Upcoming Referendum
Fall Break

October 3-4 

Oct 5

A Feds referendum is a decision voted on by the members of our organization. Feds holds referendums to determine the undergraduate position on a particular question. The outcome of a referendum is binding, which means Feds must take steps to comply with the outcome of the vote.

In other words, as a Waterloo undergraduate, you take direct action in making things happen by voting in a Feds referendum.

Any current referendum details can be found on this page. If you’re looking for all the details on Feds referendums, take a scroll through these organizational documents:

 Federation of Students By-laws (PDF)

 Elections & Referenda Procedures (PDF)

Fall Break Referendum


In a 2014 Feds referendum, students voted in favour of implementing a Fall Break. Following the result of that referendum, the University of Waterloo’s Vice President, Academic and Provost set up a task force to examine the possibility of instituting a Fall Break at Waterloo.

The result was a three-year pilot project. UWaterloo had its first Fall Break in 2016, and this year (October 2018) will be the final year of the pilot.

Currently, Fall Break is two days held in October following Thanksgiving Monday. No classes are scheduled during these days.

The University states the purpose of Fall Break: “Students are encouraged to use these days to prepare for upcoming midterms, catch up on readings and assignments, or take time for personal wellness (e.g. catch up on sleep, exercise) to prepare for the rest of the term." ​(

Campus remains open during the break and student services hold regular office hours.


As the current Fall Break pilot nears its end, Feds is conducting a three-question referendum to receive direction from undergraduate students on what they would like to see happen with the Fall Break moving forward.

The Feds President will take the outcome from the Fall Break Referendum and advocate to the University Senate for its implementation. The Senate’s decision on Fall Break will be implemented for the term of fall 2019.

There are potential effects to the length of Orientation programming depending on the outcome of the Fall Break Referendum question. Two additional questions will be asked regarding Orientation so that the Feds President can use this information to advocate based on the undergraduate student body’s direction.

For the referendum, you will be asked to rank the following three options:

  • Implement full-week Fall Break pilot
    • Orientation and classes would begin one day sooner in fall term in most years*, with classes typically beginning on the Wednesday following Labour Day.
    • An exam day would be added on a Sunday during the fall term exam period (exams are not currently scheduled on Sundays).
    • There would continue to be two non-weekend study days between the end of classes and the beginning of exams in most years*.
    • The pilot would last for three years, beginning in the fall 2019 term.
    • The University would commit to further investigating ways to change academic practices to better accommodate the Fall Break.

*Due to the layout of some calendar years, this is not guaranteed. 

  • Continue with current Fall Break structure
    • Classes will continue to begin on the Thursday following Labour Day. Orientation would remain in its current structure.
    • There will continue to be no classes scheduled on the Tuesday and Wednesday following Thanksgiving.
    • The University would commit to further investigating ways to change academic practices to better accommodate the Fall Break.
  • Eliminate Fall Break
    • The Tuesday and Wednesday following Thanksgiving would return to class days. This option would not currently correspond to any changes in Orientation structure.**
    • As a statuary holiday, the Monday after Thanksgiving would remain a day off from classes.
    • Fall term classes would begin the second Monday of September following Orientation. There will no longer be class days during the first week of September.

** Feds will advocate based on the outcome of second ballot question.

Regardless of option, there will be continue to be 60 days of class instruction each term.


The following referendum questions will inform the Feds President on the student body’s preferences with regard to length of Orientation programming should it be affected by the outcome of the Fall Break Referendum.

The second ballot is a question on your preference regarding length of Orientation programming. You will be asked to rank the following options:

  • Shorten Orientation programming
  • Continue current Orientation programming format
  • Extend Orientation programming

Finally, in order to address any conflicts between Orientation and Fall Break advocacy, you will be asked a third question to rank your priority for advocacy on Orientation programming and Fall Break:

  • Prioritize Fall Break
  • Prioritize Orientation

Important Dates

Campaign Committees Meeting: Sept 14 at 5 p.m. in Quantum Nano Centre (QNC) room 2502
(mandatory meeting for all students interested in being involved with a campaign committee)

Interim Period: Sept 14 at 4 p.m. - Sept 16 at 11:59 p.m.

Campaign Period: Sept 17 – Oct 4

Voting Period: Oct 3 at 10 a.m. - Oct 4 at 11:59 p.m.
Vote online at  External link is leading away from

Results Announced: Oct 5

Campaign Committees

If there are any campaign committees established for a current referendum, you will find their information here during an active referendum’s campaign period.

If you’re passionate about one particular side of a referendum and want to get involved by campaigning for that side, consider joining or even leading a referendum campaign committee.

Anyone wishing to campaign for one of the options must form or join an advocacy committee and register its members with the Elections and Referenda Officer (ERO) to declare its position. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Be a current a current UWaterloo undergrad.*
  2. Read the rules for campaigning for a position in a referendum found in the  Elections & Referenda Procedures (PDF).
  3. Email the ERO with your name, WatIAm, and the committee you would like to campaign for. 
  4. Meet and organize with all fellow members of your campaign committee, establish a chief agent of the committee, and determine the name of your campaign at the mandatory Campaign Committees Meeting (see details under “Important Dates”).
  5. Create a website and/or social media page where you can host your campaign platform. Send this link to your ERO to have posted on this page. It may take up to three business days to have these posted online, so please ensure you send this as soon as possible – and no later than three business days before the first day of voting period.
  6. The Elections & Referenda logo is available for download on the Feds Elections web page. 

*If you’re not a full member of Feds (a current undergraduate student enrolled at the University of Waterloo), unfortunately you are unable to participate in Feds Referendums. You sound like a passionate advocate and we certainly appreciate that passion – so we recommend that you reach out to your group’s representatives to learn what they are doing on the topics that inspire you!

If you’re interested in leading or running for a committee and/or have any questions, contact ERO.


No allegations or appeals at this time.

Violation Forms