Canadian Music…

…I’m running out of ideas for posts with substantial content. If you all have any ideas or questions, please let me know. I’d be happy to try to help out and post them on the blog. Also, if at one point I said that I would post something and haven’t done it, please remind me. And, in the mean time, here are five Canadian songs that I like. I’ll ad to this that you all will be hearing a lot more Canadian music up here (if you listen to the radio) because there is a law informally refereed to as “Canadian Content” that requires Canadian radio stations to ensure that at least one third of their content is of Canadian origin.

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TA Day

Lauren just let me know that in a recent email TA Day was described as being for Canadian students only. This is not the case, you all are welcome (and encouraged by the department) to go.

Posted in Western | 1 Comment

Something to Keep in Mind…

…is that the librarians at UWO are in the process of hammering out a new collective agreement with the administration. But, they have taken a strike vote (100% of their membership voted in favour of a strike). This does not mean that a strike is imminent. For example, when the faculty were bargaining last year, they very narrowly avoided a strike by reaching a deal at the last minute. They had also voted in favour of striking, but this vote merely establishes a deadline for the negotiations. The librarians (and archivists) are bargaining now. Only if their negotiations break down will they strike. Further, I believe their deadline coincides with the start of the fall semester. I’ll keep you all updated, but the library may end up being closed if their union strikes. All of this is to say that if you need books, get them ASAP. I don’t think that our union will want to cross the picket line (if they picket the library that is).

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Getting a Social Insurance Number

This is key for two reasons:

1.) It will allow you to file your taxes more easily and to qualify for benefits from the Canadian government.

2.) It will make applying for an OGS much more straight forward.

So to get a SIN you will need an employment contract printed on an official Western letterhead. Sandra will be able to print it for you as well as sign and date the form on behalf of the department. However, when I did it I provided her with the PDF. In case you all need to do that, here is a PDF of the Employment Contract. You can either have Sandra pull it up from the website or email it to her yourself.

After obtaining the employment contract on official letter head you will then need to make sure that the dates of your employment match the dates on your study permit, even if you will not be working exactly at that time. For example, my study permit became effective on August 8th of 2009. But I didn’t begin working for the university until September (and at that time you will have to sign another employment contract). This confused me, and I put the wrong dates on my first application and then had to come back to the department to correct it. So be sure that the start and end dates are exactly those on your study permit.

Then you will take your employment contract here. It called the Dominion Public Building, and it really stands out. It’s a tall grey concrete building  that in my opinion, has in interesting industrial/deco vibe (it seems like art deco architecture without any of the soft colours that are often associated with this movement). The address is 457 Richmond Street, so it’s right downtown. I recommend leaving yourself some time afterwards–if you can– to walk around a little bit and to familiarize yourself with the city.

The Dominion Public Building

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Getting Settled at UWO

Josh, just in from Australia, and I met tonight and in the course of the evening’s events I realized that I needed to post about where to go and what to do in order for you all to enrol yourselves. Once you are officially enrolled, you will then be able to register for classes, pick up your student ID and eventually your bus pass and health card.

When I enrolled, I took my study permit, letter of acceptance, and passport to SGPS. I went there about three weeks prior to the start of classes and just told the secretary that I wanted to enrol (or something else that was very general). She understood what I wanted to do and the whole process took about 5 minutes. I’ve been looking (for about 45 minutes) for some confirmation that this is still the case, but to no avail. I’m going to keep looking for something more concrete, and if I find anything I’ll be sure to post it. But I know for sure, you do need to show SGPS your study permit right away.

[Edit 8/19/11]: Alternatively, if you are not yet in London but if you have your study permit, then you may scan a copy of it an email it to Kimi Maruoka, kmaruoka@uwo.ca. She will clear you for enrolment. This information was provided by Melissa, another incoming student. You can read her comment below for more information. Also she provided a link to the student services website where you can upload a picture of your choosing to be used as the picture on your ID card. Again, go to Melissa’s comment for the details.

Here is some more general information that I found while was trying to find something on the enrolment procedures:

At the International and Exchange Student Centre (Western Student Services building, Room 2120), you can pick up your international student handbook and orientation folder. I’m sure that there’s a lot of useful information in this package.

Here’s a link to information regarding graduate student orientation. This is hosted by the Society for Graduate and Post-Doctorial Studies.

The International Student centre is also hosting an orientation, if you’re  interested. Below are the dates and the location:

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2011 Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Location: Dr. David S.H. Chu International Student Centre, WSS, Room 2130

Here is a link to the relevant page at the Student Development Centre. They have a link to register for the international student orientation, but it appears to be dead at the moment.

In addition to TA training day, which was mentioned in an earlier post, there is also an International Student Teaching Assistant Training Day. In my opinion, this event was pretty useless. However, things might be different now.

Josh also had questions about the health plan as I imagine that many of you do. You will not have to pay anything to receive health insurance (UHIP). You will be enrolled in UHIP automatically and the cost of is already included in your tuition (and factored into your WGRS). Your UHIP cards will not be ready immediately. They’ll receive them throughout September and then send you an email once your card has arrived. You will then be able to pickup your card in the same place where you got your student ID, but this information will also be contained in the email. Go here for more information about UHIP.

Posted in Western | 2 Comments

Just a Quick Apology.

When re-reading some (many?) of my posts, I noticed that many of them had a lot of grammatical/style/spelling  errors. I’m very sorry for not editing the posts very rigorously (or at all), but I promise to try to make them more manageable in the future.

Here’s a little something to make-up for it! It’s Philosophy Bro’s version of On the Plurality of Worlds. Golden.

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Tax Information

The following information is in regard to US tax information only. And the attached document will provide information for both US citizens and those living in the US with residency status.

Ohh no! Taxes and dirty-hippy-hair, that won't bode well for our protagonist.

Here’s  a link that provides a lot of information regarding paying taxes in the US while living somewhere else. But, from my brief perusal, it doesn’t look like you all will have to pay anything unless you have investments or are earning a lot of money.

The following are just a few relevant sections:

Scholarships and fellowships:  The employee must adequately account to 2009 that you were being transferred to a foreign of a scholarship or fellowship grant that is paid to the employer for these expenses within a country. You arrived in the foreign country on you for teaching, research or other services is reasonable period of time. Certain scholarship and fellowship in- imbursement of moving expenses may be 2009 (the year of the move), the reimbursement come may be exempt under other pro- earned income. You must include as earned is considered pay for services performed in the visions.

See Publication 970, Tax income: The section titled “TIP” for those living in a foreign country for both 2009 and 2010.

Benefits for Education, chapter 1. (Page 17)

Limit on Excludable Amount:  Meet either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test. You may be able to exclude up to $91,500 of your foreign earned income in 2010. You cannot exclude more than the smaller normally come and it comes before the months once you are physically present and of: $91,500, or full days, or your foreign earned income (discussed earlier) for the tax year minus your foreign  housing exclusion (discussed later).

Together, you and your spouse can exclude as on January 1, 2010, is considered earned in $18,801, of your foreign earned income for much as $183,000.

As for Canada, you do have to pay taxes, but the tax structure is really simple to figure out and you’re likely get all of your money back. Taxes will be automatically deducted from your monthly pay-check unless you opt out of them by talking to Western’s Human Resources department. But after you get you’re SIN and fill out your income tax forms, you will qualify for a number of reimbursements from both the federal and provincial governments (for example, the harmonized sales tax credit will make three payments to you a year, if you qualify, of just under $100). So, once you all start to arrive, I’ll begin posting information about how to get a SIN number. This will also speed up your scholarship applications. 


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