Student Placements

The Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD), provides workplace insurance coverage for students who participate in an unpaid work placement as part of a MAESD approved academic program.  The MAESD provides such coverage to encourage employers to participate in providing unpaid work placements for student trainees enrolled in Ontario's publicly assisted postsecondary education and training programs.  Students who participate in such placement are eligible to make a claim for compensation benefits if they become injured or ill as a result of their placement.

Students who are required, in order to receive course credit, to participate in unpaid work placements with an external employer are eligible for coverage should they suffer a work-related accident or illness.  This coverage is funded by the Government of Ontario, and not by the placement employers or Queen's University.

Questions?

Contact the Health and Safety Specialist
Email: ehssa@queensu.ca
Tel: (613) 533-6000, ext. 78064

The Experiential Learning Working Group uses the definition of experiential education provided by the Association for Experiential Education;

“Experiential education is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities.”

Faculty or staff developing or expanding on EL opportunities – includes steps (consultation, faculty approval process and implementation) and redirect to EL Hub to follow up with if they haven’t already.

Stages and Steps:

  • Initial Consultation with EL Hub – It is recommended that all faculty or staff who are developing experiential learning opportunities book a consultation with the EL Hub at the beginning of the planning process.  This could include designing a new course or program, or adding an EL component to an existing course or program. If you haven’t already consulted with the EL Hub please refer to their website.
  • Faculty Approval Process
  • Implementation

Managing Risk:

  • Risk is simply uncertainty.  In the context of experiential learning, risk is the uncertainty of whether an experiential learning activity will meet its transformational and pedagogical goals, whether a student will complete the experience safely or whether the placement host will continue to accept students.
  • Risk can be managed by implementing specific measures to reduce the uncertainty and increase the odds of a successful outcome for all concerned. This webpage provides information on the measures available to you to ensure that your experiential learning initiatives are safe and successful.

Research and Teaching (field, lab and class activities)

  • On Campus:  Principal Investigators (PI’s), Lab Managers, Person’s in Authority (PIA’s) and others responsible for research laboratories should be familiar with the government mandated requirements, university policies and procedures, tools, and health and safety training requirements. PI’s and Lab Managers and PIA’s must ensure that all laboratory personnel (which includes students) meet these requirements.
  • Off Campus:  Off campus research is an important and growing aspect of experiential learning.  Supervisors and others responsible for off campus research has a duty to ensure they take reasonable steps to ensure these activities don’t cause harm to the participants. Tools such as the Health & Safety Orientation Checklist, the Due Diligence Checklist and the OCASP (Off Campus Activity Safety Policy) will provide guidance with the identification, assessment and control of potential hazards. 

Placements: The term placement refers to a variety of types of experiences including internships, practicums, service learning, and co-op.  All placements should integrate theory and practice and provide students with practical experience in the workplace.

  • Paid Student Placements: Students on placements who are receiving wages from their placement employers are considered to be on a paid placement and should be treated as an employee the same as any other worker employed by the placement employer. They should have an employee contract with their employer where the responsibilities of the employer and the student are clearly defined.
  • Unpaid Student Placements and Internships: Students on placements where they are not receiving remuneration by their placement employer or who are receiving small stipends, honorariums or reimbursements are considered to be on an unpaid placement. There should be a placement agreement that details the framework for the relationship between the University, placement employer and student.

Students on unpaid placements who are working in a setting where employees are covered by workers' compensation through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) would also be eligible for the coverage in the event of a work-related injury. 

The WSIB policy states:

"individuals who are placed by training agencies with employers to obtain work skill and experience, but who are not paid by the employer, are "learners". The "employer" of these individuals is the employer with whom they are placed."

