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University of Waterloo
University of Waterloo faculty and students on campus   (Photo credit: Jessica Darmanin)

Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)

Here are some of the reasons why University of Waterloo was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Waterloo Area's Top Employers (2018):

  • In keeping with its raison d'être, the University of Waterloo encourages ongoing employee development through its Organizational and Human Development Office, which offers a wide range of training programs on topics including business communications, leadership development, information systems and technology, and a unique 7-part inclusivity program
  • University of Waterloo encourages employees to prepare for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan, retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit) -- additionally, the University maintains a retiree association to help retirees stay connected and represent retiree concerns related to pension and benefit matters, HR issues and university policy changes
  • Employees who are new to University of Waterloo receive 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance, moving to 4 weeks after only 4 years of employment
University of Waterloo employees attending a 'HeForShe' anniversary event

Employer Background

Industry Post Secondary Schools, University
Established in Canada 1957
Major Canadian hiring locations Waterloo ON, Cambridge ON, Kitchener ON, Stratford ON
Full-time employees in Canada 5,254
Part-time employees in Canada 518
Full-time employees worldwide 5,256
Workforce engaged on a contract basis 29%
Average age of employees in Canada 42
Longest serving employee 48 years

Physical Workplace A+

Commuter amenities transit subsidies, online car-pool sign-up, secure/sheltered bicycle parking
Workplace features spread over 400 hectares of former farmland, University of Waterloo's campus is comprised of buildings varying in age, from a historic farmhouse to the first LEED Platinum certified building on an Ontario campus, the main campus features an Earth Sciences Museum (with mining tunnel, dinosaur and ice-age mammal exhibits), Quantum-Nano Centre, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and Research and Technology Park, branded cafés throughout the campus as well as Starbucks, Tim Hortons and other quick service outlets, telecommuter workstations, nap room, religious observance room, self-serve lunchroom, outdoor barbecue, outdoor patio, discounts at local restaurants
Employee lounge amenities comfortable seating, fireplace
Onsite cafeteria healthy menus, special diet menus, subsidized meals
Onsite fitness facility shared use facility, subsidized membership, treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, instructor-led classes (Zumba, yoga, warrior workouts), rowing machines, weights, basketball court, sauna, shower facilities, squash courts, golf simulator, turf field and indoor turf, swimming pool, hockey rink, bouldering wall, and a centrally-located Bike Centre (which has offered repair, maintenance and training since 1995), employee memberships cost $20 per month
Other nearby amenities YMCA, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Centre, fitness club, Laurel Creek Conservation Area, Columbia Lake, Waterloo Park, daycare, restaurants, shopping mall, St. Jacob's Farmers Market, golf courses

Work Atmosphere & Communications B+

Employee social committee name UW Recreation Committee (est. 2004)
Recent social events summer picnic, service recognition events, annual staff conference, President's holiday reception, Canada Day celebrations
Cultural aspects employee sports teams, business casual dress, casual dress (e.g. jeans) daily, casual dress Fridays, music while working
Employee communications intranet site, company newsletter

Financial Benefits & Compensation A

Financial benefits note University of Waterloo has multiple employee groups, financial benefits may vary by position
Outside salary surveys participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months
Employee salary reviews individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months
Long-term savings defined-benefit (DB) pension
Long-term planning retirement planning assistance, phased-in retirement work options, life & disability insurance
Additional financial benefits subsidized home internet, subsidized home internet for those working from home offices, tuition subsidies extend to retirees (100%) and dependent family members (50%)

Health & Family-Friendly Benefits A

Health plan note University of Waterloo has multiple employee groups, health plans may vary by position
Health plan premium as part of the health plan, the employer pays up to 100% of the premiums
Minimum hours worked for coverage 12 hours per week
Waiting period there is no waiting period for coverage
Family coverage option yes
Retiree coverage with no age limit yes
Dental coverage routine, restorative, orthodontics
Traditional coverage (e.g. prescription drugs) yes
Additional coverage employee assistance (EAP) plan, semi-private hospital room, physiotherapy, medical travel insurance, homecare, medical equipment and supplies, massage therapy, nutrition planning, podiatrist, osteopathy, chiropractor, alternative coverage (e.g. accupuncture, naturopathy)
Other health plan information free flu shot clinic
Family-friendly benefits note University of Waterloo has multiple employee groups, family-friendly policies may vary by position
In vitro fertilization (IVF) $3,000 per lifetime
Maternity top-up (mothers) up to 100% of salary for 6 weeks
Parental top-up (mothers) up to 95% of salary for 17 weeks
Parental top-up (fathers) up to 95% of salary for 17 weeks
Adoption top-up up to 95% of salary for 17 weeks
Additional family-friendly benefits extended parental leave to unpaid leave, daycare centre onsite, emergency short-term daycare, academic scholarships of up to $500 per child
Alternative work options flexible work hours, 35-hour work week (with full pay), shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay), compressed work week, telecommuting, earned days off program
Additional family-friendly information summer camp program for children

Vacation & Personal Time-Off B+

Vacation note University of Waterloo has multiple employee groups, vacation policies may vary by position
Vacation allowance new employees receive 3 weeks of paid vacation after their first year on the job
Vacation jump vacation increases after 4 years of employment
Maximum vacation allowance employees move to a maximum of 6 weeks of vacation over their career
Paid holiday shutdown during the Christmas to New Year's holiday break, employees receive an additional 3 days off
Company paid days off employees receive 1 personal day off, as determined by their employer
Unpaid leave maximum 12 months
Self-funded/deferred salary leave maximum 12 months
Additional time-off information faculty employees receive 4 weeks of paid vacation to start

Employee Engagement & Performance B+

Employee performance reviews employees receive individual performance reviews every 12 months
Managers receive performance review training yes
360° feedback option as part of the review process, performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work
Confidential employee feedback employees can also provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance
Exit interview exit interview option is available for departing employees
Performance recognition long-service awards, teaching awards, intellectual property rights policy (grants ownership to the inventor as incentive)

Training & Skills Development A+

Career planning in-house career planning services
In-house training initiatives apprenticeship/skilled trades programs, mentoring, in-house training, online training, leadership training, subsidies for professional accreditation
Related tuition subsidies employer covers up to 100% of tuition per year
Unrelated tuition subsidies employer covers up to 100% of tuition per year for courses unrelated to current position
Unique training & development programs Organizational and Human Development/OHD Office offers employees a wide range of programs including business communications, leadership development, information systems and technology, and a unique 7-part inclusivity program, over 3,000 courses freely available to all employees through the "Lynda.com" service, the Staff International Experience Fund to support international experiential opportunities, the Staff Enhancement Grant to help cover costs associated with personal development not directly related to job duties, and the Staff Excellence Fund which allocates $250,000 annually to fund speakers, service recognition events, engagement and leadership development programs and workplace health initiatives

Community Involvement B+

Scope of charitable involvement local, national, international
Total number of charities supported last year approximately 100 charitable and community organizations were supported last year
Some of the community organizations supported United Way, CanBuild (in support of The Feds Food Bank and the Food Bank of Waterloo), Canadian Blood Services, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's Think Pink Campaign, Habitat for Humanity, and the in-house Treat-a-Gram Day in support of student wellness initiatives
Community highlight University of Waterloo's charitable program focuses on arts, culture and diversity, economic development, health and well-being, sustainability and youth engagement. The University recently launched a Volunteer Centre to help find volunteer matches for students and employees looking to support initiatives in the community.

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