Skip to the content of the web site.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

  • Deductions hit pay as new year begins
  • Opening in the art gallery; other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Lined up at the edge of the Falls]

Ten international students took part in a "holiday experience" over Christmas and New Year's — a series of activities jointly sponsored by the housing and residences department and the international student office. Programs ranged from a family  Christmas dinner and a New Year's Eve party to this visit to Niagara Falls. Photo courtesy of Greg Smith, living-learning coordinator in the residences.

Back to top

Deductions hit pay as new year begins

Payroll deductions for many Waterloo employees will be different from December’s figures when the first payday of 2011 arrives — tomorrow for biweekly-paid staff, and Thursday, January 27, for faculty and monthly-paid staff. (The unusual Thursday pay date this month comes exactly five weeks after the early payday on December 23. A full list of 2011 pay dates is online.)

Shermaine Primeau, the university’s payroll manager, sends a reminder that employee and employer contributions to the Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance programs “are based on all eligible earnings beginning with the first pay each January. CPP and EI deductions cease during the calendar year when the maximum contributions are reached.

“Employees who reached the maximum contributions in 2010 are reminded that deductions will begin again with the first pay in January 2011, reducing their net pay as compared to the prior year’s net pay once the maximums had been reached.” Some details:

For the CPP, the Yearly Maximum Pensionable Earnings, or YMPE, for 2011 is $48,300 (up from $47,200 in 2010), with a basic exemption of $3,500. The contribution rate (for both employee and employer) remains 4.95 per cent, meaning the 2011 maximum employee annual contribution to the CPP is $2,217.60.

The new YMPE for 2011 will also mean a slight change in the amount being paid into the university’s pension plan, which is based on a three-tiered contribution rate.

For the Employment Insurance program, the annual maximum earnings on which premiums are payable is $44,200 in 2011 (up from $43,200 last year). The premium rate is increasing from 1.73 to 1.78 per cent, making the maximum annual employee premium $786.76. The employer’s share varies from 1.248 to 1.4 times the employee’s share.

The basic personal exemption amounts for income tax are increasing slightly for 2011, with the federal amount rising to $10,527 (up from last year’s $10,382) and the Ontario amount rising to $9,104 (up from last year’s $8,943). Says Primeau: “Human Resources will update your basic personal amounts automatically for 2011. However, if you have a change in personal circumstances (e.g., birth of a child, dependent spouse, revised tuition or education amount, etc.) please complete new TD1 forms (federal and provincial) and forward the completed and signed copies to your Payroll Benefits Assistant so that your total claim amount can be adjusted. Hard-copy forms are available in the General Services Complex, room 130.”

One other note: “If you elected a payroll deduction for your 2011 United Way pledge or you made a change to your ongoing deduction, deductions will begin with the first pay in January. If you previously elected ongoing payroll deductions and did not make a change, your deduction will remain the same.”

It’s the first new year transition for Primeau, who arrived in the payroll manager’s position as of November 1. She was previously in charge of payroll at Open Text Corp.

Back to top

Opening in the art gallery; other notes

A reception tonight, from 5:00 to 8:00, will mark the opening of two new exhibitions in the university’s art gallery in East Campus Hall. Both artists involved — Balint Zsako, from Hungary and now living in New York, and Susy Oliveira, a Waterloo Master of Fine Arts graduate working in Toronto — are expected to be on hand for the party. Zsako’s “Works on Paper 2000-2010” are going on display in Gallery One: “his series of painted Heads, a selection of recent collages, and a rarely exhibited selection of the artist's sketchbooks and journals. Zsako’s works on paper hover between existentialism and eroticism without ever losing sight of the humanist thread that runs throughout his artwork. From figures indiscreetly intertwined with vegetation, Meccano-like scaffolding and each other, to surrealist cut-and-paste art historical mash-ups, Zsako's works illustrate the absurdity, complexity and messiness of earthly relationships.” Oliveira’s show in Gallery Two is revealingly titled “Your Face, Like a Lone Nocturnal Garden in Worlds Where Suns Spin Round”, promises “multifaceted fictional landscapes elicit poetry, passion and entropy. Her simulated garden exaggerates the unnatural quality of most gardens and greenspaces to draw our attention to the increasingly manufactured environments that we occupy and their effect on the commodification of our desires, both real and imagined.” The exhibitions continue through March 5.

