Employers:

How will COVID-19 affect the hiring process?

Many of our institutions and employers have already moved to virtual forms of interviews, job fairs and other on-campus employer/community engagement as a best practice. We encourage the practice of using phone, video or other platforms to conduct interviews and further face-to-face interactions with industry.

ACE-WIL Canada recommends that employers and community partners who have offered/going to offer a student a placement for the upcoming term, consider the following alternatives to cancelling the upcoming WIL opportunity;

  • allowing the student to work for home if their organization can support this practice
  • consider moving the start date of the work term to June 1st, 2020 to allow for time to pass and a more fulsome assessment of the Canadian landscape regarding COVID-19.

I am a co-op/WIL employer in Canada. The student(s) want to end the work term early in order to return home. What should I do?

If it’s possible to allow your student to work from home if they do not feel safe coming into work, or if they are self-isolating or returning home to family, this is an option. If your business is closing or you are unable to support remote work, please contact your co-op or WIL office so they can discuss how best to support you and the student at this time.

I am an employer and am planning to close the workplace due to COVID-19. How can I support my student(s)?

If you are temporarily shutting down your workplace but are asking staff to continue to work from home, explore options to enable the student(s) to work remotely.

If your workplace is shutting down but not asking employees to work remotely, contact your co-op or WIL office — there may be options for reducing the length of the work term.

In either case, let the co-op student know how a closure could affect their pay and schedule. Make sure the student has the appropriate resources and support from your organization.

The co-op student(s) working for my organization has become sick. What should I do?

Please inform student(s) about your organization’s sick leave policies around COVID-19. Make sure the student(s) has the appropriate resources and support from your organization.

Advise students to monitor themselves and those close to them for symptoms similar to the flu or common cold such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing. If any symptoms arise, they should connect with their primary health care provider, local public heath office or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 . The HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 service is available in several languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese.

Please also connect with your co-op or WIL office to let them know what is happening.

I am a co-op employer and there has been a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19 in my workplace. What do I need to tell the student(s)?

Let the student(s) know about this development and give them information about next steps for your organization. Stay connected as the situation progresses.

If you are temporarily shutting down your workplace but asking staff to continue to work from home, explore options to enable your co-op student(s) to also work remotely.

If your workplace is shutting down but not asking employees to work remotely, contact your co-op or WIL office — there may be options for reducing the length of the work term.

Please also explain to the co-op student(s) what sick leave policies are in place for employees, in the event that they become unwell. Provide updates to the co-op or WIL office.

What if I have more questions?

If you have questions or concerns, you can reach out to the co-op or WIL office you have been working with. Most co-op and WIL staff are now working remotely, but available by e-mail, phone, or video conferencing to support you. Additionally, you can reach us at ACE-WIL at info@co-op.bc.ca

Students:

I’m currently on a WIL work term, is there anything I need to do?

Students are encouraged to visit their post-secondary institution’s website for specific details. Students on work terms may be laid off if businesses close, may be continuing to go to their workplace, or may be working from home. To get advice and support for your particular situation, please reach out to your program coordinator.

Are there presumed or confirmed cases in my area? 

Stay up to date on areas with cases of confirmed COVID-19 in Canada, British Columbia, and The Yukon on these websites:

What if I am unable to finish my work term due to COVID-19?

You should contact your institution for information specific to your situation. Post-secondary institutions will be flexible given the current situation; the exact details will depend on your program and type of WIL. You will not be penalized if you are unable to complete your work term due to COVID-19, as your health and safety is the top priority.

What if I am in a mandatory Co-op program and can’t complete a work term due to Covid-19?

ACE-WIL member institutions are currently working on accommodations for students in mandatory Co-op programs. As outlined above, you should contact your institution and/or coordinator for information specific to your situation. We will do our best to provide guidance for students through the ACE-WIL website as more information becomes available.

I am an international student and am unable to return to my home country. What should I do?

All temporary residents who are already in Canada and unable to depart are encouraged to apply for an extension so that they may maintain their temporary resident status in Canada.  Once the application is submitted, you will benefit from implied status and may remain in Canada until a decision is rendered on your application, or the required documents can be submitted.

