New Post-Docs


Guide for New Postdoctoral Fellows in UofT Astronomy


Before You Arrive in Toronto


Understanding Your Contract


What You Should Know

We understand that contracts can be confusing. Here are the key steps to identifying your postdoctoral fellowship status and how this status affects your obligations and privileges at the University of Toronto.


Am I an Employee or a Trainee Postdoc?

Postdocs in UofT fall into two categories, based on their funding source. Employee postdocs are funded solely through a faculty member’s grant, or are Dunlap, CITA, Provost’s, or Arts and Science Fellows. Employee postdocs are members of CUPE 3902 Unit 5, subject to the collective agreement established between the university and that unit. Trainee postdocs have applied for and obtained an award external to the university (e.g. NSERC or Banting Fellowships); such funding may be paid out through the university’s payroll system, or may be paid directly to the postdoc. Trainee postdocs also may receive a top-up from their supervisors. The following chart outlines some of the differences between the two statuses of postdoctoral fellows.


  Employee Trainee
Term of Engagement 3 years initial maximum, and limited opportunity for renewal for up to a further 3 years; 1 year minimum (with some exceptions). 3 years initial maximum, and limited opportunity for renewal for up to a further 3 years; no minimum, although one year is recommended for foreign nationals
Taxation & Deductions T4[1] income: government legislated deductions; union dues T4A[1] income; no deductions (but postdocs must pay income tax on Canadian income)
Vacation and Leaves
(per year)
Vacation: 3 weeks; Sick Leave: 5 days; Serious Illness Leave: 2 months Personal Leave; 4 weeks (covers vacation, sick days, etc.)
Maternity and Parental Leave Maternity: 16 weeks paid/36 weeks unpaid; Parental: up to 9 weeks paid, 26 weeks unpaid As defined under the terms of the award
Green Shield Benefit Coverage (in addition to OHIP) Subsidized mandatory coverage; automatic enrolment and re-enrolment If paid through U of T payroll, may opt in at the unsubsidized rate; enrolment by form
Union CUPE3902 Unit 5 Non-union



The University of Toronto Governing Council establishes the policies pertaining to postdocs at UofT. A University of Toronto postdoc is a postdoctoral fellow who is doing research on a U of T campus and/or is receiving a stipend from U of T.

U of T has several policies approved by Governing Council and which apply to all postdocs (both employee and trainee postdocs). Each postdoc should become familiar with these policies, most of which are listed in Understanding University Policies & Standards.


Collective Agreement

Employee postdocs are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3902, Unit 5 (CUPE Local 3902, Unit 5)

  Work Permits


All international postdocs (i.e. those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents) require a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) work permit and usually must apply for a work permit prior to arriving. This requirement also applies to postdocs who were previously students at U of T, but have not been granted permanent residency status. If an international student wants to work in Canada after graduating, they must apply for a work permit under the Post-graduation Work Permit Program, even if the student permit is still valid.


How to Obtain a Work Permit

  • Hold a valid passport.
  • Obtain an engagement letter from a UofT department. The total stipend amount must be indicated, regardless of funding source. IRCC must be sure that financial support will be sufficient for any individual entering Canada. U of T’s minimum stipend of CAD$35,000 allows you to prove that you have adequate support after arriving in Canada. If you are receiving funding from a source outside Canada and/or U of T, such as a fellowship from your home country, university, a corporation, or research fund, the funding source and stipend must be indicated in the engagement letter.
  • Obtain an Employee ID number from your U of T department. Please contact your Business Officer at least one week before you submit your work permit application, providing.
    • passport information (date of birth, gender, name on passport, passport number)
    • a copy of passport page that shows the passport information
    • citizenship & residency status
  • In some cases, obtain a letter from your home institution that states that you have completed all degree requirements. If you have already graduated, a copy of your transcripts should suffice.
  • Complete the online IRCC work permit application.


Postdoctoral fellow is an employment category that can be performed by a foreign national based on the criteria listed in subparagraph R205(c)(ii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. Under the International Mobility Program: Public policy, competitiveness and economy, postdocs are exempt from the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) under exemption code C44.


