UBC Campus Notifications

Last Updated: November 15, 2019 – 8:42 a.m. PST

UBC Vancouver – Transit operators’ strike – Nov. 14 update

Nov. 14, 2019 – 2:05 p.m. PST

Coast Mountain Bus Company transit workers and SeaBus operators have begun job action, with a uniform ban by operators and overtime bans by bus drivers and maintenance workers. We recognize this may cause disruption for students, faculty and staff.

As of Nov. 15 there is an anticipated impact on bus services through Metro Vancouver, in addition to impacts on SeaBus operations.

For up to date information on transit operations, we recommend you check this page: https://alerts.translink.ca/

Although strike action is ongoing, the university is operating as normal. Classes are proceeding and faculty and staff are expected to attend work. However, you are advised to plan ahead and look at TransLink updates for disruptions to your bus route and make other travel plans if necessary.

It is also important to note this current action does not apply to services operated by BCRTC (SkyTrain), West Vancouver Transit, West Coast Express, HandyDART and First Transit (shuttles on Bowen Island and in Langley).

Further updates will be posted to ubc.ca and shared over social media in the coming days.

You are encouraged to bookmark this page and check it regularly.


FAQs – Helping you prepare during transit strike action

Nov. 13, 2019 – 9:36 a.m. PST

The following FAQs have been compiled to help UBC students, faculty and staff during the current Metro Vancouver transit strike action. They are intended to be a useful resource. Please note that UBC does not endorse any of the third parties listed in this communication.

What is the latest on the transit strike?

Strike activity is often not communicated in advance. However, where possible, updates regarding the level of possible action are posted to ubc.ca. We encourage students, faculty and staff to bookmark this website or follow UBC’s main social channels for updates.

Does it affect the SkyTrain?

No. This current action does not apply to services operated by BCRTC (SkyTrain), West Vancouver Transit, West Coast Express, HandyDART and First Transit (shuttles on Bowen Island and in Langley).

If there is an all-out strike, will the Vancouver campus close?

No. Regardless of the level of strike action, the university operates as normal. Classes proceed and faculty and staff are expected to attend work.

What is UBC doing to help alleviate disruption during this time?

We have established a working group to monitor the situation, and are exploring ways in which to help mitigate the potential impact on our students, faculty and staff.

Why doesn’t UBC cancel classes?

The university remains open, regardless of the level of strike action. Not only do we need to continue classes, but we also need to maintain key services for the many students, faculty and staff who live and work on our Vancouver campus. Some of those services are required 24 hours/day every day of the week.

The academic calendar is also extremely complex, and for some of our programs the loss of four or more days could compromise professional accreditation. Cancelling classes or exams is not a solution, as doing so could cause longer-term issues for students who may be forced to make up the classes or even repeat the academic year.

Rather than cancelling classes, we are helping faculty members find ways to allow students to participate in learning activities remotely. This may involve holding a virtual meeting or recording their lecture. Further resources can be found on the Learning Technology Hub website.

What if I can’t get to class because there is no bus service?

Students are encouraged to check their syllabus and contact their instructor if they are concerned about potentially arriving late for classes or missing classes. Students are also encouraged to speak to a faculty academic advisor.

Will I be penalized for missing a class or exam?

Students are strongly advised to begin conversations with their instructors around the strike action and how it might impact them. Academic concessions and guidelines around applying for them is also outlined in the UBC Calendar.

I am a faculty member, what can I do to minimize disruption to my students?

To allow students to participate in learning activities remotely, you may wish to hold a virtual meeting or record your lecture. Please see the Learning Technology Hub website for advice and guidance on ways in which you can do either (or both).

Are faculty and staff expected to come to campus in the event of disruption?

Yes. The university will operate as normal, regardless of the level of strike action. Classes will proceed and faculty and staff are expected to attend work, as normally scheduled. Some employees may arrive late and/or struggle to get to campus. In this case, faculty members are advised to contact their department head, school director, or dean (as appropriate), and staff are advised to speak to their supervisor. We encourage teams to discuss the potential impact and ways in which they can work together to minimize any disruption as a result of the strike.

