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Yvonn Yu
Communications Assistant
Tue, 04/09/2019 - 14:15

Whether this is your first co-op term or even your sixth at the University of Waterloo, it's important to be aware of your rights and the resources available while you're on a co-op term.

Co-op Affairs Commissioner Connor Plante outlines the top three most important resources you should be aware of during your co-op term.

1. Your rights in the workplace

Before heading out on a work term, you should review the full list of Work Term Policies on Co-operative Education's website. This includes information regarding the various pieces of legislation that apply to you in the workplace.

Three of the most important ones are:

  • The Ontario Human Rights Code which protects people from discrimination and harassment. Specifically to the workplace, the Code states that, "Every person has the right to equal treatment in employment without discrimination based on Code grounds."
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act which covers health and safety in the workplace. The OHSA guarantees you three basic rights at work: the right to know about hazards in the workplace and receive information on how to protect yourself; the right to participate in identifying and solving workplace health and safety problems; and the right to refuse unsafe work. 
  • The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act which provides insurance for workplace-related illnesses and injuries.

It's important to note that these three pieces of legislation are all provincial. Therefore, if you're completing a work term outside of Ontario, or are working in a federally-regulated industry, you will not be covered by these specific Acts.

Be sure to check the comparable legislation in the jurisdiction you're in to understand how you're protected.

2. Your Co-op Student Advisor

Your Co-operative Education Student Advisor is meant to be your main point of contact while you're on your work term.

Anytime you have a question about the Co-op process you can get in touch with them directly through WaterlooWorks. They're also able to help guide you through challenging or difficult situations that you may face during your work term.

3. Your Feds Co-op Affairs Commissioner

Feds is always here to help! If you're ever in a situation where you're unsure who to get in contact with, or what support is available, we can help guide you to the right person.

As the Co-op Affairs Commissioner, Connor is in constant contact with the Co-operative Education Department so he can connect you with the right person to help you, or bring up issues on your behalf if you prefer to keep your anonymity protected.

We can also assist you in navigating the University's Petition and Grievance process under Policy 70 through our Centre for Academic Policy Support (CAPS).

*Disclaimer: The above article is for information purposes only and should in no way be constituted as legal advice.