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Student Placements

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Placements

The term placement encapsulates many types of experiences, including, internships, practicums, service learning, and co-op. All placements should integrate theory and practice and provide students with practical experience in the workplace. Volunteer opportunities, observerships and field trips are not considered to be placements.

In-Person Placements during COVID-19 Pandemic – Information for Students
In-Person Placements during COVID-19 Pandemic - Information for Faculty and Staff
  • The University has created both a health sciences and non-health sciences framework which are intended to help as a discussion guide for academic administrators, instructors, and placement coordinators as they explore the feasibility of in-person experiential learning opportunities.  If you wish to receive a copy of this, please contact Bridgid McNulty for non-health science / clinical practicums and Heather Skelton for health science / clinical practicums (please indicate for the latter if it is a hospital or community placement).

    The framework and its supporting documents will be managed at the academic unit-level.

  • Placements, both remote and in-person, during the COVID-19 pandemic require the same standard documentation (Placement Agreement, Student Declaration, Letter to Placement Employer) please see below for information and template versions of these documents.

Remote Placements during COVID-19 Pandemic – Information for Students
  • Students completing a placement remotely from a home office should follow the following best practices:

    • Set up a work station as ergonomically as possible, please see Office Ergonomics Infographic for tips.
    • Avoid overloading outlets and use power bars in place of extension cords.
    • Create a well-lit environment with minimal clutter
    • Avoid overloaded shelving and storing heavy objects above shoulder height
    • Connect with your placement coordinator or faculty supervisor if you have safety concerns regarding your home office or if you require a space to work.
    • Take regular scheduled breaks, confirm with the placement supervisor on the appropriate timing.
      • Take time away from your workstation (e.g. go for a walk, get fresh air, meditate)
    • Avoid eye strain by looking away from your screen every 20 min at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
    • Take micro-breaks. Take less than two minutes to stand up, move around and stretch.
  • Students completing a placement remotely should follow the following health and safety best practices:

    • Stay connected to your University Placement Coordinator and your Placement Site supervisor.
      • Report any health and safety concerns
      • Report any work-related accident or injury
      • Report absences, to inform the University, please use the Absence Declaration from in ACORN.
  • Students completing placements remotely typically have the same insurance coverage as they would if they were on-site. There is an exception for those students completing placements in their home country. In these cases, there is a limitation in insurance policy which prevents either the Ministry of Colleges and Universities or the University itself from providing workplace insurance. The University encourages all students to have extended health insurance coverage. For more information please see an overview on the different types of health insurance.

Remote Placements during COVID-19 Pandemic - Information for Faculty and Staff
  • Placements, both remote and in-person, during the COVID-19 pandemic require the same standard documentation (Placement Agreement, Student Declaration, Letter to Placement Employer). Please see below for information and template versions of these documents.

    Please note, students completing placements remotely from their home country cannot be covered by workplace insurance through either the Ministry or the University. These placements may proceed on Departmental approval if the placement is low risk (administrative work, virtual meetings, data analysis)

Students on placements who are receiving wages from their placement employers are considered to be on paid placements and should be treated as any other worker employed by the placement employer. Students should have employee contracts with their employers and the responsibilities of the employer and the student should be clearly defined.

Students on placements receiving no funds from their placement employers or who are receiving stipends, honorariums or reimbursements are considered to be on unpaid placements. A placement agreement should be in place as it provides a detailed framework for the relationship between the University, placement site and student. Further documentation is required to secure workplace insurance and confirm the responsibilities of all parties. The requirements for unpaid placements are listed below.

Unpaid Placement Requirements
  • Placement agreements between the University and placement employers are necessary in order to provide both the University and its students, as well as the placement site, with clear expectations of rights and responsibilities while a student is engaged in unpaid work with a placement site as a condition of an academic program in order to obtain a degree from the University of Toronto. To assist in this process, the University has developed several template agreements which are available through the Placement Portal.

  • The Student Declaration is an informational letter which provides an overview of workplace insurance coverage. The letter asks the student to confirm their understanding of their responsibilities and confirm that their personal information will be disclosed to Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) and WSIB or Chubb.

