Report: Audit Committee - October 04, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting room


October 4th, 2021


To the Business Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. with the following:

 Joanne McNamara (Chair), Rajiv Mathur (Vice-Chair), Teodora Dechev, Robert Boeckner, Sue Graham-Nutter, Paul Huyer, Lara Zink

Rima Ramchandani

Non-Voting Assessors:
Pierre Piché, Interim Chief Financial Officer
Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council
Scott Mabury, Vice President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships

Timothy Harlick, Secretary

In Attendance:
Diana Brouwer, Ernst & Young
John Kerr, Director, Risk Management & Insurance
Daniel Ottini, Deputy Director, Internal Audit

Audit Committee met in Closed Session. 

Pursuant to section 6.1 of the Audit Committee terms of reference, consideration of items 9 and 
10 took place in camera.


  1. Chair’s Welcome

    The Chair welcomed new and returning members and guests to the first Audit Committee meeting for the 2021-2022 governance year. 

    The Chair also noted that members would have recently received the announcement Alex Matos had been appointed as the new Director of Internal Audit and that he would join the University on October 18.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report 143, June 16, 2021

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

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  4. Audit Committee
    1. Terms of Reference (for information)
    2. 2021-2022 Calendar of Business (for information) 

The Chair referred members to the Committee’s terms of reference and calendar of business located on the Office of the Governing Council’s website and advised that the calendar of business would be updated by the Secretariat regularly as business came forward. She encouraged members to review the calendar on a regular basis.  

  1. Risk Management and Insurance Annual Report, 2020-2021

    Following a brief introduction by Dr. Pierre Piché, Interim Chief Financial Officer, John Kerr, Director, Risk Management & Insurance, provided comments on the annual report, highlighting the following main points:
  • There had been a prolonged hardening of the insurance market, and as a result the University had seen market driven increases along most lines. 
  • Between 2019/20 and 2020/21 the University experienced an overall premium increase of 20.16% up from 13.5% the prior year.
  • The cost of the primary commercial general liability policy increased by 47.59% due to the combined effect of hardening market conditions and the University’s deteriorating loss experience.
  • Course of construction insurance had also become quite significant in the past several years due to the volume of construction activity across all three campuses and that the University added 13 projects over the year. The University was able to obtain insurance with longer lead times and more detailed submissions to insurers. 
  • At the time of the report, the University’s portfolio loss ratio was 54%, down from 58% the prior year.
  • Regarding activities related to COVID-19, the University was able to avoid the addition of COVID-19 specific exclusions on its primary liability policies, but did have exclusionary language added to liability policies, driven largely by London reinsurance markets.

Mr. Kerr responded to a members’ questions as follows: 

  • Provided specific areas of deterioration and what efforts had been accomplished to reverse the trend, noting that it was more of a spike than a long-term trend.
  • Information on the development of the liability loss ratio with an explanation on the calculation based on aggregate claims and premiums over the last five years.
  • Related to an incident at another University, he explained insurance was generally not intended to defend against criminal acts. 
  1. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships provided a high-level oral update on several significant matters.

  • Based on the most recent statistics from the Ontario University Applications Centre, domestic undergraduate enrolment across the province was down this year, while international enrolment had fallen amid the uncertainty of COVID-19 travel restriction.
  • There was a 9% increase in domestic student confirmations, and an increase of more than 5% in international student confirmations at the University.
  • The Province recently revised step three of its public health measures for university and college campuses that permitted in classroom activity to be exempt from physical distancing requirements provided masks are worn. This allowed the St. George campus to hold a majority of its classes with an in-person component, while the UTM and UTSC campuses had preferred to remain primarily virtual but expected to be primarily in person for the winter semester. 
  • As part of the proof of vaccination process, any individual coming to the campuses this fall would need to be fully vaccinated by October 29th.
  • As of October 1st, 80,983 individuals had submitted their vaccination status: 95% were fully vaccinated, 4% were partially vaccinated, and less than 1% were not vaccinated or exempt.
  • Regarding the Rapid Screening Program, the University successfully piloted and launched an at home rapid screening program.
  • In the past week there were approximately 19,000 connections to the University’s network which was about 65% of pre-pandemic connections. 
  • The University would continue to provide flexibility to international students who were working to get to campus and complete quarantine periods where necessary.
  • As of July 1st, more than 4,500 international students had completed University administered quarantine programs with an additional 600 students to do so in the coming weeks.
  • The Ucheck app continued to be a successful tool for health screening - on a daily basis over 14,000 Ucheck screens were submitted.

    Ancillary Services
  • Ancillary Services revenue for the previous year was down due to the pandemic.
  • Residences were limited to one occupant per unit; however, they had returned to full occupancy rates in the fall semesters.
  • Parking Services continued to see an increase in usage due to the change from virtual to in person but had not yet returned to full capacity.
  • Food Services continued to be lower, operating at approximately 25% of normal revenue generation, largely due to physical distancing requirements and person limits in restaurants, as well as continued remote work by faculty and staff. 

    Information Security Dashboard
  • An overview of a newly established Information Security dashboard was provided to the Committee.

    In response to members’ questions, the Committee was provided the following:
  • The University was manually verifying all proof of vaccination uploads through the UCheck app.
  • The University had established a “show your green screen” program, with roaming teams on campus supporting the community in completing self-assessments to generate a COVID-19 risk status; a ‘green (screen) status’ was required to enter University buildings.
  • The University had implemented quality assurance checks to support all elements of health and safety requirements for the return to campus.
  • If a student was not vaccinated, they would not be permitted on campus.
  • That a letter was distributed to all staff outlining the steps and requirements to be on campus and vaccinated.
  • Vaccination hesitancy was very low at the University.
  1. Date of Next Meeting: December 1, 2021, at 4:00 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. 
  2. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

The Committee moved in camera.

  1. Internal Auditor: Private meeting

    Members of the administration absented themselves and the Committee met privately with Daniel Ottini, Deputy Director, Internal Audit.
  2. Committee Members Alone

    The Committee members discussed topics of interest. 

The meeting adjourned at 5:02 p.m.

October 5, 2021