Congratulations on your postdoctoral appointment at Queen’s! Welcome to our community. Here you will find information to get you started at Queen’s as well as guidelines for international postdocs traveling and settling in Kingston.
We strongly encourage incoming postdocs to register with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs so that the Coordinator can connect them with the many resources available to fellows throughout their time at Queen's. The registration form, accessible through the link below, helps promote the success of Queen's postdocs by opening a conversation centered on each fellow's specific concerns.
Information regarding your employment status, benefits, and other policies can be found the Human Resources and Faculty Relations Office websites (the latter for unionized postdocs). The way you receive your funding determines whether you are part of the local Public Service Alliance of Canada 901 Union Unit 2 (PSAC 901) and, therefore, whether your appointment is governed by their Collective Agreement. Most postdocs are internally funded (they receive their payments from Queen’s) and are part of PSAC 901 Unit 2. Some postdocs are paid directly from an external agency and do not belong to the union. Understanding this difference will help you comprehend the policies that apply to your appointment at Queen’s.
Obtaining your Employee Photo ID Card
Your Queen’s Employee Card serves as a library card, payment for many campus food outlets, access card for members of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC), and provides security access to some campus buildings. Please call Human Resources at 613-533-2070 to book an appointment for a photo and production of the card.
Enrolling in Benefits
If you are a fellow whose stipend payments come from Queen’s (internally-funded), you are eligible for the following:
- Canada Pension Plan
- Employer’s Health Tax (OHIP, subject to Ministry of Health eligibility)
- Employment Insurance Compensation
- Workers Compensation
You may also elect to participate in the following:
- Basic life insurance
- Optional life insurance
- Long-term disability insurance (for fellows with appointments of at least 12 months)
- Supplementary medical plan
- Semi-private hospitalization
If you receive your funding from an external source, you are only eligible for the optional benefit plans listed above. Your faculty supervisor is responsible for paying both the employer’s and the employee’s contribution to these benefits, and this amount will be debited from the identified account monthly. Fellows who accept stipends from external agencies without arrangements made for employer and employee contributions to be paid through a Queen’s account are not eligible for any of the above benefit plans. These postdocs must make separate arrangements for the required coverage outside Queen’s.
Please call Human Resources at 613-533-2070 to book an appointment for benefits enrollment and for more information.
Queen’s NetID & Email Address
Your NetID is your network identity at Queen’s. It is the “User ID” you need to sign on to the applications and services operated by ITServices, such as Queen’s email, onQ course management system, SOLUS Faculty Centre, MyQueensU, QShare, Wiki, etc. After you arrive on campus, contact the IT Administrative Representative in your department who will arrange for you to receive a NetID. More information can be found on the IT Services website.
Kingston has many pleasant neighbourhoods for you to discover. Possible made here was designed to help you explore areas based on your housing preferences and needs. It includes profiles listing average family income, household size and distribution of rental vs. home ownership. If you are new to Canada or planning to rent, you can learn about your options, rights, and obligations in The Newcomer's Guide to Rental Housing. For those looking to buy a house, step-by-step information can be found in the guide Buying Your First Home in Canada with data on housing prices provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association on their national price map.
You may require short-term accommodation as you begin your search. As a popular tourist destination, Kingston is especially busy over the summer, making hotels and B&Bs harder to secure. Be sure to look early!
Campus residence accommodation (summer only)
Queen's residences offer accommodation on main campus over the summer months. Contact Queen's Event Services at (613) 533-2223 or email email@example.com. You can also book online for premium rooms. St. Lawrence College (a 10 minute drive from Queen's campus) also offers summer residence accommodations.
Bed & Breakfast/short-term private rentals
Rates for B&Bs in Kingston vary, with summer the most expensive season. An extensive listing is available on Bed and Breakfast Canada. Airbnb and TripAdvisor are other options.
Hotels & motels
Several local hotels participate in the Canadian University Hotel Rate Program with reduced rates for those associated with Queen's. More information can be found on the CAUBO site.
Accommodations with kitchenettes, suites & furnished apartments
Rates vary. The establishments listed below offer rooms with kitchenettes or suites within walking distance of Queen’s campus:
- Park Place Suites (5 min. walk to main campus)
- Captain Burns House
- Earl Street Cottages
- Four Points Sheraton (ask if a preferred Queen's rate in effect)
- Residence Inn by Marriott (ask if a preferred Queen's rate in effect)
- Rosa's B&B
- Greenacres Inn (20 min. drive to campus)
- Secret Garden
- All Suites Whitney Manor
- Ktownnest (30 min. walk to campus)
Other accommodations & information
Sabbatical Homes helps academic communities to find or list houses or apartments for rent, exchange, or house-sit during sabbatical leaves, research trips, exchange programs, relocations or vacations. Search their site by selecting the type of arrangement you seek (i.e. rental, house-sit, home exchange) and enter "Kingston" or "Queen's" as your keyword.