    Student Declaration

     

     

  • The Letter to Placement Employer is a letter which informs the placement site of how students are covered by workplace insurance and asks that they confirm their responsibilities to create a safe working environment and inform the University of any workplace accident or injury.

    Letter to Placement Employer

     

     

     

  • The University of Toronto has a longstanding established relationship with the City of Toronto. Placements at the City of Toronto have specific eligibility and documentation. For more information regarding this process please contact placements@utoronto.ca.

  • The University of Toronto has  agreements with a number of affiliated hospitals. These include hospitals that are part of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network as well as Community Affiliates and Non-hospital Clinical Site Affiliates. These agreements are included in the central repository of agreements. All University of Toronto students are covered under these agreements. A student placement agreement is not required to place students at these sites.

Student Placement Portal

The Student Placement Portal is a resource for placement coordinators, it includes the placement agreement repository, templates and health & safety information. The Portal has been developed to provide guidance and support to the academic divisions to align their administrative processes with relevant legislation, policy and procedure that is related unpaid work integrated learning opportunities for students. For access to the Student Placement Portal please contact placements@utoronto.ca.

 

Legislation & External Policies
  • Student placements who are performing work under a program approved by the University fall under an exception under the Employment Standards Act.

  • The Ontario Health and Safety Act’s definition of worker includes student trainees. Student trainees have the same rights under the OHSA as paid workers such as the right to know about hazards and to refuse unsafe work. Student trainees also have the same duties as a paid worker, such as wearing and using protective equipment and not doing anything that may harm or endanger themselves or others in the workplace.

  • According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, learners on unpaid training placements with employers are unpaid trainees if both of the following conditions are met: the placement is authorized by a training agency, and the individual participates, however minimally, in the activities of the placement host’s industry. WSIB also clarifies that participating in the activities of the workplace includes job shadowing/twinning.

    WSIB does not consider the following individuals student trainees;

    • individuals who on their own initiative volunteer their services to an employer to develop marketable work skills;
    • volunteers who offer their time or services for community or charitable purposes;
    • individuals who are on the employer’s premises solely for the purposes of visiting or casual observation and who at no time participate in the activities of the placement employer’s industry;
    • university and college students who as part of their program do unpaid research for the university or college and individuals who are not on placement but as part of the training program perform work on the training agency’s premises.
  • Ministry of Colleges and Universities will provide workplace insurance for registered students if the placement is a component of a degree program funded by MCU and WSIB allows the training agency to deem itself the student trainee’s employer.

    The Ministry does not consider the following student trainees eligible for MCU coverage;

    • Paid placements – The student is an employee of the placement site and should be covered by the placement site’s insurance as any of their employees.
    • Placements which occur at the University of Toronto – The University is responsible for providing workplace insurance for students completing their placement on campus. Please contact placements@utoronto.ca to request student coverage.
    • Placements in the country of primary residence of an international Student Trainee – A limitation of private workplace insurance policy, the placement site may extend their coverage for the student.
    • Visiting students – The students home institution is responsible to ensuring their students have workplace insurance coverage.
  • Placements, either paid or unpaid, constitute work. Students participating in placements must ensure that they are in line with immigration regulations. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have the correct authorization/permits to participate in a placement.

Frequently Asked Questions
University of Toronto Policies
  • The Framework for Off Campus Safety is designed to provide University staff and faculty involved in the planning and execution of University-related off-campus activities with a set of core planning principles with respect to safety. Activities include field research, field placements and internships.

  • The Governing Council Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents states the following:

    Agreements in the normal course of business for educational placements for students off a University campus, pursuant to approved academic programs, may be approved and signed by the Principal, Dean, Director, Chair or other head of the academic unit, or by the program supervisor duly appointed by the Principal, Dean, Director, Chair or other head of the academic unit, provided that the form of the agreement has been approved by the Vice-President and Provost, Deputy Provost or Vice-Provost responsible for the academic unit.

    The Vice-President and Provost, Deputy Provost or Vice-Provost responsible for the academic unit will notify the Secretary of the Governing Council of the types of education placements where approval has been given under this clause, the general form of the agreement to be used and the position titles of the officers who have received signing authority.

  • Students completing either a paid or unpaid placement remain bound to the Code of Student Conduct during the placement.