If you think of additional questions and answers, please let us know.
According to Western, there are two types of postdoctoral scholars: Postdoctoral Fellows (PDFs) and Postdoctoral Associates (PDAs). PDFs are considered independent contractors while PDAs are considered employees of the University.
When becoming a Postdoctoral Scholar at Western, you should make yourself aware of the advantages and disadvantages of being a PDA or PDF. This decision will affect how you will be claiming your taxes as well as access to government services such as CPP, EI, and how you can determine vacation time..
For more detailed information, check out this page at the SGPS.
Note that Postdoctoral Scholars who are funded directly by a granting agency and do not receive payment through the Western Human Resources system are not eligible for employment status.
Additional information can be found via Western's Human Resources Page.
According to the university, PDAs, or Postdoctoral Associates, are unionized and represented by PSAC Ontario.
PAW is a community for both PDAs (employees) and PDFs (self employed), unionized or not. PAW is not involved with union disputes.
Our mission is to improve the postdoctoral experience outside of issues concerning employment status at Western. Although we believe that it is important for you to have all the information you need to choose to between becoming a PDA or PDF, we will not advocate either choice. If you have a concerns or questions about the union, information can be found on the PSAC Ontario website.
Update: October, 2016
Although PAW has no affiliation with the union organization PSAC (Public Service Alliance of Canada), we do consider ourselves to be an information resource for all postdocs. Since some of us (Postdoctoral Associates) are union members, we wish to be able to direct your union-related questions appropriately. For this reason, PAW is looking for a PDA or PDF to serve as a union liason. Contact us if you're interested
Canadian taxes are usually filed by April 30. Further information can be obtained at the Canada Revenue Agency. Please note that PAW cannot provide specific advice as claiming taxes varies case by case, especially for international postdocs (see below).
Nonetheless, here are a few online Canadian Tax Calculators to help you determine how much you might need to be saving:
You may want to refer to Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars's (CAPS) for further information.
If you have any questions, please contact PAW's Tax Information Representative.
You may also wish to contact:
As an international postdoc, you may also need to pay taxes in your home country. Some of the considerations to keep in mind include:
Are you considered as residents of Canada for tax purposes (not related to their immigration status)?
Are you considered as residents in your country (for tax purposes) while they are living in Canada?
Does Canada have a tax agreement with your country? If there is a tax agreement, you may not be double-taxed, depending on the agreement (USA has an agreement for example).
When you arrived in Canada, and whether or not you had income prior to that may affect the credits you may be eligible for.
As an international postdoc, please consider this;general information on income taxes along with dates for income tax information sessions.
Specific questions can be directed to:
IESC Programs Coordinator
International and Exchange Student Centre
The University of Western Ontario
2nd floor of the International and Graduate Affairs Building
Phone: 519-661-2111 ext. 80359
Current Postdoctoral Scholars/Professional Development
As a postdoctoral scholar you have access to courses and services offered to both graduate students and faculty at the university.
You may found some career development resources from:
Our Calendar of Events (on main page) lists some of the courses offered by these programs.
When PAW receives an advertisement that may be of relevance to you, these will posted on our website. In addition, you can find other links to employment opportunities at Graduate Studies - Postdoctoral Scholars.
Alternatively, postdocs should take the initiative to look at associations within your discipline, ask around the department about employment opportunities.
You might want to consider using the contract present on the Human Resources page.
Depending on whether you are an employee (ie. postdoctoral associate) or self employed (ie. postdoctoral fellow), there are differences in what can be present in your contract. Note that contracts for PDFs will not mention vacation time because this type of postdoc is considered an independent contractor. Some of the regulations are found in the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA)'s guide.
In either case, we recommend that you discuss questions or concerns with your supervisor before you sign your contract such that both of you understand your expectations and obligations before any issues arise.
Information about intellectual property can be found at Research Western
If you are interested in the learning more about Intellectual property, visit Western Intellectual Property Association.
Postdoctoral scholars can secure funding from fellowship programs or external granting agencies or may be offered funding from their faculty mentors grant or research resources.
Note that there are also External Scholarships Competitions coordinated by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) at Western
SGPS also hosts information sessions on several of these competitions.
Current Postdoctoral Scholars/Health Plans
Current Postdoctoral Scholars/Health Services
Postdoctoral Scholars may opt-in either the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) health plan or the Alumni Western Health and Dental Plan. Note that you do NOT have to be UWO alumni to register for the Alumni Western plan.
Further information is also available on our website Health Plans.
As a postdoctoral scholar you have access to the UWO's Staff/Faculty Health Services:
UCC Rm 25 (lower level)
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4pm
You will need to register by filling out the Registration Form and returning it to the Staff/Faculty Family Practice Clinic.
As an international postdoc, you may wish to contact the Community Legal Services at Western Law. Some of their many free services offered to UWO postdoctoral scholars include help with immigration issues.
For more information visit UWO's Occupational Health and Safety.
For some information concerning the steps you should accomplish before you leave, visit the SGPS website.