letter or contract validating your employment, plus government issued photo identification.
  6. Get access to the library: Test your access to library resources by logging into the get access from anywhere page using your WatIAm credentials. You should have your library privileges automatically without no activation needed.  If you have any issues logging in, please use the Library’s self-registration form.
  7. Log in to WaterlooWorks: Test your access to WaterlooWorks by logging in during your first week to ensure that you have been added as a postdoc in the system. Use WaterlooWorks to book appointments with the Centre for Career Action and make sure you don't miss out on the important resources and services they offer.
  8. Connect to Eduroam: Set up your devices to connect to the eduroam wireless network.  There are specific connection guides available for many devices, as well as troubleshooting guides if you encounter any issues.
  9. Stay in touch. Check your email for news and invitations from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Although this checklist covers general tasks that every new postdoc needs to do, there may be other procedures specific to your department or faculty. Make sure to connect with your supervisor and department about onboarding timelines and expectations as well. If you aren’t sure where to get started or who to speak to, reach out to us at postdocs@uwaterloo.ca so we can put you in touch with the right people!

Settling in

UWaterloo Campus

If you are new to the University of Waterloo, Human Resources has supports for new employees to help you settle in and get oriented on campus. The campus page for new employees provides basic information about parking, WatCards, internet access, and telephone services. There is also a page of employee resources, compiled by Huma Resources, with information to support your successful transition and employment.

For a comprehensive list of services available on campus, you can refer to the Campus Resource Guide. This document also contains contact information for each campus service or support unit, so that you can know whom to reach out to whenever you need assistance.

Waterloo Region

Once you have arrived in the Waterloo Region, whether you are coming from nearby or further abroad, there are supports and services available to help you get settled here.

Visit the Human Resources Community page for information on local sites, religious services, food options, entertainment and recreation, community events, and more. This can help you get a sense of the community and hopefully let you start to feel at home sooner.

If you are joining us from another country, Immigration Waterloo Region provides a list of resources and services to help you settle in and develop a strong sense of community belonging. This includes a list of contacts you can go to for support when you need it.

Staying connected

Within two weeks of your information being processed by Human Resources, you will automatically be subscribed to the Postdoc e-news.This will be sent to your email every month, and includes important news and updates, as well as a list of upcoming events and opportunities available to postdocs at the University of Waterloo. You can also keep an eye on the Daily Bulletin and Waterloo News for other campus events and updates that might be of interest.

Resources and Services

Vist GSPA’s Postdoc resources and services page to learn about everything that is available to postdocs at the University of Waterloo to help support your needs and facilitate your personal and professional growth. A variety of amazing campus units provide career, research, writing, or other supports for postdocs. You can also access a number of supports and services to help you maintain your physical, mental, and social well-being while you are working here at the University of Waterloo.