Continuity Planning

Updated: June 14, 2023

The U of A relies on continuity planning to protect institutional activities such as research and learning that could be affected by an emergency. Following the procedures in your continuity plan will decrease the stress of managing an incident and ensure your team is accessing replacement resources in the safest and most efficient way. Remember to revisit and refresh your operational continuity plans regularly and update them as needed.

Units should be prepared for the possibility of possible building closures, extended absences, shifts to remote work and additional disruptions. University activities and spaces may need to shut down quickly, regardless of whether they are located on or off campus.

The instructions below were customized for the COVID-19 pandemic and are provided as an example; however, please ensure your operational continuity planning accounts for any emergency scenario.

Preparing for a Continuity Plan

Step 1: Plan 

Identify the critical functions of your unit
  • Which activities must be prioritized in the event that you cannot perform all your usual functions?
  • Are there key deadlines in the future that you must meet?
  • Are you planning any large gatherings or events that could be affected by travel bans or by guidance from the province and/or university?
  • Be prepared to deliver instruction and examinations online.
Identify critical staff
  • Are there critical functions that can only be carried out by specific staff?
  • Should you consider cross-training to minimize the impact of absences?
  • Are there alternate ways for those staff to perform their function, such as by working remotely if the need should arise?
  • Do you have an up-to-date task list or job fact sheet for them?
Identify critical supplies and services
  • Are there materials that you cannot afford to do without? (This is especially important in research environments where a shortage could result in the loss of invaluable research.)
  • Are there vital products or materials you should order now to minimize the likelihood of being without in an emergency?
Ensure you are set up to work remotely
  • Update your contact information in Bear Tracks and the staff directory.
  • Ensure you know your voicemail password.
    • Consider forwarding your work phone to your cell phone.
  • Personal phone numbers may be shared with colleagues and clients in order to continue operations at home. Alternatively, use Google Meet for calls. Learn how
  • Review How to call voicemail from home. From off-campus, dial 780-492-2000. When answered, press # key then your 5-digit ID (last 5 digits of your phone number). You will then be prompted for your PIN (password).
  • If needed, download Microsoft Office products for free from OnTheHub on your home computer.

Learn about working remotely

Evaluate your workplace hygiene practices
  • As supervisors and leaders, continue to practice good workplace hygiene practices to minimize the potential spread of disease.
  • Educate employees on the virus and transmission. Ensure they are aware of all hygiene protocols contained in the prevention section of the Health Recommendations and Services page.
  • Ensure your worksite has the supplies necessary to ensure cleanliness and hygiene; this includes tissues, hand sanitizers, soap, surface cleaners, and proper trash receptacles.
  • Insist on evidence-based procedures and help manage anxiety caused by rumours and unproven practices.
  • Encourage employees to stay home if they are ill and call 8-1-1 Alberta Health Link for medical advice.

Step 2: Document

Document your operational continuity plan:

  1. Update an existing plan (check with your unit or department planner for access) OR
  2. Start a new one: Complete the Operational Continuity Plan template to generate a plan.

Instructions are on the templates. For assistance, email

Having a Continuity Incident

If you are having a continuity incident right now and don't have a plan, here's what to do.

  • Determine which essential assets you have lost and must replace immediately
  • Consult these strategies, in order of precedence, for fixing these issues

Office Space

To find new office space, contact your faculty and department to see if there is space available.

On-campus Space

U of A Architect
Phone: 780-248-1434

Off-campus Space

Real Estate Services
Phone: 780-492-4164

Classroom or Laboratory Space

To find a new classroom or laboratory space, contact your faculty and department to see if there is space available.

On-campus Space

U of A Architect
Phone: 780-248-1434

Exams and Time Tabling
Phone: 780-492-5221

Off-campus Space

Real Estate Services
Phone: 780-492-4164

Clinic Space

To find new clinic space.

Off-campus Space

Real Estate Services
Phone: 780-492-4164

Phone Service

To restore phone service.


Phone: 780-492-3422


Phone: 611

Computers and Network Access

Information Systems Technologies (IST)

Phone: 780-492-9400
Phone after-hours: 780-492-3982

Equipment and Vehicles

Procure Vehicles

Transportation Services
Phone: 780-492-1920

Procure Equipment

U of A Supply Management Services
Phone: 780-492-4668


Facilities and Operations at Control Centre

Phone: 780-492-4855


Faculty and Department administration

HR consultant
Phone: 780-492-4555

Additional Support

If you require additional support.

Emergency Management

Phone: 780-498-2663