Key Terms & Definitions

Business Continuity Plan (BCP): 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

Business Continuity Planning: the logistical planning for how the University and its units will maintain critical functions and services as well as recover and restore interrupted services in the event of a crisis or routine emergency and/or extended disruption.

Critical Employee – those employees designated by their respective unit to report to work during a crisis or routine emergency to support a critical function.

Critical Functions – also known as essential services in emergency situations, are defined as those services or activities required to provide food and shelter to students in residence; protection of the health and safety of humans through EHS, the Hazardous Materials Group, etc; full and complete care of animals in research capacities; and all services of security, police and regulatory personnel. Critical Business Functions have been defined as payroll continuity and systems continuity (AMS, VPN, UT Alerts, etc). Critical services shall include those providing continuous access to buildings and grounds, communications, and indirect support such as building operations, preservation of infrastructure, utility systems, material procurement and certain contract and legal activities. (Examples: campus police, hazardous material clean-up, physical plant operations, at-risk research).

Disruptive event: Unpredictable and serious incidents or ongoing events that involve novel circumstances, and have a significant impact on University operations and may cause actual harm to persons. In some cases, a crisis may have widespread impact that extends beyond the institution. Examples include terrorist attacks, natural disasters, global pandemics, an active shooter near/on campus, or a lab fire involving hazardous chemicals that is spreading across campus and in to the atmosphere. A crisis could also result from a routine emergency for which planned responses prove ineffective.

Tiers – Functions/Operations are broken down in to three tiers:

Tier I – Critical Functions: Must be operational within 72 hours

Also known as Essential Services in emergency situations, are defined as:

  • those services or activities required to provide food and shelter to students in residence;
  • protection of human health and safety through EHS, the Hazardous Materials Group, etc;
  • full and complete care of animals in research capacities/facilities;
  • and all services of security, police and regulatory personnel.

Critical Business Functions have been defined as:

  • accounts payable continuity (cheque and payment creation, etc) and
  • systems continuity (AMS, VPN, UT Alerts, Website, etc).

Critical services shall include:

  • those providing continuous access to buildings and grounds (including FOB system),
  • central communications, and
  • indirect support such as building operations, preservation of infrastructure, utility systems, material procurement (Examples: campus police, hazardous material clean-up, physical plant operations, at-risk research) and
  • certain contract and legal activities.

Tier II – Intermediate Functions: Must be operational within 1 week (7 days)

Those functions and services that are secondary to the University’s critical functions that can withstand a short-term disruption of more than 72 hours, but need to be resumed in a timely manner (1 week) to avoid a long term impact to the operation (examples: classroom instruction, student counselling, general, less time-sensitive research).

Tier III – Deferrable Functions: Must be operational within 30 days

Those functions and services that can be paused or deferred during an incident and can resume when conditions permit (examples: routine building maintenance, training, donor solicitation, grant solicitation).

 Unit – refers to any functional unit, program or department at U of T.