TRV or eTA

Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and your work permit before leaving your home country. See the list of persons requiring Temporary Resident Visas. Postdocs who do not require a TRV will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). All international postdocs are expected to have an eTA, unless they are citizens of the United States, or require a TRV to enter Canada.


Persons who may apply at a port of entry

US citizens are eligible to apply for a work permit at the Canadian port of entry. Other international postdocs may be eligible to apply for a work permit as they enter Canada, but we recommend applying outside Canada beforehand as the safest method. It is the postdoc’s responsibility to obtain the required valid legal documentation for IRCC. Please visit IRCC website for details.


Can I obtain a Work Permit for my Spouse or Partner?

If your postdoc appointment is for six months or longer, your spouse (either married or common-law partner) may qualify for an “open” work permit. To apply for an open work permit, spouses or partners must provide IRCC with an application fee and the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Work permit of the postdoc spouse or partner

If you are common law, you may need to complete a Statutory Declaration of Common Law Union form in order to obtain your spouse’s open work permit. Your spouse or partner’s permit will be valid for the same period as your authorization to train in Canada.


Do I need to obtain a study permit for my dependent children?

When entering Canada with an adult holding a valid work permit, school-aged or dependent children (under the age of 18) do not need a permit to study in Canada. Indicate on the work permit application that dependent children will be entering Canada with the applicant. Parents/guardians must provide the child’s birth certificate, citizenship card, health records, and passport when entering Canada.


For more immigration information and the current application fee, please visit the IRCC website.


Can I extend my Work Permit?

If you wish to extend your work permit or stay in Canada, you need to complete a IRCC work permit application to extend your stay. This application can be used to extend your stay with U of T, change the conditions of the stay, change your type of temporary status or amend application and contact information.

You must consult with your Business Officer, who will be working with HR Immigration to submit the request for an Employer ID number on your behalf; you will not be able to renew your permit without this number.

The application needs to be submitted at least 30 days before the expiry date on your current work permit. This also applies to the postdoc’s spouse and dependents who are currently in Canada and want to obtain a work permit. Please note: the wait times for work permit renewals can be as long as four months or more. You will not be able to extend your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) health coverage until you receive the new work permit, although you will be able to remain in Canada on “implied status” as long as you applied 30 days prior to the expiry of your original work permit. If you are on implied status, you will be able to continue to work and receive your salary as long as you do not leave and re-enter the country on this status.


Moving Expenses

We normally reimburse incoming postdocs for a portion of their moving expenses. The maximum amount has been stated on your letter of offer. The following are examples of allowable expenses:

  • Travel to Toronto by air (cheapest, most direct route – sometimes a return ticket is cheaper than a one-way fare) for postdocs, spouse/partner and children. Car, train or other alternatives can only be reimbursed up to the cost of one-way economy airfare.
  • Transport to and from the airport
  • Transport of research material and household effects to Toronto
  • Fees to obtain the work permit
  • Temporary accommodation in Toronto while waiting to occupy the permanent accommodation

You are advised to consult with your Business Officer on allowable expenses in advance.


Upon Your arrival in Toronto


Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

It is mandatory that you apply for a Social Insurance Number upon your arrival in Canada. Without this, we will be unable to process your salary and benefits. The SIN is a nine-digit number used in the administration of various Canadian government programs. You will require a SIN to work in Canada or to receive government benefits.



Apply for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) provides for treatment and care in Ontario hospitals, standard ward accommodation, and doctor visits. An Ontario health premium cost is part of the calculation of your income tax withheld in each monthly pay. On your arrival from another country or province, you must immediately apply at the nearest OHIP office. There will be a 3 month waiting period from the date of your work permit (non-resident) or from the date you applied for OHIP (if you are a Canadian Citizen). You will purchase the University Health Insurance Program (UHIP) to cover you and your family during the 3 month waiting period (see below).


