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Campus Closure Policy

  • Related Documents: Campus Closure Procedures
  • Owner:  Vice-President, Administration and Operations
  • Approver:  President
  • Approval Dates:  April 2000, August 2007, February 2013, November 2014, June 2024

I.    Purpose

This Policy and any accompanying Procedures describe the circumstances under which the University may decide to close the University Premises due to a serious disruption to University Critical Functions, such as severe weather or a utility failure. It outlines who makes the decision, how the decision is communicated to the University Community and the process for closing and reopening the University Campus. 

II.    Scope and Application 

This Policy applies to University Property and University Critical Functions that take place on University Premises. 

This Policy applies to in-person activities taking place on University Premises. 

This Policy applies to circumstances where the closure of university campuses is required. The Policy does not apply to circumstances where the closure of a building or portions of university campuses is required. 

This Policy applies to all members of the University Community. 

Where this Policy or the accompanying Procedure conflicts with the provisions of an applicable collective agreement, the collective agreement will prevail. 

III.    Definitions 

Closure” means the University will cancel in-person activities, including but not limited to the following: classes, exams, university-run student events, including athletics and recreation, research labs, business services and administrative operations. The Early Learning Centre (daycare) will close. The University may prevent or limit access to buildings. Student residences may remain open. All virtual and remote operations (including classes, exams and administrative functions) will continue unless the University states otherwise. 

“Essential Services” means occupations or services where, if absent, represent an endangerment to the life, personal safety or health of the University Community members. It includes but is not limited to water, electricity, physical security, maintenance and groundskeeping, food for students in residence, or the human resources required to operate Essential Services. It may also include public transportation, where disruption would result in the inability of employees who provide Essential Services to get to campus. A role may or may not be designated an Essential Service by a Leader dependent on the context of a specific situation. 

“University Community” means all students, faculty, and staff, including contractors and visitors. 

“University Critical Functions” means activities associated with teaching, learning, scholarly research and creative activities (SRC), or living on campus; or may be performed to preserve life, prevent injury, or protect property; or may be required by law or regulatory authority; or, may be a service that supports another critical function. 

“University Premises” means any space or digital environment that is owned, leased, controlled, licensed, operated, or otherwise occupied by the University, but does not include premises leased or licensed to external parties for their exclusive use by the University. For further clarity, University Premises include space in downtown Toronto and Brampton. It does not include any international campus. 

“University Property” means all tangible and intangible property owned, leased, or controlled by the University, including but not limited to lands, buildings, vehicles, equipment, and information.

IV.    Policy 


1. The University shall consider closing the University Premises when circumstances, such as severe weather or a utility failure, are likely to result in conditions that exceed the University’s ability to provide safe access to University Premises or to deliver University Critical Functions or provide Essential Services. 

2. Where the University operates collaborative academic programming with another post-secondary institution, the University’s decision to close shall apply only to classes taking place on the University Premises. The University will determine if those classes should be cancelled or can be continued remotely. Where classes that are part of a collaborative program operate at a different post-secondary institution or location, the University Community shall follow that post-secondary institution’s policy or website for closure information. 

3. If a University Community member does not typically have access to a building during a closure but requires access for purposes related to a University Critical Function or Essential Service, they must seek authorization from their dean/chair//director/leader. Community Safety and Security shall provide safe access to University Premises unless safe access is not possible. 

4. If a member of the University Community has assets or scholarly research and creative materials that may be affected by the Closure, they are responsible for developing procedures to anticipate such events and for reviewing and registering these procedures with Environmental Health and Safety, a department within Facilities Management and Development. 


5. The University shall consider reopening the University Premises when the risks and impacts of the circumstances that resulted in the Closure have been reduced so that the University is able to provide safe access to University Premises, to deliver University Critical Functions and to provide Essential Services. 


6. TMU’s mass notification tool, TMU Safe, shall be the official means of notifying the University Community of a Closure and of the reopening. 

7. The University’s website ( will automatically include the TMU Safe notification through the notification bar at the top of the site. Where necessary and as needed, additional information will be provided by University Relations and Administration Operations Communications through email, website and social media. 

V. Roles and Responsibilities 

Provost and Vice-President, Academic: Responsible for making the decision for a Closure and reopening in conjunction with the Vice-President, Administration and Operations. 

Vice-President, Administration and Operations: Responsible for making the decision for a Closure and reopening in conjunction with the Provost and Vice-President Academic. May consult with Community Safety and Security and/or with Facilities Management and Development to obtain additional information as needed. May consult with other University stakeholders as appropriate. 

Community Safety and Security: Responsible for documenting the rationale and circumstances leading to a recommendation for Closure. Works closely with Facilities Management and Development to obtain up-to-date information on University Premises. Provides the Vice-President, Administration and Operations with a recommendation about a Closure. Responsible for closing buildings. Responsible for issuing mass notification of a Closure using TMU Safe.

Facilities Management and Development: Responsible for notifying Community Safety and Security about conditions on the University Premises that could lead to a Closure or reopening. 

Environmental Health and Safety: Provides University Community members with guidance and recommendations to ensure the health, safety, and viability of scholarly research, creative materials, and other University Property that may be negatively affected by a Closure. 

Human Resources and Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty Affairs: Advise on employment issues related to a Closure. 

Administration and Operations Communications and University Relations: Advises on communication strategies to improve the effectiveness of notifications.