Report: Audit Committee - March 06, 2024

Board Room, Simcoe Hall, 2nd floor



To the Business Board,
University of Toronto,

Your Audit Committee reports that it held a meeting in Chairs’ Board Room, 2nd floor Simcoe Hall, on March 6, at 4:00 p.m. with the following members present:

PRESENT: Joanne McNamara (Chair), Paul Huyer (Vice-Chair), Sue Graham-Nutter, Scott MacKendrick, Brian Madden, Rajiv Mathur*

REGRETS: Sandra Hanington (Vice-Chair of the Governing Council), Rima Ramchandani

Alex Matos, Director of Internal Audit
Scott Mabury, Vice President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships
Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council
Trevor Rodgers, Chief Financial Officer

SECRETARIAT:  Timothy Harlick, Secretary

Andrew Thomson (Chief of Government Relations), Jonathan Trentadue (Director, University Relations), Diana Brouwer (Ernst & Young), Joyce Yu (Ernst & Young)
*attended remotely

Audit Committee met in Closed Session.  

Pursuant to section 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of items 8 to 9 will take place in camera.


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. Members were reminded that the Risk Assessment Table for Reporting to the Audit Committee was available in the Committee’s resource folder in OnBoard and that feedback on the table had been requested.
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President of Operations and Real Estate Partnerships updated the Committee on the recently announced funding model by the provincial government. He noted that the province’s decision to maintain the freeze on tuition fees went against the recommendations of the blue-ribbon panel. With the continuation of the tuition freeze, the government would provide additional funding to compensate for the lost revenue. This additional funding amounted to roughly 0.6% of the 2024-25 operating budget for the University.

     Mr. Trevor Rodgers, Chief Financial Officer, updated the Committee on the progress of the ongoing Request for Proposal (RFP) process for external auditors. He provided additional commentary on the vendor selection process and noted that the evaluation committee was currently in the vendor presentation stage.

     Mr. Rodgers also informed the Committee that new reporting requirements for trust funds had been introduced by the Canada Revenue Agency. The University had successfully advocated for exclusions to the reporting requirement for its approximately 7000 individual trust accounts that comprised the endowment fund. However, the University would be completing an assessment to determine if other trust arrangements within the university may now be subject to the new reporting requirements.


    In response to a question regarding domestic and international student enrolment, Professor Mabury noted that enrolment limits for domestic students was set by the provincial government. Therefore, an increase in international student enrollment would not have any impact on the space available for domestic students.
  3. Risk Presentation: Political/Government

    The Chair welcomed Andrew Thomson, Chief of Government Relations, and Jonathan Trentadue, Director, University Relations, to the meeting.

    Mr. Thomson provided members with a presentation on the Political/Government identified risk. He introduced three key areas of this risk and the mitigation strategies in place to reduce the level of risk in each area. Highlights included:
  • the impact on direct funding and revenue levers;
  • changing government priorities;
  • underlying public support for universities; and
  • the regulatory environment and institutional autonomy.


    In response to a member’s question regarding international student enrolment from India, Mr. Thomson noted that, while the University had seen a decline in enrolment driven by strained Canada / India relations, the lower number of international students visas from India had adversely affected colleges more so than universities.

    Mr. Thomson also discussed with the Committee, Government Relations’ strategies in advocating for university priorities. In particular, the Committee inquired into how Government Relations was addressing the provincial government’s decision to continue the tuition freeze despite the recommendations in the report from the Blue-Ribbon Panel. The discussion emphasized the importance of strategic engagement with policymakers to secure the university's future interests.

    The Chair thanked Mr. Thomson and Mr. Trentadue for their presentation.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting – Report Number 155 (November 29, 2023)

    The report of the previous meeting was approved.  
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting. 
  3. Date of the Next Meeting: April 17, 2024, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on April 17, 2024. 
  4. Other Business

    There was no other business. 

The Committee moved In-Camera.

  1. Internal Auditor: Private meeting

    Members of the administration absented themselves and the Committee met privately with Mr. Alex Matos, Director Internal Audit.
  2. Committee Members Alone

    Committee members discussed topics of interest.  

The Committee returned to Closed Session.

The meeting adjourned at 4:48 p.m.

March 11, 2024