For detailed information about OHIP eligibility, including the enrollment of family members, telephone the Ministry Info line at 416-314-5518 or visit www.health.gov.on.ca


On your arrival at the OHIP office, you will need to provide one document from each of the following lists:

Examples of Proof of Citizenship/Eligible Status:

  • Documentation (e.g. letter of offer) confirming full-time employment in Ontario
  • Birth certificate from a Canadian province or
  • Valid Canadian passport or
  • Work permit

Examples of Proof of Residency:

  • Housing insurance policy, or lease agreement, or utility bill,
  • Ontario driver’s license, or
  • Monthly mailed bank account statements

Examples of Support of Identity:

Upon Your arrival at the University of Toronto


To Register & Get Paid

Your salary will be deposited to your bank account on the 28th of each month, or the last working day before the 28th.  In order to receive your monthly salary, you should provide the following to your Business Officer:

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Date of Birth
  • Payroll Bank Authorization Form for Direct Deposit
  • A blank cheque marked “void”, from a Canadian bank
  • Current Resident Address
  • Current Phone Number
  • Work Permit if you are an international postdoc
  • TD1 forms – only required if NOT claiming basic deductions*
  • UofT Student Number (if you are a graduate of UofT)


* Please complete the “Personal Tax Credits Return forms (TD1 forms) – Federal and  Provincial” and submit them to your Business Officer if NOT claiming basic deductions. For additional information, please refer to the Revenue Canada Agency’s website at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/forms/. For additional information on international tax issues, you may also refer to the website at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/international/


Your Business Officer will confirm your registration in the Postdoctoral Registration System; the day after your registration is confirmed, you will be able to contact the SGS Postdoctoral Office to receive your UTORid and obtain a T-Card.


Get Connected

Obtain Your T-Card

When you start working at the U of T, you will need to get a TCard. A TCard is your photo ID smartcard that serves as your official U of T identification card. Follow these steps to get one:

  • Contact the SGS Postdoctoral Office to receive your UTORid.
  • Bring photo identification and your UTORid
  • Go to the TCard Office which is located at the Koffler Student Services Centre, 214 College Street, Room 102, Main Floor (behind Second Cup)

Activate your UTORid

Your UTORid (with password) is your key to a number of services:

  • UTmail+
  • Campus Wireless
  • Quercus
  • Library Services
  • Library Workstations
  • Employee Self-Service (ESS)
  • Microsoft Campus Agreement Downloads
  • UTAlert

To activate your UTORid, go to Activate your UTORid


 Healthcare Benefits


International Postdocs

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is a centralized, government-sponsored health care plan provided to all residents of the Province of Ontario who hold an OHIP card. OHIP covers immediate medical care, such as emergency care, in-hospital care, doctor’s visits, and much more. OHIP does not cover prescription drugs, eyeglasses, or dental care.


Non-Canadian residents (international postdocs and dependents) who have a work permit for at least six months and a formal agreement to work full-time for at least six consecutive months are eligible for OHIP after a three-month waiting period. Proof of the engagement terms must be provided to the OHIP office. UHIP is required for the three-month waiting period for international postdocs and dependents.


The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is mandatory for all postdocs and their dependents who are not covered by OHIP. UHIP coverage must be purchased from the SGS Postdoctoral Office within the first 30 days of arriving. If UHIP is not purchased within 30 days for dependents, a $500 late registration fee will be added to the UHIP premiums.


To obtain UHIP, please bring the following items to the SGS Postdoctoral Office:

  • your passport
  • your work permit
  • the passports of any family members
  • your contract letter

Please make your payment with a credit card, Canadian debit card, or by money order in the correct amount. Cash and international bank cards are not accepted. Find out more details and links to current rates at uhip.ca.


Green Shield Benefits Health Plan

The Green Shield Health Benefit Plan provides postdocs with many important services, and covers some expenses not covered by OHIP or UHIP. This benefit includes some dental coverage, prescription drug costs and some additional health benefits (such as health practitioners and medical equipment). This plan is mandatory for all postdocs (both employee and trainee postdocs) who are receiving their stipend payment through the university’s payroll system and have their postdoctoral engagement at U of T confirmed in the Postdoctoral Fellows Registration Database. Please consult the Green Shield benefit booklet for detailed information about your coverage. Employee Postdocs are automatically enrolled in the benefits plan for single coverage; trainee postdocs and postdocs who want to add family members should contact the SGS Postdoctoral Office.


