Winter weather (snow day) disruptions at UBC Okanagan

Did you know that UBC Okanagan doesn’t “close” during a snow storm?

A snowfall event may prompt the cancellation of classes or curtailment of some non-essential services, but even if a “snow day” is called, the University remains open.

Here’s what UBC’s Board of Governors policy says about it:

“The University will remain open during snow storms but may cancel or reschedule classes on a university-wide basis and/or curtail non-essential services in response to conditions.”
— (UBC Policy #68: Disruption Of Classes/Services By Snow)

The complete text of the UBC Board of Governors policy #68 on Disruption of Classes/Services by Snow can be viewed online at:

Who decides to call a snow day?

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal may decide that inclement weather warrants the cancellation of classes.

During a snow day, all classes (credit and non-credit) are cancelled for the day and wherever possible they will be rescheduled. All essential services remain active.

How is a snow day communicated?

A decision is communicated to all the deans, and to University Relations. In the event of an overnight snowfall,  the objective is to make the decision and begin communicating it by 6 a.m.

University Relations communicates the decision:

  • To the media
  • To the public via a notice on the UBC Okanagan website’s home page, which includes a link to this winter weather information page. The Okanagan campus home page would display a banner alerting the community to the snow closure.
  • To faculty and staff via a global email distributed by the director of University Relations or designate
  • Via social media (Twitter and Facebook)
  • If classes or exams are cancelled, the UBC Alert messaging system may also be used to communicate.

    Sign up to receive UBC Alert emergency messages.

Student Services communicates the decision:

  • To students via email

Department Heads and Administrators should have clear procedures in place to notify students, staff and faculty when classes are cancelled and non-essential services are curtailed.

Make sure all faculty and staff know the procedures, and how they are to learn about winter weather disruptions. This may include updates on the Faculty or Department home page, emails, recorded voice mails in offices, and telephone trees.

What are the essential services?

Essential services include food services needed for students in residence, the functioning of the heating plants and maintenance of security.

Those individuals assigned as essential services for their areas (designated by their supervisor) are expected to work during snow days.

Do I have to go to work during a snow day?

When classes are cancelled due to snow and non-essential services are curtailed, faculty and staff scheduled to work will be paid their regular salary/wages if they choose to stay home.

Can I leave work early on a snowy day?

In the event of deteriorating conditions during a person’s normal workday, administrators have the authority, upon receiving communication originating in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s office, to permit staff not designated as essential services to leave early without loss of pay.

Human Resources Contacts

If you have any questions or concerns about staffing in the event of a winter storm, please contact Human Resources.