PDF Resource Guide

A Guide for Postdoctoral Fellows, the handbook for UBC PDFs, provides basic information and advice for prospective and current PDFs. It should facilitate your transition to UBC, and help to ensure that you have a satisfying and rewarding experience.

A Guide for Postdoctoral Fellows - Front Cover

Download A Guide for Postdoctoral Fellows.

Much of the information in this handbook is from the Faculty Relations website and in the Postdoctoral Fellows Office (PDFO) website. Please check these websites for more detailed information and to check for current language and developments. UBC operates according to policies, practices and procedures that may change from time to time. Contained herein are policies and resources pertinent to PDFs. PDFs may also be subject to additional policies that are specific to their departments or funding agencies. The official University of British Columbia Postdoctoral Policy, contained in Policy #61, can be found within the list of policies on the University Counsel website.

Last Updated December 2017

Postdoc Profiles & Directory

Please ensure that you complete a Postdoc profile to describe your research project and expertise.Various offices and external entities may use the expertise search to identify experts at UBC, for example - media inquiries, research collaborators, prospective employers, government offices or other similar stakeholders. We strongly believe that these Postdoctoral profiles will provide numerous benefits to all of our UBC Postdoctoral Fellows. Additionally, your profile will appear in an internal Postdoc directory.

BULLETINS for Postdoctoral Fellows

December 2017: National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity - UBC Membership

The Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic has obtained a one-year institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). The NCFDD is an independent organization dedicated to supporting academics throughout their careers by providing professional development, mentoring, and training opportunities. These programs serve faculty members, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, as well as administrators.

The NCFDD offers workshops and programs on a variety of topics, such as increasing research productivity, dissertation success, and maintaining work-life balance, as well as networking opportunities. The majority of these resources are free of charge.

We encourage postdocs to take advantage of these career development resources by creating their own account.

To get started:

  1. Visit UBC’s page at www.facultydiversity.org/institutions/ubc.
  2. Click “Activate my Membership”. Please note you will need an email address ending in “ubc.ca”.
  3. Create a profile.
  4. You should then be able to sign-in anytime to access the programs.
  5. If you have any problems creating your profile or accessing the site, please contact: membership@facultydiversity.org

Updated December 12, 2017

November 2017: Changes to Tax Withholding for Postdoctoral Fellow Award Recipients

On May 1, 2017, UBC Payroll and Procurement Services ceased withholding federal and provincial tax from all Postdoctoral Fellows appointed as Award Recipients under the FEL earnings code. The FEL code applies when a Postdoctoral Fellow is awarded a competitive fellowship from an external granting agency, which may or may not be paid through UBC, or when a Postdoctoral Fellow receives financial support from a sponsoring agency.

This change was prompted by a review of current UBC practice for the payment of fellowships across the University and the resulting conclusion that this change was necessary to bring UBC into compliance with Canada Revenue Agency tax policy.

After additional consultation and review, Payroll will reinstate monthly tax deductions for Postdoctoral Fellows who are in receipt of Fellowship earnings. In order to process this change, Payroll has created a new earnings code specifically for Postdoctoral Fellow Award Recipients who previously were paid under the FEL code. This new earnings code is called ‘PFL’. This decision was made in consultation with Faculty Relations, UBC Treasury, Payroll and the Postdoctoral Fellows Office in order to mitigate the risk of Postdoctoral Fellows potentially facing large and unexpected tax bills in April, and the possibility of this triggering a requirement for paying taxes in lump sum installments in the future. Payroll expects to re- implement tax deductions starting with the pay period ending November 15, 2017.

Although the taxes payable on fellowships will remain unchanged, Postdoctoral Fellows with fellowships will face a larger than normal tax bill for 2017 since tax deductions have not been taken from FEL earnings for the period of June 1, 2017 – October 31, 2017. Postdoctoral Fellows should ensure that they file their 2017 tax returns on or before April 30, 2018 to avoid penalties on unpaid taxes. 

Should you have any questions regarding tax deductions please contact the appropriate Payroll Representatives;

UBC Vancouver – Refer to Faculty Contacts at https://finance.ubc.ca/payroll/contact-payroll

UBC Okanagan – http://finance.ok.ubc.ca/payroll.html

Updated November 2, 2017

September 2017: Work Permit Renewals and BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) Coverage

If you are working in British Columbia under a work permit and you are enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP), your medical coverage will end when your work permit expires.

If you will be applying for a new work permit, it is important that you apply as far in advance of the expiry date of your current work permit as possible. This will avoid a lapse in coverage and having to serve another wait period. Current estimated processing times for work permit extensions can be viewed on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Human Resources has sent out an HR memo via email to all UBC faculty, staff, and postdocs who hold work permits. The memo explains the importance of renewing work permits well in advance in light of a recent change by the Ministry of Health/Health Insurance BC to end MSP coverage at the end of the month that the individual’s work permit expires and reinstating upon receipt of the new work permit. 


  • If you have any questions about renewing your work permit, please contact your Department or Faculty administrator.
  • If you are enrolled for MSP through UBC and have any questions about your MSP enrollment, please contact your Payroll Benefits Representative.
    • Vancouver Campus
      • If your last name begins with the letters A – L, contact Marissa Manlig: marissa.manlig@ubc.ca or 604-827-3212.
      • If your last name begins with the letters M – Z, contact Pravin Khan: pravin.khan@ubc.ca or 604-822-8701.
    • Okanagan Campus
  • If you are enrolled for MSP through Health Insurance BC, please contact them directly at 604-683-7151.

Updated October 4, 2017

July 2017: Parental Leave Changes for Tri-Agency Fellowships

Working collaboratively, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have sought to improve access to paid parental leave, harmonize their guidelines and reduce administrative burden.

As a result, effective July 31, 2017, SSHRC will join NSERC and CIHR in providing parental leave supplements paid out of agency grants within six months following the child’s birth or adoption to eligible students and postdoctoral fellows who are primary caregivers for a child. (This will not be retroactive; it will apply to births and adoptions on or after July 31, 2017.)

Further, for all three agencies starting on July 31, 2017, students or fellows eligible for other parental leave supplements may also be eligible for Agency supplements. The following sentence of the Tri-Agency Financial Administration Guide in the “Administrative Matters” section will be deleted: “Students or fellows who are eligible for employment insurance or other parental leave supplements from other sources do not qualify for parental leave supplements”.

For any question regarding this change, please contact:

May 2017: Taxation Changes for FEL Appointments

As of May 31, 2017, UBC is no longer withholding income tax for graduate students and Postdoctoral Fellows who are in receipt of fellowship (FEL) earnings. This change was prompted by a review of current UBC practice and the resulting conclusion that this change is necessary to bring UBC into compliance with Canada Revenue Agency tax policy.

Postdoctoral Fellows with questions about their appointment type should contact their Department Administrators.

Updated August 3, 2017

PDF Coordinators

UBC’s official process for resolution of disagreements is found in Policy #61.

Open and frequent communication between you and your supervising faculty member is the best way to avoid conflict. To resolve a disagreement between you and your supervising faculty member is to recognize it when it first arises, and collaborate immediately on finding a solution. If unresolved, disagreements should be brought to the attention of the head of your academic unit.

If further resolution is needed, contact your Faculty’s PDF Coordinator, who will act as an impartial facilitator. PDF Coordinators for each Faculty are as follows:

The Faculty PDF Coordinator or the PDF may refer an issue to either the Associate Dean for PDFs in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC Vancouver or the Dean, College of Graduate Studies at UBC Okanagan, whose decision on an issue will be final.