The University of Toronto Act, 1971, as amended, requires that meetings of the Governing Council be open to the public.
By-law Number 2 makes provision for circumstances in which a meeting of a Board or Committee is to be held in camera or in closed session, where ‘intimate financial or personal matters of any person may be disclosed,’ or ‘where matters may be disclosed at the meeting of such a nature …that the desirability of avoiding open discussion thereof outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that meeting be open to the public,’
In addition, the Terms of Reference of each Board and Committee indicate whether the meetings are normally held in open or closed session. The parameters of open, closed and in camera are defined below:
Open meetings are open to members of the University, the public, and the press, up to the capacity of the room to seat guests. All discussions at open meetings may be disclosed publicly inside and beyond the University.
Open session portions of regular meetings of the Governing Council are broadcast on the web via live audio stream. Video broadcasting and recording are not permitted.
Closed meetings or closed sessions of meetings are not open to the public or the media. Members of the Governing Council who are not members of the Board, Campus Council, or Committee of a Board to which the Committee reports and other individuals whose presence is considered by the Board or Committee to be necessary to facilitate its work are permitted to attend.
The proceedings at a closed meeting of a Committee or Board must not be discussed beyond the persons entitled to be in attendance at that meeting.
The decisions made at a closed meeting will not be made public until
- (a) the Chair of the Committee or Board so advises; or
- (b) the report of the particular meeting, containing the decision, is released.
A meeting, or part of a meeting, of the Governing Council or one of its bodies may be held in camera.
In the case of Governing Council meetings, only members of the Governing Council, staff from the Office of the Governing Council, and other individuals whose presence is considered to be necessary by the Executive Committee or the Council to facilitate the Council’s work, may attend. All others will be asked to withdraw from the meeting. In the case of Boards, Campus Councils, and Committees, only members of the Board, Campus Council, or Committee, staff from the Office of the Governing Council, and other individuals whose presence is considered by the board or committee to be necessary to facilitate its work, may be present.
The proceedings of in camera sessions must be kept in strict confidence. Any confidential meeting material that is distributed during in camera meetings will be collected by staff from the Office of the Governing Council and must not be taken from the meeting room. Minutes or reports of in camera sessions do not form part of the regular minutes or reports but are kept separately by the Secretary. Where appropriate, decisions made in camera will be made public by the Chair or the senior administrative officer responsible for the matter.
In order to respect the right of duly elected and appointed members of Board and Committees, all guests, including members of the Governing Council who are not members of the board or committee, may participate in debate and/or sit at the table only at the invitation of the Chair. Similarly, at meetings of the Governing Council, only members of the Governing Council may participate in debate and/or sit at the table unless otherwise permitted by the Chair.
order and decorum
As the presiding officer of the meeting, it is the duty of the Chair to maintain order and decorum at meetings. This applies to the Chair of the Governing Council at meetings of the Governing Council, as well as to Board, Campus Council and Committee Chairs during the meetings of those bodies. In this capacity, a Chair is empowered “…to exclude or cause to be removed from the meeting any persons whose improper conduct impedes the orderly transaction of business…”