Kingston’s rental market has a very low vacancy rate. Available units rent quickly. The majority of local landlords require a one-year lease. Expect to spend at least a full day in Kingston viewing units. Try not to plan this over a weekend as most major property management companies will be closed. To maximize your time, book viewings with the landlord before your arrival. If you need a place to stay during your visit, see the suggestions for short-term options above.
The Off-Campus Living Advisor's website offers tips for house hunters. While geared to students, many are applicable to everyone.
Where to look for listings
Some Kingston property management companies include (in no particular order):
- Homestead Land Holdings Limited (waterfront buildings)
- Keystone Property Management Inc
- Caraco Property Management
- Frontenac Property Management
- Limestone Property Management
- Heron Management
- BPE Rentals
Sabbatical Homes, listed above, helps academic communities find or list accommodations for rent, exchange or house-sit. To search, enter “Kingston” and “Queen’s” as your keywords.
Kijiji is an online listing site. Many reputable landlords advertise on Kijiji, but be cautious!
To learn more about your rights as a tenant, check the Community Legal Education Ontario publications on topics like when rentals become available, moving in, moving out, and the law affecting your relationship with your landlord.
Renter’s insurance: Purchasing renter’s insurance is essential and a lease may specify dollar amount of liability coverage required by the tenant. Your lease may require you to provide the landlord with proof of your insurance. Tenants must obtain their own liability insurance and property insurance for the contents of the space in which they live.
The landlord will insure the building with respect to liability and property damage but, while the landlord and tenant’s liability coverage may overlap, the property insurance covered by the landlord does not cover the interior contents of the tenant's space.
The Queen’s Off-Campus Living Advisor’s website provides helpful tips for moving in to a rental property. While targeted to students, the site includes information about tenant’s rights, inspections, and liability. The Advisor also offers details on moving out, city services (including transit, parking, bylaws, garbage and recycling), a property code quick reference, and avoiding fraud. A PDF (PDF, 13.6 MB) is also available to download.
Buying a home
Properties in desirable areas sell very quickly making it challenging to buy a house. Step-by-step instructions can be found on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s site and the Buying Your First Home in Canada guide. For more information on housing prices, check the statistics provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association on their national price map. The City of Kingston’s eCity Property Assessment and Tax Levy Tool lets you enter a residential address to find site-based property taxes.
Different neighbourhoods have different service providers for electricity, natural gas and water. If you have purchased a home you will need to set up accounts for all services. If you are renting, some services may be included in your rent.
Electric service: Residents of the East or West end contact Hydro One at 1-888-664-9376 (note: this is a voice recognition system, say "moving" to get to the right menu). Residents of Central Kingston contact Utilities Kingston at (613) 546-0000 or apply online.
Natural gas: Residents of the East or West end contact Union Gas at 1-877-774-3111, or apply online. Residents of Central Kingston contact Utilities Kingston at (613) 546-0000 or apply online.
Water and sewer: All parts of the City are served by Utilities Kingston at (613) 546-0000 or apply online.
Oil heat: If your house is heated with oil, you can find a home heating company in the Yellow Pages listed under "Oils-Fuel".
Cable TV: Cogeco Cable is the area's cable TV provider, call (613) 546-0000 or 1-800-267-9000. To apply online click on "Products and Services", then "Order Now". You will need your postal code and house number. Various Satellite Television providers offer service in the Kingston area as well. For a list, visit Yellow Pages online.
Internet: Cogeco Cable and Bell Canada offer high-speed internet connection in the Kingston area. Numerous other Internet Service Providers serve the area as well. Yellow Pages has a list, which you can explore by entering Internet in the search engine and clicking "Internet Products and Services".
Phone: Many mobile companies service the Kingston area, including Bell Canada (613) 310-2355. You can also search Yellow Pages for more options. Queen’s mobile plans are also available for your business and private use.
Spouses of international postdocs may be eligible to work in Canada but must first obtain employment authorization. This can be done once the postdoc and their spouse arrive in Canada. More information is available from Citizenship & Immigration Canada.
Please note that securing employment for your spouse or partner is not the responsibility of Queen’s University or any department or office within Queen’s. Locally, there are many programs and services that can help your spouse or partner get the process started, including:
- Kingston Employment and Youth Services (KEYS)
- Kingston This Week (Newspaper) - Classifieds
- Immigration Kingston – Credential Evaluation
Volunteer opportunities are listed in:
Queen’s University International Centre provides a guide for international spouses, which includes information on work permits and visas, community building, working, or volunteering, and staying well.
