Tips for hiring personnel for field research activities

Planning and Advertising:

  • Understand the employment category of the position and any issues relating to the relevant collective agreement; consult a U of A Human Resources consultant.
  • When advertising, clearly describe the work location, working conditions and accommodations.
  • When advertising, clearly describe any particular skills, training or attributes required (e.g., good humour, experience in glacier travel, first aid, etc.).

Hiring or inviting foreign nationals?

  • You must seek advice from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) at Human Resource Services  before you invite a foreign national to campus. All of the information and steps are detailed  on the Human Resource Services site to start the process. Plan well ahead as the process takes time. If you are not a regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, you cannot advise the foreign national or give him/her guidance on immigration matters. 

Interviewing tips

  • Describe in detail the work location, working conditions and accommodations.
  • Describe what living costs will be covered, or not, and if there are limits (e.g., food costs).
  • Describe the travel arrangements and coverage of costs (e.g., are travel costs covered from Edmonton or from another location? What is the mode of transportation?).
  • Describe personal gear that they must supply at their own expense (e.g., personal protective equipment, camping equipment, etc.) and what will be supplied to them.
  • Clearly describe any particular training that is required and whether it will be provided and whether the cost will be covered (e.g., quad, chain saw, boating, first aid, etc.).
  • Clearly describe any conditions of employment (e.g., must pass the requirements to become an approved driver of U of A vehicles, which includes: give specifics - driver’s license, driver’s abstract, passing defensive driving course and driver evaluation).
  • Describe the work schedule, provisions for days off, where days off will be taken (return to Edmonton, taken to the field location?); discuss if the applicant has specific needs for time off (weddings, family reunions, etc.).
  • Describe significant risks or hazards that the work entails (e.g., wildlife, use of firearms, mode of travel, etc.), advise if vaccinations will be recommended.
  • Ask questions that will provide insight into their suitability for the position (e.g., their idea of the schedule for a “usual field day”, their previous experience in similar conditions (e.g., remote locations, hiking, boating, international travel, etc.), ask about their recreational past-times as they are relevant to the field working/living conditions, examples of how they deal with inter-personal conflict).
  • Advise the applicant that if they have any physical or medical constraints or conditions that would prevent them from doing the job, they should decline if they are offered the position.

Territory Payroll Tax

  • As per the Payroll Tax Act (1993) individuals working in either the Northwest Territories or Nunavut are required to pay the respective territory’s Payroll Tax - please refer to this HRS blog for details.

Volunteers in the field


When engaging volunteers, follow the  "interviewing tips" above. There are additional guidelines to be followed to the manage the risk of engaging with volunteers.  For example,  they should be 18 years of age in most cases. See the RMS Volunteer page to find out all guidelines and important information.  There is WCB coverage as of June 2017 for volunteers.