Extreme Weather

The weather at UBC can be unpredictable—as UBC has it’s own micro-climate which can be quite different from lower-lying areas.

Each department is responsible for setting their own policies and expectations with faculty and staff as it relates to attendance during extreme weather events.

In extreme weather situations, updates on campus conditions, classes or exams are available on https://ubc.ca.

Extreme Heat

Rising temperatures can cause serious health and safety implications. Your body has to work harder to maintain its normal optimal temperature on hot, humid days. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious but preventable heat-related illnesses caused by high temperatures. In addition, hot temperatures can worsen pre-existing health conditions.

For more information on the Weather and Thermal Stress Safety, visit the Safety & Risk Services.

Heat Warnings

If Environment and Climate Change Canada issues a heat warning, take additional steps to stay safe. Identify those at risk, make plans, and prepare your home. Be sure you are ready: Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide.

Indoor temperatures can rise significantly during the day. Make plans for you and your loved ones to stay cool during the day by seeking shade outdoors or at a cooling center near you. Don’t forget to look after your pets.

If a heat warning has been issued, you can find a list of on-campus UBC Cooling Centers on the Safety & Risk Services website.

Visit your First Nation or local authority website for additional information, guidance and cooling centers location: Musqueam Indian Band, City of Vancouver, City of Richmond, City of Burnaby, City of Surrey, City of New Westminster, City of North Vancouver, City of Coquitlam, City of Port Coquitlam, City of Port Moody, City of Delta, City of Langley.

*Please note: Not all neighbouring First Nation or Local Authority websites are listed above.

Extreme Heat Emergency

If an extreme heat emergency is declared, it is important that you have a personal emergency plan. Pay attention to the information from your local authority and trusted sources.


UBC Facilities is responsible for managing ice prevention and snow removal on the Vancouver campus. They monitor custom weather feeds to get accurate predictions of what’s coming and work hard to make the campus as safe as possible as soon as possible. Municipal Services’ fleet of snow removal and deicing vehicles start early in the morning to plow and treat as many roads as possible before the first students, faculty, and staff arrive.

The Campus Snow and Ice Management Plan allow crews to prioritize work in order to ensure the highest risk areas of campus are open first — places such as the bus loop, hospital, daycares, and arterial roads — before moving onto major pedestrian routes and academic areas, followed by other campus roads. For more information on ice prevention and snow removal, visit UBC Facilities.

As per the Snow Policy, if UBC is subject to extreme winter weather conditions, the administration may decide to cancel or reschedule classes and/or curtail non-essential services. You are advised to check https://www.ubc.ca in the event of extreme weather for updates.

We recommend UBC students, faculty, staff and campus visitors to also download the UBC Safe Vancouver app and  turn on your push notifications to receive immediate information (e.g. weather advisories, class cancellations, etc.) and updates that are impacting the entire campus. For more information, visit Safety & Risk Services.

For information on UBC’s winter weather protocols for faculty & staff, visit Human Resources.

Tips to help you stay upright during the winter season

Adjust your gait — Shorten your stride length to keep your centre of gravity supported. Also, walk with your knees slightly bent, as locking your knees reduces your ability to adjust to a slip. When turning to avoid sharp turns.

Slow down — Take slow, deliberate steps and be on the lookout for icy spots. Place your whole foot down at once, shifting your weight slowly to this foot before stepping with the other foot.

Balance your load — Consider donning a backpack. Backpacks keep your load closer to your centre of gravity. Carrying heavy items in your hands hinders your arms’ ability to provide balance when you do slip. You need your arms free to help you recover your balance if you start to slide. Do not walk with your hands in your pockets for this very same reason.

Wear appropriate footwear — Footwear with a thick rubber or non-slip sole is recommended. Avoid wearing heels and footwear with minimal tread.

Entering/exiting your vehicle — Take care when stepping into/out of your car as you are usually off balance and on only one foot. This increases your chance of slipping. Consider carrying a bag of sand in your vehicle that you can sprinkle on the ground before exiting the vehicle.

Snow-covered curbs — Exercise caution around snow-covered curbs on paths and roadways.

Entering/exiting buildings — Entrance ways may be slippery, exercise caution and report any missing floor mats to UBC Facilities.

Snow removal equipment — Our winter equipment is fully operational during early morning & daytime hours whenever a snowfall occurs. We are requesting staff and students be aware of moving equipment and be cognisant of the potential risk for pedestrians walking in front of and/or behind operating equipment.


High winds can happen without warning and in any season. High winds can blow down trees and branches and cause power outages, road closures, and traffic disruptions. Be prepared to be without power by developing an emergency plan, and putting together your emergency kit.

• Stay safe, warm, dry and calm.
• Avoid driving.
• Go out only if you have to. If you must, dress warmly to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

Power Outage

A power outage is a short or long-term loss of electric power to an area. During an extended power outage, you may be without light, heat and hot water. Most power outages will be over almost as soon as they begin, but some can last much longer — up to days or even weeks. Power outages are often caused by freezing rain, sleet storms and/or high winds which damage power lines and equipment. Cold snaps or heat waves can also overload the electric power system.

  • Carefully exit the impacted area.
  • If safe to do so, secure any equipment or materials you are working with before leaving the area (i.e. unplug electrical equipment and turn off computers).
  • Follow emergency lighting to guide you to exits.
  • Use the stairs carefully. Elevators will be unavailable.

For more information on electrical power at UBC, visit UBC Facilities.