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Student Collecting Samples for the Ocean Sciences Centre

A waiver is the voluntary surrender of some legal right by a consenting party.

A waiver which is worded properly and executed in the proper manner can offer protection from legal liability.

Should a specific department require help with a waiver please contact Risk and Insurance Services or Legal Services staff. We will work with you to ensure that a waiver is customized for your needs. 


For a waiver to be effective, it is necessary to understand what a waiver does and how it works. To assist in the knowledge of individuals using waivers, we have compiled some helpful information:

  • Waivers are instruments designed to protect the university and its employees from legal liability for injuries that may occur to students or other individuals who participate in both voluntary and required activities on and off campus.
  • The frequency of lawsuits has increased as our society has become more litigious, subjecting the university and its employees to more liability exposure.
  • Waivers may be used as protection from liability for accidents, activities carrying certain inherent risks, and even the negligence of university employees in certain circumstances.
  • Waivers signed prior to participation are viewed by the law as contracts or agreements in which the participant agrees to excuse the university and its employees from fault or liability.
  • Waivers do not apply to dangerous conditions of public property that cause injury.
  • It is recommended that waivers be kept on file for at least three years.
  • Waivers must be worded in such a way that they are clear and unambiguous. Including who is protected and who is waiving the rights, and specify that ordinary negligence is waived.
  • Waivers can be deemed unenforceable under certain circumstances. For instance, a waiver signed only by a minor is unenforceable.
  • Waivers must be worded correctly. Secure current, reliable information on preparing a waiver.
  • Ensure consistent administration.


PLEASE NOTE: Signed waivers are to be kept on file with the department that initially requested the waivers; the department in question is thus responsible for keeping these waivers on file and being able to provide them to Risk and Insurance Services upon request. 

Risk and Insurance Services does not require a copy of signed waivers.