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Personal Use of University Resources

Classification number ADM 1311
Framework category Administrative
Approving authority Senior Leadership Team
Policy owner Vice-President, Administration
Approval date April 2006
Review date To be assigned
Last updated Editorial Amendments, May 30, 2022; February 18, 2020


The University provides many types of resources and facilities for faculty and staff members to undertake activities related to the University's mission. The University recognizes that occasional unofficial use of certain resources and facilities will occur, and permits such use so long as it is incidental, reasonable, and in accordance with this policy and any other applicable policies. This policy is intended to support appropriate and effective use of University resources while providing guidelines to limit personal use of those resources.

"University Resources" are defined as property, facilities and/or assets purchased, leased or acquired by the University, or under the University's control, that are intended to foster or support the ongoing mission of the University.

Personal use of University resources is authorized only so long as:

  1. the University incurs no additional cost from that use other than the minimal cost incurred from ordinary wear and tear, and the use of minimal amounts of other resources (e.g., ink, toner, or paper);

  2. the use does not inappropriately interfere with or reduce the hours worked by the employee;

  3. the use does not preclude other employees with work-related needs or students with program-related needs from using the resources; and

  4. the use does not violate any applicable laws, regulations, or other University policies.

When the University incurs no additional costs or only negligible additional costs from personal use of a University resource that is subject to fixed price charges (e.g., local telephone, fax machines, copiers, and printers), reasonable and incidental personal use of the resource is permissible, but supervisors and employees are responsible for keeping that personal use to a minimum.

When personal use of a University resource would result in the University incurring noticeable incremental costs, the employee must either assume responsibility for the additional costs by reimbursing the University or must refrain from using the resource for personal use. Employees are expected to reimburse the University for personal long distance telephone calls.

Examples of unacceptable uses of University resources may include, but are not limited to:

  • use that could reasonably be expected to cause congestion on, or disruption of, electronic communications resources;

  • use for profit-making activities or commercial purposes (e.g., consulting services except for those allowed for faculty members as part of the Academic Staff Employment policy, sales of goods or services, operation of a private business);

  • use of University systems and services for personal purchases;

  • uses that are unlawful, such as improperly copying licensed or copyrighted software materials,

  • use of resources acquired for a sponsored research project; and

  • uses that violate other University policies or guidelines.

Work arising out of research. Work such as typing of book manuscripts or research contract reports may be incorporated into administrative staff members' workloads in academic units. Where possible, it is expected that applicants for research grants and/or contracts will make provision in their funding requests for budget to support such services, and will reimburse the unit appropriately.

Work of a personal or private nature. Administrative staff members are not required to do such work and should direct to their unit head any questions about the appropriateness of work requested of them or about the conditions under which they are expected to work. If a administrative staff member is asked to undertake such work at the request of their unit head, they should contact Human Resources.

Additional paid work. Administrative staff members are expected to secure the permission of their unit heads and obtain authorization in writing before accepting additional paid work at the University outside their home units. Staff may be entitled to overtime should the work be university-related. Administrative staff members may make private arrangements with students for typing their work (e.g., theses and term papers) outside normal working hours. Approval by the unit head is required if University resources or facilities are to be used, and any direct costs must be reimbursed to the unit in which the work is performed.