Classes and exams to go ahead at UBC, SFU, and BCIT during transit shutdown

Nov 20 2019, 11:48 pm

There is apparently no equivalency between a snow day and a public transit strike day.

All major post-secondary institutions in Metro Vancouver are reporting they have no plans to alter their class and exam schedules and operations during the first bus and SeaBus service shutdown due to labour action in nearly two decades.

Unifor announced today its 5,000 workers in the bus and SeaBus services will not be reporting for work for three consecutive days next week — between Wednesday, November 27 to Friday, November 29 — as they will be on the picket lines.

The current labour action does not affect the West Vancouver Blue Bus, SkyTrain (Expo Line, Millennium Line, Canada Line), West Coast Express, and HandyDART.

All students, staff, and faculty at the institutions are being asked to plan ahead and allow for extra travel time.

With the term’s final assignment and exam season now quickly approaching, students should check their syllabus and contact their instructor if they are worried about potentially arriving late for classes or missing classes. Staff and faculty should consult with their supervisors.

There is no question that students, especially in the era of the regional U-Pass, are highly dependent on public transit to get around.

Here is what each post-secondary institution is informing its student, faculty, and staff at this time:

University of British Columbia

The Point Grey and Robson Square campuses will operate as normal. All classes are proceeding, and faculty and staff are expected to attend work.

“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,” explains UBC.

“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.”

Simon Fraser University

All SFU campuses in downtown Vancouver, Burnaby Mountain, and Surrey will continue their activities and operations as scheduled, including classes, labs, tutorials, and exams.

Additional free roadside parking will be made available on University Drive East at the Burnaby Mountain campus, which will be supported by an additional campus community shuttle vehicle to move people from the additional parking locations to the main academic campus.

But the university has no plans to operate a shuttle bus service between SkyTrain’s Production Way-University Station and the Burnaby Mountain campus.

“The university does not have the financial, labour or vehicle resources to shuttle people to and from SkyTrain stations near Burnaby mountain,” reads a bulletin.


“We know that many members of our BCIT community rely on transit and understand this may present commuting and travel challenges. A reminder that BCIT remains open and classes are ongoing as scheduled,” reads a bulletin.

Administration expects to see a rise in vehicle traffic at BCIT’s campuses. Parking remains first-come, first-served and will be limited if demand for parking increases. The student lots at the south end of the Burnaby campus usually have more availability than the lots on the north end.

Langara College

“If strike action does go ahead, the College will operate as normal, and classes will proceed as scheduled. Please plan accordingly for a potentially longer commute,” reads a bulletin.

A passenger zone on West 49th Avenue in front of the campus entrance will aid pick-up and drop-off, but if there is no space drivers are advised to use side streets to drop people off.

Students, faculty, and staff should consider parking further away from campus where there is free parking. Avoid permit-only areas or risk being towed, including YMCA, Langara Golf Course, and select residential streets.

Langara College is a short walk from the Canada Line’s Langara-49th Avenue Station.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will operate as planned, with no class and exam cancellations.

The student union-funded shuttle bus service running between the Surrey, Cloverdale, and Langley campuses will continue to operate as normal during the strike.

Vancouver Community College

“We understand that many students, faculty, instructors, and staff rely on public transit and that a potential service disruption will be challenging. Please start to prepare for a potential disruption to your current routine by planning an alternate way of getting to work or class,” reads a bulletin.

VCC campuses on Broadway and downtown Vancouver are within short walking distances of SkyTrain stations.

Capilano University

Classes and operations at Capilano University will go on as planned.

Emily Carr University of Art & Design

“We are hopeful that Unifor and Coast Mountain Bus Company will resolve the matter soon. Classes and university operations, however, will carry on as usual during this period of bus and SeaBus service disruption,” reads a bulletin.

“ECU staff, faculty and students should plan for continued delays and cancellations so long as a tentative agreement remains out of reach for the negotiating parties.”

ECUAD is within a short walking distance of SkyTrain’s VCC-Clark Station.

Douglas College

“All Douglas College campuses will remain open with classes as scheduled. Faculty have been requested to exercise compassion and flexibility when assessing lateness; however, any decision on impacts to grades remain with individual instructors,” reads a bulletin.

Douglas College campuses in New Westminster, Coquitlam, and Surrey are near SkyTrain stations.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

+ News
+ Transportation
+ Urbanized