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.
Student participating in a placement on-site must complete all safety orientation, training by the site and adhere to their health and safety processes, procedures, policies and directives.
Students should keep up to date on all communications and announcements of COVID-19 related policy or procedural changes at UofT and their placement site.
Students completing clinical placements may have additional requirements, including compliance with their program’s directives regarding interactions with COVID-19 positive or presumed positive patients
Students may not attend at a site if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms indicated by Public Health Ontario and must notify U of T’s Occupational Health Nurse immediately by email at email@example.com if they test positive for COVID-19 . Students then may not visit the University or placement site until they receive clearance to do so from UofT’s Occupational Health Nurse.
Students completing in a placement on-site should follow the following best practices:
Wipe computer and work station with disinfectant at the start and end of each work day.
Students should inform their Placement Supervisor and their University Placement Coordinator if they experience any workplace illness/injury or if they become aware of placement circumstances which are unsafe. Students have the right to refuse unsafe work immediately.
COVID-19 may pose unique challenges for Students and the University is committed to providing as much flexibility as possible in the circumstances. Students should inform their Program lead if they believe they require modifications to their practicums based on their personal circumstances. Please note that Accessibility Services remains available to students experiencing disability-related barriers.
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.
Students completing a placement remotely from a home office should follow the following best practices:
Students completing a placement remotely should follow the following health and safety best practices:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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;
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;
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.
An accident report should be completed for any accident or injury by the placement supervisor. The accident report should be sent within 24 hours to firstname.lastname@example.org. A soft copy of the Accident Report can be downloaded below.
Next steps and the appropriate documentation will be provided by the University Coordinator, Student Placements.
If the student is exposed do a dangerous substance or disease, an accident report should sent within 24 hours to email@example.com. A soft copy of the Accident Report can be downloaded below.
Next steps and the appropriate documentation will be provided by the University Coordinator, Student Placements.
Under the current definitions all unpaid placements, co-ops, internships and service-learning opportunities that are part of a student’s academic program require a placement agreement to be in place for the duration of the placement.
Yes, an agreement is required to be in place before any number of students begin their placement.
An agreement is required to be in place before a student begins their placement. If there are requests for changes to the University’s template agreement or if the organization has an alternative to the agreement template, the University will require time to review. This process may take several weeks.
Please note that approvals must made in accordance with the Policy on Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents.
WSIB stands for Workplace Safety Insurance Board and is a province wide insurance fund. When an accident takes place within the workplace, the insurance takes a “no-fault” stance and provides assistance to the injured party. This also means that the injured party is precluded from taking legal action against the workplace.
Chubb is a private insurer used by the Ministry of College and Universities. In cases of workplace injury where the Placement Employer is not covered by WSIB, Chubb is the insurer.
Please refer to FAQ on travel abroad.
No. Students are only eligible for workplace insurance coverage by MCU or the University if they are in an unpaid placement. Students in paid placements should be treated as any employee and the Placement site should cover the placement.
Yes, students are still considered unpaid trainees if they receive one or more of the following types of payments: social assistance benefits, training allowance, honorarium, reimbursement of expenses and stipend paid to the trainee.
Is the student covered with workplace insurance when the student is traveling to an off-site location?
Yes, when the conditions of employment require the student to travel away from the Placement Employer’s premises, the student is eligible for workplace insurance coverage. However, the student is not eligible for the coverage when on a personal errand or business. How the student travels does not factor into the determination of the coverage.
Yes, international students may be covered for workplace insurance. The exception is if the international student is returning to their country of residence in order to complete their placement. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and assistance.
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.
In situations where students secure opportunities which are independent of their academic studies, the sole relationship is between the student and their placement employer. The student should carefully read any internship agreement and understand the risks and responsibilities before agreeing to its terms.
Upon the student’s request, the University may provide a letter confirming enrolment to the employer. The University is not able to enter into an agreement with a placement employer, or confirm workplace insurance coverage, unless the placement directly contributes to a student’s academic program.
Please contact your Registrar to discuss what academic options may be available to you and how you may participate in an experiential learning opportunity.