Report: Business Board - November 24, 2021

Via Virtual Meeting room


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto.

Your Business Board reports that it held a virtual meeting on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 
at 5:00 p.m. with the following members present:

Anna Kennedy (Chair), Sandra Hanington (Vice-Chair), Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture, Trevor Rodgers, Chief Financial Officer, Olenka Baron, Harvey Botting, David Bowden, Janet Cloud, Alicia Damley, Teodora Dechev, Sue Graham-Nutter, K. Sonu Gaind, Maureen Harquail, Thomas Hofmann, Paul Huyer, Sarosh Jamal, Kathryn A. Jenkins, Joan Johnston, Amin Kamaleddin, Evan Kanter, Rajiv Mathur, Andrew Padmos, David Regan, Danielle Skipp, Ian Taylor, Geeta Yadav

Nhung Tran, Samra Zafar

Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council, Patrick F. McNeill, Secretary

Non-Voting Assessors:
Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost, David Estok, Vice-President, Communications, Jeff Lennon, Executive Director, Institutional Planning & Budget Administration, Joshua Mitchell, Director, Real Estate, Ron Saporta, Chief Operating Officer, Property and Sustainability, Susan Senese, Interim Chief Administrative Officer, UTM

In Attendance
Noreen Ahmed-Ullah, Director, Office of the Vice President, Communications, Alex Brat, Senior Executive Director, Labour Relations, Tad Brown, Advancement Legal Counsel, Elizabeth Cragg, Director, Office of the Vice President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, Chris Garbutt, Interim Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, UTSC, Nadina Jamison, Chief Strategy Officer, Office of the President, Ihab Khalil, Executive Director, Strategic Operations and Finance, People Strategy, Equity and Culture, Tanya Kreinin, AVP, Brand Strategy & Integrated Marketing, Bryn MacPherson, Assistant Vice-President, Office of the President & Chief of Protocol, Cherilyn Nobleza, Executive Director, HR Transformation & Analytics, Jane Stirling, Interim Executive Director, Communications Strategy & Stakeholder Relations, Nicolle Wahl, Acting Executive Director, Office of Communications, UTM


Pursuant to section 33(i) of By-Law Number 2,
items 14-17 were considered in camera.


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the second meeting of the 2021-22 academic year. 
  2. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Divestment, Net Zero and Climate Positive Campus

    Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (VPOREP) stated that on October 27, the President released a letter directly to the community regarding: Divestment, Net Zero and a Climate Positive Campus.  Recipients of the letter included all University of Toronto students, staff, librarians and faculty.  He noted that alumni would have seen the announcement through various UofT publications, as well as general media.

    Highlights of the letter signaled that the University would:
  • Exit fully all direct fossil fuel holdings by the end of 2022;
  • Divest from indirect exposure to fossil fuel companies by 2030;
  • Allocate at least 10% of the endowment & other long term investment portfolios (i.e. approximately CAD $400 million) to sustainable and low carbon investment strategies by 2025;
  • Commit to net zero emissions in its endowment portfolio by 2050; and
  • Join the UN-Convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA) immediately, and set 5-year targets following the framework developed by the NZAOA, becoming the first university in the world to sign on to the Alliance.

    Professor Mabury reported that feedback to the President’s letter had been universally positive, including high media coverage which occurred in national and international publications – such as: Canadian Press, Bloomberg, Globe and Mail, Financial Post, Times Higher Ed, CBC-The Current, CBC Online, Academica and CP24.  The VPOREP stated that the initiative was an amazing example of UofT’s global and local impact – it was measurable, had engaged multiple stakeholders – it leveraged UofT’s role as a thought/action leader. 

    The Chair extended congratulations to the administration.


    Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships provided a brief update on COVID-19 noting that on-campus activity was vibrant and busy – and that a number of capital projects were in progress at all three campuses.  

    Professor Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President and Provost proceeded with a further COVID-19 update.  He advised members that as of November 22, 2021, more than 94,000 members of the University community had declared their vaccination status on UCheck.  Within this group, 99% had indicated they were fully or on their way to becoming fully vaccinated, and 98% had submitted proof of full vaccination.  The University had expected an additional Federal government announcement at the end of November regarding the expanded approval list of recognized vaccines, based on the WHO emergency recognition list – this would be beneficial to international students.  With regards to staffing, Professor Young reported that no staff exemptions had been issued, but that 26 staff were on unpaid leave – warning letters had been issued to approximately 8 teaching staff and 100 administrative staff regarding the need to self-report prior to the January 8, 2022 deadline.

