Policy and Procedures for Postdoctoral Fellows

(Revised November 7, 2007 per PDAD&C #27)
(Revised January 21, 2008, per PDAD&C #39)


Governing Council has passed a set of policies that apply to postdoctoral fellows (PDFs). The Vice-Provost, Academic and the Vice-Provost, Graduate Education, have issued a memorandum PDAD&C #27 that gives background and administrative details. Key points of the policies are that PDFs are to be considered as trainees rather than employees, a minimum stipend and a maximum period for engagement are set, and there is a defined procedure for engagement and reporting of PDFs. The following section outlines the administrative procedures issued by the Office of the Vice-President & Provost.

Administrative Procedures for Engagement of Postdoctoral Fellows

Approved by the Provost’s Office May 27, 2002
Revised October 2007

  1. Engagement of postdoctoral fellows requires the approval of the Chair or Director of the Department/Unit in multi-department Faculties, and the Dean in single-department Faculties.
  2. The SGS Postdoctoral Office has developed a system to facilitate the initiation of the registration of postdoctoral fellows. The unit administrator with responsibility for postdoctoral fellows will enter information directly into the system and this will generate a letter of engagement.
  3. The engagement letter should be signed by the Chair, the faculty supervisor, and the postdoctoral fellow.
  4. Elements of the engagement letter should include:
    • The duration of the engagement (not more than three years, and limited opportunity for renewal for up to a further three years with the approval of the Dean in multi-department Faculties and Provostial approval in single-department Faculties).
    • Termination at any time for cause (i.e., failure to meet standards of the training program and the commitments undertaken by the postdoctoral fellow).
    • Early termination (for reasons such as cessation of funding) by giving two months’ notice or, in the case of the University, payment in lieu of notice of the amount of the stipend that would have been provided over the two-month period.
    • Identification of the stipend and any additional support, including third-party funds.
    • A description of the services to be provided.
    • A description of training and professional development opportunities that will be provided to prepare the postdoctoral fellow for a full-time academic and/or research career.
    • Identification of any supports that will be provided (e.g., conference support).
    • Confirmation that all postdoctoral fellows are required to complete registration with the SGS Postdoctoral Office in order to activate University services such as an email address, library card, and to enrol in any health/dental plan.
    • Confirmation that, provided the standards of the training program and the commitments undertaken by the postdoctoral fellow are met, and after discussion with the faculty supervisor to ensure operational feasibility, the postdoctoral fellow is free to take time off for personal reasons, to provide the equivalent of vacation, etc.
    • Confirmation that no tuition fee or registration fee will be applied.
    • Confirmation that the letter does not establish an employment relationship, and that the postdoctoral fellow is responsible for his/her own income tax and other statutory obligations.
  5. When a copy of the engagement letter, signed back by the postdoctoral fellow, is received, the administrator with responsibility for postdoctoral fellows will confirm receipt in the system. Upon confirmation of engagement, the system will generate a unique identifier — UTID — and a template letter to be given to the postdoctoral fellow by the SGS Postdoctoral Office to secure access to University services, including the library and utoronto email.
  6. The minimum trainee stipend will be $27,500 plus the cost of a basic health/dental benefit plan.
  7. The SGS Postdoctoral Office will produce reports and forward them to each Faculty for verification of statistics on an annual basis.
  8. These procedures will apply for all postdoctoral fellows starting after January 1, 2008. Engagement letters meeting these terms should be offered to current postdoctoral fellows no later than June 30, 2008.