Information for Staff

The Keenan Research Summer Student (KRSS) Program provides opportunities for undergraduate and medical students to conduct research at Unity Health Toronto (St. Michael’s) under the supervision of a Principal Investigator (scientist and/or MD). Students are also involved in educational programming such as weekly research seminars, professional development workshops, networking activities, and a poster competition. (See upcoming events in the programming calendar.)

Check out the abstract booklet from this year’s poster competition below!


The 2023 summer student program will more closely resemble pre-pandemic summers, where there was a mix of students (paid and volunteer) both onsite and offsite. 

Requirements for Researchers when Recruiting Summer Students

  1. Engaged as paid or volunteer (the ORA strongly encourages paid positions versus volunteer when possible. Please be thoughtful about volunteer experiences as they can contribute to growing inequities).
  2. Appropriate supervision is provided while onsite as well as appropriate remote supervision (via Zoom, phone, etc.). 
  3. Provided designated research space at 193Y or LKSKI/KRCBS
  4. Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with 2 doses (Hospital will review requests for both medical accommodations as well as reasons related to a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights code)

Implement an Equitable Hiring Process and Candidate Experience

  • One of the important criteria to successful hiring is creating an inclusive candidate experience. For a copy of the Equitable Hiring Practices Toolkit published by the hospital last year, please contact the Some key practices to keep in mind are:
  1. Attract a wide pool of applicants (e.g., post the position and distribute to a wide variety of diverse networks, write an inclusive job description, avoid subjective or arbitrary job requirements that can be learned on the job).
  2. Create an equitable interview process (review the Equitable Hiring Practices Toolkit for tips on creating an interview panel & creating inclusive interview questions; use the same interview question for each candidate and a horizontal scorecard to evaluate responses and compare answers horizontally so each candidate is evaluated question by question to allow or an objective review)
  3. Overcome unconscious bias in candidate review (see Appendix E in the attached for Resources)
  4. Remember to be thoughtful in the onboarding process (ensure new team members have adequate support & resources, designate a peer mentor, have regular check-ins, etc.)

Any questions? Email KRSS Program (

FAQ for Staff

  • Students who are in a full-time undergraduate degree program at time of application
  • Students in medical school full-time 
  • High school graduates who are enrolled in a relevant undergraduate program for the fall (proof of enrolment is required)

International students are eligible for the program if they are legally eligible to work in Canada, which is defined as a Canadian citizen, a landed immigrant or the holder of a valid work permit. Must be able to provide supporting documentation.

Unity Health and the Office of Research Administration do not assist in visa applications, accommodations or travel.

  • High school students
  • Graduate students enrolled in an M.Sc. or Ph.D. program
  • Participants in other summer student programs, such as but not limited to; Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, CREMS/IMS, Canadian Blood Services, U of T Undergraduate Student Research Opportunity Program, Ontario Genomics Institute, etc. Please contact Dalbir Singh for instructions on how to register as a T4A Summer Student.
  • Summer co-op students

If you are looking for non-paid research experience without participating in KRSS programming, please visit the Volunteers  for information about how to apply.

To engage a student in the KRSS program, please go to this link

Note: There are different documents and instructions for paid and volunteer students. Please be careful as to which package you are completing (designations will be in the title of the document). 

The KRSS program consists of two types of students:

  • Students hired as employees of the hospital and paid hourly wage that falls on a pay scale starting at $15.50. Please note; there is an employee benefit rate. For example, if you pay the student $15.50 per hour, it will cost you approximately, with employer costs, $17.76 per hour.   This additional 14.6% is to cover employer costs which include vacation pay, Employer Health Tax, WSIB coverage, CPP deductions and EI deductions. 
  • Students registered as Non-Paid Students who wish to gain experience in a research setting (Please note: Non-Paid students will not be paid stipends/honorariums at any time and will solely act as volunteers.)
  • If you are engaging a student in another summer student program, such as but not limited to; Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, CREMS/IMS, Canadian Blood Services, UofT Undergraduate Student Research Opportunity Program, Ontario Genomics Institute, etc., you are ineligible for the KRSS Program. Please contact Cordelia Cooper for instructions on how to register your student as a T4A Summer Student.
  • If you are engaging a summer co-op student, please see the Co-op Student Instructions for registration instructions. (link to Undergraduate section)
  • If you are engaging a student for non-paid research experience without participating in KRSS programming, please see register them as a Research Volunteer (link to “Engage a Research Volunteer” section in Staff Services, Research Employment). View the new Research Visitor and Volunteer Policy.
  • Students must agree to participate in the program on a full-time basis and not terminate their engagement prior to the stipulated end date. Summer students work 37.5 hours per week (Monday to Friday 7.5/hrs per day). 
  • The summer student’s project must take place at Unity Health, unless the principal investigator’s office/lab is located off-site.
  • Most summer students are engaged for the full summer term (May to August). The student should be engaged here for a minimum of 4 weeks.
  • Available to work full-time onsite in downtown Toronto. Depending on the nature of the work some students may be able to participate in a hybrid model of both onsite and work-from-home. Students should be prepared however to work on site full-time if required.
  • Fully vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Accommodations to this requirement under the Ontario Human Rights Codes may be available subject to supporting evidence.

**Please note that the hospital will conduct a reference check as well as a criminal background check for successful applicants (a criminal record does not necessarily disqualify you from employment)

Not all students are paid through the KRSS Program. The program consists of two different types of students:

  1. Students hired as employees of the hospital and paid hourly wage that falls on a pay scale starting at $15.50.
  2. Students registered as research volunteers who wish to gain experience in a research setting (Please note: volunteer students will not be paid stipends/honorariums at any time and will solely act as volunteers).

It is up to the PI to decide whether students will be paid.

Both the summer student and the PI (paid and volunteer), must complete the KRSS registration package in order to be registered through the Office of Research Administration.

The student will also need to create a profile (see “Getting Started” doc for either paid or volunteer at this link)

Details regarding the Canada Summer Jobs application as well as the KRSS Lotto and BIPOC Stream will be announced via email to researchers.

We recommend that you read the FAQs carefully as you might find the answer to your question. You can email for any inquiries regarding the KRSS program. Please note this inbox is only checked periodically and response times will not be immediate.

For inquiries unrelated to the KRSS program, please contact Dalbir Singh.

Dalbir Singh

Research Admin Specialist