New Post-Docs

The Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics (DAA) welcomes postdocs to start their new tenure as part of the University of Toronto community. To assist your arrival, here is some information.

First, if you have already accepted our offer, please check the DAA Induction Package 2019


Incoming Post-Doctoral Fellow Guide


Before You Arrive


Immigrating to Canada

Non-Canadian citizens/permanent residents must have a valid work permit to legally work in Canada. International postdoctoral fellows must have a valid Canadian work permit prior to coming to UofT to participate in a postdoctoral fellowship. This requirement applies to PDFs who were previously students at UofT, but have not been granted permanent residency status. If the PDF was at UofT as a student and intends to remain in Canada to complete a postdoctoral position, he or she must apply for a Canadian work permit, even if the student authorization is still valid.


Immigration Procedures

      1. Obtain a valid passport.
      2. Secure a letter of offer from a UofT faculty member. The total stipend amount must be indicated, regardless of funding source. Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC) must be sure that financial support will be sufficient for any individual entering Canada. UofT’s minimum annual salary of CA$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 UofT, such as a fellowship from your home country, university, a corporation, or research fund, the funding source and stipend/salary must be indicated in the letter of offer.
      3. Non-Canadian citizens/permanent residents must have a valid work permit to legally work in Canada. To apply for the work permit, go to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/apply-who.asp
      4. Post-doctoral Fellows are designated as work 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, post-doctoral fellows are exempt from the requirement for a Labour Market Impact Assessments under exemption code C44.
      5. Effectively February 21, 2015, a foreign national who is exempt from the LMIA process will need a six-digit Employment ID to apply for a work permit. Please contact the Business & Financial Manager to get the Employment ID at least a week before you submit your work permit application.  Please provide the following information for the Employment ID:
        • passport information (date of birth, gender, name on passport, passport number)
        • a copy of passport which shows the passport information
        • citizenship & residency status
      6. PDFs who are holding a CIC work permit and wish to extend their stay in Canada should complete a CIC work permit application to extend your stay: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/work/extend-stay.aspThis application can be used to extend their stay with their existing employer, change the conditions of the stay, change their type of temporary status or amend application and contact information.You should contact the Business & Financial Manager to get the six-digit Employment ID at least a week before you submit your work permit extension application.

    PDFs are responsible for reviewing the application guide closely prior to submitting the final application. Approval will be delayed if information is missing.

    Persons who may Apply for a Work Permit at a Port of Entry


    Some workers can apply at the time of their entry to Canada [R198(1)].

    Most foreign workers must apply for a work permit outside of Canada. Foreign nationals may apply for a work permit on arrival at a port of entry (POE) in Canada if

        • they are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa (TRV) andif their job falls within the International Mobility Program (i.e., they are not required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA]);
        • they are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa andif their job falls within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (i.e., they are required to obtain an LMIA) and if a positive or neutral LMIA has been issued by the time they arrive;
        • they are a national or permanent resident of the U.S., Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon regardless of whether their job falls with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program; or
        • they will not be working as a live-in caregiver or as a seasonal agricultural worker.

    Persons who hold a valid work permit, who wish to change their conditions or renew their work permit should apply in Canada, pursuant to section 199 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

    However, if a person seeking entry into Canada meets the requirements of section R198 and section R200, their work permit application will be processed at the POE.

    Persons whose work permits expire while they are out of the country may apply at the POE if they are eligible to apply there pursuant to section R198. They must provide the officer at a POE with sufficient documentation to satisfy the officer that the client meets the requirements for the category in which they are applying.

    NOTE: Although foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement of a temporary resident visa may apply for a work permit at a POE, if they are travelling to Canada by air, they will need to apply for and obtain an electronic travel authorization (eTA) in order to board their flight to Canada. At the air port of entry, when their work permit is issued, they will also be automatically issued a new eTA with a new validity date.

    NOTE: Port of Entry (POE) in the Southern Ontario Region (Queenston, Niagara Falls, Rainbow Bridge and Fort Erie) – applications for new work permits at these POEs will only be accepted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. If an applicant presents themselves at the POE outside of the above noted times, their entry to Canada will be deferred and they will be asked to return to the POE during the specified time.


    Work Permits for Spouses/Partners

    If your spouse or common-law partner wants to work while in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit.  Spouse or common-law partner of PDFs can apply for an open work permit. Further information can be found on the CIC website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=176&top=17


    Settling in Canada and Importing a Vehicle into Canada

    Before you bring your personal belongings into Canada, including importing a vehicle into Canada, please visit:




    School-Aged Children (dependent children under the age of 18)

    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 PDF to carefully review the application procedures and permit limitations prior to submitting his/her application to CIC. 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 CIC 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 PDF’s permit.


    Enrolling Children in a Toronto-area School

    International PDFs will hold a valid work permit once in Canada. This permit allows international PDFs to enroll their child in a public school free of charge. However, parents/guardians must provide the school with a number of documents prior to enrolling their child in a Toronto-area school.


    Registration Procedures for School-aged Children

    If the PDF is a Canadian Permanent Resident, or has been awarded permanent residency, he or she is eligible to register the child in a Toronto area school. Parents/guardians must provide the necessary documents:

        • proof of age, such as a birth certificate or passport;
        • proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, valid passport, Record of Landing, or Permanent Resident Card;
        • proof of immunization;
        • proof of custody;
        • proof of address, such as lease agreement or utility bill with the parent’s/guardian’s legal name and child’s current address.

