Report: Governing Council - September 9, 2020

Via Virtual Meeting


MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL held on September 9, 2020 at 8:45 a.m. via virtual meeting.

Claire Kennedy (Chair); Brian D. Lawson (Vice-Chair); Meric S. Gertler, President; Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost; Olivia Batt; Harvey T. Botting; David N. Bowden; P.C. Choo; Teodora Dechev; Janet L. Ecker; Susan Froom; K. Sonu Gaind; Avrum I. Gotlieb; Sandra Hanington; Sarosh Jamal; Joan Johnston; Amin Kamaleddin; Shashi Kant; Paul Kingston; Sameer Lal; Ernest W.N. Lam; Mark Lautens; Kikelomo Lawal; Ron Levi; Jiazhen (Diana) Li; Jan K. Mahrt-Smith; Stephane Martin Demers; Rajiv Mathur; Douglas E. McDougall; Joanne Jean McNamara; Andrew Padmos; Danielle Skipp; Salvatore M. Spadafora; Andrew Szende; Nicholas Terpstra; Wisdom J. Tettey; Marium Vahed; Grace Westcott; Bruce Winter; Samra Zafar; Lara Zink;

Non-Voting Assessors:
Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council

Alexandra Di Blasio; Cindy Ferencz-Hammond; Samantha Frost; Tracey Gameiro; Kristi Gourlay; Anwar Kazimi; Patrick McNeill; Kata Skoko; Emma Thacker; David Walders

Rose Patten, Adanna Chigbo, Anna Kennedy, Vishar Yaghoubian

In Attendance:

Kelly Hanna-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President & Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga
Joe Wong, Interim Vice-President, International

Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education
Vivek Goel, Co-Chair, COVID-19 Incident Leadership Team

Elizabeth Church, Director, Stakeholder Relations and Senior Lead, COVID-19 Strategy and Communications
Anthony Gray, Director, Strategic Research, Office of the President
Anuar Rodrigues, Director, Strategic Projects and Initiatives and Senior Lead, COVID-19 Strategy and Implementation

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair introduced herself and welcomed members and guests to the first meeting of the Governing Council for the 2020-21 governance year. She offered a special welcome to new governors and thanked them for their willingness to serve the University. The Chair reviewed protocols for the virtual meeting format and commented on her favourable impression of the new OnBoard governance portal.

    The Chair closed her opening remarks by announcing the appointment of two new LGIC governors, Ms Sandra Hanington and Ms Kikelomo Lawal who had been appointed for a three-year term, effective July 30, 2020.
  2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Governing Council

    The minutes of the June 25, 2020 meeting were approved.
  3. Policy on Non-Medical Face Masks and Face Coverings

    The Chair reminded returning members that on April 2, 2020, the Governing Council had approved a motion for the establishment of the COVID-19 Special Committee of Governing Council which had the power to make decisions and take actions on matters which could not be deferred until the next regular meeting of Governing Council or its appropriate standing committee, campus council or board. The motion also had provided that any actions or decisions taken by the COVID-19 Special Committee would be reported to the Governing Council for its information.

    The Chair reported that the COVID-19 Special Committee had met on August 10, 2020 to consider the Policy on Non-Medical Face Masks and Face Coverings as consideration of this Policy could not be deferred until the next regular meeting of the Business Board. The Policy had been approved by the Committee and had been presented for information only.

    The Chair invited the Provost, Professor Cheryl Regehr, to provide some highlights of the Policy and its implementation in light of the start of the new academic term.

    Professor Regehr advised that the Policy was part of the commitment of the University to providing a safe and healthy environment for the community and limiting the community transmission of COVID-19. She advised that the Policy required non-medical masks or face coverings to be worn inside buildings on University property that were normally publicly assessible, such as common-use spaces like classrooms or common areas in residence. She noted that the University had decided to develop a policy consistent with the approach outlined in the City of Toronto and City of Mississauga by-laws, even though neither applied to post secondary institutions. Professor Regehr advised that the Policy applied to all individuals present on University property at any time, and enforcement would depend on the relationship of the individual to the University, the location and nature of the event, and the impact on others in that place. She indicated that the Policy would remain in effect as long as Ontario public health authorities recommended that mask wearing was necessary in indoor public spaces, and that it was subject to change and extension at the discretion of the Governing Council as public health guidance and understanding about COVID-19 evolved.

    Professor Regehr advised that additional information and details about the application of the Policy were available in an accompanying draft Guideline which would remain in effect as long as the Policy remained in effect. The draft Guideline was available on the websites of the Office of the Vice-President & Provost and the Vice President, Human Resources & Equity, and would be updated periodically as the University’s response to COVID-19 evolved.

    Professor Regehr also referred to other steps the University was taking in response to COVID-19 which included:
    • providing two masks for every student, staff, faculty or librarian;
    • rearranging classrooms, and residences, and other common use areas to allow for physical distancing;
    • holding most academic and co-curricular activities on-line;
    • increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces;
    • hanging additional signage;
    • installing thousands of hand sanitizer stations and protective barriers where appropriate; and
    • supporting cutting-edge research on COVID-19.

Professor Regehr concluded her comments by confirming that periodic reports would be made to the appropriate governance bodies about application of the Policy.
There were no questions from members for Professor Regehr or Professor Vivek Goel, co-chair of the university’s COVID-19 Incident Leadership Team.

  1. Reports for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:
    1. Report on Approvals Under Summer Executive Authority

      The Chair reminded members that, on June 25, 2019, the Council had approved the annual delegation of authority to the President to act on behalf of the Governing Council during the summer months. The Chair advised members that no matters within the Governing Council’s authority were approved under the Summer Executive Authority which had now concluded.

    2. Report of the COVID-19 Special Committee (August 10, 2020)

      The Chair noted that the Committee’s approval of the Policy on Non-Medical Face Masks and Face Coverings had already been discussed and advised that the COVID-19 Committee had now been disbanded.

    3. Report Number 516 of the Executive Committee (June 25, 2020)

      There were no questions from members regarding these reports.
  2. Date of the Next Meeting – Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

    The Chair advised members that the next Governing Council meeting was scheduled for Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. and that it would be held virtually.
  3. Question Period

    In response to members’ questions about the University’s plans to contract out some cleaning services in response to COVID-19, Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffatt, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, confirmed the following:
    • None of the University’s cleaning staff had been laid off;
    • The University did require additional staff for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. To meet this need, the University had contracted out additional staff from companies who were unionized, had worked previously for the University and were thus trained and exposed to U of T standards, and that this was done in accordance with existing collective agreements;
    • She would discuss with Operations the option of eventually bringing the contracted staff in-house as had been done in a previous situation involving the outsourcing out of work.
  4. Other Business

    There was no other business.

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried


    THAT the meeting would move in camera and participation in the meeting would be limited to members only.

    The Governing Council moved In Camera.
  5. Appointments: Members of the Governing Council to Governance Bodies, 2020-21 - Addendum

    On motion duly moved, seconded and carried


    THAT the proposed assignments of members of the Governing Council to Boards, Campus Councils, and Committees for 2020-21 for a term effective September 9, 2020 and ending on June 30, 2021, as outlined in Appendix A, 2020-2021 Governors’ Assignments (Addendum), dated September 2, 2020, be approved.

    The meeting adjourned at 9:15 a.m.

​​​​​​​September 9, 2020