I am a Canadian student working abroad. What should I do?

The Canadian government has asked that all Canadians return home as soon as possible. Circumstances are changing daily and opportunities to return home may become limited as countries close borders, and airlines are unable to operate.

The Canadian government requires that all travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada. Monitor yourself and those close to you for symptoms similar to the flu or common cold such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, fever or difficulty breathing. If any symptoms arise, connect with your primary health care provider, local public heath office or call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 and tell them of your recent travel. Note that the HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 service is available in several languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese.

If you are unable to return home you are encouraged to work with your host campus and/or employer for on the ground support.  Follow the instructions of your local authorities and health officials.  Keep informed of Government of Canada travel advisories and current initiatives to support Canadians abroad – https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories  Please continue to keep in close contact with your program lead.

What should I do if I’m uncomfortable being in my work environment?

If you feel uncomfortable in your work environment, please have a conversation with your supervisor to see if you can work from remotely (i.e. from home), establish an alternate work schedule, implement safety measures or take time off.

If you must be physically present, you can minimize your risk by following good hand hygiene, not touching your face and being vigilant about coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow. You should also follow self-distancing recommendations. If you are concerned, please contact your Co-op  or WIL Program.

More info from the BC Centre for Disease Control is available here:

http://covid-19.bccdc.ca/

Please contact your institution before deciding to cancel your work term.

What should I do if I can’t afford to take time off and/or my employer does not provide sick leave/my employer closes the workplace?

The Canadian federal government announced on March 18, 2020 a number of financial aid packages to support workers across Canada if they are unable to work due to COVID-19. Measures include the reduction of wait times for Employment Insurance (EI), a wage subsidy for businesses to help them keep staff, a pause on Canada Student Loan payments for six months, and the establishment of emergency benefits for people who do not otherwise qualify for EI.

We are currently checking to determine how these federal measures impact Co-op and WIL students. As we obtain information, we will forward details. You may also wish to consider reaching out to your institution’s financial aid office.

What if I have an international work term lined up for May-August 2020

We are strongly discouraging anyone from making travel plans outside of Canada until the COVID-19 situation stabilizes or we have advised otherwise. Be sure to check back with your institution’s website frequently for the most up to date information on international travel. 

What if I have a work term in Canada lined up for May-August 2020?

If you have a work term lined up for May, connect with your co-op coordinator as well as your employer for updates. Employers will be making decisions about how to adjust within their own workplaces. Get in touch to discuss whether it may be possible to work from home in the event that this becomes necessary, or to delay your start date if this is not possible. Keep in touch with your co-op or WIL office as things develop. Your institution will contact you with updates about May-August work terms.

What if I planned to have a work term starting in May but have not secured one yet?

You may continue to apply for positions (we are encouraging employers to switch to virtual interview methods) for the May-August period. We are following guidance from Canada’s national co-op association (Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada, also known as CEWIL), which is exploring options for adjusting work terms/hours in order to provide students and employers with flexibility. This may mean that summer work terms are shifted to start at the start of June instead of the start of May. Your coordinator will contact you with ongoing updates about May-August work terms, as the situation develops.

What if I have an interview scheduled? 

If you have a job interview scheduled that has been set up through your institution, contact your institution for updates.  If the employer has set up the interview directly, follow up with the employer and loop in your co-op or WIL office. Interviews will likely be held by video conference or other remote setups.

Institution Specific FAQs And Updates 

BCIT

Camosun

Capilano

Coast Mountain College

College of New Caledonia 

College of the Rockies 

Douglas College

Emily Carr

Justice Institute of BC

Kwantlen 

Langara

North Island College 

Northern Lights College

NVIT

Okanagan College 

Royal Roads 

Selkirk College 

SFU

TRU

UBC

UFV

UNBC

UVic

Vancouver Community College 

VIU

CEWIL Resources

Tips for working at home

Tips for onboarding students remotely 

Tips for supervising students remotely