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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
November 26, 2015
Canadian Excellence

Coming to WLU: Checklists

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 to taking up residence in the town of Kitchener-Waterloo.

The lists are by no means definitive, but are instead useful guides to some of the things to consider before and after taking up the appointment.
Coming to WLU: Checklists
Before coming to WLU

  1. If you are a foreign PDF, coming from a country other than Canada, make 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure you have appropriate plane, train or bus tickets.
  4. Ensure that you can provide evidence of financial support if you are receiving funding from a source outside Canada and (or) WLU (i.e., confirmation of fellowship from your home country, university, or research organization).
  5. 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.
  6. Don't forget to purchase travel insurance.
  7. Pack warm clothes -- summers can be hot and humid (30° to 40° C, 86° to 104° F) - winters are cold (at times 0° to –30° C, +32° to –25° F).
  8. Click here for information on Kitchener-Waterloo including weather, cost of living, and much more.
After arriving at WLU

  1. Report to the appropriate Department/Academic Research Unit and meet with your research supervisor and/or the postdoctoral administrator/coordinator in your Department/Research Unit who will provide useful information regarding your stay at WLU.
  2. You will need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from “Service Canada”, which is located at 409 Weber St. W. in Kitchener.  You will need a SIN in order to open a bank account and to get paid.  Therefore, this would be a good thing to apply for as soon as possible, since it will likely take 7-10 days for them to issue your number.  You will need to provide them your Work Permit and a piece of photo identification, such as a passport.
  3. In order to apply for OHIP and probably to open a bank account, you’ll need to provide proof of your local address.  A copy of your lease should be adequate proof of residency.
  4. As a new resident of Ontario, you are required to apply for OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan – the free government health plan) at the “Service Ontario” office at 1400 Weber St. E. in Kitchener.  This should be done as soon as possible.
  5. Your OHIP coverage won’t begin until you’ve resided in Ontario for 3 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 the WLU Business Office, located at 202 Regina St., Waterloo.
  6. You’ll also need a “One Card” – which serves as your university identification card, library card, etc.  You can obtain your card by simply taking your letter of appointment to the OneCard office in the Concourse at the centre of campus.
  7. To get an email account (Novell/Groupwise), you have to contact the ITS HelpDesk. For more information, click here.
  8. Once you have your SIN, present it, together with your work permit (and bank account information), to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, where the necessary arrangements will be made to ensure you get paid through the University's Payroll Department (Human Resources).
  9. If your postdoctoral appointment is for 6 months or longer in duration, you may apply for the health and dental benefits available for postdoctoral fellows. Click here for more information. Note that enrolment to the health and dental plan is limited to within the first 30 days of the commencement of the appointment.