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Severe Weather Closure Procedure

Effective Date: January 21, 2020
Downloadable Version: PDF ICON Severe Weather Closure Procedure
  This document is available in alternate format on request.


The purpose of this procedure is to provide the steps to be taken in the event that severe weather conditions should occur, which may cause the cancellation of on-campus classes and activities at one or all College locations.


College closure: college buildings and property are closed to public access and access into the buildings is restricted. On-campus classroom instruction and business activities are cancelled, as well as the provision of all support services, except those designated as essential by the College.

Essential employees: employees designated by their manager as essential in order to ensure the health and safety of the College community, preservation and protection of building assets and/or minimization of environmental damage will be declared essential.

Essential Services: services that are necessary to enable the College to assure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff; preservation of machinery, equipment, and premises; and minimization of serious environmental damage, and, continuation of the administration will be declared essential.

Emergencies: refers to hazardous situations caused by such occurrences as utility failures, floods, breakdowns of building systems, fire, threats of violence, bomb-threats, and other situations that threaten the safety and/or security of individuals, the environment, and/or College facilities.

Primary Contact: individuals designated by the Vice Presidents who are responsible for making closure arrangements such as student/employee notification, signage, security, transportation etc.

Severe Weather: refers to weather conditions that may limit or endanger Humber’s ability to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff on any of our campuses.


1. Decision Making

1.1. The Senior Vice President, Academic or his/her designate, will be responsible fordecisions regarding cancellation of day/evening/weekend on-campus classes and/or closure of College facilities due to severe weather conditions.

1.2. Input regarding severe weather conditions will be provided to the Senior Vice President, Academic by the Director, Facilities Management, the Director, Public Safety and Emergency Management and the Campus Principal or other administrators. An assessment will be made of current weather conditions, local weather forecasts, ability to clear roads and parking lots on College campuses and police advisories on road conditions for individuals travelling to and from College facilities prior to entire College or individual campus closures.

1.3. Recognizing that weather conditions can change quickly, every effort will be made to reach a decision regarding cancellation of on-campus classes and/or closure of the College as early as possible for day and/or evening classes. Whenever possible, these decisions will be made by 5:30 a.m. for daytime classes, and 3:30 p.m. for evening classes. Once a day’s operations has commenced, a decision to suspend operations and cancel daytime classes may be enacted at any time.

1.4. Should a decision be made to close the North Campus or Lakeshore Campus, all College Campuses including satellites, other College sites and the University of Guelph-Humber will be closed. Should conditions only affect the Orangeville Campus, only the Orangeville campus will be closed.

1.5. College residences will remain open during inclement weather, unless otherwise indicated.

1.6. Where possible, the third floor Learning Resource Commons at the North campus and L Building Commons at the Lakeshore campus will remain open and accessible to students.

2.    Communications

2.1. When a decision has been made to close the College, the Department of Public Safetywill notify all members of the Humber community, including the Vice Provost, University of Guelph-Humber, via the College’s mass communications system. If that mass communications system fails, members will be notified by phone by Public Safety.

2.2. The following corporate services will be activated for the entire population.

2.2.1. Telephony Services will:

          • Change the automated message on the phone system providing details regarding the closure; and
          • Distribute an automated voice message to Humber and Guelph-Humber employees.

2.2.2. Marketing and Communications will:

          • Provide information to the media (TV, radio, press) in the Greater Toronto Area and Orangeville regarding the closure; the media decides where and when they will broadcast Humber’s announcements;
          • Place a notification banner on the corporate website (; if added details are required, visitors to the site will be directed to more information on another page on the site;
          • Notify University of Guelph-Humber Communications staff of the closure.

2.2.3. Public Safety will:

          • Activate the mass communication system;
          • Place signs on all exterior doors;
          • Make an announcement on the public address system; and
          • Lock all doors.

