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This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.

Approving Authority: President

Original Approval Date: March 2, 1994

Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: December 11, 2013

Office of Accountability: Office of the President

Administrative Responsibility: University Secretariat


1.00 The purpose of this policy is to set out the process for closing the university due to severe weather.


2.00 ‘Closing’: Closing the University may be for the morning, afternoon, and/or evening and means that:

i. all classes are cancelled;

ii. meetings and other scheduled events are not held;

iii. staff, other than those needed for essential services, are not expected to be at work;

iv. examinations are cancelled, with any centrally scheduled examinations to be rescheduled by the Office of the Registrar;

v. deadlines for assignments and other submissions are postponed until the same hour on the next business day that the university is open.


3.00 This policy applies to all employees of the University, with the exception of those who provide essential services, as detailed below.


4.01 The university will close because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to faculty, staff, and students while on the Waterloo or Brantford campus or would prevent many from safely coming to the campuses or returning to their residences in Kitchener, Waterloo, Brantford and surrounding areas.

4.02 The decision to close the Waterloo campus will be made by the president or designate, the decision to close the Toronto Office will be made by the director of government relations or designate, and the decision to close the Brantford campus will be made by the senior executive officer or designate. The office of the senior executive will notify the president’s office, Conestoga College, Mohawk College, and Nipissing University whenever the Brantford campus closes. Buildings in Kitchener will close whenever the Waterloo campus closes.

4.03 The University may close for the morning, afternoon, or evening, or for the entire day. In each case, the closure announcement will communicate the reopening time, which may be revised in the event of ongoing severe weather.

4.04 Communication

Communication, Public Affairs, and Marketing (CPAM) will communicate the university’s decision based on established protocol, including local radio stations, Twitter, and the web.

A campus closing notice will be posted on the university’s homepage and there will be an automated message on the university’s main telephone numbers by 6:30 a.m. for a morning closing, by 10 a.m. for an afternoon closing, and by 4 p.m. for an evening closing. The closure announcement will communicate the reopening time.

4.05 Exceptions: Essential Services

Even when the university is "closed," some services must be maintained for the care and for the protection of life and property of those who live on campus. The following units provide essential services which are to continue in operation when the university is closed:

i. Security Services

ii. Food Services (as required under these circumstances)

iii. Physical Resources

iv. Animal Care

Other essential services may be designated by the president or delegate.

The managers responsible for these services will designate staff to provide essential services and will ensure that staff are available to provide essential services.

4.06 Personal Safety

When the University does not close in inclement weather, faculty, staff and students are reminded that they are responsible for determining when weather conditions make their travel unsafe and should consider public transportation because it may be the safest option.

4.07 Remuneration on Severe Weather Days

If the university closes, employees scheduled to work during periods affected by closure shall be paid for those days or partial days that the university is closed. A staff member who is on vacation, sick leave or unpaid leave, or who is not scheduled to work on a day when the university is closed, is not entitled to equivalent time off later.


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