Under this policy, training participants are "learners" if:

  1. The Placement is unpaid. The Placement is considered to be unpaid even if the Student Trainee receives one or more of the following types of payment:​
    • ​​Social assistance benefits (e.g., through Ontario Works Program);
    • Training allowances;
    • Honoraria;
    • Reimbursement of expenses; and,
    • Stipends or any money paid to the Student Trainee by the Training Agency.
  2. The Placement, which may be required or optional, is part of an Approved Program, includes a formal assessment component, and successful completion of the placement is recognized by the Training Agency for the purposes of the completion of the Approved Program.
  3. The Placement is authorized by the Training Agency.
  4. The Placement is a non-classroom activity.
    • ​​Any in-class portion of a training program that occurs at the Training Agency is not an Unpaid Work Placement.

The following types of placements are not eligible to receive Government of Ontario covered benefits or Chubb Insurance Coverage:

  1. The Placement for which a student trainee is paid a salary.  A student trainee on a placement who receives payment or wages from the Placement Employer is considered to be a worker and must be provided with workplace insurance coverage paid for by the Placement employer as is any other worker employed by the Placement Employer.
  2. The Placement is with a Training Agency listed in Appendix A - Appendix A is a list of all Universities and Colleges in Ontario (refer to Government of Ontario Guidelines below). The includes student trainees who, as part of their approved program do unpaid research or other work for their own University. 
  3. The Placement is outside of Ontario (international and other Canadian jurisdictions), in the case of Ministry covered WSIB benefits. Exception: A student trainee in this situation would still be eligible for the Ministry covered costs of private insurance with Chubb Insurance. 
  4. The Placement takes place in the country of primary residence of an international student trainee. A student trainee in this situation would not be eligible for Ministry coverage of WSIB benefits or the costs of private insurance with Chubb Insurance.

In order to be eligible for Government of Ontario WSIB coverage the following criteria must be met:

  1. The Placement is unpaid. The Placement is considered to be unpaid even if the Student Trainee receives one or more of the following types of payment:​
    • Social assistance benefits (e.g., through Ontario Works Program);
    • Training allowances;
    • Honoraria;
    • Reimbursement of expenses; and,
    • Stipends or any money paid to the Student Trainee by the Training Agency.
  2. The Placement, which may be required or optional, is part of an Approved Program, includes a formal assessment component, and successful completion of the placement is recognized by the Training Agency for the purposes of the completion of the Approved Program.
  3. The Placement is authorized by the Training Agency.
  4. The Placement is a non-classroom activity.
    • Any In-class portion of a training program that occurs at the Training Agency is not an Unpaid Work Placement.

In order to be eligible for Government of Ontario WSIB coverage the following criteria must be met:

  1. The Placement for which a student trainee is paid a salary. A student trainee on a placement who receives payment or wages from the Placement Employer is considered to be a worker and must be provided with workplace insurance coverage paid for by the Placement Employer as is any other worker employed by the Placement Employer.
  2. The Placement is with a Training Agency listed in Appendix A – Appendix A is a list of all Universities and Colleges in Ontario (refer to Government of Ontario Guidelines). This includes student trainees who, as part of their approved program do unpaid research or other work for their own University.
  3. The Placement is outside of Ontario (international and other Canadian jurisdictions), in the case of Ministry covered WSIB benefits. Exception: A student trainee in this situation would still be eligible for the Ministry covered costs of private insurance with Chubb.
  4. The Placement takes place in the country of primary residence of an international student trainee. A student trainee in this situation would not be eligible for Ministry coverage of WSIB benefits or the costs of private insurance with Chubb insurance.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Benefits While Working Outside of Ontario

Under Section 18(2) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (the Act), Ontario residents are automatically covered while working outside of Ontario, for a period of less than six months. An extension of up to three years may also be granted upon request, under Section 18(3) of the Act.

If an employee’s work takes him/her out of Ontario for less than six months, coverage is automatic as long as work is being done for the university. However, if this work is likely to last six months or longer, the University must apply to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to extend the coverage. 

For students who are placed with employers who do not have WSIB coverage or are completing their unpaid placement outside of Ontario, refer to the Chubb Insurance section. 

Private insurance became available on April 1, 1994 for students on unpaid work placements with employers not covered by workers' compensation.  This coverage also applies to students who are placed with employers outside of the province of Canada.  The Ontario government has negotiated this private insurance coverage with Chubb Insurance of Canada (formerly ACE-INA Insurance).  It is therefore necessary that departments establish whether employers who are accepting placement students have WSIB coverage or not. 

Prior to Student Trainees commencing an unpaid work placement, the University is responsible for:

  • Informing student trainees that if they are injured while on an unpaid work placement while enrolled in an approved program, the university will disclose personal information relating to the unpaid work placement and any WSIB claim or Chubb insurance claim to the Government of Ontario.
  • Informing student trainees that they are eligible to make a claim for benefits in the event of an injury or illness incurred while in an eligible unpaid work placement.
  • Ensuring that the Placement Employer understands the coverage available to student trainees on unpaid work placements.
  • Confirming whether the Placement Employer has WSIB coverage during the period of the unpaid work placement.
  • Ensuring that the Placement Employer, if it has WSIB coverage, is aware of WSIB reporting procedures in the event of an injury or illness.

  • Includes student declaration, letter to employer, pre-placement due diligence checklist and MCU health and safety orientation checklist

Prior to a student going on placement, departments that are arranging unpaid placements must have the participating student and Placement Employer complete the following forms. The departments must retain all documentation.

  • Student Declaration of Understanding (DOC, 30 KB) – This letter is to inform the student that they have coverage either through the Government of Ontario WSIB or Chubb and to report all workplace injuries or illnesses. This letter must be signed by the student prior to commencement of their placement and a copy must be sent to EHS at ehssa@queensu.ca.
  • WSIB Letter for Placement Employers (PDF, 15 KB) – This letter is to inform the Placement Employer that the student is covered by the Government of Ontario WSIB or Chubb and that their respective WSIB premiums will not be affected. The University must provide this letter to the Placement Employer. A signed copy must be returned prior to the commencement of the work placement and kept on file.
  • Pre-Placement Due Diligence Checklist – This checklist may be used as a pre-placement evaluation to identify unsafe exposures in facilities/locations where students may be required to work, study or perform research activities and also to document safety measures in place to protect students form exposure.
  • Health and Safety Orientation Checklist – This checklist may be used by the Placement Employer to document health and safety orientation provided to a student(s) prior to exposure to any hazards in your workplace. This checklist, or another format documenting orientation, should be returned to the placement coordinator at Queen’s University.

The University is required to report to the Government of Ontario the total hours of unpaid work placements by approved program with placement employers that are covered under the Government of Ontario Chubb coverage and the total number of student trainees involved.

To meet this requirement at the end of each term, (January, May, and September) departments will receive an email from EHS which includes the Chubb Insurance Data Collection form.  Departments must complete the form and return it to EHS at ehssa@queensu.ca and they will consolidate the data for all departments and submit it to the Government of Ontario.

Students who are required to participate in unpaid work placements with an external employer as a required or optional part of their approved program are eligible for coverage by the Government of Ontario WSIB or Chubb should they suffer a work related accident or illness. This coverage is funded by the Government of Ontario and not by the Placement Employer or Queen’s University.

Note that students are not covered if:

  • An accident occurs during the in-class portion of training programs;
  • The student, on their own initiative, volunteers services to an employer to develop marketable skills;
  • The student is on the employers premises for the purpose of visiting, casual observation, and there is no participating in the activities of the Placement Employer’s industry.

In the event of an occupational illness or injury to a student please note the following:

  1. The student must immediately notify their Placement Employer and their University Placement Coordinator.
  2. The Placement Coordinator must complete the incident report form in accordance with University illness or injury reporting process.
  3. The Placement Coordinator must send the completed incident report form to EHS within 24 hours of the student reporting the illness or injury to the University.
  4. The Placement Coordinator must request that the Placement Employer complete and sign the Government of Ontario Postsecondary Student Unpaid Work Placement Workplace Insurance Claim Form.
  5. The Placement Coordinator must complete the top portion of the Letter of Authorization to Represent Employer and have the Placement Employer complete the bottom portion. The completed letter must be sent to EHS.

