Weather Emergency
University Policy and Procedure
on Weather Emergencies
Rob Castle – Sr. Executive Officer, VPFA
Kathy Branton - Manager, Emergency Preparedness
Weather Emergency Procedures
1) Decision Making Process
2) Check List
3) Dissemination of Information
4) Suspension Criteria
5) Individuals Performing Critical Functions
6) Resumption of Operations
7) Special Events
8) Questions
Weather Emergency Procedures
Decision Making – Weather Watch
 The Director Security Services (DSS) and the Senior
Executive Officer, Vice-President Finance and
Administration (SEO-VPFA) assess the potential impact
on University operations of a weather emergency being
 DSS and SEO-VPFA notify or consult with key decisionmaking and communications personnel and places them
on alert
 DSS and SEO-VPFA initiate a weather watch, which may
require the suspension of the University’s normal
operations and programs
Weather Emergency Procedures
Decision Making – Weather Watch
 DSS and SEO-VPFA provide the VPFA with regularly
updated reports and continue the Weather Watch until a
decision is made to either declare Weather Emergency
or to discontinue the watch
 DSS instructs the Security Control Centre to update
Emergency Mass Notification Systems, (including web
site, 416-736-5600 – the University’s Emergency and
Information line, LCD screens and the mobile safety
app) with the appropriate message
Weather Emergency Procedures
Decision Making - Assessment
 DSS and SEO-VPFA assess the impact on University Operations of a
weather emergency being declared by:
DSS consults with the following –
key decision and communications personnel
Directors of Maintenance, Energy Management, Grounds & Custodial
Director, Media Relations
 The SEO-VPFA will also advise senior decision-making personnel and
place them on alert, including:
University Registrar
VP Academic & Provost
Vice Provost Students
SEO VPA&P who will consult with the directors of Miles S Nadal Downtown Management Centre and the
Osgoode Professional Development Centre
Weather Emergency Procedures
Decision Making – Weather Emergency
 The decision to declare a Weather Emergency is made by
the VPFA, upon recommendation by SEO-VPFA and DSS and after
having consulted with, where possible, the President and,
the VP Academic & Provost and the Vice Provost Students.
 The Chair of Senate is consulted in situations where academic
classes and examinations are affected.
 Once the declaration has been made by the VPFA, the
DSS initiates emergency mass notification systems and the emergency
communication tree, including the date and time of the declaration.
NOTE: The annual updating and maintenance of the University Wide Communication
Tree via a web-based tool now managed through Office of Emergency Preparedness
Weather Emergency Procedures
Decision Making – Weather Emergency
A decision to declare a weather emergency may be
enacted AT ANY TIME.
Key decision points:
 by 5:30 a.m. to commence day operations, classes and
 by 5:00 p.m. for evening classes, exams and activities
 by 9:00 pm. to suspend night operations
Weather Watch Resources
Weather Watch – Internet Tools
 Environment Canada Weather Office
 U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's
National Weather Service
 Ontario Ministry of Transportation: Compass Cameras
Media Announcements
Initiated by Media Relations (Communications & Public Affairs)
To all local media outlets, including by not limited to:
• AM – 590, 640, 680, 1010, 1050, 1540
FM – 91.1, 92.5, 93.5, 97.3, 98.1, 99.9, 102.1, 104.5, 107.1, CBC Radio
City TV, CP24, CFTO TV, Global TV, CBC Canada Now/Toronto
Desk, A Channel, and the New VR.
Suspension Considerations
 How much snow is on the ground?
 What are the GTA / Toronto road conditions?
 Is it currently snowing?
 What is the anticipated accumulation / forecast?
 Are Glendon or downtown operations affected?
 Are there any other educational institutions closed (or
significant closures, e.g., School Boards) in GTA / path
of storm?
 What is the public transit situation? Are buses/trains
running? How far behind schedule are they?
Suspension Considerations
 Did it rain prior to the snowfall?
 Has it rained since the last snowfall?
 How many plows are on campus?
 When will the plows be on the road?
 Can the campus roads/ parking lots will be accessible?
 Given the above - can the University operate?
Individuals performing critical functions include, but are not
limited to, specified sections of:
 Security Services
 CSBO Grounds & Vehicles, Maintenance & Energy
 University Information Technology (UIT), including Network
Operations and Telecom.
