General Research Questions
York University is closing access to all buildings not critical for maintaining required services, will my research continue?
As of midnight Friday, March 20th, most buildings on our Keele and Glendon campuses will be locked as will faculty offices and research labs (dry and wet) with very limited exceptions. More information about building closures can be found in this memo: https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/files/2020/03/BuildingClosureMemoMarch18-1.pdf
A tiered approach will be used to ensure that colleagues have access to the technology they need to complete courses (including moving material online and online exams), and adequate time to shift as many research activities as feasible to home locations. With regard to on-campus research activities, a protocol has been established for this transition and your PI/supervisor will have more information.
Should you require support moving course materials online, your home faculty will have information available. Further resources are also available through the Teaching Commons (https://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/course-continuity/).
We recognize that not being able to access your research labs and offices will represent a massive loss to many members of our community. As per the information shared by the Vice-President Research & Innovation, York will work with you to advocate to your research funders to obtain end-date extensions and changes to work plans. Further information will be forthcoming regarding the potential impact of career interruptions.
Yes, if applicable, you should discuss with your supervisor how to move data onto OneDrive for secure access during this disruption. Instructions can be found here: https://yuoffice.info.yorku.ca/.
Employment and Fellowship Questions
For PDVs: The Finance Department continues to operate, including the monthly payroll cycle for all current contracts.
For PDFs: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC are closely monitoring the evolution and impact of COVID-19 and taking action to support awards recipients as well applicants, peer reviewers and employees. They are also contributing to the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and putting in place appropriate social distancing measures and other modifications to our business operations.
Please see the Tri-agency message on COVID-19.
York will work with you to advocate to fellowship funders about changes to work plans.
For PDVs, all benefits including sick time remain unaffected.
PDVs who are unable to attend work as a result of illness or injury will provided up to ten (10) days of medical leave without loss of pay per contract year.
PDVs, upon request, will be granted leave of up to one (1) week without loss of pay to attend to an ill family member once per contract year. Additional Family Medical Leave without pay may be provided in the same contract year.
The University is committed to being as flexible as possible in responding to these needs. This includes accommodating the need to be at home by readily granting vacation time, where possible. Please contact your supervisor to discuss the options that may be available to you.
PDVs have 15 business days of paid vacation per year. Vacation requests are to be made to the supervisor.
Current hires are still being processed and new hires posted.
Immigration Related Questions
With the non-Canadian citizen/permanent resident travel ban in effect, does this mean visas won’t be approved, so we shouldn’t do the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) work, or does this mean that the CIC work can be processed by the Faculty research offices, so that it will be ready when travel resumes, whenever that may be?
Visa applications that are in process will not be refused based on COVID-19; however, do expect service disruptions and delays at many Canadian visa posts abroad. Several Canadian embassies and consulates are now closed and more closures may follow in the coming days. Applicants can check to see if the visa office responsible for their country or region remains open before submitting an application: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/contact-ircc/offices/international-visa-offices.html. New applications submitted online during this time will probably be processed once services resume.
For new postdocs with visas already approved, but caught out by travel bans, is there an opportunity to start their employment while they are abroad?
With the Canadian border closure in effect since March 18, 2020 at noon, temporary residents will not be able to enter Canada even if they have been issued visas. Postdocs should discuss the situation with their PIs/supervisors.
Information for PIs is available: https://research.info.yorku.ca/news-events/#HR
When travel resumes, do postdoc contracts start when they arrive or after the 14-day isolation period?
Our goal is to continue paying employees. If you have work for employees to complete while in self-isolation, please encourage this and pay them for it from your cost centres. Be creative with assignments where possible.
You will need a new Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption to apply for an extension of an existing work permit. Your supervisor should contact their Dean’s Office for support with this process. As long as you apply before the expiry date of their current work permit, you can continue to stay in Canada on implied status and continue to work for the same employer until a decision is made on their new application.