[Cowan]Donald Cowan (left), one of Waterloo's computer science pioneers, a distinguished professor emeritus, and an adjunct professor in the David R. Cheriton School, has been named a Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery. Cowan is one of the 47 members "from leading international universities and industries" who received this rare distinction, says ACM's online announcement. "The new Distinguished Members are recognized for significant advances in computing technology that have dramatically influenced progress in science, engineering, business, and many other areas of human endeavor." Coincidentally, I was meeting with Cowan earlier this week to hear about recent work by the nonprofit spinoff company in which he's involved, the Centre for Community Mapping, whose current projects include a demonstration map of heritage areas and businesses in the Muskoka and Parry Sound area.

Picture this: your photo on the University of Waterloo homepage, which will soon be reborn with a design based on the one that the campus previewed a few months ago. Says the web creators’ blog site: “To fully realize the amazing design, we need you, the uWaterloo community, to help us out. A large part of the new homepage design is a photo feature. This image, which will change on a regular basis, is not supposed to be a marketing-quality picture. Rather, we want this picture to be an extension of what it’s like to be a part of uWaterloo, for the insider’s perspective. We want to see what your perspective is of uWaterloo. What does uWaterloo mean to you? We want pictures from staff, faculty, current students, prospective students, community members and alumni. Please submit your photos to our photo uploader. A few things to remember: These photos may not necessarily be used on the homepage at this point We are not looking for just photos of campus ‘ we want your pictures of your Waterloo experience, wherever that happened! We will be looking for high resolution photos that will scale to the homepage.”

[Morton]A memorial service will be held tomorrow for John Morton (right, in 1974), a faculty member in the department of biology from 1968 to 1994 and chair of the biology department for six years. Morton died January 9. He was the first director of the department's herbarium (dried plant museum) and also planted the "mint garden" on the north campus. Before his career at Waterloo, he had worked in West Africa for more than a decade, and he continued doing research on West African flora throughout his career. “He retired in early 1994, but never stopped doing research,” says colleague John Semple. “Joan Venn, John Morton and I were collaborating throughout the fall to publish a set of papers on a large number of chromosome counts of goldenrods done by John, and I will complete this work as we planned in 2011.” Tomorrow's service begins at 11 a.m. at the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home on King Street, preceded by visitation from 10:00 to 11:00.

“Meditate and rejuvenate in 2011!” sounds like an offer that’s hard to refuse. It comes from Marilyn Perdue of counselling services, who will be leading an eight-week course in “Mindfulness Based Meditation for Faculty and Staff” on Tuesdays, starting January 25, from 4:30 to 6:30. A similar course aimed at students will run on Wednesdays, 4 to 6 p.m., starting the next day. Says Perdue: “I want to attract anyone interested in finding a more positive focus in their lives, as well as reducing the experience of stress, and increasing attention and mental acuity. Meditation based mind-body skills have been proven to reduce stress, increase focus and concentration, improve immune function and contribute to lifelong mental fitness. There is also a strong correlation between meditation and reducing the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Participants will practice cultivating their own innate, inner resources for stress reduction.” Registration and information are online.

Mary Wells, associate dean (outreach) in the faculty of engineering, will be a speaker on “The Face of Engineers: Public Perception” at the national conference of Engineers Without Borders being held this weekend in Toronto. • Here's a reminder that nominations for four student seats on the university senate are currently open, with a deadline of 3:30 on Friday. • As the interuniversity men's rugby season ended in late fall, four Warrior players were named to the Ontario University Athletics all-star team: centre Richard Lebel, fly half Zach Bogdon, eight-man Zach Bentley, and flanker Ben Vandenberg.


