PDF Benefits

UTPDA Health and Benefits Guide


Since post-doctoral fellows (PDF’s) at U of T have associations with various hospitals, campuses and research institutions, each with their own health and benefit policies, it can sometimes be unclear what you are covered for or where to find such information out. This page attempts to remove some of the confusion and point you in the right direction for understanding your health and benefits coverage. Below is a list of contact information for the institutions U of T PDF’s are affiliated with. While we strive you provide accurate information here, we suggest you contact these individuals for more official and up to date information. Also, if you notice incomplete or inaccurate information on this site please contact us (contactutpda@gmail.com) so we can make the necessary corrections.


If you are interested in helping improve the Health and Benefits situation for UofT PDF’s please contact the Health and Benefits committee to volunteer your time (contactutpda@gmail.com).


Finally, the school of graduate studies (SGS) website is a valuable tool for PDF’s and the recent changes to the site have made it more user friendly and information is easier to find.


The SGS website for post docs is located here: http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/informationfor/postdoctoral.htm


For PD file son the information below click here: UTPDABenefitsTable.pdfUTPDAHealthandBenefitsGuide.pdf .


Health Insurance Coverage


Health insurance is a very useful type of insurance to purchase to protect yourself against medical expenses not covered by the provincial health plan (OHIP) or the university health insurance plan (UHIP). 



 All Ontario residents, living here for more than 3 months qualify for the provincial OHIP and you must get your OHIP card through Service Ontario


The closest Service Ontario office is at College Park (777 Bay Street, corner of Bay and College).  OHIP covers most essential medical services including emergency care and routine doctor’s visits. It does not cover most prescription drugs, dental or optometry.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most post-docs should qualify for OHIP after three months, however some international post-docs may encounter problems depending on the wording in their contract.

For OHIP eligibility requirements, check out the following link: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/ohip/ohipfaq_dt.html#Q1

The criterion most likely to apply to post-docs is this one:

 You are a foreign worker who holds a valid work permit or employment authorization which names a Canadian employer situated in Ontario and your prospective occupation, and is valid for at least six months”



If you are an international post doc or are waiting to qualify for your OHIP insurance you need to apply for the University Health Insurance plan and can purchase it at the Postdoctoral Office (Room 304, 63 St. George Street)

Health Insurance:


Green Shield: All PDF’s paid through the university’s payroll must register for the Green Shield Plan (Postdoctoral Office, Room 304, 63 St. George Street). The cost of the plan is deducted from your payroll each month ($42/mo). Some PDF’s have negotiated with their PI’s to cover the costs of this mandatory plan.

The Green Shield plan is a basic insurance plan that includes a drug plan, some dental coverage and extended health care (eye exams, medical equipment, physiotherapy, etc.). More details can be accessed from the SGS website: http://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/Assets/postdocs/Green+Shield+Presentation.pdf


This plan is new and still under development. As more information is obtained on how the plan is being used, the UTPDA will be meeting with Green Shield and the university to discuss improvements to the cost and the insured services provided by the plan to better serve the PDF community and its needs. Currently, the only way to opt out of the Green Shield plan is to prove you have coverage under a spousal plan. It is useful to compare the benefits of the Green Shield package to any coverage you might have through a spouse to see which package benefits you the most.


Travel Insurance:

A notable deficiency in the current Green Shield plan is the lack of travel insurance. This can include not only coverage against unexpected medical expenses, but also cancelled flights and lost baggage. Travel insurance can be particularly useful for PDF’s who often travel for scientific meetings. Until such insurance is added to the Green shield plan, one can purchase travel insurance from most banks. As well, many credit cards that charge an annual fee also include travel insurance if you purchase flights on the card. If you are travelling for meetings or holidays, you should look into what coverage you have and think about what coverage you may need.

BE AWARE that OHIP provides very limited medical coverage out-of-country. You can refer to the link below for more details:


 Also, OHIP only provides limited coverage when traveling within Canada but out-of-province. Coverage can include the following, but one should refer to the OHIP website for more details.

·         Insured benefits for hospital, emergency inpatient treatment, or out-patient treatment following an accident, are payable at the ward rates charged.

