Resources for postdocs

FAQ

The Postdoctoral Office provides resources and administrative support to both postdoctoral scholars and their supervisors for the duration of their appointment.

The Postdoctoral Office provides support in the following areas:

  • Management of postdoctoral appointments
  • Postdoctoral fellowship competitions
  • Professional development resources
  • Communications to the postdocs at the University of Calgary

If your question is not answered below, please contact us at postdoc@ucalgary.ca.

Impacts of Bill 7 on Postdocs

In May 2017 the Alberta Government passed Bill 7: An Act to Enhance Post-Secondary Academic Bargaining. Bill 7 has an impact on how our university governs its labour relationship with postdoctoral scholars. Review the FAQ below to learn more.

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  • On May 4, 2017, the Alberta Government passed Bill 7: An Act to Enhance Post-Secondary Academic Bargaining. The bill will have an important impact on how the university governs the labour relationship with academic staff, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
  • Bill 7 recognizes postdoctoral scholars as employees and legislates the existence of a postdoctoral association. Once created, this association will have all the rights, duties and remedies that are granted to unions under the Labour Relations Code.
  • While Bill 7 recognizes postdoctoral scholars as employees, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) determines whether individuals are employees for taxation purposes and therefore are required to contribute to CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and EI (Employment Insurance).
  • The status of postdoctoral scholars across Canada varies from employees to trainees; from unionized to non-unionized. However, Alberta is the first province to pass a bill that specifically legislates on the status of postdoctoral scholars. 

 

  • Postdocs considered employees for taxation purposes will participate in CPP and EI in the form of pay cheque deductions;
  • As an example, based on a $50,000/year salary, the contributions to CPP/EI by the postdocs in 2017 will represent a total additional deduction of $260.16/month or $3,121.92/year; the formula to calculate the CPP/EI contributions is as follow:
      • For the 2017 taxation year, employee’s contribution to EI is calculated by taking your semi-monthly gross pay x 1.63%. 
      • For the 2017 taxation year, employee’s contribution to CPP is calculated by taking your semi-monthly gross pay, plus the value of your taxable benefits, less the per pay period exemption amount of $145.83, x 4.95%.
      • For the 2017 taxation year, employer’s contribution for CPP is an exact match of the employee deduction.  The employer’s contribution for EI is 1.4 x the employee deduction
  • The CPP and EI amounts will be deducted at source by the University of Calgary;
  • Postdocs will not be reimbursed to compensate for deductions on the pay cheque; all employees in Canada must contribute to CPP and EI as well as income tax;
  • Postdocs will not be responsible for making CPP or EI contributions retroactively, for work performed prior to November 1, 2017;
  • The University of Calgary/supervisors will have to cover the employer’s contribution to CPP/EI.
  • Postdocs will receive a notification concerning the change in the conditions state in the offer letter due to the new provincial legislation.
  • The impact on the postdoc tax’s return for 2017 will be as follow: Postdocs who have been deemed to be an employee as per Bill 7 for the 2017 taxation year will receive a T4A slip for the fellowship earnings received up to and including October 31, 2017 as well as a T4Slip for the employment income paid from November 1, 2017 up to and including December 15, 2017.

 

  • CPP/EI deductions will be effective November 1st, 2017
  • The deductions will be first seen on the November 25, 2017 pay cheque for the period November 1st to 15th, 2017

 

  • Postdocs who are “internally” funded will participate in CPP and EI: these individuals are hired by faculty members and paid through individual grants awarded to the supervisors or grants from major initiatives such as Eyes High postdoc program, CFREF and CERC, Mitacs as well as fellowships from endowment administered by the University of Calgary (e.g. CSM fellowships, HBI fellowships ACHRI fellowships, T. Chen Fong fellowships, etc.). The postdoc opportunities are offered following a hiring process that may or may not include job posting, interviews, etc. Their relationships with UCalgary have the traditional markers of an employment relationship 
    • NOTE: Postdocs under this category will be called Postdoctoral Associates
  • Postdocs who are “externally” funded (i.e. they have applied for and received their own external fellowship to work on their own project) will not participate in CPP and EI. There are two categories:
    • Postdoctoral Fellowship Holders: these individuals apply and compete for an external fellowship and receive an award in their own name (e.g. Banting, CIHR, AIHS fellowships), but they are paid through the University’s payroll. Their relationships with UCalgary do not  have the traditional markers of an employment relationship: the supervisor acts more like a mentor, providing guidance and advices on the research project that was submitted by the postdoc as part of the application package.
    • Guest Postdocs: these individuals hold fellowships in their own names but are not paid through the University’s payroll (e.g. NSERC or SSHRC postdoc fellowships, China Scholarship Council fellowships, etc.). Their relationships with UCalgary don’t have the traditional markers of an employment relationship: the supervisor acts more like a mentor, providing guidance and advices on the research project submitted by the postdoc as part of the application package.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship Holders and Guest Postdocs cannot opt in to contribute to CPP/EI.
  • The University is not making any changes to the Plan C benefits for active appointments.
  • Postdoctoral Associates will receive the EI benefits and the CPP benefits if they have accumulated sufficient insurable hours
  • Please visit the Government of Canada’s websites for more information on:
  • Under the transition period requiring that insurable hours be accumulated, maternity leave request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • It is not  possible to retroactively pay into CPP and EI to qualify for the associated benefits.
  • The impact of the change in the employment status on an application for permanent residence in Canada can be summarized as follow:

