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Emergency Closure Procedures

Classification number ADM 1301.01
Parent policy Emergency Closure Policy
Framework category Administrative
Approving authority Vice-President, Human Resources and Services
Policy owner Vice-President, Administration
Approval date December 15, 2014
Review date December 2017
Last updated Editorial Amendments, May 30, 2022; February 18, 2020


The purpose of these Procedures is to outline the way in which a decision to Close the University  is communicated to individuals both within and outside the University, the timeframe during which a decision will be made, and additional considerations relating to Essential Services, assistance and compensation during University closures 


For the purposes of this Procedure the following definitions apply:

Activity” means any function that is directly related to, or arising from, the operations of the University for the purposes of carrying out its mission and mandate.

Closed” means that all Activities will cease at any or all of the specified locations owned and/or occupied by the University.

Emergency Management Response Team (EMRT)” means an administrative body responsible for the coordination and management of emergencies affecting the University and Durham College. 

Essential Services” means services that are necessary for the University to assure the health and safety of faculty, staff and students and to secure the safe and continuing operation of critical infrastructure.



  1. A decision to Close the University by the EMRT will only be made after a careful assessment of conditions that place, or are likely to place, members of the campus community in danger or that may have a substantial adverse effect on normal campus operations.  

  2. A decision to Close the University means:

    • All Activities, including classes, laboratories, tutorials and other scheduled instructional activities will be cancelled and plans for making up for time missed will be determined by the respective Faculties and announced via the course portal;

    • Assignments and other submissions that are due on the day of the closure will be due at the same hour on the next working day when the University is not Closed.

    • Mid-term examinations and tests will be cancelled and will be rescheduled as appropriate; 

    • Final examinations will be cancelled and will normally be rescheduled on the alternate examination date at the end of the examination period. Final examinations in progress at the time of the closure will follow the Emergency Examination Procedures;

    • Services and facilities that are normally used by persons with disabilities will make every effort to post notices through a variety of methods with information about alternative services or facilities as appropriate. 

    • Meetings and other scheduled events will be cancelled;

    • All areas and operations not defined as Essential Services will be Closed;

    • Deadlines for job applications and other requirements will be postponed to the same time on the next business day on which the University is not Closed.

    • Staff other than those employed in Essential Services, are not expected to be at work while the University is Closed. Staff for the purposes of this policy includes all employees of the University scheduled to work at a time when the University is Closed.

  3. If only part of the University (i.e., a specific campus location) is to be Closed, the above measures will apply only to the activities that take place at that location. 
  4. Students, staff and faculty with disabilities or who require special assistance or advice about transportation and accommodation during a campus closure are advised to contact Campus Safety and Security.  

Timing of Closures

  1. Every effort will be made to communicate a firm decision as early as possible, taking into consideration that some staff work evening, night, or weekend/holiday shifts.

  2. Morning Closure - When a decision is made to Close the University in the early morning, every effort will be made to confirm a closing by 5:30 a.m. and, where possible, the duration of the closing will be specified. 

    • In the event that the duration of the closure is only until 12:30 p.m. any subsequent decisions to extend the closure for the balance of the day and evening will be made and communicated by 11 a.m.
    • In the event of a closure for less than a full academic/business day, only those events, shifts, or activities scheduled to commence after the re-opening time will proceed as scheduled.

  3. Daytime Closure - When a decision is made to Close the University after classes and  business hours have started for the day, the closing will specify whether the closing is immediate or at a stated hour. 

    • Unless otherwise specified, the closing continues from that hour until the beginning of work on the next possible day. 
    • An activity (class, lab, or examination) that would continue past the specified closing hour is cancelled or rescheduled in its entirety. The closing will be effective until the next morning, by which time a decision will be made whether the University will be Closed for any portion of the following day.

  4. Weekend and/or Holiday Closure - When a decision is made to Close the University on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, EMRT or the Office of Campus Safety and Security will notify a designated person in each department that has identified themselves to Office of Campus Safety and Security as having activities scheduled or staff on duty.   

    • Units that have scheduled campus events or Activities overnight or on a weekend or holiday, or who have staff scheduled for duty overnight or on a weekend day or holiday, are responsible for providing the name of an emergency contact person to the Office of Campus Safety and Security prior to the event.

  5. In the event that the conditions involve the north Oshawa campus shared by the University and Durham College, the decision to Close will be made by the Emergency Management Response Team (EMRT) on behalf of the presidents of both institutions.


  1. In the event of a University closure, the University's website will be considered the primary source of information along with local radio stations.   Students, staff and faculty are advised to monitor the University's website and the local radio stations.

  2. When a decision to Close all or part the University has been made, the Director, Communications and Marketing (Director), or delegate, will act as the media spokesperson and co-ordinate the development of all necessary written information pertaining to an emergency Closure.  The Director will consult with the EMRT and receive support from the Communications and Marketing department.

  3. The Director will be responsible for communicating the decision to the internal and external communities, including the duration of the Closure, when further announcements will be made, and how the closure will affect day and evening classes, examinations and services, as appropriate.  When the University returns to normal operations, the Director will ensure that the message is conveyed.

  • Internal Communication

    The decision to Close one or more campus locations will be communicated to the broadest community by approved messages including but not limited to the following:

    • Campuswide email to faculty and staff;
    • MyOntarioTecj Portal Announcement
    • Campuswide email to students;
    • Campuswide voicemail; and
    • Website announcement
    • PA Announcement
  • External Communication

    • CityTV (Breakfast Television);
    • Oshawa Express;
    • CKDO;
    • Rock 94.9;
    • CP24;
    • Studio 12; and
    • KX96;
    • 680 News.
    • Metroland;

Essential Services

  1. The operations deemed to be Essential Services that must be kept in operation when the University is Closed are as follows:

    • Communications and Marketing;

    • Emergency repair and maintenance;

    • Residence and Conference Centre;

    • Food service in residence;

    • HVAC and electrical service;

    • Information Technology Services;

    • Labs that require continued operation, including animal care;

    • Security;

    • Parking services

    • Snow removal (grounds crew), if required; and

    • Switchboard.

  2. Deans and Directors are responsible for assigning duties to be carried out and for making reasonable arrangements for the protection of essential staff.  The specific staff members who will be responsible for maintaining the above Essential Services will be designated by the Dean or Director responsible for those services. Deans and Directors will take into account individuals’ needs in assigning duties for Essential Services.

Relevant legislation

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Related policies, procedures & documents

Emergency Closure Policy

Emergency Preparedness Plan

Pandemic Plan

Final Examination Policy

Specific area/department or key infrastructure plans (as applicable)