·         Ambulance service outside the province of Ontario are not covered by OHIP.

·         Under a federal-provincial agreement, out-of-province recipients will be insured for all benefits offered by the province in which they are treated. The exceptions are services provided by Chiropractors, Optometrists, Podiatrists, Osteopaths and Quebec physician's services.

·         If required to pay for health care received outside Ontario, but within Canada, you may apply for consideration of reimbursement from the Ministry.

For those without access to the Green Shield Plan:

Check out this excel file for your coverage options (LINK).  If you do not see your institute on the list, let us know and we will add it. If you can fill in any empty blanks please contact us (link) and the blanks will be filled. Your help in completing this document is greatly appreciated.


Most institutes (UHN, Sick Kids, Sunnybrook, Mt. Sinai Bloorview) provide the option to buy into health plans associated with the institution for about $60/mo. Those who cannot opt into a group plan, or if the group plan is not right for you, you can obtain health insurance from several sources and you should shop around to find the best plan that suits your needs. We do not endorse any particular company, but you can start your search with Green Shield, Blue Cross or Sun Life Insurance. In addition, most major banks (BMO insurance, CIBC, RBC Insurance, Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust) also offer a variety of insurance packages. These names are by no means exhaustive, but should get you started.

Workplace Injury Benefits

            If you are injured on the job or become ill because of your work, you may be entitled to benefits under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).  Virtually all post-docs at the University of Toronto and the affiliated hospitals and research institutes are covered by WSIB. This includes all “on-campus” post-docs who are registered through the post-doctoral office and the major hospitals and research institutions. Although we are not aware of any examples, it is possible that an off-campus post-doc might be affiliated with an institution that does not qualify them for WSIB coverage. Therefore, we encourage post-docs who are uncertain of their coverage to contact their occupational health and safety administrator and/or WSIB directly.

            The following is from the WSIB website and provides a brief description of eligibility for WSIB benefits and what types of benefits can be claimed. We encourage you to check out the WSIB website for more information (www.wsib.on.ca)


Am I eligible for WSIB benefits?

To be eligible for WSIB insurance benefits, you must:

-          Have a worker-employer relationship with an employer covered by the WSIB

-          Have an injury or illness directly related to your work.

-          Promptly file a claim with the WSIB

-          Provide all relevant information requested by the WSIB to help us determine your benefits.

-          Consent to the release of functional abilities information to your employer by the health care professional treating you.

Your functional abilities information comes from the health care professional treating you. It tells your employer what kinds of activities your illness or injury allows you to carry out safely. This helps your employer find safe and suitable work for you during your recovery.


What benefits can I receive?
Your workplace insurance entitles you to a range of benefits. The benefit most people are familiar with is the replacement of earnings you lose while disabled by workplace illness or injury (benefit for loss of earnings), but a number of other WSIB benefits are available to you.

-          Benefit for Loss of Earnings (LOE)

-          Benefit for Non-Economic Loss (NEL)

-          Loss of Retirement Income (LRI) Benefit

-          Benefit for Future Economic Loss (FEL)

-          Health Care Benefits

-          Health Care Equipment and Supplies

-          The Occupational Disease and Survivor Benefits Program

-          Benefits for Seriously Injured Workers

-          Compensation Amounts for Survivors


Maternity and Parental Leave


More information will be available soon.


Currently, maternity and parental benefits are dictated by the institution you are affiliated with. Typically, no benefits are offered and post-docs have to negotiate with their PI’s for leave or benefits. Since most post-docs do not contribute to EI, they will not be able to receive these benefits during their leave. Check with your institutions and PI to see how they have dealt with maternity and parental issues in the past.


Contact Information: 




Lisa Haley

63 St. George Street, Room 304
Phone: 416-946-5254
Email: sgs.postdoc@utoronto.ca

Sick Kids

Nadia Taylor or Jennifer Ng

Mt. Sinai

Amy Moore


Jean Lazarus

St. Mikes

Jenny Yeow or Karen (864-6060 x 7928)


Rajeev Chandok





TRI (Toronto Rehab)

Lois Ward 416-597-3422. 

Women's College




CCBR/Banting Best