Changes to Microsoft Office365 licensing to affect Retirees

Posted on Saturday, March 5th, 2022

CCS has only recently informed UGRA of changes that will afffect the licensing of retirees' Microsoft Office365 suite of products.  According to Craig Hyatt, Manager CCS:


An upcoming change to Microsoft’s licensing will have a significant impact on many Office 365 accounts on campus. Currently all Office 365 accounts at the University of Guelph have the same license applied. However, due to the upcoming changes, many of our licenses will be in violation of our contract. Microsoft has allowed us a grace period to make changes to our licensing to bring it in line with our agreement and we are approaching the deadline.

With this in mind, starting February 17, 2022 and throughout the remainder of the year, retiree accounts, several employee groups accounts, sponsored accounts and some organizational accounts will have their license converted from an A3 license to an A1 license. The main differences between these license types are:

  • A1 licenses are capped at 50GB of email stored within the account
  • A1 licenses do not have access to certain applications such as Microsoft Bookings
  • A1 licenses do not include the option to download and activate the Office 365 desktop software such as Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word

All accounts at the University of Guelph that are assigned A1 licenses will retain full access to email and the web-based Office 365 suite, including OneDrive, Outlook Web, Word Online, PowerPoint Online, Excel Online, and SharePoint.

Affected accounts will not see any changes to their access to email, nor will their email stop working at any point during the license change. However, if A1 license holders have downloaded and installed Office 365 on their computer, they will be required to obtain their own license from Microsoft within 30 days. The University of Guelph does not offer the Office 365 desktop software as part of its available product suite, so A1 account holders that would like to continue using the downloaded versions of Office 365 products will need to purchase their own license from Microsoft. A full comparison of license options can be found on Microsoft’s website.

The organizations for affected groups will be informed prior to this change being implemented so we can work to mitigate any challenges with this required change.


A tentative timeline of our approach for these account changes is as follows:

  • February 17, 2022 - Retiree Accounts - Complete
  • March 3, 2022 - Food Services Employee accounts, CUPE 1334 Employee accounts
  • March 10, 2022 - Accounts flagged as Ex-Employee
  • March 17, 2022 - Sponsored accounts
  • Summer 2022 - Organizational accounts

Get Help

Please contact the CCS IT Help Centre. We are willing to work with account holders who have been negatively or incorrectly impacted by this change.

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