Getting Started as a Postdoctoral Fellow at U of T

University College Arches

Welcome to the University of Toronto!

We’ve collected some useful resources to help make your transition to U of T (and to Canada) as smooth as possible.

How Can SGS Help You?

The SGS Postdoctoral Fellows Office is located at 63 St. George Street, Room 201. Bring your questions in person, or email us at Visit us to receive instructions on getting your T-Card, obtain basic health coverage and enrol your dependents onto the benefits plan, and find out about your access to various campus services.

Tri-Campus Orientation Handbook

Coming Soon!

Registration & Library Access


Start with the business officer at your department. If you are an employee postdoc, you will need to provide your business officer with your Social Insurance Number and fill out forms for taxes. If you are an international postdoc, you will need to provide your business officer with a copy of your work permit. Your business officer will confirm your registration in the Postdoctoral Registration System; the day after a your registration is confirmed, you will be able to contact the Postdoctoral Office to receive your UTOR ID and obtain a T-Card.

Library Access

With 44 libraries at three campuses, U of T Libraries supports learning, teaching and research at the University of Toronto with collections that are unparalleled in Canada in their richness and diversity. Holdings include 12 million volumes in 341 languages, 1,500,000 electronic resources in various formats, 28,000 linear metres of archival material and 500 terabytes of data.

Visit to learn how to access U of T Libraries based on the type of postdoctoral fellowship you hold (ie, whether you are a University of Toronto postdoctoral fellow or an Affiliated teaching hospital postdoctoral fellow).

Work Permits

All international postdocs training in Canada require a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (IRCC) work permit and usually must apply for a work permit prior to arriving. This requirement applies to postdocs who were previously students at U of T, but have not been granted permanent residency status. If an international student wants to work in Canada after graduating, he or she must apply for a work permit under the Post-graduation Work Permit Program, even if the student permit is still valid.

Please note that in most cases you must have finished all requirements for your degree and be able to obtain a letter from your institution confirming this before a Canadian embassy will issue you a work permit.

Previous postdocs have applied for advance confirmation of employment by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) under Regulation 205(c)(ii), C44 of the Immigration Manual. Learn how to obtain a Work Permit.


International Postdocs

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is a centralized, government-sponsored health care plan provided to all residents of the Province of Ontario who hold an OHIP card. OHIP covers immediate medical care, such as emergency care, in-hospital care, doctor’s visits, and much more. OHIP does not cover prescription drugs, eyeglasses, or dental care.

Non-Canadian residents (international postdocs and dependents) that have a work permit for at least six months and a formal agreement to work full-time for at least six consecutive months are eligible for OHIP after a three-month waiting period. Proof of the engagement terms must be provided to the OHIP office. UHIP is required for the three-month waiting period for international postdocs and dependents.

The University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) is mandatory for all postdocs and their dependents who are not covered by OHIP. UHIP coverage must be purchased from the Postdoctoral Office within the first 30 days of arriving. If UHIP is not purchased within 30 days for dependents, a $500 late registration fee will be added to the UHIP premiums.

To obtain UHIP, please bring the following items to the Postdoctoral Office:

  • your passport
  • your work permit
  • the passports of any family members
  • your contract letter

Please make your payment with a Canadian debit card, credit card, or by money order in the correct amount. Cash and international bank cards are not accepted. Find out more details and links to current rates at

Green Shield Health Benefit Plan

The Green Shielf Health Benefit Plan provides postdocs with many important services, and covers some expenses not covered by OHIP or UHIP. This benefit includes some dental coverage, prescription drug costs and some additional health benefits (such as health practitioners and medical equipment). This plan is mandatory for all postdocs who are receiving their stipend payment through the university’s payroll system and have their postdoctoral engagement at U of T confirmed in the Postdoctoral Fellows Registration Database (this is done by your graduate unit). Please consult the Green Shield benefit booklet for detailed information about your coverage. Employee Postdocs are automatically enrolled in the benefits plan for single coverage, trainee postdocs and postdocs who want to add family members should contact the Postdoctoral Office.

About EFAP

The Employee and Family Assistance Plan offers free confidential short-term counselling to postdoctoral fellows and their dependants for personal, family, and work-related problems. You and your dependents can receive counselling and referral services related to counselling, coaching, information, and support for all types of issues relating to mental health, health management, and achieving greater personal and workplace well-being.

Family Care Office

The Family Care Office provides confidential guidance, resources, referrals, educational programming and advocacy for the University of Toronto community and their families. Employee postdoctoral fellows interested in a pregnancy or parental leave should consult the FCO for help with leave forms and information about applying for Employment Insurance.


Athletic Centre

On the St. George campus, the Athletic Centre is located at 55 Harbord Street. If you would like to join this facility you must first obtain a letter from the Postdoctoral Office. You can purchase a four-month, one academic year or one-year plan.

Hart House

If you would like to join Hart House you must present a letter verifying your postdoc status to the athletics reception desk. Hart House is located at 7 Hart House Circle on the St. George campus.

About Canadian Taxes

All individuals working in Canada are required to pay taxes. Annually, every person earning an income in Canada submits a tax return.

If you have a trainee status at the University of Toronto, you do not have taxes automatically deducted from your paycheques; however, you are still required to pay taxes on your Canadian income and to submit an annual tax return. If you have an employee status, taxes are deducted from each paycheque for income tax, Canada Pension Plan, and employment insurance. We strongly suggest engaging a tax expert when you come to do your taxes. You do not require an HST number, as you are not self-employed.

You can also call the Canada Revenue Agency and get reliable information from their agents at their Individual Income Tax Enquiries telephone service (phone: 1-800-959-8281). The agents will be pleased to respond to your questions in the official language of your choice.

About My Dependents

When entering Canada with an adult holding a valid work permit, school-aged or dependent children (under the age of 18) do not need a permit to study in Canada. Indicate on the work permit application that dependent children will be entering Canada with the applicant. Parents/guardians must provide the child’s birth certificate, citizenship card, health records, and passport when entering Canada.

It is the responsibility of the postdoc to carefully review the application procedures and permit limitations prior to submitting his/her application to IRCC. Some children will be required to submit a study permit application independently of his/her parent’s/guardian’s Work permit.

Please consult with a IRCC representative at a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate to ensure that any child that will be entering Canada receives a proper permit or is indicated as a dependent on the postdoc’s permit. For more immigration information, see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

Enrolling International Children in a Toronto-Area School

International postdocs will hold a valid work permit once in Canada. This permit allows parents or guardians of international students to enrol their child in a public school free of charge. However, parents/guardians must provide the school with a number of documents prior to entering their child in school. For further information on registering your child in school, visit the school board site that applies to your area. Find a school or school board please visit the following website: Find a school or school board.

The Family Care Office has prepared a tip sheet on registering international children in schools. Browse their Tipsheet Resources.