In light of recent COVID-19 developments, BCIT’s Centre for Workplace Education is working closely with students and employers to address challenges and concerns as they arise.
We are here to support you throughout your Co-op employment in these unprecedented times. To enable us to do so, it is important that you inform your Co-op Coordinator of any changes to the conditions of your co-op employment. For example, let us know if your work hours are reduced, you begin working from home, your work term is shortened, or your co-op extension is canceled.
See below for FAQs, and stay up-to-date on BCIT’s COVID-19 response at bcit.ca/breakingnews.
We recognize the challenges you may be facing at this time, and are available to discuss any concerns you may have. Given the diversity of our program areas in terms of structure and program requirements, we encourage you to contact us directly so we may assist you with supporting our students on a case-by-case basis.
See below for answers to common questions.
Students Currently on a Work Term
- If I am sick and cannot work from home, will I be penalized by the Co-op program?
- What if I feel unsafe or uncomfortable at my workplace?
- What if I want to end my work term early due to health/safety reasons?
- What if my employer ends my co-op term early and/or closes my workplace and I cannot afford to take time off, financially?
- I am a Co-op employer and am planning to close the workplace due to COVID-19. How can I support my student(s)?
- How will COVID-19 affect the Hiring Process?
- I have offered Co-op/WIL employment to a student(s) to begin the next term; however, I am not sure how the developments of COVID-19 will affect this.
Students Currently on a Work Term
Since your health and safety is the number one priority, you will not be penalized by the co-op program if you are sick and unable to work from home. You must inform your supervisor and Co-op Coordinator immediately should you be unable to work.
If your Co-op is a mandatory component of your program, know that we are working with the various program areas to determine the best course of action.
You are encouraged to speak directly to your supervisor. Every student’s environment and experience is different; if you need support in how to bring the topic up, or are uncomfortable doing so, please contact your Co-op Coordinator to discuss.
Every situation is unique, and your health and safety is the most important consideration. Please contact your Co-op Coordinator to discuss your concerns while you are thinking through this possibility. The decision is yours to make and we are here to support you.
The Canadian federal government has made a number of economic supports available to workers across Canada who are unable to work due to COVID-19. This includes:
- the reduction of wait time for Employment Insurance (EI)
- wage subsidies for small businesses to enable them continue to employ and pay their staff
- an interest-free pause on Canada Student Loan payments for six months
- the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19, but who do not otherwise qualify for EI
If it is possible to have your student work remotely from home, please ensure that they are enabled with the appropriate resources and support to do so.
If your workplace is temporarily shutting down and employees will not be working remotely, please contact your student’s Co-op Coordinator to keep them informed and to discuss how this may affect the length of the work term.
In either of the above scenarios, it is important to advise the student on how their pay and schedule may be affected.
In light of physical/social distancing guidelines, we are encouraging you to follow the information from the BC Centre for Disease Control. Wherever possible, options include the practice of using phone, video or other virtual platforms to conduct interviews. If face-to-face interactions are deemed necessary, please ensure that the appropriate steps are taken to support physical distancing requirements.
Due the rapidly-evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, along with the diversity of our program areas, please contact the student’s Co-op Coordinator directly to discuss this. A later start date and reduced hours for the work term are possibilities to discuss as alternatives to cancelling the Co-op/WIL opportunity.