“Recognizing Postdoctoral Scholars as employees of the University may have a positive impact on the assessment of their application for permanent residence in Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  Under the Express Entry application system, this change may positively impact their eligibility assessment under one of the federal economic class programs (Federal Skilled Worker Program or Canadian Experience Class), by recognizing their Canadian “work experience” as a Postdoctoral Scholar.  It may also increase the points awarded based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which may overall increase their ranking in the candidate pool and consequently their chances of being “Invited to Apply” for permanent residence in Canada”.

Note that because of individual circumstances, the situation will differ from one candidate to another.

  • Postdoctoral Scholars are currently LMIA-exempt, and the new “employee” status will not impact the applicable LMIA exemption.
  • Candidates for permanent residence under AINP (employer-driven stream) must demonstrate that they hold a permanent position with an Alberta employer; as Postdoctoral Scholars hold temporary positions, the University is unable to nominate them for permanent residence under AINP.   
  • Bill 7 and the change in employment status will not affect the terms and conditions of a postdoc’s work permit.

You may provide an increase to postdocs that have been deemed to be Postdoctoral Associates, however the increase to the Postdoctoral Associate is subject to CPP, EI and Income Tax Deductions will be reported on a T4 Slip. Your budget will need to absorb the increase as well as the employer costs of CPP and EI (approximately 7% of the increase).

If you are interested in providing an increase but do not know how much to provide please contact the Payroll Department directly at payrolluc@ucalgary.ca

If you know the amount you can process the increase by completing a Job Change Request – Compensation Change - Increase in PeopleSoft.

All employees working in Canada must contribute to both CPP and EI.  Having said this there are provisions under the Income Tax Act that may provide the opportunity for relief of contributions at the point the employee files their personal tax return.

We suggest that international postdoctoral associates should reach out to a financial advisor to discuss possible options.

Becoming a postdoc

First, you must determine if you are eligible to apply.

Second, you must find a faculty member to be your supervisor, either by applying for an open position or by approaching a faculty member directly.

Visit the Applying and recruiting page for more information.

To be eligible as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Calgary, the candidate must have been awarded a PhD or equivalent within the five years immediately preceding the appointment or ten years from the completion of an MD, DDS, DVM or equivalent. Visit the Guidelines page to read more about eligibility.

Hiring a postdoc

Recruiting a postdoctoral scholar is the responsibility of the individual faculty member or research group. Before recruiting a postdoctoral fellow, the faculty member who will be providing the training needs to ensure that certain financial, resource, and eligibility requirements can be met. Visit the Applying and recruiting page for more information. 

  • There is sufficient financial support available to fund the postdoctoral appointment. Financial support may include funding from the supervisor’s grant or research funds and/or from an external fellowship awarded to the postdoc.
  • Postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary must receive a minimum stipend of $40,000/year plus Plan C health benefits ($1,212.12/year for single coverage; $1,969.80/year for family coverage – subject to any future changes).
  • There is appropriate research/office space and resources available for the postdoc to complete the required research and training.
  • The prospective candidate is eligible to be a postdoctoral scholar, as outlined on the Guidelines page.

During your appointment

Postdocs can teach one half course per term. The maximum load of teaching duties for postdocs is one half-course per term and arrangements must adhere to any granting agency restrictions on the amount of teaching permitted. The granting of teaching assignments is subject to Human Resources and Faculty Association of the University of Calgary (TUCFA) regulations. Any teaching assignment must be made as a separate appointment from the postdoctoral appointment.

If you don't have research allowance funded through an external fellowship, please contact your supervisor or search COS Pivot.

Postdocs are eligible to audit without payment of fees, but must obtain a written permission from the instructor of the course on a "Registration Exception" form, which you can get from Enrolment Services

For all questions related to payroll and taxes please contact the Integrated Service Centre

Postdoctoral scholars must pay for access to the campus gym and recreation facilities. For more information on membership, visit the Active Living website. 

Postdocs have access to the campus Staff Wellness Centre, all campus libraries, and the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning.

Yes, if the funding agency requires that project is held in the grantee’s name only (not supervisor’s). Research services/Research accounting will coordinate with the Department/Faculty steps to grant a postdoc an adjunct appt. The period covered by the grant must be aligned with the postdoc appointment. Please contact the Postdoc Office at postdoc@ucalgary.ca

End of my appointment

A postdoctoral appointment will automatically terminate on the end date in the offer letter. It is the responsibility of the postdoctoral scholar and supervisor to negotiate an extension. Visit the Applying and recruiting page for details. 

A letter of resignation is required by both your supervisor and the Postdoc Office. Please confirm the receipt of your resignation letter by both your supervisor and Postdoc Office if not delivering in person. 

If an extension is not requested or approved, the appointment will automatically terminate on the end date. No online termination form is required, but an online termination checklist should be completed by the supervisor. Individual departments will have their own processes for ending appointments (eg. returning keys).