Policy 30 - Employment of Graduate Student Teaching Assistants

The policies found on the website of the Secretariat are compulsory rules for the university community. The authoritative copies of the policies are held by the Secretariat and bear the seal of the university. The online version accessible through the website of the Secretariat is available for information purposes only. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the authoritative copy held by the Secretariat , the authoritative copy shall prevail. Please contact the Secretariat for assistance if necessary.

Established: 1 May 2014
Revised: N/A (New)
Mandatory Review Date: 1 May 2016
Supersedes: N/A
Class: Z
Responsible/Originating Department: Graduate Studies Office
Executive Contact: Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs

Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures:

  1. Policy 33 – Ethical Behavior
  2. Graduate Studies Calendar guidelines on graduate student support
  3. Graduate Studies Calendar guidelines on Resolution of Disputes between TAs and Instructors
  4. Graduate Studies Calendar committees
  5. Employment of Graduate Students - Special Arrangements

1. Introduction 

This policy incorporates principles previously formalized in a 2008 communique “Employment of Graduate Students – Special Arrangements”, approved by Graduate Operations Committee, 23 October 2008, by Deans' Council, 29 October 2008, and Graduate Student Relations Committee, 5 November 2008.

2. Scope

This policy applies to currently-registered graduate students in any graduate program offered by the university, doing work which forms a normal part of a teaching assistant (TA) assignment in any program leading to a degree or diploma offered by the university.

3. Legal Framework

In addition to the abovementioned “Related Policies, Guidelines & Procedures”, the Policy must be construed in accordance with the following legal provisions:

  • Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41;
  • Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19;
  • Pay Equity Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.7;
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O1;
  • Statute Labour Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.20;
  • The University of Waterloo Act 1972, S.O., 1972, c. 200 (“The University of Waterloo Act 1972”);
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 16.

If any of these legal provisions are modified, abrogated, superseded, or added to, the Policy shall be interpreted in accordance with this new legal framework.

4. Principles

The university will endeavour to administer and distribute teaching assistantships in a fair and equitable manner, act in good faith and in the best interests of all students of the University of Waterloo.

5. Employment of Graduate Students as Teaching Assistants

Graduate students employed as TAs are paid at an hourly rate which is set annually by the provost, with advice from the Graduate Student Support Advisory Committee (GSSAC). Vacation pay is paid in addition to the hourly rate.

The number of hours per term for one TA unit will be between 100 and 160 hours. A half TA unit may be awarded. Ideally, each Faculty should have a common number of hours of service per TA unit; failing that, uniformity must be sustained at the department or school level.

If additional work which forms a normal part of a TA assignment (including, but not limited to, marking and proctoring) is offered to graduate students, graduate students must be paid at the graduate TA hourly rate for the number of hours specified. Such opportunities for additional work should be advertised. However, it is preferable to group such hours into a half TA unit or full TA unit wherever possible. Specifically, all academic units (Departments, Schools, Faculties and Institutes) must pay graduate students hired to mark coursework and proctor course examinations for academic programs at the TA rate, whether or not this forms part of a TA contract.

Amended, 28 February 2020 – Official titles only