Exemptions to opt-out of the program


Prior to submitting an exemption (opt-out) request for the U-Pass program, it is important to consider the following:

  • The U-Pass has come into effect through undergraduate and graduate student union's successful referendums and is mandatory for all full-time students at the University of Ottawa. Although the program is mandatory, there are some cases where you could be exempted.
  • In order to obtain a full removal of your U-Pass fees, your exemption must be approved before the deadline, even if you’ve been registered late. Additionally, if you have received or recharged your U-Pass, you must return it in order for your exemption to be finalized.  No exceptions.
  • Ensure you have actually been charged the U-Pass fee by consulting your statement of account.

Exemption criteria

The situations listed below are the only acceptable situations where an exemption (opt-out) request can be submitted, an exemption not listed below will not be considered.

1. I live outside of the OC Transpo or STO service area

You may be exempt if you live outside the transit service area. Consult the OC Transpo Service Area Map or the STO Service Area Map. In order to be exempted for living outside the transit service area, you must provide the following:

  1. A valid government ID (preferably a driver’s license) showing your name and address that matches the address provided on your tenancy agreement or utility bill, and one of the following accepted supporting documents:
  • A utility bill (such as hydro, cable or land line) that has been issued within the past two months and matches the name on your government issued ID, or;
  • A tenancy agreement or mortgage agreement relating to leased premises that include your full name and address. Note: non-official documents will not be accepted.

What is not accepted
Cell phone bills, bank statements, CRA documents, credit card statements, hand written letters and any other documents that does not show/prove that you reside outside the transit service area.

Students living with their parents
If you live with your parents or guardian and don’t have a utility bill under your name, your parent/guardian may submit a signed letter attesting that you are living with them.  The signed letter should include your name, student number, complete address and term.  Please note that these requests will be accepted on a case by case basis.  We will not accept handwritten notes.  In addition, OC Transpo has the final decision as to whether you can be exempted without the documentation stated above.


If you provide documentation indicating that you’re living in another province beside Ontario or Quebec or in a city beyond the National Capital Region; such as Toronto or Montreal and that you’re not taking online courses, doing research or completing your thesis, you may be required to provide further justification

2. I will be living outside of the Ottawa and Gatineau area for more than 60 days

You may be exempt if you are outside of the Ottawa and Gatineau area for a minimum of 60 days per term because of the following reasons:

Note: You will only be exempted for the term for which you are away.

A. I am conducting a research or completing my thesis.

  • Supporting documentation required:

    A signed letter from your authorized supervisor who oversees the thesis or research. The letter must provide the exact location and dates for which you will be outside the Ottawa/Gatineau area as well as the date you are supposed to complete your thesis.   

B. I am participating in a coop work program

Supporting documentation required:

  • A signed copy of your contract showing the dates and location of your coop work term.

C. I am participating in an internship or an exchange

Supporting documentation required:

  • A letter from the department that is sponsoring your internship/exchange. The letter must state the period of time you are on internship/exchange and the location.
3. I am a member of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)


You may be exempt if you are a member of the Canadian national institute for the blind (CNIB).

Supporting documents required:

  • Your CNIB pass number and a copy of your CNIB card.


4. I have no in-person courses, I am now a part-time, I am no longer registered, or I am submitting my thesis

You may be exempt if you are no longer a full-time uOttawa student.

Note: Because of COVID-19, this exemption is extended to students who have no in-person courses for the 2020-2021 academic year.

This includes MA and PHD students that have submitted their thesis before the deadline and are receiving a 100% financial credit for their university fees.

If you are a graduate student, please note that the U-Pass fee is not automatically refunded once you graduate even with the guarantee of 100% refund given by your faculty. The fees mentioned by the faculty does not include the U-Pass.

No supporting documentation necessary.

5. I am registered with Academic Accommodations (SASS)

Students registered with Academic Accommodations (SASS)

New for the Fall 2019 term - As of August 5 only.

