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Policy

Emergency Closing

It is the policy of Seneca College to provide a safe learning and working environment for students, staff and campus visitors.

With the exception of the December holiday break and statutory holidays, the college remains open every day. On occasion, severe weather conditions or other emergencies such as utility failures or floods may require an individual campus or the college to close in the interest of safety. Should this action be necessary, the college will provide as much notice as possible in the circumstance to minimize inconvenience.

The Vice-President, Finance and Administration will determine whether a campus/college closure is necessary. In the absence of the Vice-President, Finance and Administration, the decision will be made by an alternate Vice-President, as designated by the Vice-President, Finance and Administration. Employees who are scheduled to work on the partial day/full day of a closure due severe weather conditions or other emergency will receive their regular rate of pay.

Unless the campus/college is officially closed due to severe weather conditions or other emergencies, employees are required to be at work. Employees absent from work due to weather conditions will be required to utilize a vacation day, lieu day or a leave of absence without pay. Any exceptions to this policy must be authorized by the appropriate Vice-President.

In order to ensure the health and safety of the college community, some positions are designated as essential. Designated essential employees are required to remain at work or report to work as soon as possible in the event the campus/college is declared officially closed.

  • In instances where an employee designated as essential is required to report to work, compensation shall be based on the applicable provisions of the collective agreement.
  • In instances where an employee designated as essential is required to remain at work, the employee will receive paid time off, calculated at their regular rate of pay for the period of the closure, to be scheduled at a later date.
  • In instances where an employee designated as essential is required to work beyond their regular scheduled hours, compensation shall be based on the applicable provisions of the collective agreement.

Administrative Guidelines

During periods of severe weather – such as excess snowfall or ice conditions; or other emergencies such as utility failures or floods, it may be necessary for a campus or college closure in order to protect the safety of the college community. Indications that such a decision may be required include: current weather conditions, local weather forecasts, ability to ensure safe passage into the building, safety of individuals travelling to/from college facilities and safety within the building.

When a campus or the college is closed for severe weather conditions or other emergency, the following shall apply:

  • classes are cancelled
  • meetings or other scheduled events/activities are cancelled/postponed
  • staff other than those defined as essential services are not required to attend work, but are paid for a normal work day
  • examinations are postponed

Responsibilities

Vice-President, Finance and Administration (or designate)
The Vice-President, Finance and Administration is the individual responsible for determining whether the campus/college will close due to severe weather conditions or other emergency situations. This decision shall be reached based on information provided by those listed below:

Vice-President, Academic (or designate)
In consultation with Deans/Chairs, the Vice-President, Academic will provide information regarding the status of full-time programming and the effect a closure may have on operations at that particular time, for example exams.

Campus Principal (or designate)
Each Campus Principal will provide campus information to the Vice-President, Finance and Administration in order to ascertain whether it is necessary to close a particular campus.

Further, should it appear that severe weather or other emergency is isolated to a particular region; the Campus Principal shall proactively contact the Vice-President, Finance and Administration for the purpose of providing campus conditions and recommendations regarding the possible suspension of operations.

Dean, Faculty of Continuing Education and Training (or designate)
Upon request, the Dean, FCET will provide information regarding the status of FCET programming and the effect a closure may have on operations at that particular time, for example exams.

Director, Facilities Management (or designate)
The Director Facilities Management will provide the Vice-President, Finance and Administration with information related to the condition of exterior property at each campus. For the purposes of this policy, exterior property is defined as sidewalks, walkways, handicapped access, roadways, parking lots and entrances.

The Director, Facilities Management will advise the Vice-President, Finance and Administration, should there be any circumstance related to building operations that may determine whether a campus should close. Examples include building system failures or insufficient staffing to provide a safe environment.

Director, College Services (or designate)
Upon notification of a campus/college closure, the Director, College Services will advise contract providers of food services, security and residences. Working in conjunction with the Director, Facilities Management, access from the residence to the city/township property will be maintained as much as possible, given the circumstance.

The Director, College Services will ensure provisions for adequate staffing levels to meet college needs in the event of a campus/college closure due to severe weather conditions or other emergencies are addressed when negotiating contracts for food, security and residence services.

Director, Marketing and Communications (or designate)
The Director, Marketing and Communications will ensure the appropriate communication of any cancellations/closures. This will include external and internal communications and will remain current for the duration of the severe weather or other emergency.

Chief Information Officer (or designate)
Upon request of the Director, Marketing and Communications, the Chief Information Officer will ensure the telephone messaging reflects current information for the duration of the severe weather or other emergency.

Manager, Health, Safety and Wellness
The Manager, Health, Safety and Wellness will provide information regarding the need to close a campus or the college relevant to the provisions within health and safety legislation, college health and safety policy or public health requirements.

College Administrators
Administrators will ensure employees in their area(s) of responsibility are aware of this policy and wherever possible will communicate information in order to assist employees who may require advance notice of closures for individual needs.

Administrators will advise the employees within their area(s) of responsibility of their status as essential. Only employees who are necessary 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 as essential.

Administrators will ensure that contracts to provide services include appropriate clauses to address the possibility of the cancellation of services in the event of severe weather or other emergency.

Procedures

Emergency Closing

Severe weather/other emergency – overnight

In the event the severe weather conditions or other emergency situations occur overnight, College Security will contact the Director, College Services advising of conditions at 5:30 a.m. Information provided will include current weather conditions, condition of parking lots and internal roadways and local forecasts from Environment Canada. For other emergency situations, the relevant information will be provided.

The Director College, Services will contact the Vice-President, Finance and Administration and in telephone consultation with the Director, Facilities Management any decision to close the campus/college will be provided to the Director, Marketing and Communications by 6:00 a.m. Depending on the circumstance, the input of the Manager, Health, Safety and Wellness may also be included.

The Director, Marketing and Communications will ensure the communication of the college's decision to internal and external communities occurs as quickly as possible in the circumstance to provide students and staff with appropriate notice.

Severe weather/other emergency – normal business day

Should severe weather conditions or other emergency situations occur during the normal work day, the Vice-President, Finance and Administration will reach a decision based on information provided by individuals listed in the Responsibilities section of this policy. The decision will be provided to the Director, Marketing and Communications, who will be responsible for communicating the decision to internal and external communities.

Essential Services

For the purposes of this policy, essential services are defined as services that are necessary to enable the college to ensure the health and safety of the college community, preservation and protection of building assets and minimization of environmental damage.

Administrators are responsible for advising employees within their area(s) of responsibility regarding their status as providing an essential service. Essential employees who work during a closure due to severe weather or other emergency shall receive their regular wages for the day and receive equivalent time off in lieu at a later time. Overtime rates shall apply as per the requirements of the applicable collective agreement.

Communication

The Emergency Closing Policy will be communicated to the college community through My.Seneca at appropriate times throughout the year. In addition, a list of radio/television stations that will be advised of college closures will also be communicated.

December 6, 2006


Health and Safety web site: inside.senecac.on.ca/hr/healthsafety
Maintained by: Health, Safety and Wellness Department