August 19, 2021

Health Plan, Dental Plan, and Legal Protection Program

Opt ins/opt outs for Health Plan, Dental Plan, and Legal Protection Program are managed by Studentcare and more information about their opt out program can be found on their website.

If you’re a new student starting in the Fall Term or a Co-op student who was not on Academic Term in Spring 2021 or Winter 2021, who has paid service fees for the Fall 2021 term but wish to opt out, you must do so during the Fall Change-of-Coverage Period from September 7 – 28, 2021.

Enrollments cannot be processed after the deadline.

Health Plan
If you are already covered by an equivalent health plan, you can opt-out and receive a refund for the Health Plan through Studentcare. You must be able to provide proof of coverage by an equivalent health plan. Your provincial health care does not provide coverage equivalent to the GSA Health Plan. You cannot opt out of the GSA Health Plan if you are only covered by OHIP (or a plan similar to OHIP).

Dental Plan
You may opt out of the Dental Plan through Studentcare and receive a refund for the dental portion of the Plan without submitting proof of equivalent dental coverage.

Legal Protection Plan *New for 2021
As determined by the referendum in the Spring 2020 Term, the GSA-UW is offering a new Legal Protection Program through Studentcare. As such, the GSA-UW will no longer be providing in- person Legal Aid clinics. Full-time and part-time UW graduate students may opt out of the Legal Protection Program and receive a refund for this portion of the Plan without providing proof of alternative coverage.

GRT & ION UPass Transit *New refund program

The GSA will be continuing the GRT & ION UPass program for Fall 2021 to support graduate students in the region. Since this is a Universal pass, it only works when all members pay their fees (this was approved by referendum when we started the program). As such, the GRT fees will be collected for Fall term to support running the service.

The GSA-UW and GRT negotiated terms of a new 5-year contract with a base of $105.50 per term for September 2021 – August 2022. As part of these new contract negotiations, eligible graduate students at UWaterloo are now able to opt out by requesting a refund for a term.

All UPass refund requests must be completed between September 7 – 28, 2021 (overlapping the Change-of-coverage period with our other services).

An online form to process UPass refund requests will be made available to all graduate students starting September 7, 2021.

To complete the GRT & ION UPass Refund Form, please visit our website:

The following are the eligibility criteria/acceptable reasons for UPass refund request:

(A)  You are a UW student who retains a valid Canadian National Institute for the Blind (“CNIB”) registration during the Fall 2021 term.

(B)  You are a UW student who pays fees to UW, but are taking a majority of academic courses at an out-of-region (outside Waterloo Region) University in the Fall 2021 term.

(C)  You are a UW student who holds a valid Accessible Parking Permit issued by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, and are registered with UW Parking Services and UW AccessAbility Services at the beginning of the Fall 2021 term.

(D)  You are a UW student who pays fees to UW, but are considered on professional or academic placement outside the Waterloo Region as part of your degree, which is not considered part of co-operative education.

(E)  Other: Exceptional refunds as may, from time to time, be approved (remote learning due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, while living outside the Region of Waterloo).

(F)  You are registered in a research program, have completed your program’s required coursework, and are not taking courses in the Fall 2021 term. *Note: You can only apply for option F once per school year (September 1 – August 31).

(G)  You are registered in a course-based program and are not taking a full course load in the Fall 2021 term. *Note: You can only apply for option G once per school year (September 1 – August 31).

Eligible students who drop out of UW or change their enrollment status at UW after the Drop Deadline per the UW Graduate Calendar shall NOT be eligible for a refund of the UPass. In such cases, eligible students who are not refunded shall continue to have access to UPass.

After submitting your refund application, you will receive a “Thank You” message that you can screen capture for your records. Please be assured that we have received your refund request. We kindly ask that you do not contact the GSA office to confirm receipt of your submission for a refund due to the high volume of emails we receive during this period. The GSA will process refunds after the submission deadline has closed. You will be notified in a few weeks by email if your refund request has been approved. The GSA Office will aim to process verified refunds by the beginning of November 2021.

Accommodation to Opt In to the GRT & ION UPass Service

Graduate Students at UWaterloo who were previously not given the option to pay the GRT & ION UPass and would like to pay the fee to make use of the UPass for the Fall 2021 Term may be able to do so if they fulfill ONE of the following accommodation criteria:

(A)  A Student Councillor, Director, or Officer of the GSA, or other student representative determined in accordance with the Policies & Procedures of the GSA who would otherwise be eligible for the UPass had they not adjusted their status to take on their current role.

(B) A Full-Time Student who is undertaking a reduced course schedule as a result of an accommodation as defined in UW Graduate Calendar or as otherwise defined by the University of Waterloo.

(C) Graduate students enrolled at University of Waterloo Satellite campuses that may not have been assessed the UPass fee.

(D) Graduate students in the region of Waterloo who are on maternity leave or medical leave.

The Accommodation Process:

If you meet one of the criteria noted above and are interested in opting in to the UPass, please contact the GSA Office and identify which ONE accommodation criteria you are using to opt in to the GRT & ION UPass plan.

If a graduate student is eligible to opt in based on the request and the assessment made by GSA-UW, the GSA-UW will contact the WATCARD office, who will make the change of status within one week of request.

Please note: GSA-UW will be accepting submissions for accommodations effective immediately.


Should you have any further questions about GSA Services and opt out/opt in options, please contact our office.

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