There may be opt-outs for students who have a disability or who are registered with Academic Accommodations. In such cases, U-Pass exemptions will be considered on a case by case basis. To be exempted under this criteria, you will have to contact Academic Accommodations (SASS).  All students will need to fill out a consent form to be used by SASS.  SASS will work with the uOttawa Card Service and with OC Transpo to determine if you are eligible. Please note that OC Transpo has the final decision as to whether you can be exempted or not.

If your request is approved, the uOttawa Card Service will be notified to exempt you from the U-Pass program.  Students who possess a valid U-Pass are required to return it to complete the exemption process.  Pro-rated refunds, if applicable, will be based on the date the request has been finalized and not on the date you submitted the request.   

6. I hold a U-Pass issued from another post-secondary institution in Ottawa

You may be exempt if you already have a U-Pass from another institution in Ottawa.

Supporting documents required:

  • An image of your valid U-Pass from another post-secondary institution.
  • Your statement of account from the other post-secondary institution showing that you’ve been charged for the U-Pass for the term you requesting to be exempted.
7. I am registered with Para Transpo and reside in the transit rural Area A.

You may be exempt if you are registered with Para Transpo and reside in the transit rural Area A. Consult the OC Transpo Service Area Map. In order to be exempted, you must provide the following:

Supporting documentation required:

  • Proof of being a Para Transpo, and
  • Proof of residency within the Rural Transit Area A. Proof of residency may be a utility, cable or land line that has your name on it. The address on the documentation must be located within Rural Transit Area A.

How to opt-out

If you are in a situation outlined above, you must submit an Exemption request along with the necessary supporting documentation to receive a reimbursement.

If your U-Pass was picked up or reactivated, you may need to return it to the uOttawa Card Service (UCU 104). You are required to complete your request first.

  1. Consult your statement of account to ensure you have been charged the U-Pass fee:
    • ​​​​​​​Log in to uoZone.
    • Click the Applications tab.
    • Select Student Center and click on Statement of Account.
  2. If you have been charged and want to opt-out, go back to the ‘Applications’ tab in uoZone.
  3. Scroll down to the “U-Pass exemption request form”

Important notes

  • Submitting an exemption request does NOT guarantee that your exemption will be approved.
  • Allow at least 15 business days for your exemption to be processed.
  • You will be notified by email of the result of your request.
  • Late, retroactive, and/or incomplete applications will NOT be considered.
  • You may be required to submit additional documentation if necessary.
  • You may be required to complete another exemption request for the following terms.
  • If you are unsure of what supporting documentation to provide, please email us before submitting an application.

Opt-Out Deadlines

To obtain a full refund, the deadline for each term is as follows:

  • Fall term or full academic year:  September 30, 2020
  • Winter term: January 15, 2021
  • Summer term: May 15, 2021

Passed these deadlines, the amount reimbursed will be pro-rated according to the date when your exemption request has been approved and finalized.

Requests for exemption must be submitted with the appropriate documents before the end of the term for which you are eligible for an opt-out. No refund will be accepted for previous terms.

Full & Pro-Rated Refunds

Refunds will be issued to the student’s account.  Students who are exempted after the deadline or students who use their U-Pass will receive a pro-rated refund for the amount of time they had the U-Pass.

Please note that credit will be applied to the student account on the date the exemption request is approved and finalized. In the case that you must return your U-Pass, the credit will be applied on the day the U-Pass is received at the uOttawa Card Service.

If your request for exemption is accepted and generates a financial credit on your student account, you can claim a refund online or simply keep the credit in your account for a future term.

Pro-Rated Fee Schedule

To receive a pro-rated refund, please return your U-Pass to the uOttawa Card Service (UCU 104) during the hours of operation.

This is only required if you have a card that works in the current period and subsequently became ineligible.

If you cannot return the card in person, you may mail it at your own expense or have someone else return it on your behalf.  Fee adjustments cannot be processed until the U-Pass is received.

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