 Find Your Ways Around UofT

Looking for the fastest way around the various U of T campuses? Use these resources:

 Other Topics for Discussion with Administrative Staff

  • Keys
  • Computer equipment
  • Astro email, DADDAA website login, Dunlap Wiki account, photocopier user code in mailroom
  • Post your bio and picture onto the departmental website
  • Other office support

Astronomy at UofT


The Astronomy Community At The University of Toronto

Astronomy at the University of Toronto includes the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (DADDAA), the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics.



 Major contacts in UofT Astronomy

David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (DADDAA)

Chair: Roberto Abraham

Associate Chair (Graduate): Kristen Menou

Associate Chair (Undergraduate): Michael Reid

Department Manager: Alena Wasney

Finance Officer: Gautam Patel

Graduate Administrator: Margaret Meaney

Undergraduate & Department Assistant: Andrew Apong

Computing Manager: Hugh Zhao[4]

IT Technologist: Stipe Milisa[3]


Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA)

Interim Director: Norm Murray

Business Officer: Candace Duong

Administrative Officer: Amy Chang

Computing Manager: John Dubinski


Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics

Director: Bryan Gaensler

Business & Financial Manager: Alice Chow

Communications & Multimedia Officer: Meaghan MacSween

Events & Outreach Officer: Kara Manovich

Research Grant & Financial Assistant: Joanna Baylon

Office Assistant: Ingrid Small

IT Manager: Hugh Zhao[3]

IT Technologist: Stipe Milisa[3]


Other Useful Information in UofT


    • Community Safety Office
    • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS)
    • Family Programs & Services (including the Family Care Office)
    • Health, Safety & Well-being ProgramsReimbursement & Purchasing

      Human Resources & Equity

      Information Technology services

       School of Graduate Studies



      • The University of Toronto places a high degree of importance on diligent compliance with copyright law through managing our licensed materials, assisting faculty in understanding and operating within our fair dealing guidelines, and securing transactional licenses where necessary.
      • If you have any questions about copyright and copyright compliance, please contact copyright@library.utoronto.ca or visit https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/copyright

       Professional Development

      Health, Safety & Well Being

      Other Useful Information

      About Canadian Taxes

      All individuals working in Canada are required to pay taxes. Annually, every person earning an income in Canada submits a tax return. Canadian income tax is due on April 30 each year.

      If you are an employee postdoc, you will receive a T4[1] slip from UofT. Taxes are deducted from each paycheque for income tax, Canada Pension Plan, and employment insurance. If you are a trainee postdoc at UofT, you will receive a T4A[1] slip from UofT and you do not have taxes automatically deducted from your paycheques; however, you are still required to pay taxes on your Canadian income and to submit an annual tax return. We strongly suggest engaging a tax expert when you come to do your taxes. You are not required to have a GST/HST account number[5], as you are not self-employed.

      You can also call the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and get reliable information from their agents at their Individual Income Tax Enquiries telephone service (phone: 1-800-959-8281). The agents will be pleased to respond to your questions in the official language of your choice (English or French).

      In Canada, there are two types of sales taxes levied. These are Provincial sales tax (PST), levied by the provinces and Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), levied by the Canadian Federal Government. The GST applies nationally. The HST includes the provincial portion of the sales tax but is administered by the CRA and is applied under the same legislation as the GST. The HST is in effect in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The current HST rate in Ontario is 13%.


      About My Dependents

      When entering Canada with an adult holding a valid work permit, school-aged or dependent children (under the age of 18) do not need a permit to study in Canada. Indicate on the work permit application that dependent children will be entering Canada with the applicant. Parents/guardians must provide the child’s birth certificate, citizenship card, health records, and passport when entering Canada.


      It is the responsibility of the postdoc to carefully review the application procedures and permit limitations prior to submitting his/her application to IRCC. Some children will be required to submit a study permit application independently of his/her parent’s/guardian’s Work permit.


      Please consult with a IRCC representative at a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate to ensure that any child that will be entering Canada receives a proper permit or is indicated as a dependent on the postdoc’s permit. For more immigration information, see the IRCC website.