  1. Government of Ontario - Guidelines for Workplace Insurance for Postsecondary Students of Publicly Assisted Institutions on Unpaid Work Placements (PDF 225 KB) (updated July 2017).

  2. Student Declaration of Understanding (PDF, 30  KB)
  3. WSIB Letter for Placement Employers (PDF, 15 KB)
  4. Government of Ontario WSIB Questions and Answers (PDF, 237 KB)
  5. Government of Ontario WSIB Questions and Answers - Covid-19 (PDF, 174 KB)
  6. Extended Coverage Request Form for Employees Working Outside of Ontario for Longer than 6 Months - contact safety@queensu.ca for a copy of this form. 
  • MCU – Guidelines for Workplace Insurance for Postsecondary Students of Publicly Assisted Institutions on Unpaid Work Placements
  • Student declaration of Understanding
  • MCU – Pre-Placement Due Diligence Checklist
  • MCU – Health and Safety Orientation Checklist
  • Extended Coverage Request Form for Employees Working Outside of Ontario for Longer than 6 Months

  • EL Hub

Email: el.hub@queensu.ca

  • Advice on EL Planning & Logistics
  • Book a Consultation: For faculty, program coordinators, and others looking to create new, or enhance existing, EL opportunities.
  • Information Sharing
  • EL Faculty Toolkit: A set of practical tools to guide course development including logistics, curriculum, reflection, and assessment.
  • Connecting with Partners
    • An informal community of practice for those facilitating EL at Queen’s with host organizations.
  • University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

Email: usec.contracts@queensu.ca

    • Contract Reviews
  • Research Contracts Unit, Vice-Principal Research

Email: researchcontacts@queensu.ca

    • Research Agreements
    • Non-disclosure Agreements (NDA’s)
    • Licensing Agreements
    • Data Sharing Agreements
  • Insurance and Risk Management

Email: insurance@queensu.ca

  • Contact Reviews
  • General Insurance Requirements
  • Liability Waivers
  • Management of Risk Tolerances
  • Private Workplace Insurance for employees not covered by worker’s compensation (non Workers Comp/Government of Ontario Coverage)
  • Queen’s University International Centre

Contact: https://quic.queensu.ca/

  • International Student Work Permits
  • Visa Requirements (for travel abroad)
  • Centre for Teaching and Learning

Email: ctl@queensu.ca

  • Course Design
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Assessment Strategies
  • Educational Technology to Support EL

Employment Standards Act

Student Placements who are performing work under a program approved by the University fall under an exception under the Employment Standards Act.

Ontario Health and Safety Act

The Ontario Health and Safety Act’s definition of worker includes student trainees. Student trainees have the same rights under the OHSA as paid workers such as the right to know about hazards and to refuse unsafe work. Student trainees also have the same duties as a paid worker, such as wearing and using PPE and not doing anything that may harm or endanger themselves or others in the workplace.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, learners on unpaid training placements with employers are unpaid trainees if both the following conditions are met: the placement is authorized by a training agency, and the individual participates, however minimally, in the activities of the placement host’s industry. WSIB also clarifies that participating in the activities of the workplace includes job shadowing/twinning.

WSIB does not consider the following individuals student trainees:

  • Individuals who on their own initiative volunteer their services to an employer to develop marketable work skills;
  • volunteers who offer their time or services for community or charitable purposes;
  • individuals who are on the employer’s premises solely for the purposes of visiting or casual observation and who at no time participate in the activities of the placement employer’s industry;
  • university student who as part of their program do unpaid research for the university and individuals who are not on placement but as part of the training program perform work on the training agency’s premises.
  • Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Ministry of Colleges and Universities will provide workplace insurance for registered students if the placement is a component of a degree program funded by MCU and WSIB allows the training agency to deem itself the student trainee’s employer.