Business Continuity at U of T

A BCP is not an emergency response plan; the purpose of a BCP is to facilitate the recovery and resumption of critical functions through the development of plans, procedures and provisions for alternate sites, personnel, resources, interoperable communications and vital records/databases.

The planning process should take an “all hazards” approach. There are many different threats or hazards and the probability that a specific hazard will impact a unit/area is hard to determine. It is therefore important to consider many different threats and hazards and the likelihood that they will occur, meaning that each planning scenario will incorporate both the loss of infrastructure and staff caused by any natural or man-made emergency.  All major U of T work units will need to prepare a unit BCP specific to their needs, and we hope that this site will assist in those plans.  The overarching goal of the BCP planning process is to assist each unit to recover to a fully operational level within 30 days of a major interruption, with interim timelines based on function criticality.

A Business Continuity Planning template is provided on this site for campus units to ensure that plans are consistent and integrated.  For the purpose of this template, the term “unit” refers to any functional unit, program or department at U of T.

The University’s institutional BCPs are based on the realistic approach to the problems likely to be encountered during a major emergency or crisis.  The following may apply:

  • An emergency or a crisis may occur at any time of the day or night, weekday, weekend, or holiday, with little or no warning;
  • Emergency response and associated recovery efforts will be influenced by the changing patterns of services, facility use and present campus population through the normal cycles of the academic calendar;
  • Crises may be community-wide. Therefore, it is necessary to plan for and carry out crisis response and short-term recovery operations in conjunction with other campus and local resources.

Units are encouraged to be collaborative when completing their template, and seek comments from staff and leadership and the University BCP Planning Team.

A comprehensive central BCP, focused on Essential Services, Critical Business Functions or Critical Services (see definitions tab) for which there is central accountability,  will be implemented once the extraordinary operational interruption has stabilized, and the campus begins the recovery process. Following an emergency, business units should plan to launch their own plan locally and simultaneously, though if central resources are required as part of their local BCP, this should be communicated to the BCP team during planning stages.  It is assumed that infrastructure and staffing will be impaired for some time, but that the campus is able to resume certain functions on a priority basis.  Essential functions that involve life safety, infrastructure and technology will be given the highest priority.  The unit BCP may be used to help the campus prioritize the resumption of operations.

Institutional BCPs for the following areas have been compiled, and a summary of areas covered is provided for information:

Ancillary Services:

  • Student Family Housing Plans for 30 & 35 Charles Street West, Residential Towers; 35 Charles Street West, Retail; 35 Charles Street West, George Brown Childcare Centre; 730 Yonge Street, Commercial/Retail
  • Residential Housing Plan

UofT Communications:

  • UofT Alerts system; UofT homepage; central social channels; issues management; media relations; brand journalism

Facilities & Services

  • Property Management (St. George); Property & Management (off campus locations, including KSR, Downsview, etc.)

Financial Services & Human Resources & Equity:

  • Payroll (HRE)
  • Processing of emergency payments required during crisis or disruption; Processing of critical payments required to meet legislative, regulatory and contractual requirements; Monitoring of cash flows to meet payment obligations

Information Technology Services:

  • (Enterprise) Academic & Collaborative Technologies group (ACT), in partnership with Online Learning Strategies (OLS): operates enterprise services and systems that support the academic, collaboration, and communications (includes: Quercus (Academic Toolbox), Turnitin, REDCap Survey & Data Collection Tool, Enterprise WordPress Hosting (LAMP), UTC Drupal (University Home Page) and MS Collaboration Tools (Teams, Forms, Stream))• ITS Business Operations & Administration (BOA): financial and human resource management for central ITS and the Office of the Chief Information Officer• Enterprise (Administrative) Applications & Solutions Integration: operates enterprise services and systems that support administrative functions
    (includes: Student Information System including grade submission), Administrative Management Systems (HRIS, FIS, FIS), Enterprise Shared Services (Digital Workplace, Office365, Managed Desktop, Enterprise SharePoint), and Business Intelligence)
  • Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS): implements and manages enterprise-level hardware, systems, network and telecommunications infrastructure, and central administrative data centre. EIS also operates the campus core network, St. George Wifi, and wide area networks (WANs).
  • Information Security & Enterprise Architecture (ISEA): provides identity and access management, information security practices and tool, and risk management services. Includes the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer.
  • Planning, Governance, Assessment & Strategic Partnerships (PGASP): strategic planning efforts for ITS across the University, supports transparent decision making and priority setting for ITS, manages and monitors the effectiveness of our delivery of services.To check the status of enterprise systems: 

Research & Innovation:

  • Occupational Health & Safety (OHS); Research safety & Compliance; Animal Research Ethics; Human Research Ethics


Academic Continuity: the Policy on Academic Continuity (January 26, 2012)


Going forward, these plans will continue to be reviewed, and tested both internally and broadly in tabletop and real time exercises.