Will employees get paid if they cannot attend work?

In this situation, normally, employees would not be paid if they do not attend work. It may be possible for managers to arrange alternative arrangements with employees who are having difficulty attending work. Depending on operational requirements, alternative arrangements may include the use of vacation, banked time or making up the missed hours at another time.

What about working remotely?

UBC has guidelines to support telecommuting – which permits certain employees to do at least some of their regular work from home rather than attending at the office. In the event of strike action, staff may wish to explore this with their supervisor. Guidelines are available to support this conversation.

What is UBC doing to help students, faculty and staff get to and from campus and/or other learning sites?

We have shared information to assist our community with regard to carpooling and car sharing. You may want to reach out to friends or colleagues regarding carpooling or car sharing through local car share providers. A good first step in setting up a carpool is to print out a map and have everyone interested in carpooling add a sticker to show the general area they are commuting from. There are also carpool services including Poparide and ww.gobyRIDE.com that could help. (As a reminder, UBC does not endorse third parties listed in this communication.)

Why isn’t UBC organizing its own transport for students, faculty and staff?

The university is not in a position to provide alternative transit options due to financial, logistical and labour considerations. The number of students, faculty and staff that travel to UBC Vancouver and our other learning sites is substantial. Plus, we have people travelling from all areas within Metro Vancouver. From the outset of this strike action we encouraged our community to begin conversations around how they might set up a carpool with friends and colleagues, or explore the option of telecommuting. We hope that by working together, our community can find ways to help minimize disruption for themselves, their friends and colleagues.

If I plan to drive, will I be guaranteed a parking spot?

Unfortunately no-one is guaranteed a parking spot, regardless of the type of parking pass. We also know that, in the event of strike action, UBC Vancouver will not have enough parking space to accommodate all new vehicles.  You can check in advance to see if there is availability at parking facilities here.  Be advised that availability status may change during your commute. UBC does not have overflow parking areas if you arrive to campus and lots and parkades are full. We recommend you allow extra time to find a parking spot during strike action. We also strongly urge all those planning to drive to UBC to fill their cars with friends and co-workers.

Will there be any designated drop-off/pick-up spots at UBC Vancouver?

We won’t be designating spots, but you can see a map of suggested locations. The map will be updated as more details about possible strike action are released. If you are getting dropped off and picked up, please ensure you plan your drop-off and pick-up location in advance. As a reminder, it is important that everyone works together to ensure as safe and smooth a traffic flow as possible. Please obey no stopping and no parking signs, do not stop in active travel lanes, and do not stop in bike lanes or on sidewalks.

What facilities does UBC Vancouver offer for anyone choosing to cycle?

Those who live close enough may wish to consider cycling. There are many different secure bike parking options on campus including free bike cages which are easy to sign up to use through the AMS Bike Kitchen here. You may have a secure bike parking area and end-of-trip facilities in your building. Follow up with your building manager or facility manager to see if there is a space you can use.

If you choose to park your bike outside at one of the various bike racks on campus, ensure you lock your bike securely to minimize risk of theft and use a high quality steel u-lock to lock your frame to the rack. Locks can be purchased from the AMS Bike Kitchen or the UBC Bookstore. If biking to UBC is too far, you may want to consider driving part way and biking the rest of the way along a bike route. A bike route map is here. Be safe: wear a helmet, use reflective gear, and have front and rear lights on your bike.

Is UBC equipped to manage large numbers of faculty and staff working remotely?

Yes, the majority of UBC’s enterprise systems can manage large numbers of our faculty and staff working remotely. Faculty and staff may need to connect to the VPN service to access some enterprise or local IT services when working off-campus. Due to an expected increase in the number of connections, they should only connect to the VPN when working on resources that require a VPN connection (e.g. not necessarily for email, but for accessing departmental network drives or servers). Faculty and staff can visit https://it.ubc.ca/services/email-voice-internet/myvpn for further help and advice.