Find answers to commonly asked questions here.

We request that to the extent possible, documents and written materials be sent electronically. For public health reasons, all visitors to the Office of the University Counsel, including those who are making deliveries, must have a scheduled appointment. Therefore, couriers and process servers should contact our office in advance at 604-822-1897 or

Regular mail, which does not require a signature or proof of delivery, may still be directed to:

Office of the University Counsel
6328 Memorial Road
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V6T 1Z2

Phone: (604) 822-1897
Fax: (604) 822-8731

You should immediately forward any legal documents you receive to the attention of the Office of the University Counsel [see FAQ No. 1 above for delivery details]. You may also wish to notify your union or employee association, if you are a member of one. Legal documents often have important time limits. A failure to comply with these time limits can have serious consequences.

Employers are responsible for the activities of their employees where: (1) they have direction and control over the employee’s activities, including as to the nature, location, and management of the employee’s activities; and (2) if the employee’s activities generate revenue, the employer bears the responsibility for the profit or loss. If you have been named as a defendant or a respondent in a lawsuit, Human Rights Code complaint, or other legal proceeding in respect of such activities, then UBC will handle your defence and pay for all defence costs as long as you acted reasonably, responsibly, and in good faith.

Cases are assessed by the Office of the University Counsel and there may be some exceptions to this general approach, such as when the employee does not cooperate in the conduct of the defence, but such exceptions are extremely rare. Also, if information subsequently comes to light that reveals that the employee did not act in good faith or the basic criteria set out above are not met in any other way, the Office of the University Counsel may re-assess the case and may require reimbursement.

Cases concerning a faculty member’s scholarly publications require additional consideration as UBC does not, as a matter of academic freedom, exercise direction or control over the content of scholarly publications or other forms of scholarly expression. If you have any concerns about a particular set of circumstances, you may speak with the Office of the University Counsel. Faculty members who have questions may also contact their Provost’s Office for advice.

Please contact UBC Campus Security at (604) 822-2222. UBC Campus Security's offices are located at 2133 East Mall.

A guide to frequently asked questions about cannabis is available here.

UBC holds institutional Feature Film Public Performance License rights to certain films. For details please consult the UBC Library's Guide to Videos, Films and DVDs at

UBC has been a corporate entity continuously since 1908, which is the year in which the original legislation creating UBC was enacted. Unlike a regular corporation created under the Business Corporations Act, there is no registration number for UBC. If someone is inquiring into the University's corporate status you may state that The University of British Columbia is a corporation continued under the University Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c.468.

W8 forms are often requested by US entities when they are making a payment to UBC. W8 forms are US tax forms for the US Internal Revenue Service to document an exemption from US withholding tax. UBC issues W-8EXP forms because UBC is registered as a foreign tax-exempt organization in the US.

Individual units are not authorized to sign a W-8EXP form on behalf of UBC. Please contact the Finance Department at, for assistance in determining whether this form applies to your situation and to obtain authorized signatures.

It is important to note that UBC can only issue a W-8EXP form where UBC is the beneficial owner of the income being received from the US entity. In order for the Finance Department to make this determination, individual units are asked to provide a copy of the agreement which documents the transaction between UBC and the US entity (and/or the UBC invoice issued to the US entity) when they submit their request to Finance.

Please click here to view a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Please click here to view a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Effective July 1, 2013, UBC students participating in a practicum/placement in BC have WorkSafeBC coverage provided that the student is eligible for coverage in accordance with the eligibility requirements set-out in the Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology’s WorkSafeBC Policy. A copy of the Ministry’s Policy can be viewed here.

If you are unsure as to whether coverage extends to a particular practicum or have any questions regarding the information in the Ministry’s Policy  or any matter relating to WorkSafeBC coverage, such as reporting a claim, please contact UBC’s Risk Management Services at: or 604-822-6650.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) has established an arrangement with the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers to facilitate the use of the UBC logo in obituaries.

Should the family of a deceased holding emeritus status at the time of their passing wish to have the UBC logo published as part of the deceased’s obituary in the Province or Vancouver Sun, they may do so by contacting the obituary department directly.