Employees in these units are guided by the Emergency
Operating Procedures established by their respective
Departments. The senior manager in each unit is responsible
for providing updated copies of these procedures, as required.
Resumption of
 The VPFA decides when a Weather Emergency is lifted. The
DSS records date and time of decision and initiates the
emergency mass notification systems and emergency
communication tree accordingly
 The DSS notifies the Security Control Centre Supervisor
who, in turn, notifies all Managers / Supervisors of
individuals performing critical functions to resume normal
Decision-making follows same consultation and process.
Faculties, Departments
and Operating Units
 All Faculties, departments and other operating units are
required to develop their own local procedures (eg. Unit
Emergency Sub Plan) to ensure that, whenever possible,
all staff, faculty and students are informed of the closure
of offices, cancellation of classes and postponement of
 Deans and department heads are responsible for
ensuring that their respective internal “communication
trees” are updated by October 31st of each year and
copies provided to:
 Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Special Events
All special events that are planned to take place when a
weather emergency is in effect are cancelled unless:
 The event is already underway and participants are not
required to move outside between buildings; or
 The event is part of the Schulich School of Business
Executive Learning Centre; or
 The organizer receives written approval from the related
Vice President who will consult with VPFA prior to
making a final determination
Special Events
 Each division, Faculty and department is responsible for notifying
organizers of scheduled events of the weather emergency
 Where applicable, organizers shall notify the Security Control Centre
of events that are proceeding in accordance with Vice-Presidential
approval and provide names and contact information for follow up
contact, if required, during the weather emergency.
NOTE: The appropriate VP will email approval to SEO-VPFA who will
forward it to the SCC.
 Event organizers may contact the Security Control Centre to obtain
up-to-date information regarding campus road and parking lot
Special Events
Examples of cases where event organizers might seek approval
to continue with their events:
– Conferences – where participants are already here on
campus and are not required to travel between buildings
– Sporting events - if the teams and all participants are
here, having travelled distances to compete, there may be
significant cost in re-scheduling, and it may be safer to
hold the event than send everyone back on the road
– Professional development courses (e.g., Osgoode
Downtown Centre), where professionals have easy
underground and subway access
 VP approval is required for these events.
These procedures are not intended to cover all possible
eventualities. It is assumed that the decision-making
and relevant communications will be adapted, as
appropriate, to suit the circumstances. It cannot be
assumed that all individuals who may be coming to campus
or on campus at the time of a Weather Emergency can be
notified of the cancellation of classes and / or postponement
of exams.
Right or Wrong ?
Regardless of the University’s decision during a winter storm,
many may not agree with the decision, such:
 Those who have a long commute or those insecure
about driving in winter conditions
 Those who have organized major events that are being
staged, or
 Administrators and Senate/Faculty leaders who are
concerned about the finite period of time available to
deliver the curriculum and/or to stage examinations
Weather considerations with no
Winter Storms and Personal Safety Concerns
 When there is snow activity and a decision is made not to
suspend University classes and programs, University students
and employees should recognize that the commute will
be longer, based upon the travel conditions.
 Conditions and circumstances will differ from institution to
institution, so York does not close because U of T, McMaster or
Humber College decide to do so, though we do consult with
them and factor their status into our decision making.
Weather considerations with no
Winter Storms and Personal Safety Concerns
 The individual commuting circumstances of every community
member cannot be taken into account, so it is incumbent on
individuals themselves to determine whether or not they can
safely commute. This is an individual responsibility
 Employees have the option of calling in and making
arrangements with their manager or department chair for
alternative coverage or fulfillment of their duties – i.e., using a
vacation or personal day
Weather considerations with no
Winter Storms and Personal Safety Concerns
 The University does have provisions for students whose individual
situations require them to be absent during a scheduled class or
examination (contact Office of the Registrar)
 Many course instructors now communicate directly with students in
their classes (via e-mail, Moodle, etc.) when they decide to cancel a
class – whether the University declares a weather emergency or not
 Likewise, students notify course instructors via e-mail, text message
and Moodle when they are unable to attend

Weather Emergencies - Vice-President Finance and Administration