      Enrolling International Children in a Toronto-Area School

      International postdocs will hold a valid work permit once in Canada. This permit allows international postdocs to enrol their child in a public school free of charge. However, parents/guardians must provide the school with a number of documents prior to entering their child in school. For example, parents of Toronto school-aged children must provide their child’s vaccination information to Toronto Public Health[6]. For further information on registering your child in school, visit the school board site that applies to your area. Find a school or school board please visit the following website: Find a school or school board.


      The Family Care Office has prepared a tip sheet on registering international children in schools. Browse their Tipsheet Resources.



      Looking for an apartment in Toronto can be intimidating—from the high prices, to the extensive number of neighbourhoods. We recommend that you talk to your colleagues at UofT Astro for tips and/or advice on neighborhoods and types of dwellings (high-rise units, condos, apartments, houses etc.).  The Student Life Office has prepared a guide to apartment hunting in Toronto. Guide to Apartment Hunting in Toronto with Your Family.


      Finding a Doctor

      To secure a family physician in Toronto, you must first find a doctor who is accepting new patients. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario offers a useful Web tool called Doctor Search: http://www.cpso.on.ca/docsearch/


      Finding a Dentist

      The Ontario Dental Association offers a search tool called “Looking for a dentist” to help patients find a dentist in their local area who is accepting new patients. The Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto also has a Patient Clinic offering full-service dental care, at reduced rates. Please refer to the link below for further information or to make an appointment:  https://patients.dentistry.utoronto.ca/patients



      Open a bank account as soon as you have a permanent address or use your office address, as your pay must be directly deposited into a Canadian bank account. All banks charge fees. There are a few banks within walking distance of UofT St. George Campus:

      • CIBC: 595 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1M6
      • Bank of Montreal: 700 University Avenue at College Street, Toronto, ON M5G
      • Scotiabank: 1332 Bloor Street W. at Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON M5S 1W6
      • TD Canada Trust: 632 College Street, Toronto, ON M6G 1B4
      • RBC: MaRS Discovery Centre, 130-101 College Street Toronto, ON M5G 1L7

      To open a bank account, you may be required to provide the following documentation:

      • Passport
      • Work permit
      • Letter of offer
      • Proof of residency
      • An identification card showing your signature


      Driving in Ontario

      A valid Ontario Driver’s License gives you permission to drive in the province of Ontario. It can also be used for identification purposes. To change your current license to an Ontario license and to find out about driving in Ontario, please visit http://www.ontario.ca/driving-and-roads/driving-and-roads.


      Registering Vehicle in Ontario

      To register a vehicle in Ontario, the vehicle must have current insurance, be safe, and be emissions-clear. Securing insurance should be the first step in the registration process. All vehicles must be inspected for safety and for emissions under the Ontario Drive Clean program. Once a safety certificate has been issued, the vehicle can be registered at a Service Ontario Centre. The Service Ontario Centres closest to the St. George Campus are located at:

      • College Park, Lower Level, 777 Bay Street
      • Downtown, Unit 150, 33 Victoria Street
      • College, 534 College Street

      Insurance papers, current registration, safety certificate, car title, and customs forms must be presented to the Service Ontario Centre where a license plate will be issued.

      For further information, please visit http://www.ontario.ca/driving-and-roads/register-and-insure-vehicle-ontario

    • [1] T4 slip is known as a Statement of Remuneration Paid (It is the Canadian equivalent of an American W2 form). If you were employed during the year, you’ll receive a T4 slip from your employer. This slip shows the income you earned in the year as well as any deductions. T4A slip is a Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income. T4A can report income from many different sources including self-employed commissions and RESP educational assistance payments.

      [2] An open work permit is a work permit that is not job-specific. Because it is not job-specific, an applicant will not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or proof that an employer has submitted an offer of employment through the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee when applies for the work permit.

      [3] Any computer or equipment purchased will remain the property of the unit/UofT and is required to be returned to the unit/UofT by the end of the appointment.

      [4] Jointly with DADDAA and the Dunlap Institute

      [5] A GST/HST account number is part of a business number.

      [6] For details, please visit https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/health-programs-advice/immunization/get-immunized-children-youth/report-student-immunization/