2.2.4. AVP Academic will:

          • Notify the President and Vice Presidents
          • Notify all Senior Deans and Deans (the Senior Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness will notify the day care centre)
          • Notify the Vice-Provost, University of Guelph-Humber
          • Notify the Executive Director of Ignite

2.2.5. Senior Vice President or Vice Presidents will:

          • Communicate with their primary contact in their respective departments who will then proceed to make arrangements for the closure of the College and cancellation of on-campus classes in their area; this may include student/employee notification, signage, security, transportation, etc.; each primary contact is responsible to follow the procedure they have established for their areas.

2.2.6. The Vice-Provost, University of Guelph-Humber will:

          • Contact the webmaster to update the Guelph-Humber home page; and
          • Notify Guelph-Humber contacts.

3. Students

3.1. When College operations are cancelled or closed during the course or prior to a scheduled day or evening, all students will be excused from attendance of on-campus courses and activities without penalty. The College will ensure that a complete or partial College closure will not have a negative impact on the academic activities and achievements of students.

3.2. Students scheduled at external organizations such as hospitals, clinics or agencies for College related activities will follow the protocol of the external organization instead of decisions related to the cancellation of College activities or closure of the facility. It is the students’ responsibility to advise their external placement advisor or supervisor of any situation which prevents them from attending their placement or work.

4. Employees

4.1. When College operations are cancelled or closed employees, other than employees designated as providing essential services, will not be expected to attend or remain at work. Employees will be released, wherever practical, 30 minutes after students, in order to ease exiting congestion.

4.2. Employees that are scheduled to work will receive their regular rate of pay.

4.3. In the event of an unscheduled closure prior to the start of the day, employees who are on a scheduled vacation or sick day will not have the day charged as a vacation or sick day. Note for sick days: applies only to employees who were present to work their scheduled shift prior to, or immediately following the College closure.

4.4. It is the College’s expectation that employees will arrive for work as long as the College continues to provide scheduled classes and/or remains open for normal business operation. Any individual employee who feels that it is unsafe to travel to the campus may elect to stay at home.

4.4.1. In the event that an employee has elected to stay home, reporting of employee attendance will be monitored by each manager and absence from work by employees who elect not to attend will be recorded as follows:

      • lieu day;
      • vacation day;
      • leave of absence without pay; or
      • sick day, in the event the employee has followed normal procedures for reporting illness such as notification prior to start of work and preparedness to provide appropriate documentation.

4.4.2. A leave of absence for personal reasons with pay, in extenuating personal circumstances, may be granted at the discretion of the employees direct supervisor/manager. Commuting distance alone, to the College, will not normally qualify as extenuating circumstance for the purpose of 4.4.1.

4.5. Employees Designated as Performing Essential Services

4.5.1. College administrators will designate and determine those employees performing essential services during any interruption to the normal business operation. Such services are contingent upon the nature of the interruption and the employees required to secure and ensure the safety and well-being of persons within College buildings and upon College property, as well as the safety of the College property itself. The so designated employees are required to report for work even if the closure of the College is announced prior to the start of a scheduled day or shift.

Examples of employees performing essential services may include, but is not limited to the following:

          • Facilities Management - plant operations, site maintenance, building maintenance and parking services;
          • Public Safety - security;
          • IT Service - until auto attendant and other information devices are activated;
          • Student Residence - food and security services; and
          • Child Care Centres - until all children are safely accounted for.

4.5.2. Employees providing essential services will be required to complete their normal shift and the following will apply:

          • Additional compensation may be awarded in a manner to be determined by management in consultation with Human Resources and includes consideration of various factors (e.g. such as the duration and severity of the closure).
          • In instances where employees are required to return to work, compensation will be based on the applicable provisions of the collective agreement.

5.  Special Events

5.1. It is the responsibility of the event organizer to communicate with their groups and any external partners that the College is closed and the event cancelled.

5.2. Events will only be authorized to continue in extenuating circumstances such as the event is already underway, such as a conference or major sporting event and it would cause more harm to evacuate the participants.

5.3. The Director, Public Safety & Emergency Management or delegate, will notify Public Safety of any exceptions.

6. Resumption of Normal Operations

6.1. Unless otherwise stated, normal operations will resume as per the date in the original closure message, for example, the next day.

6.2. Upon return to normal operations, Public Safety staff will unlock all doors and remove closure signs.