Co-op work term updates due to COVID-19

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Updated as of September 4, 2020.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made some adjustments to our Fall 2020 (September to December) and Winter 2021 (January to April) work terms.

The next few terms may present unique challenges for you and the co-op student(s) you employ. That’s why we’ve increased our flexibility to help you tap into the best available talent from Waterloo. These changes are in place only for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 work terms and will be reviewed each term until no longer required.

If you’ve already hired co-op students, thank you! This page may help you find additional funding, plan for your work term and support your co-op student if they will be working remotely. Generally speaking, our process will continue to run as usual during your work term - you’ll still receive messages and support to help guide you along the way.

If you haven’t hired co-op students yet, or have more roles to fill on your team, you can still hire for the Fall 2020 (September – December) and Winter 2021 (January – April) work terms! Take a look at our new, flexible approach below for ideas on how to hire (and fund) Waterloo co-op talent.

On this page, you can learn more about


Hiring a student: Flexible ways to bring co-op talent into your organization

*NOTE: This  change will not affect the hiring process for Architecture and Pharmacy students who have unique sequences - see below for dates

Whether you’re a long-standing employer or brand new to hiring, we’ve outlined some flexible approaches and resources to help you to bring Waterloo talent into your organization.

Please note that all co-op interviews for the Fall work terms have been moved to phone and webcam – there won’t be any in-person interviews taking place at the Tatham Centre.


Current University travel policies: Guidelines for work terms based on employer/student locations

To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada is currently advising against all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In alignment with this advisory, Waterloo has currently suspended all University-related travel outside of Canada, including co-op work terms.

This decision follows direction from the University’s travel policy, the Faculties and our existing travel policy for international work terms. We recognize that this may change as the situation evolves, but for now we continue to monitor current travel advisories and base our decisions around what is known and supported by our University and government administrations. Of course, we will be in touch with employers and students if anything changes.

Work terms outside of Canada have always been assessed based on the risk level published by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) travel advisories, in conjunction with any overall directives from our central University leadership. When the GAC risk level for a country is listed as high ("Avoid non-essential travel" or "Avoid all travel") prior to the start of a work term, the University will not approve an at-location work term for co-op credit. This applies to all individuals, regardless of citizenship or intended destination.

This means that:

  • Fall 2020 (September – December) work terms: We cannot currently approve Fall 2020 work terms that require students to actively travel to locations outside of Canada (some exceptions may apply for international students who have returned to their home locations or students who left Canada before June 1, 2020).
  • Winter 2021 (January – April) work terms: We anticipate a similar scenario for Winter 2021 work terms and will be in touch with employers and students if anything changes.

In the meantime, work terms with employers or students based outside Canada may still be able to take place in-person or remotely if the guidelines below based on employer/student location are followed.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your hiring needs in further detail, please reach out to your Account Manager to see what is possible.

Important notes for all employers:

Many destinations and jurisdictions require individuals to work in the country where the employer is located. There might also be specific regulatory requirements to work across borders that students and employers may have to comply with.

It is your responsibility to research and meet any restrictions and requirements. Please clarify your expectations around work term location and discuss any other relevant details during your interviews with students. We cannot provide citizenship information for students or consult on employment decisions made between employers and students.

We cannot advise or consult on the legality of remote work arrangements (see below).

Any changes to previously agreed-upon work term arrangements will need to be discussed with your Account Manager before they are presented to your hired student(s).


Remote work terms

Wondering how to hire and manage co-op students working remotely? 

As many of our fall term courses are being offered online, some of our students may be living outside Canada while they search for jobs and complete their work terms. This may have implications for how you hire, manage and support your co-op student(s) based on the legal restrictions/requirements of your company’s location and the location of the student who you hire.

When hiring Waterloo co-op students, we expect you to do your due diligence about the legality of remote work and investigate any inter-country restrictions and any legal/logistical implications that remote work may have for you and the student(s) you hire (e.g., payroll, workplace insurance).

Although rules vary by location, we’ve collected some key questions that employers should consider when hiring a remote worker from Canada. The University cannot consult or advise in any manner. If you have questions, you need to seek your own independent legal counsel.

In addition, we've connected with co-op employers and students to collect best practices to help transition your co-op students to work from home.


Navigating your work term

Completing your Student Performance Evaluations

Near the end of every work term, supervisors are asked to assess their co-op student's job performance by completing a Student Performance Evaluation (SPE). If a student’s work term is shortened due to the current global situation, you will still be asked to complete their SPE. This is required for students to receive credit for their work term.

You are asked to please evaluate your student(s) based on the work they complete before the end of the scheduled work term. You will receive reminder messages from WaterlooWorks with a link to complete the SPE.


Looking to hire for full-time positions?

Some of our students are graduating this August! If you’re interested in hiring a graduating student, post your job on WaterlooWorks today and interview from September 8, 2020 - December 7, 2020.