    If the PDF is not a Canadian Permanent Resident, the child will be considered as an international student. Applications for school registration must be accompanied by a letter of admission from the Toronto District School Board (http://www.tdsb.on.ca/). To obtain this letter, present the following documentation to the School Board Admissions Office:

        • the PDF’s valid passport;
        • the PDF’s valid work permit;
        • documentation from the University of Toronto declaring the PDF’s affiliation with U of T (i.e., engagement letter);
        • two documents providing evidence that the parent/guardian resides in Toronto (i.e.: two documents with your name and local address, such as a current driver’s license, utility bill, or OHIP card);
        • the child’s immigration papers, passport, and birth certificate;
        • the child’s up-to-date immunization records;
        • the child’s previous school records.

    Once confirmation is received that the PDF’s child may be admitted to a local area school, the school board will refer you to the nearest school. Finalization of the child’s school registration will occur at the school the PDF’s child will be attending.


    Child Care in Toronto

    There are a number of Child Care Centres in the Toronto area. Selecting a suitable child care centre to fit the children’s and family’s needs can be a stressful and laborious task. The cost of day care can range from $600 to $1,300 per month.

        • Child care listings located near the St. George campus of U of T
        • Parents may be interested in having their children in a home care setting. Local area community centres, libraries, community bulletins and parent groups will have listings of private home care providers. Prices begin at roughly $40 per day.

    Waiting lists for child care in the Toronto area can be very long. Children’s names should be added to waiting lists and registered for child care and day care as soon a PDF arrives in Toronto.



    PDFs arriving in Toronto for the first time will undoubtedly have a number of questions and concerns. Below are a few pointers to help you get settled in the Toronto area.

    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.

        • Upon your arrival from another country, you should immediately apply at any Service Canada Office http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca for your Social Insurance Number.
        • Please take along your passport with your work permit and letter of offer (the documents must be originals).
        • For additional information and an application form, please visit the following website http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/sin/forms.shtml
        • Once you receive proof of your SIN, you must submit the information to your Business & Financial Manager.


    Health Care

    It is very important that all international postdoctoral trainees visit the Post-Doctoral Office at the School of Graduate Studies to inquire about health care coverage: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/postdoctoralfellows/Pages/Current-Postdocs.aspx

    All international PDFs are required to enroll in the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) (http://www.uhip.ca/?language_id=3) for the first three months that they are in Canada. Once you have a permanent address, you may apply for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) (http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ohip/) which has a waiting period of 3 months (this is the period covered by UHIP). The coverage will match the dates of your work permit so you must renew your OHIP when you renew your work permit.


    Green Shield Health Benefit for PDFs paid through UofT Payroll

    To supplement your OHIP/UHIP coverage, you are also required to participate in a benefits plan for Postdoctoral Fellows.  The Green Shield benefits plan includes dental care and prescription drug purchases, as well as other health care services that are not covered under OHIP/UHIP.  Full details of the plan, including the cost of premiums, are available on the Postdoctoral Office website (http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/postdoctoralfellows/Pages/Current-Postdocs.aspx). Single coverage for employee PDFs is effective on the first day of the month following their first pay.  If PDFs wish to opt into family enrolment (i.e., spouse / partner and children) or to opt out of the plan based on prior spousal coverage, please contact the Postdoctoral Office.


    For training PDFs, you will need to enroll in order to receive the benefit. Please fill out the enrollment form and return it in person, by fax or by email to the Postdoctoral Office. Please do not forget to sign and date the enrollment form.

    PLEASE NOTE: When you renew your work permit, you must notify the Post-Doctoral Office as the Green Shield coverage must be renewed through them.


    Finding a Doctor in Toronto

    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 Dunlap office address, as your pay will be directly deposited. 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


    See newspapers – Toronto Star, Globe & Mail – or walk around the area of your choice and check for vacancies that are posted outside buildings. We recommend that you talk to your colleagues at Dunlap/DAA/CITA for tips and/or advice on neighborhoods and types of dwellings (high-rise units, condos, apartments, houses etc.).

    Please note that you must have the first and last month’s rent when you apply for an apartment.

    Good places to start:


    For tips on renting:


    Connecting Utilities

    When renting an apartment or house, utilities will need to be connected. The major utilities are phone, internet, hydro, and gas. Two pieces of identification and information/verification of your employment status must be provided to a utility company before it agrees to connect services. Engagement letters can be used to verify employment.

    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 a 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.


    Submit Moving Expenses

    We normally reimburse incoming PDFs 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:

        1. Travel to Toronto by air (cheapest, most direct route – sometimes a return ticket is cheaper than a one-way fare) for PDF and spouse/partner and children. Car, train or other alternatives can only be reimbursed up to the cost of one-way economy airfare.
        2. Transport to and from the airport.
        3. Transport of research material and household effects to Toronto.

    We cannot reimburse the following:

        1. Any charges related to obtaining a visa/permit.
        2. Temporary accommodation in Toronto while receiving a salary
        3. Accommodation en route to Toronto or temporary storage except under unusual circumstances and with the approval of the Director

    Note that most of the rules about allowable expenses are set by the University, not by Dunlap, and so it is very difficult for us to make exceptions.



    Canadians and residences are required to pay taxes which support health care, education systems, and infrastructure such as roads, street lighting, signage, water service and maintenance, law enforcement, and more.  The Ontario Harmonized Sales Tax is 13% and the Canadian income tax is due on April 30 each year.

    All individuals working in Canada are required to pay provincial and federal taxes, whether or not they are Canadian citizens. Annually, every person earning an income in Canada submits a Canada Customs and Revenue tax return.

    International PDFs are required to pay taxes on all income earned in Canada from their date of arrival.

    Detailed information on Canadian taxes: Canada Revenue Agency (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca)


    Other local information and supplementary websites:





    We try our best to keep the information contained in this guide as up to date as possible; however, we may not be able to provide all current information. If you are aware of any changes please let us know. Thanks!