Postdoctoral Fellows Benefits Overview

The postdoctoral fellow benefit program will be transitioned from Canada Life to Sun Life Financial effective March 1, 2023. Learn more

Read about benefits for full-time postdoctoral fellows. Please note: part-time postdoctoral fellows are not eligible for benefits.

For information about awards, funding and career development, visit the Postdoctoral Office website.

Benefit details

Benefit highlights for postdoctoral fellows
Alberta Health Care The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan is a government-administered health plan for medically necessary hospital and health care services. How to apply. Alberta resident Provincially funded
University of Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan If you are not eligible for Alberta Health Care, then you must enroll in the University of Alberta Health Insurance Plan (UAHIP). UAHIP covers international students, employees, postdoctoral fellows and their families who are residing in Alberta for less than 12 months. Date of appointment View the UAHIP brochure, which includes current rates
Health Spending Account Reimbursement of additional health and dental expenses not covered under supplemental benefits. See details below. See details below Paid by department/faculty
Supplemental Benefits Additional health and dental benefits for some hospital, medical and dental care expenses not covered by Alberta Health Care (eg, prescription drugs, ambulance costs). Your department/faculty is responsible for covering supplement benefits. See details below. First day of the month following your appointment date Paid by department/ faculty
Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) Provides total confidential, professional counselling for a broad range of personal and family problems. Date of appointment Paid by the university
Parental leave The university does not have a parental leave provision for postdocs. Some funding agencies will provide supplements for parental leaves. Postdoctoral fellows and supervisors should refer to the funder regulations for details. You may also be eligible to apply for Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits. N/A N/A
Paid leave Paid leave may be included as part of the appointment. Check your appointment letter for details. This time should be taken before the end of the term at a mutually agreed upon time. Paid leave for time not taken is not paid upon termination. Date of appointment Paid by department/ faculty

Health Spending Account

What is a Health Spending Account?

Credits are allocated to your Health Spending Account (HSA) at the start of each benefit year. You can use these credits to pay for health and dental expenses that are:

  • Not fully covered under the Postdoctoral Fellows Benefit Plan. For example, the cost of prescription drugs is covered at 80% under the health plan, so the remaining balance can be claimed against your HSA.
  • Not covered under the Postdoctoral Fellows Benefit Plan, but are eligible as a medical expense credit on your income tax return. A detailed list of eligible expenses can be obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Incurred by you and any dependents who qualify for the medical tax credit. This means your HSA can help cover expenses for extended family members who are not eligible dependents under the Postdoctoral Fellows Benefit Plan. More information is available on the Canada Revenue Agency.

Who is eligible for a HSA?

A postdoctoral fellow (PDF) who is employed by the University on a full time basis and is subject to the terms and conditions of the collective agreement. If you are a PDF Trainee or PDF Guest, you are not eligible for a HSA. You must be enrolled in the Postdoctoral Fellows Benefit Plan to be eligible for the HSA.

How much will be deposited in my HSA?

The benefit year is from January 1 to December 31. For 2022 only, the HSA is effective on August 1 and credits will be prorated by the remaining five months in the year.

  • Full time employees will be credited with $208 effective August 1, 2022
  • Full time employees will be credited with $500 annually effective Jan 1, 2023

If you are employed after August 1, 2022, your HSA credits for your first benefit year will be prorated based on the number of complete months of employment remaining for that year divided by twelve.

Note: Only the University of Alberta can deposit credits into the HSA and claims paid to you are not a taxable benefit.

Do the credits in my HSA expire?

Any unused credits in your HSA at the end of the year will be carried forward to the next benefit year. Credits cannot be carried forward beyond one year. Any unused credits after the second year are forfeited in accordance with the Income Tax Act.

Is there a deadline to make a claim?

A claim incurred in the benefit year (January 1 to December 31) must be submitted by no later than 90 days after year end (March 31). After this date, claims for the prior year will be declined.

If you incur a claim, but do not have remaining credits in your HSA, you may not carry forward the claim to the next year. Only unused credits can be carried forward for one year.

How do I submit claims?

Most health, dental, vision, and drug claims can be made online. After signing into your account at, click ‘make a claim’, and then click ‘start online claim’. You will then be prompted to answer questions and provide details about your claim. You will need to attach either a receipt or the explanation of benefits provided to you by Canada Life when you first submitted the claim to the Postdoctoral Fellows Benefit Plan.

I have more questions - who can help me?

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What claims are eligible
Submitting a claim
Claim payments
HSA balance

Canada Life

My Canada Life

Who is eligible for a HSA
Annual credit allocation

HR Shared Services

Staff Service Centre

Supplemental Benefits

This supplemental health plan provided through Canada Life Assurance Company provides assistance for some hospital, medical and dental care expenses which are not covered by Alberta Health Care (eg, prescription drugs, ambulance costs). For complete details please refer to the Canada Life Benefits Booklet:

Cost of benefits

The current annual cost of the postdoctoral fellow supplemental benefits is $757.32 for single coverage; or $2,213.16 for family coverage as of August 1, 2022.

In addition, the Employee and Family Assistance Program is $8.00 per month and the cost of Workers Compensation Board (WCB) is $0.40 per $100 of the stipend based upon an annual stipend.

Enrolling in the Plan

Within four weeks of your start date, you will receive an email invitation to your university email address from Canada Life. Use the link provided to register for an account to get access to your benefits, including adding dependents.

Once you have registered, you will be able to download your coverage card and submit claims online. Your coverage will start the first of the month following your start date. Dependents’ coverage will start at the same time if they’re added when you enroll.

Definition of a dependent
  • Resides in Canada
  • Your spouse, legal or common-law. Common-law spouse is a person who has been living with you in a conjugal relationship for at least 12 months.
  • Your unmarried children or the your spouse’s unmarried children, including stepchildren, adopted children, or other children (e.g. grandchild, foster child) who are legally dependent upon the you for support and maintenance and who are under the age of 21, or under the age of 25 if they are full time students.
  • Children who are incapable of supporting themselves because of a physical or mental disorder are covered without an age limit if the disorder begins before they turn 21, or while they are students under 25, and the disorder has been continuous since then.
Adding a dependent

If you recently got married, became common law, had a child, adopted a child, or your dependents have now arrived in Canada, you have 31 days from a life event date to add them to your benefit plan. To do so please fill out the Canada Life group coverage change form in sections 1 and 5, sign in section 13 and send the form to the Staff Service Centre.

Opting out

You can voluntarily opt out of the Canada Life Supplemental Benefits plan if you are covered under your spouse/common-law's benefit plan. To opt out please complete the Canada Life group coverage change form in sections 1 and 3, sign in section 13 and send the form to the Staff Service Centre.

How to make a claim

You can submit an online claim for yourself and your dependents by logging into your Canada Life account. You can also use your coverage card to direct bill certain services (except pharmacy). For services that do not allow direct billing, you will have to pay out of pocket for the service then submit the claim online or mail a claim form to Canada Life.

To submit a paper claim by mailing it to Canada Life, please fill out the Canada Life Health Claim form or the Canada Life Dental Claim form and submit it to the address listed on the claim form.

  • Plan Name - University of Alberta, Postdoctoral Fellows
  • Plan Number - 155419 Group Number - 1
  • Plan Member ID - your seven digit UAlberta ID Number (not your CCID)
Important: if you were hired before November 15, 2021, the first claim you submit for yourself and for your dependent(s) must be a paper claim that is mailed to Canada Life.