Resources for Business Continuity Planning

From: Scott Mabury, Vice-President, University Operations and Real Estate Partnerships
Date: September 1, 2022
Re: Resources for Business Continuity Planning

With the new academic year starting, it seems appropriate to encourage divisions and units to review or initiate their Business Continuity Plans (BCPs).

U of T has operations which must be continually performed, or rapidly and efficiently resumed, in an emergency or any other disruptive event. Business continuity planning helps prepare U of T units to maintain mission‐critical operations after any emergency or crisis, and may take effect once an incident has been dealt with through the Crisis or Routine Emergency Framework, and in order to ensure “business as usual” for our critical functions.

As we know full well, neither the timing nor the impact of an emergency can be predicted, but advanced planning for continued operations under such conditions can mitigate the impact on our people, our facilities and our mission. We therefore recommend the preparation of Business Continuity Plans (BCP), and the Business Continuity Planning site provides guidance and resources to assist you in your planning, including templates, case studies and a summary of the existing institutional BCPs on which you can build your BCP. 

A BCP is not a one‐time project with an established start and end date and, while divisional or unit COVID-related initiatives and processes may inform your BCP, these are not the extent of business continuity plans. Rather, a BCP is a living document whose information and action plans remain viable and current through regular (annual) review and testing, since we can be sure that it is not “if” a disruption will occur, but “when”. The institutional BCPs established in 2018, and reviewed regularly afterwards were key in ensuring our continual operation throughout the pandemic and form a solid foundation on which to frame future BCPs.

This fall, the Business Continuity Working Group will once again review our existing institutional BCPs; we will also be collaborating with U of T communications on a BCP campaign. In the meantime, we encourage you to review the resource-rich content of the Business Continuity Planning site as you launch or review your own BCPs.