Should the family of any other deceased current or former UBC faculty or staff wish to place the UBC logo as part of that family member’s obituary in the Vancouver Sun or Province, please contact the Office of the University Counsel first at: Phone: (604) 822-1897 or E-mail:

Should the family wish to place the UBC logo in any other publication or for any other questions regarding this matter, please contact the Office of the University Counsel at: Phone: (604) 822-1897 or E-mail:

Provided you are undertaking the research as part of your academic program at UBC under the direct supervision of a UBC faculty member and you have met all other requirements associated with the research project (including such matters as securing ethics approvals), then UBC will permit you to place the UBC name and logo on recruitment notices for the research project. As a condition of this permission, you must ensure that it is clear to the audience that the research project is being undertaken by you, that you are a UBC student, and that your conduct of the research project is being supervised by a UBC faculty member. You should provide the name and contact information of the UBC faculty member. This can be done in smaller print at the bottom of the page but must be reasonably legible.

The Copyright Act’s “Notice and Notice” provisions came into force on January 2, 2015.

As background, it is necessary to understand that:

  • Many content owners monitor the Internet (and in particular, websites that use the BitTorrent protocol) to identify when their content is being copied and to learn the IP address that is associated with each instance of copying.
  • The content owner usually cannot find the identity of the user of that IP address, but they can find the identity of the user’s digital network provider.

Notice and Notice is a colloquial name for the provisions of the Copyright Act that require infringement notices issued by content owners to be forwarded to users.

The process involves a content owner sending an infringement notice to the user’s digital network provider, and the digital network provider forwarding that notice to the user.

If a digital network provider fails to forward the notice, it may be exposed to a significant financial penalty.

The process is described in more detail below, in the section entitled “How does Notice and Notice Work?”

What does this mean at UBC?

The Notice and Notice provisions apply to UBC and University community in several ways:

  • Under the Copyright Act, UBC is considered to be a digital network provider. Therefore, UBC must forward infringement notices it receives.
  • UBC faculty members, staff members and students may be content owners. If they believe that their material has been copied illegally, they now have a means to communicate with the person who made the copy, as the first step to enforcing their copyright.
  • UBC faculty members, staff members and students may use content that they obtain on the Internet. Copyright compliance is not only a legal requirement, but good academic practice. Any UBC faculty member, staff member or student who copies content from the Internet in breach of copyright should expect to receive a copyright infringement notice.

Four important details

  • UBC will not disclose the identity of the user to the content owner, unless required to so by a court order or other legal process.
  • Content owners monitor the use of IP addresses to determine whether their copyright has been infringed. UBC is not involved in this process.
  • UBC does not evaluate the legitimacy of the notices it receives. The fact that UBC is forwarding a notice does not mean that UBC in any way endorses or supports the allegations contained in the notice. UBC is merely forwarding notices as required by law.
  • The Notice and Notice system does not otherwise change the existing laws that govern the use of copyrighted materials.  For more information about your rights and obligations under copyright law, please visit

How does Notice and Notice work?

The steps are as follows:

  • Many content owners and their agents monitor the internet to see if their copyrighted works are being shared.  Popular file-sharing sites that use the BitTorrent protocol are actively monitored.
  • A content owner learns that their content has been copied, and that that copying is, in their view, an infringement of copyright.
  • Usually, the content owner does not know the identity of the user who has made the allegedly infringing copy, but does know the IP address of the device that made the copy, and which digital network provider is responsible for that IP address.
  • The content owner sends an infringement notice to the digital network provider.
  • The Notice and Notice regime legally requires the digital network provider to:
    • Make reasonable efforts to identify the user associated with the IP address listed in the infringement notice.
    • Either:
      • If the user can be identified, to forward the infringement notice to the user and notify the content owner that the notice was forwarded; or
      • If the user cannot be identified, to notify the content owner that the notice was not forwarded.
    • Keep records for six months (or 12 months if legal proceedings are commenced)
  • If the digital network provider receives an infringement notice, but does not comply with its obligations under the Notice and Notice regime, the content owner may seek statutory damages against the digital network provider. The statutory damages will be determined by a court, but shall be at least $5,000 and up to $10,000 per notice not forwarded.

