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A Before-and-After Checklist for Postdoctoral Fellows

Coming to a new institution, and/or embarking on a postdoctoral fellow appointment, can involve major life changes. The following checklists are meant to guide postdoctoral fellows in their transition to Wilfrid Laurier University and the town of Kitchener-Waterloo.

These lists are by no means definitive, but are instead useful steps and resources to consider before and after taking up the appointment. 

All Postdoctoral Fellows

The following checklists are suited for both domestic and international postdoctoral fellows.

Before Coming to Laurier

  • Ensure that you can provide evidence of successful PhD/doctorate degree completion: original or notarized/certified copy of your PhD diploma, or original registrar statement or original certificate from the graduate studies office from your university attesting successful completion of all PhD degree requirements and admission to the PhD degree. As well, ensure that this evidence is in English, and that any such translations are notarized.

  • Review your appointment letter

After Coming to Laurier

  • Provide banking information so that your pay can be deposited directly into your account.

  • Obtain a Laurier OneCard, which serves as your university identification card, library card, etc. You can obtain your OneCard by simply taking your letter of appointment and photo identification (e.g., government-issued driver's license, passport) to the OneCard Office in the concourse at the centre of the Waterloo campus. Having your Laurier identification number at hand is recommended.

  • Set up a Laurier email account (Outlook). Contact the ICT HelpDesk at support@mylaurier.ca.

  • If you are a new resident of Ontario, you are required to apply for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), the free government health plan, at the Service Ontario office at 30 Duke St. W. (2nd floor) in Kitchener. This should be done as soon as possible. In order to apply for OHIP, you will need to provide proof of your local address. A copy of your lease should be adequate proof of residency.

  • If you are a new resident of Ontario, your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage won’t begin until you’ve resided in Ontario for three months. In the meantime, you are required to apply for UHIP coverage, which is an affordable basic health plan alternative that is comparable to OHIP, to cover you for the three months until OHIP starts. You can apply for UHIP at Service Laurier, located at 202 Regina St., Waterloo.

  • If your postdoctoral appointment is for six months or longer in duration, you may apply for the health and dental benefits available for postdoctoral fellows. Note that enrolment to the health and dental plan is limited to within the first 30 days of the commencement of the appointment. Visit Laurier Connect (login required) for further information.

International Postdoctoral Fellows

The following additional checklists are suited for international postdoctoral fellows.

Before Coming to Laurier

  • Ensure sure you have a valid passport with an appropriate expiry date, as well as a letter from your Canadian visa service confirming that your work permit has been approved.

  • If you are travelling with accompanying dependents, be sure to have the appropriate documents for them as well. For school registration, it is advisable to bring your children’s birth certificates bearing both parents’ names.

  • Make sure you have appropriate plane, train or bus tickets.

  • Ensure that you can provide evidence of financial support if you are receiving funding from a source outside Canada and/or Laurier (i.e., confirmation of fellowship from your home country, university, or research organization).

  • Don't forget to purchase travel insurance.

  • Pack warm clothes: summers can be hot and humid (30° C to 40° C / 86° F to 104° F), and winters are cold (at times 0° C to –30° C / +32° F to –25° F).

After Coming to Laurier

  • If you do not have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) (foreign nationals only), you must apply for one from Service Canada, which is located in Market Square, Suite 200, at 25 Frederick St. in Kitchener. You will need a SIN in order to open a bank account and to get paid. You will need to provide the Service Canada representative with your work permit and a piece of photo identification, such as a passport.

  • Once you have your SIN, present it, together with your work permit (and bank account information), to Laurier's payroll office by no later than the first day of your fellowship. 

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