Toronto weathered a miserable and messy Monday as the city saw a record-breaking 19 centimetres of snowfall on January 28. Throughout the day, U of T’s three campuses closed or cancelled classes due to the weather. With temperatures expected to remain chilly, The Varsity took a look at how and when U of T campuses decide to close.


The first campus to take action at around 10:00 am, UTM announced on January 28 that it would be closing at 4:00 pm “due to worsening weather conditions.”

According to the campus’ website, notices for full-day or morning cancellations at UTM are posted by 6:00 am, with updates for evening classes and events generally made by 3:00 pm.

All decisions regarding class cancellations at UTM are informed by its chief administrative officer (CAO) and Campus Police, and made by its Vice-President & Principal. In the event of campus closure, decisions are also discussed with the Vice-President Human Resources & Equity.

Prior to Monday’s closure, UTM was last closed in April due to an ice storm.

According to UTM’s Weather Information page, aside from current and predicted weather conditions, factors considered before closing campus include the states of local roads, walkways, and transit operations, any closures of local and regional businesses and schools, and the consequences of closing campus.

Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories on January 28.

Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories on January 28. SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY


Following suit less than two hours later, UTSC declared all classes and scheduled events on January 28 cancelled starting at 5:00 pm.

According to its severe weather guidelines, UTSC’s decisions for morning and evening classes are posted around 6:30 am and 4:15 pm respectively.

Cancellations at UTSC are also determined by its Vice-President & Principal based on advice from its CAO and Director of Campus Safety and Security. Closures are likewise discussed with the Vice-President Human Resources & Equity. Last April’s ice storm also saw UTSC close.


While updates for UTM and UTSC evening classes were given with at least five-hours notice, classes at UTSG scheduled for after 6:00 pm were not cancelled until after 2:30 pm, with emails not sent until a few minutes before the hour.

According to the provost office’s policy on class cancellations, UTSG staff, faculty, and students should be alerted of morning and full-day cancellations or closures by 6:00 am.

The provost’s office gives no indication for how soon updates on evening classes can be expected.

Both the Vice-President & Provost and Vice-President Human Resources & Equity are involved in determining UTSG’s status under adverse weather conditions. Concerns from Campus Police and the Vice-President University Operations are also considered.

Freezing students walk through the wintery abyss on a cold and snowy day in Toronto.

Freezing students walk through the wintery abyss on a cold and snowy day in Toronto. SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

In the event of a campus closure on any given day, including weekends, all on-campus activities and events are cancelled and all buildings are locked, with the exception of essential services such as campus security and residence-related services.

During class cancellations, all non-academic services remain operational. Proceedings of non-academic events and operating hours for campus facilities may vary at the discretion of their respective supervisors. Students who are unable to attend classes are advised to look through the syllabi of affected classes for policies on attendance and late or missed assignments and exams.

Of 16 other colleges and universities in southwestern Ontario affected, only Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Guelph, and the University of Waterloo remained open on January 28.