McMaster University

McMaster University

Things to Know Before You Arrive at McMaster



The following information is intended for academic employees to assist you in transitioning to life in Hamilton and at McMaster.

1. Offer Letter

2. Work Permit/Visa Information

3. Social Insurance Number (SIN)

4. Your Salary/Earnings (if applicable)

5. Income Tax

6. Benefits

7. Medical Coverage

8. Spousal Employment and Work Permit 

9. Moving to Hamilton

10. Walk-in Clinics and City Hospitals

11. Finding a Doctor and/or Dentist

12. Obtaining a Driver’s Permit

13. Automobile Insurance

14. McMaster Campus Map

15. McMaster Photo ID Card

16. Email Services

17. Recreation and Fitness

18. University Club

19. Chaplaincy Centre

1. Offer Letter

Faculty will receive an offer letter from the Office of the President setting out their title, a list of their duties and responsibilities, the details of their start and end date, the details of their salary (if applicable), and the name and address of McMaster University as their employer. If you have not received an offer letter, please contact the Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty). Post Doctoral Fellows will receive an offer letter from the Department Chair or Director.

2. Work Permit/Visa Information

Foreign Academics are required to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for the necessary permit/visa that allows them work for or visit McMaster.  Please review our information about obtaining the necessary immigration paperwork that will support your appointment at McMaster, or refer to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website for more information. A copy of the immigration authorization supplied to you by CIC must be provided to the Office of the Provost (Health Sciences Human Resources for Health Sciences faculty) in the case of faculty. In the case of Post Doctoral Fellows, the authorization should be taken to Human Resources Services (Gilmour Hall 304). You must comply with the conditions of your work permit at all times.

3. Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are to be paid by the University, you must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada (SC). The SIN is a nine-digit number used in the administration of various Canadian government programs.  Please review our information on Applying for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) or the Service Canada website.

4. Your Salary/Earnings (if applicable)

Your salary/earnings (if applicable) are paid bi-weekly.  If you have a Canadian bank account, you must arrange for your salary to be deposited directly into your account by completing an Employee Contact and Deposit Information Form, which needs to be sent back with your acceptance of a job offer or upon your arrival at McMaster.  Please ensure that you contact Human Resources or Health Sciences Human Resources to set up an appointment to sign in when you first arrive on campus.

5. Income Tax

While at McMaster, any earnings received are considered Canadian income, unless otherwise indicated by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in writing prior to arrival.  Please note that by law deductions are taken from your salary for Canada Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI).  If you receive fellowship earnings, CPP and EI will not be deducted.  In the spring of every year, you will receive T4 and/or T4A slips from Payroll, which will be used to file your tax return. You must ensure your forwarding address is up to date in the event you leave McMaster prior to this time. Please contact a financial advisor or the Canada Revenue Agency for tax and financial information.  If you have any questions about paying income tax in Canada, please refer to CRA's information for non-residents or contact the International Tax Services Office:

                  Calls from Canada and the US: 1.800.267.5177

                  Calls from outside Canada and the US: 1.613.952.3741

                  Fax number: 1.613.941.2505

                  ***Collect calls are accepted***

6. Benefits

Depending on your rank and the length of your appointment at McMaster, you may be eligible to receive benefits.  For more information on eligibility and benefits, the following Benefits booklets are available:

          Faculty

          Clinical Faculty

          Postdoctoral Fellows

7. Medical Coverage

Residents of Ontario are required to have Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP) coverage.  OHIP is a government-sponsored program which provides a wide scope of benefits for medical and hospital services for all eligible persons who will maintain a minimum residency of at least three months in Ontario. Coverage begins after three months of residency and does not depend on employment. Application for coverage should be made within 30 days of arrival in Ontario.

For all individuals entering Ontario for the first time and for those who are returning and whose OHIP coverage has lapsed, a University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) has been set up to provide for basic health care coverage during the first three months. It is a mandatory program.

8. Spousal Employment and Work Permits

If you are accompanied by your spouse (including common-law partners), and provided your work permit is valid for at least six months, he/she will be eligible to apply for a spousal work permit and then to search for and take up employment in Canada. When applying for a spousal work permit, it will be necessary to provide proof of your relationship (i.e. a marriage certificate or a statutory declaration of common law relationship) and a copy of your work permit (unless the applications for the temporary work permits are made concurrently). If your spouse has not yet received a job offer, he/she can request an open work permit which will allow him/her to accept any job depending on whether or not a medical exam was taken. Further information is available on the CIC website.

9. Moving to Hamilton

General information about Hamilton and the surrounding area can be found on the City of Hamilton website.  For information on McMaster’s policy on relocation expenses for faculty appointed on the basis of tenure and permanent track or contractually limited periods of two years or more, please review the policy on our website.

10.  Health Services in Hamilton

A list of Walk-in Clinics and City Hospitals is available on this Health Services website.

11.  Finding a Doctor and/or Dentist

Helpful information on finding a doctor in the Hamilton area can be found here and for finding a dentist, information is available here.

12.  Driver Vehicle Bureau

Information on obtaining a Driver’s permit is available on the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s website.

13. Automobile Insurance

Information on automobile insurance available to McMaster faculty can be found on the TD Insurance website.

14.  McMaster Campus Map

To assist in finding your way around campus, a campus map is available on McMaster’s website.

15. McMaster Photo ID Card

McMaster employees are required to have a Photo ID card which provides access to various services on campus (Library, Fitness Centre, etc.).  Information on obtaining a Photo ID card is available on the University Technology Services website.

16.  Email Services

All McMaster employees are entitled to an email account.  Further information and an application form are available on the University Technology Services website.  Health Sciences faculty should review the Computer Services Unit website for information and an application form.

17.  Recreation and Fitness

Complete information on McMaster’s Athletics and Recreation Department and the many services and facilities available can be found on their website.

18. The University Club

The University Club provides its members and guests the opportunity to wine, dine, entertain or be entertained in a comfortable, private and relaxed atmosphere.  Please view the University Club website for information.

19.  Chaplaincy Centre

The McMaster Chaplaincy Centre has an open door policy and offers pastoral support to the entire community.  Information on the Chaplaincy Centre is available on their website.

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