Back to top

Clubs strut their stuff

“Do you like cheese?” asks Kirsty Budd, communications coordinator for the Federation of Students. “Snowboarding? Debating? Are you interested in sustainability and women’s issues? This sounds like a random collection of interests, but it’s actually just a small sample of what’s on offer at Clubs, Services and Societies Day.” The day is actually two days — today and Friday, from 10:00 to 3:00 in the Student Life Centre. “Students are welcome to come out and discover the many ways they can get involved on campus,” Budd says. Dave McDougall, clubs director for the Federation, adds: “Waterloo has clubs focused on social issues, religious issues, political issues, community service, film, dance and more. There really is something for everyone.” In the fall term, more than 100 display booths filled the SLC great hall and multipurpose room for a similar event.

Link of the day


When and where

Campus recreation registration: instructional programs, final day today at PAC; clubs at first session or any regular session during term. Details.

Transcript evaluation clinic by Certified Management Accountants of Ontario, 10:00 to 6:00, Hagey Hall room 3127.

Water Institute seminar: Alex Campbell, Lifewater Canada, “Water for the Rural Poor: A Grassroots Approach” 11:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Weight Watchers at Work January 13, 20 and 27, 12:15 p.m., PAS building room 2438 (note room change); information ext. 32218.

Job information session for graduating students, overview of Centre for Career Action, recruitment process and job fair, 4:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 116.

Warriors Band practice 5:30, Physical Activities Complex room 2012, all welcome.

City of Waterloo rental housing licensing review, open house sessions today 6:30 to 8:30; Tuesday, January 18, 6:30 to 8:30; Thursday, January 20, 3 to 5, all at Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. Details.

Frost Week free Justin Nozuka concert at Federation Hall, doors open 8 p.m.

Housing information sessions focusing on fall term residence for upper-year students: today 10 p.m., REV east quad lounge; UW Place Beck Hall community centre. January 18, 10 p.m., MKV multipurpose room; UW Place Waterloo Court lounge. January 19, 10 p.m., REV east quad lunge; V1 great hall; UW Place Wellesley Court south lounge. January 20, 8 p.m., Columbia Lake Village community centre; 10 p.m., REV east quad lounge; CLV community centre.

Science alumni and friends Ski Day at Osler Bluff near Collingwood, Friday. Details.

Federation of Students nominations for 2011-12 executive positions and students’ council close Friday; voting February 8-10. Details.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: updates on campus wireless and SharePoint 2010 Foundation, Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Tania Cheng, “Two Months on Two Wheels with the Otesha Project” Friday 2:30, Environment 2 room 2002.

Waterloo International Spouses “walk and talk evening” in uptown Waterloo, Friday: meet at the bell sculpture in the public square 7 p.m., short walk, move to  Symposium Café. Confirmation necessary by Thursday (e-mail intlspouses@

Co-op job postings for spring work term begin on JobMine Saturday 7:00 a.m.

Library books borrowed on term loan before mid-December are due January 15; return or renew online.

Banff Festival of Mountain Films Sunday 7:30 p.m., Monday 7 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Graduate studies in the faculty of mathematics information session for third and fourth-year undergraduates, Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

UWRC Book Club: Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Education Credit Union brown bag lunch: “RRSP, Evaluating Your Options” January 20, 12:10, Davis Centre room 1302, RSVP janinew@

PhD oral defences

Chemistry. Christine E. Keyes, “Characterizations of the Interaction Between DNA and Oppositely Charged Species by Fluorescence.” Supervisor, Jean Duhamel. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Thursday, January 20, 2:00 p.m., Chemistry II room 361.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Mohsen Shahini, “Automated Micro-Sized Object Micromanipulation.” Supervisors, William Melek and John T. W. Yeow. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, January 21, 9:00 a.m., Engineering II room 1307G.

Mechanical and mechatronics engineering. Mohammad Ibraheem Khan, “Pulsed Nd:YAG Laser Welding of Nitinol.” Supervisor, Norman Zhou. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, January 21, 9:00 a.m., Engineering 5 room 3006.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin