Summary of Waterloo's weather closing guidelines

The information on the page is an informal summary of Waterloo's full weather closing guidelines, available on the Secretariat's website.

The University of Waterloo and the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo will close because of severe weather when normal operation would pose a significant danger to students and employees, or would prevent large numbers of them from coming to campus or returning safely to their homes.

How Waterloo makes this decision

The decision is made by the Provost, in consultation with the Director of Special Constable Services, the Associate Vice-President, Communications, and the Associate Director, Parking, Grounds and Transportation. They monitor information from municipal and provincial police services, Grand River Transit, Environment Canada and other nearby post-secondary institutions to reach a decision.

A decision to close Waterloo's satellite campuses in Kitchener, Cambridge and Stratford may be made by the administrator responsible for each campus, taking into account local conditions in that area.

Timing and notification of decision

A notice of a campus closing or remaining open during a severe weather event will be posted to the University home page, normally by 6 a.m. and will remain in effect until 6 a.m. the next day.

All members of the university community should monitor the University home page, Twitter account, WatSAFE app, or local media for updates on whether the University of Waterloo has closed.

Results of a closure


Classes will not be held when the University is closed. Faculty members and academic departments do not have the authority to make exceptions. Instructors may choose to reschedule a missed class. The instructor should consult with the class, where practical, and with their local room scheduler to find available dates, rooms and times.

  • An instructor has the authority to reschedule the missed class on the next day on which classes are not scheduled (normally Saturday) at the same time as the missed class.
  • When the "closure" occurs in the last week of classes, the make-up class can be scheduled on the first day in the period between the last day of classes and the start of examinations.
  • Instructors should notify students as soon as possible regarding rescheduled classes.

Co-op interviews and events

Employer information sessions, CCA Workshops and other events, and co-op interviews are considered scheduled events and as such will be cancelled. CEE will make every attempt to reschedule all interviews. Students are advised to check the WaterlooWorks home page for further details. 


  • Staff members providing essential services during a closed period are entitled to equivalent time off at a later date, but not to overtime pay.
  • A staff member on vacation, sick leave or unpaid leave, or who is not scheduled to work on a day when the University is closed is not entitled to equivalent time off later. Employees who come to work and find out on arrival that the University is closed may leave if they wish.

Remaining open

When the University does not close in severe weather, we will strive to ensure the safety and accessibility of the campus. Entranceways to all buildings and all accessibility paths will be cleared, on a priority basis, by 8 a.m.

Individual circumstances vary widely and, when the University remains open in severe weather, those who judge that it may be unsafe to come to campus should discuss alternate work and study arrangements with their instructor or supervisor. 

Faculty (instructors) who are not able to reach the campus to conduct their classes should inform their students as soon as possible by whatever means is appropriate (announcement on course homepage, email, etc.). In the event that severe weather results in students missing examinations or graded coursework, faculty may elect to reschedule or provide accommodations.

Teaching assistants who are not able to reach the campus for their scheduled work must notify their course instructor and endeavour, where possible, to find a suitable replacement and determine how to make up missed hours.

Staff members will inform their Department Heads/Managers as soon as possible if they will not be present at work that day.  Department Heads/Managers, at their discretion, are entitled to allow individual staff members to:

  • work at home
  • take time off without pay
  • have time made up either through working overtime or through a reduction in vacation time