Co-op FAQs for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Thank you to our employer partners for continued support of our students and our program. 

While the COVID-19 situation changes rapidly, the Arts & Science Co-op office stands steadfast in our support for our students and co-op employer partners. We're here to help ensure that all involved get the support and resources needed. Co-op work terms remain an important part of students’ work-integrated learning and our students continue to contribute significantly to their co-op work term organizations.

Below are some key questions that we've received from our employer partners. If you have a question that is not answered below or if you would like to discuss a particular situation, please reach out to discuss. We remain very flexible and happy to talk through situations based on your organization’s unique needs.

Is the Arts & Science Co-op office still open?

Yes. Our department is currently working remotely in support of the University of Toronto’s efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19, but we're available by phone or email and, as always, are ready to help.

Here's a few ways that you can continue to regularly reach our team:

Currently employing a co-op student

Can my co-op student still complete their work term with us?

Yes, they can. We are not cancelling any work terms because of COVID-19. Our students are continuing on their current work terms and working remotely as per their employer’s instructions. 
If there are specific circumstances that would cause the work term to end early, please reach out to our department to discuss.

Is working remotely an option for co-op students right now?

We fully support our students working remotely; they've been asked to follow the directions and instructions of their employers. We're here to support these remote working arrangements as needed to ensure the work term continues successfully.
 

What if our student isn’t able to work remotely?

Our students’ safety is of utmost importance. While we have encouraged them to follow their supervisors instructions and adapt their work as required, any students who are not able to work remotely and do not feel safe should speak with their supervisors and our department to find solutions. Health and safety are paramount. If a student needs to leave the Winter work term (January – April term) early because of COVID-19, they would still earn credit for that term. 

My co-op student needs to stop their work term. What should we do?

Please reach out to your Business Development Coordinator or reach us at uoftcoop@utoronto.ca to discuss the details; we're here to support both our students and employers through this process.  
 

My organization has to lay people off because of COVID-19, including my co-op student. What should we do?

Please reach out to your Business Development Coordinator or reach us at uoftcoop@utoronto.ca to discuss the details; we're here to support both our students and employers through this process.  
 

 

Can we extend my co-op student's work term so they can continue working with us through the summer?

Potentially, yes. Please discuss this possibility with your co-op student to ensure that they're interested in this change and they’re able to adjust their academic schedule accordingly. If both you and your student would like to arrange a work term extension, please contact your Business Development Coordinator or reach us at uoftcoop@utoronto.ca so that we can make the necessary adjustments to their records.
 

How will our midterm site visit take place?

As with every term, our Business Development coordinator will be in touch to set up a time to meet. The only difference you'll experience right now is that this visit will take place by phone or video. 

Is a midterm and final evaluation still required?

Yes. As usual, we will email you the midterm and final performance evaluation links for your current student. Please complete the evaluations and discuss them with your current student; they're excellent reflective learning opportunities for our students and an additional chance for you to engage in open dialogue with them about how their work term is going.

Hired a student for a Summer work term

Is there flexibility in the start date for the upcoming May work term?

Yes, there is. Students who were originally scheduled to start their work terms in early May can now start as late as June 8, 2020. This date may be pushed out even further depending on how the COVID-19 situation progresses.
 
While we prefer students to start as early as possible, we understand that flexibility may be needed. As you're making plans for the upcoming term, please reach out to us to discuss. We remain as flexible as possible and would be happy to talk through your organization’s unique needs.

Can co-op students who start in the summer end their work terms in December instead of August?

Yes. We have always accommodated 4, 8- or 12-month work terms as a regular part of our co-op program. 
 
In light of COVID-19 and the probability of later start dates for the summer term, this is a great opportunity to consider a longer work term that ends in December rather than August. You'll benefit from having your co-op student working with your team for a longer period, and our student will get credit for two work terms instead of one. Win-win!

Considering hiring a co-op student for Summer?

How can I post a co-op job?

You can post roles for the upcoming term at any time; simply submit the job description on our online form or email your job description to uoftcoop@utoronto.ca and we will be in touch.

How can I conduct interviews?

As usual, we're more than happy to arrange interviews for you; these are now being conducted by phone or Skype. Simply identify which candidates you'd like to interview along with your preferred dates/times and we'll book the interviews in on your behalf. 

Can students still receive credit for their work term if they work fewer weeks than they normally would?

Yes; students who are working in the Summer term can get credit if they work 12 rather than 16 weeks. That means the current latest start date would be June 8th. If the situation continues longer than currently anticipated, that date might change and the number of weeks may be reduced even further (and latest available start date pushed back again). We are watching the situation carefully and will keep our employers up to date. 
 
If you have a particular work term length and/or start date you would like to discuss, please reach out. We remain as flexible as we can in support of our students and employers.

Will we still receive the co-op tax credit?

The Ontario Co-operative Education Tax credit is available to employers who hire students for 10 weeks or more. Please refer to the Ontario Ministry of Finance website about the co-op tax credit for more details.

What funding is available to offset co-op student wages?

In addition to the co-op tax credit, the government has funding and wage subsidy programs in place to help support and offset costs related to employing co-op students; some as much as $5,000 - $7,000 per student. For details on what funding is available, visit our funding page or connect with us for an individualized consultation: uoftcoop@utoronto.ca or 647-446-2667