Benefits information for faculty going on sabbatical leaves

During your leave, it is University Policy that you continue to be covered by the benefits program of the University of Waterloo for the same benefits for which you are now covered.

Full or Reduced Salary Implications:

  • If you will be receiving your full salary during your absence, the usual benefits deductions will be made, including pension contributions.
  • If you will be receiving reduced income during your sabbatical, the usual benefits deductions will be made based on your nominal salary (i.e. full time annual salary).

You may elect to have your pension contributions deducted based on your reduced salary however, this choice will result in lower pensionable service earned during your sabbatical leave. Waterloo’s Pension Plan does not permit buyback of lost pensionable service and your pension at retirement will be reduced by the loss of service.

If you want to have your pension contributions based on your reduced salary during your sabbatical leave, please contact the pension team.

You may be spending time outside of Ontario during this period. The Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) Global Medical Assistance Plan (United Healthcare Global) is available to you and each eligible member of your family for emergency medical care.  In addition, while on sabbatical, our plan will cover reasonable routine and on-going medical expenses that would have been covered by our provincial health insurance plan (OHIP) when at home. 

Please note that your coverage with Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) is contingent upon maintaining your provincial health care coverage (OHIP). If you are outside of Ontario for more than 212 continuous calendar days (seven months) during your sabbatical, you must advise the local Ontario Ministry of Health office in person before you leave. Visit the Service Ontario website to find the nearest Service Ontario Centre.

Information about OHIP coverage during longer absences outside Ontario is available on the Ministry of Health website.

Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) should be contacted before receiving medical treatment using the contact numbers printed on the reverse of your benefit card.  Be sure to inform the insurer that you are on a sabbatical leave. Our insurer will ensure you are receiving appropriate care, arrange direct payment of the expenses where accepted by the provider and when necessary, arrange medical evacuation home.

Should you have to pay medical expenses receipts should be submitted by mail accompanied by the following noted claim forms to the attention of our insurer:

Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life)

Attention Out-of-Country Claims Department

P.O. Box 6000

Winnipeg Manitoba R3C 3A5

Two claims forms are required:

  1. Out-of-country expenses (PDF)
  2. Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) authorization and release (PDF)

Please note that Canada Life (formerly Great-West Life) has a twelve-month time limit for paying out-of-Canada claims.  All medical claims incurred outside Canada must be submitted within the 12 months of the date incurred to be eligible for payment. 

If you have any questions, please contact Human Resources at extension 37580 or email hrhelp.