If you have any questions about Notice and Notice, please see Industry Canada’s website.

If you have any questions about Notice and Notice at UBC, email

From the outset it is important to determine whether a project initiated by a faculty member (Project), such as a consulting project, should be managed:

(a)  as a UBC Project that is subject to UBC’s internal governance structure and processes, including UBC policies and procedures (UBC Project); or

(b)  by an external entity that is entirely separate from UBC (External Entity) and not subject to UBC policies and procedures.

The above determination has implications for how the Project should be managed.

Please click here for:

  • an outline of the implications referred to above;
  • relevant factors to consider when making such a determination; and
  • our recommended guidelines for the operation of an External Entity established by a faculty member for the purposes of managing a Project.

Communications between the lawyers in our office and UBC for the purposes of giving or receiving legal advice are generally protected from disclosure to third parties by solicitor-client privilege. However, that privilege does not prevent disclosure within UBC. We generally do our utmost to respect an employee’s desire for confidentiality but, in certain circumstances, we may be required to disclose our communications with you to other senior decision-makers within UBC.

For example, if an employee reveals conduct that is dishonest, criminal, or fraudulent, our professional duty is to advise the employee, the University Counsel, and/or the President, as appropriate, that the conduct should be stopped. If it is not stopped, our duty is to escalate as necessary.

Furthermore, if an employee indicates an intention to undertake a course of action that appears to be inconsistent with UBC’s overall best interests or mission, our professional duty is to bring it to the attention of a more senior UBC decision-maker for further consideration, even if it is not dishonest, criminal, or fraudulent.

Finally, if the President (who is the officer to whom we report) were to inquire about a confidential conversation between an employee and us, we would advise the President that the individual had requested confidentiality and we would prefer that the employee be informed that the President wishes to be apprised of the conversation. If the President directs us to answer his inquiry without the involvement of the employee, we are required to comply with that request, as this is consistent with his role as the chief executive officer of our client, UBC.

Typed signatures, or “electronic signatures”, are valid and legally binding as long the originally signed form complies with the Electronic Transactions Act of British Columbia (the “Act”, The key element with respect to the validity of forms signed electronically (or forms processed electronically) is to ensure that the form is as reliable and accurate as a form signed in hardcopy so that in event of a dispute, you can attest that a particular electronic form was the form that was signed by the student. For example, in two years, you can pull up the form and demonstrate that this was the form that was signed by the student.

In order for the electronic signed form to be effective, the following must be present:

  1. Accessible and Retrievable: The document must be retrievable/accessible for future reference; i.e., if the documents are stored in electronic form, it is necessary to be able to access the records should they be required as evidence in a dispute. The documents must be capable of being retrieved and saved in a manner that is usable for reference if needed. The student should be given a copy of the form or have the capability to retrieve a copy for themselves.
  2. Integrity and Accuracy of Records: Once the student signs, the form should be locked down so that no future changes are possible or if there are numerous versions of the terms/conditions, the records must be capable of reflecting which version the student signed.  i.e., you should know exactly what version of the form a student signed. Assessment of the integrity of a record is based on whether the record has remained complete and unaltered and whether it is saved in a format that does not materially change the record (e.g. PDF). It would also be prudent to maintain accurate records of when the documents were signed and received, such as an electronic timestamp, to improve integrity of the records.
  1. Signatures must be properly associated with the document: The “signature” must be collected in such a manner to make clear to the student what form they are signing. For example, “By checking this box, I have indicated that I agree to comply with the School of Kinesiology Co-op Terms and Conditions”.  It is important that we know which student the form pertains to; for example, do they type their name and email and how their signature is collected on the form.

Just as importantly, it is also advisable to ensure that the administrative procedures in regard to processing of these forms also comply with the Act.