There are currently no restrictions on outbound travels. As the situation is still evolving, you are strongly advised to stayed informed on COVID-19 both in Canada and in your home country. The following websites provide information on prevention measures, information for travellers and developments:
- Public Health Ontario
- Ministry of Health Ontario
- World Health Organization
- Government of Canada Travel Advisory: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
If you wish to go home but are unable to leave Canada due to COVID-19, apply online to extend and change your temporary resident status to visitor. IRCC has released a program delivery update in this regard: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/operational-bulletins-manuals/service-delivery/coronavirus/temporary-residence.html
Where can I find additional information, including information on UHIP, the University Health Insurance Plan?
York International’s FAQs about COVID-19 for International Students https://yorkinternational.yorku.ca/faqs-for-international-students/ includes information that is also relevant to international postdocs.
If you have additional questions related to UHIP coverage and enrolment, please contact:
Pension & Benefits: firstname.lastname@example.org for postdocs with York employee numbers
Sumanpreet Kaur, UHIP Administrator, York International: email@example.com for postdocs without employee numbers
For other immigration related questions, please contact Claudia McPherson, Immigration and Relocation Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Funding Questions
Tri-Agencies has released information from the week of March 16, 2020 forward: https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/news_room-salle_de_presse/latest_news-nouvelles_recentes/2020/covid-19-update-1-eng.aspx
COVID-19: Impacts on SSHRC's policies and programs: https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/news_room-salle_de_presse/covid-19-eng.aspx
COVID-19 information related to CIHR: https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/51917.html
NSERC program information in relation to COVID‑19 (updated April 8, 2020): https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/NewsRelease-CommuniqueDePresse_eng.asp?ID=1139
If you hold your own grant funds, please contact the funding agency for updates in response to COVID-19. Should you have questions about how their guidelines might affect your position at York, please contact Kim McIntyre, Postdoctoral Services Coordinator, email@example.com.
There’s a grant or fellowship submission deadline coming up. What kind of support can I get from the Faculty or from the Office of Research Services? Will ORS allow electronic signatures during a COVID-19 disruption? ORS requires hard copies of applications to be submitted to them – what will be the protocol for submitting applications?
Information on the Submission of Research Applications and ORS Checklists can be found at https://research.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/important-news-submission-of-research-applications-and-ors-checklists/
For support on grant and fellowship applications, contact Kim McIntyre, Postdoctoral Services Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Ethics Questions
The Office of Research Ethics (ORE) continues to operate. For more information please consult the FAQs on the ORE website: https://research.info.yorku.ca/news-events/#Ethics
- Concur – electronic, should continue.
- Travel - Tri-Agency policy on cancellations
Concur will continue to operate as usual and it is encouraged that all expense claims be submitted through Concur. The Travel desk staff are set up to work from home if and when needed.
If you are not able to use Concur (ie. Externally funded PDFs), then claims and supporting documentation may be scanned and sent to email@example.com. Paper claims may also be submitted by mail to:
4747 Keele Street, Unit 1, Toronto, ON, M3J 2N9.
Note that paper claims will face a significant delay because of the modification of university activities.
If I am working from home, what are the guidelines/directives around digital security and qualitative research? Can interview transcripts or audio files be shared online via personal laptops? What software should be used? How should information be shared? Google docs?
UIT recommends that Microsoft OneDrive be used. For a OneDrive tutorial, visit: https://office365.info.yorku.ca/o365-training/.
For more information about security see Privacy & Security: https://office365.info.yorku.ca/privacy-and-security/#squelch-taas-tab-content-0-0, and in particular, the “Approved Information Classifications for Office 365 Services.”
Research Travel Questions
If I have research events and activities planned to occur, whether at York University, in the GTA, nationally or internationally (e.g., field interviews, seminars and/or workshops) and which involved partners/volunteer/paid staff/students, can those go ahead as planned?
The Government of Canada currently has a “global travel advisory” in effect, and recommends that travellers avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.
As per the President’s memos of March 17th, 2020, only required services are being provided on the university’s campuses. As a result, all on-campus research events are cancelled until further notice.
The Office of Research Ethics recommends that researchers find alternatives to in-person meetings as part of ongoing research. Further guidance about in-person contact with community members as part of a research can be found on the FAQ developed by the Office of Research Ethics (https://research.info.yorku.ca/news-events/#Ethics).
Information for Postdoctoral Visitors (PDVs)
Postdoctoral visitors are also eligible for the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which provides a range of immediate and confidential support including counselling.