Your BCP: Where to Start?

For their own risk mitigation purposes, business units may wish to prepare and maintain an up-to-date Business Continuity Plan BCP, covering unit leadership, functions, communications, staffing, records, supplies and contracted services. 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.

A BCP is a collection of resources, actions, procedures, and information that is developed, tested, and held in readiness for use in the event of a major disruption of operations.

Business continuity planning helps prepare U of T units to maintain mission‐critical operations after any emergency or crisis, and may take effect once an incident has been dealt with through the Crisis or Routine Emergency Framework, and in order to ensure “business as usual” for our critical functions.

Advanced planning can help mitigate the impact that an extraordinary operational interruption may have on a unit/the University and speed recovery back to an operational status.



In order to prepare plans to resume critical operations following an emergency, a consistent set of planning assumptions must be used by all units.

For the purposes of planning, assume that either a severe staffing loss or damaged facility could severely impact technology resources on campus, and that information technology resources will be unavailable at the onset of an emergency.

Consider the following real-life scenarios and the impact they may potentially have on unit operations as well as the campus community as a whole:

  1. An unexpected water main break has flooded two unit offices necessitating emergency relocation to other buildings across campus.  Files, equipment and office furniture were destroyed.

Each unit is required to establish a temporary working office in an alternate location.

  1. The Public Health Agency of Canada has warned of a pandemic involving a novel, and highly contagious, influenza virus strain.  A pandemic could impact campus activities for months: classes and public events may be suspended, and 30 percent or more of faculty/staff might be unable or unwilling to work. Campus infrastructure, however, would remain intact.

Disruptions could occur not only to university services, but also among regional vendors, health service providers and local government.

Scenario 1 affects the loss of use of a facility, such as an office, floor or entire building.  Division and unit staff must turn their attention from their normal duties to managing the loss of use of their space, relocating to temporary spaces and resuming normal business operations.  Scenario 2 would likely affect the loss of personnel and supply lines as opposed to University facilities and infrastructure.