Administrative procedural points to consider are:

a)            Where students/guardians access and download the form
b)            Where the completed forms are submitted
c)            Where the signed and completed forms will be saved and how long the records will be stored for
d)            Whether students/guardians can easily access and save previously completed signed forms
e)            The format of which the records are saved and whether the files can be modified
f)             Whether the records are on a secure sever

Q20.A. We have booked a space and/or hotel rooms for a conference. Are we able to cancel this event and get our money back?
Travel restrictions and limits on the size of social gatherings may impact conferences that you have organized either locally or abroad, and prevent either you, or your attendees, from attending these events. Although some hotels or conference space providers may offer refunds or credits for these events, they are not necessarily obligated to do so. The rights of the parties would be set out in the relevant contracts, and may not always contain an easy way out. You should review your contract to see what situations permit you to cancel the event and get a full refund. These will often be contained in something called a “force majeure” clause that allows one or both parties to terminate an agreement based on unforeseen external circumstances. In most cases, these clauses are very specific as to what triggers force majeure – mere loss of profitability for the event, for example, may not enough to rely on force majeure. For bookings that were made prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, there is a good chance that the outbreak would constitute “force majeure”. However, for bookings that were made after the existence of COVID-19 was known, it is unlikely that the outbreak would constitute “force majeure”, since “force majeure” normally only covers events that could not have been reasonably foreseen by the parties at the time they entered into the agreement. Please read these clauses carefully to see what events trigger force majeure and what the consequences are when force majeure is triggered. It may be prudent to be in touch with the hotel or conference space provider early to negotiate a compromise if a contract does not afford a simple way to get a refund. If you are uncertain of UBC’s rights or obligations, please contact the unit that assisted you with the preparation of your contract. Typically, this would have been Supply Management, and if necessary they will contact the Office of the University Counsel for additional support.

Q20.B. We have an existing contract we are no longer able to perform due to COVID-19. Are we able to cancel this contract?
Whether you’ve rented a space on campus to another party, you’re providing research services for an industry partner, or you’re hosting students for a summer program, it is likely that your performance of these contracts has been significantly impacted, or even rendered impossible by the current COVID-19 pandemic. As discussed under Q20.A (above), the contract largely determines what your options are in the current situation. Ensure you understand your force majeure clause or termination clauses carefully. Check whether force majeure is applicable, and what the consequences are. In addition, review the termination provisions in the contract, since they may give you an option to get out of the agreement without needing to prove the existence of force majeure, and they will also likely set out the remaining obligation of the parties on contract termination. Even if the contract does not provide for an adequate way out of the situation, you are free to negotiate alternatives with the other party, who may agree to a contract termination, or to amend the contract as a way to move things forward amicably. If you are uncertain of UBC’s rights or obligations, please contact your designated legal counsel contact at the Office of the University Counsel or send an e-mail to

Q20.C. A party that we have a contract with wants to terminate the contract because of COVID-19. Should we accept the termination?
If someone you’ve contracted with for the provisions of goods or services claims they are no longer able to perform the contract due to COVID-19, it does not automatically mean you have to accept that they no longer have an obligation to you. Always refer to the text of the contract to understand what solutions may be available to the parties. A force majeure clause may not necessarily excuse a party from the performance of a contract. In many cases, an extension of time for the performance of the services or the delivery of the goods may be a more appropriate resolution. It is important to discuss the details of the impact of COVID-19 with the party you have contracted with to understand the impact of the pandemic on their obligations under the contract. If you are uncertain of UBC’s rights or obligations, please contact the unit that assisted you with the preparation of your contract. Typically, this would have been Supply Management, and if necessary they will contact the Office of the University Counsel for additional support.

Q20.D. We are expecting to sign a contract with another party in the near future, should we be concerned about it being disrupted by COVID-19?
For any new contracts, it cannot be said that disruptions due to COVID-19 are unforeseen. Therefore, force majeure would most likely not cover disruptions resulting from COVID-19. If COVID-19 might affect the ability of either party to perform the proposed contract, language should be negotiated up-front to address this possibility. For example, you may consider inserting language into the force majeure clause that says that any factors as a result of the COVID-19, whether foreseeable or unforeseeable, would still give rise to a force majeure event. If you are require advice on the drafting of such clauses, please contact the unit that normally assists you with the preparation of your contracts. Typically, this would be Supply Management, and if necessary they will contact the Office of the University Counsel for additional support.