If you are neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident of Canada, you need to apply for a work permit. You will also need an entry visa or an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Find out which you need on the IRCC website. To apply for a work permit, you will need an Offer of Employment Number created through the IRCC Employer Portal.
As each immigration case is unique, this site cannot be exhaustive in the information offered. Broad overviews of work permits and work permit extensions can be found here. For more details, contact a Visa Application Centre in your country or use the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Help Centre.
For questions about work permits and extensions that are not answered here, or to be directed to a staffing officer in your faculty, please contact the Coordinator, Postdoctoral Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Get a Work Permit
Citizens of the United States or holders of passports that require an eTA to enter Canada may apply for a work permit directly at a point of entry. If you are eligible to apply at the border and plan to do so, DO NOT apply online. If you applied online and have not yet received a decision, you may not be able to get a work permit at the border, although you could enter Canada as a visitor, which would mean that you cannot work until you receive your work permit.
If you require an entry visa (Temporary Resident Visa or TRV), you must apply for your work permit before travelling to Canada. Following the online process, you will receive a letter of work authorization that you must show at the Canadian border to receive your work permit.
For all applicants, the work permit document is issued at the point of entry (airport or land border immigration office).
IRCC Employer Portal – Offer of Employment Number and Employer Fee
The employer must complete the steps outlined here and pay the $230 fee to the IRCC.
Fees and Payment Methods
Work permit fees are $155 (CAD). The border immigration office accepts Visa and MasterCard. TRV fees are $100 (CAD), payable when applying in your country of origin. eTA fees are $7 (CAD), payable by credit card online during application.
Required Documentation for Work Permits
- A passport valid beyond the date that you will leave Canada
- Queen’s Offer of Employment letter
- If you are travelling with a TRV, the letter of work authorization from your online application
- Original doctorate degree or letter from the granting institution confirming receipt of degree
- An Offer of Employment Number from the IRCC Employer Portal (your faculty supervisor must obtain the Offer of Employment Number for you and pay the requisite fee)
- Evidence of financial support in Canada (your stipend)
- Results from your medical examination (if required)
- Additional documentation if your family is joining you
Work Permit Extensions
Work permits can often be extended to cover the duration of your appointment. Postdocs with an existing valid work permit who wish to extend their stay in Canada should submit an Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada with IRCC. This form must be submitted before the expiry date of your current work permit to allow you to continue working even if IRCC has not yet decided on your application (“Maintained Status,” formerly Implied Status). You need a new Offer of Employment Number to make the application for extending your work permit. The employer must complete a new Offer of Employment form.
Please contact email@example.com if you have additional questions.
You will require a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to receive pay through Queen’s payroll. More information about obtaining a SIN can be found on the Government of Canada website. You can acquire your SIN at the Service Canada located at Frontenac Mall, Floor 1, 1300 Bath Road. This Service Canada is serviced by Kingston Transit Express Bus No. 701/702.
A passport and work permit are required to apply for a SIN. If you are a temporary worker, you will be given a temporary SIN number that will have an expiry date. If you are a temporary foreign worker on a work permit and you apply for permanent resident status, you must reapply for a permanent SIN once your permanent residence status is confirmed.
University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)
Upon arrival in Canada, you must purchase a health insurance plan for the first three months of your stay through the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), which should cover you and any accompanying family or dependents. You need to hold a valid work permit issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to obtain UHIP. The cost of UHIP depends on the length of your stay and on accompanying family. Refer to the UHIP premium table to determine your fees.
Canadians returning to Canada must also apply for UHIP until they can reapply for OHIP coverage.
Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
As a Temporary Worker of Canada, you can enroll in the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) only from the fourth month of your arrival to Canada. To be eligible for OHIP as a Temporary Worker, you must be physically present in Ontario for 153 days of the first 183 days after the three-month waiting period. If you are on a work permit, it must be valid for at least six months. You must also have a formal agreement to work full-time for an employer in Ontario. For application forms, where to apply, and details on eligibility, please refer to OHIP’s website. You can enroll in OHIP at Service Ontario, 1201 Division Street (accessible by Kingston Transit Bus No. 2 from Queen’s campus).
Please contact Human Resources (HR) by phone at 613-533-2070 to make an appointment for enrolling in UHIP.
The English Conversation Program at the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) meets every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:00 pm on the second floor of Mitchell Hall. This free program is open to Queen’s degree students, staff, faculty, and their partners. The group is intended for those who wish to improve their English grammar and pronunciation. Generally, sessions include a group activity and group discussions with volunteers.
If you intend to drive in Canada, you should obtain an International Driver's License in your home country before coming to Canada. It will be valid for 60 days from the day you enter the province. After this time, an Ontario Driver's License is required. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Transportation or Drive Test Ontario.