    In response to member’s question, Professor Young confirmed that the UCheck program for COVID-19 health screening, was going exceedingly well with an excellent uptake by staff and students. 

    A member complimented the administration’s efforts with respect to the University community’s vaccine compliance.

    The Chair thanked the assessors for their reports.
  1. Policy on Academic Freedom for Professional/Managerial Staff - Revision to the  Policies for Professional and Managerial Staff

    Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture, reported that her office and the Vice-President and Provost had struck an advisory committee, consisting of both Professional/Managerial staff and academic administrators, to examine potential protections for professional staff leading professional experiential clinics whose positions might require them to take on controversial and unpopular causes.  The committee was tasked with determining whether additional supports or protections were needed for these roles. The recommendations of the advisory committee were captured in the form of a new policy section for Professional/Managerial staff addressing Academic Freedom.

    In response to a member’s question regarding examples of clinical and experiential learning opportunities, Professor Hannah-Moffat noted the Faculty of Law had several experiential clinical learning opportunities that fell within these parameters.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried


    THAT Section 3.01.13 Policy: Academic Freedom for Professional/Managerial Staff be added to the Policies for Professional and Managerial Staff, and

    THAT eligibility to use the process set out in Section 3.01.08 (Problem Resolution) of the Policies for Professional and Managerial Staff be expanded to include probationary employees, where the dispute is related to Academic Freedom.
  2. Updates to Staff Policies (Professional/Managerial Staff, Confidentials Staff and Senior Research Associates and Research Associates)

    Professor Hannah-Moffat reported that the University was in the process of updating its institutional recruitment practices to support UofT’s excellence in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion; confidentiality; and conflict of interest.   Most recently, the Recruitment Policies for PMs, Confidentials, and Senior Research Associates/Research Associates were updated and aligned their content and approach.

    Following a brief description of the proposed revisions, Professor Hannah-Moffatt stated that embedding the changes into the staff policies was a first step towards ensuring the community was both conscious of, and familiar with, recruitment confidentiality, conflict of interest, and how these  interacted with the recruitment process.  She added that in the near future, the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture would release a Recruitment Guideline to provide additional details and information for hiring managers and committees.

    There were no questions by members.

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried


    THAT the updated Policy language for Professional/Managerial, Confidential, and Senior 

    Research Associates and Research Associates be approved.
  3. Annual Report: Vice-President, Communications

    The Board received the Vice-President, Communication’s Annual Report (November 24, 2021) for information. 

    Mr. David Estok, Vice-President, Communications, (VPC) began by recognizing the senior members of his team and thanked them for their continued efforts and creative approach with developing the 2021 Communication Plan which included the first ever integrated University-wide Brand Platform, The Innovation Lab, a COVID-19 Response and Return to Campus communications plan.  The team had also developed an enhanced relationship initiative with divisional communications offices and implemented a Talent Management plan.

    Highlights presented included the following:
  • UofT was the most visible university in Canadian media – coverage derived from commentary and research on the pandemic;
  • Record-breaking total of 23 communications awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In addition, international recognition by CASE with a gold award for University of Toronto Communications (UTC) for communications under COVID-19;
  • Award-winning UTogether website, now with over 2 million unique page views, mostly by students;
  • Grew viewers on UTC channels, social media accounts with warmer, innovative products;
  • UTogether brand with the T hugging the U has now been embraced by the community. Caring community is now part of the President’s priorities;
  • UTC videos received 100K+ views on YouTube this year, including series on vaccine hesitancy encouraging people to get vaccinated, MELT strategy targeted at students. Podcast work continued; and
  • Part of “building a caring community” campaign, created mental health and wellness content for channels, and promoted stories of UofT’s resilient students.

    Mr. Estok’s presentation also included comments on best practices, media relations, various campaigns and developing the brand. 

    In closing the VPC reported that reputational risk concerns occupied much of the year. The number of issues – both big and smaller media inquiries – had more than doubled.  VPC had worked closely with others on initiatives including the following:
  • launched a sexual violence policy review;
  • helped address ongoing COVID-19 issues; and Return to Campus efforts;
  • provided support during bargaining;
  • supported the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit hosted by U of T in the fall, and;
  • announced UofT’s plans to divest from fossil fuels.

    In response to members’ questions, Mr. Estok commented on the three phases of the brand campaign and how it would be integrated with the fundraising campaign noting that Phase 1- brand campaign launch was tied to phase 1 of the rollout of the fundraising campaign; all the work on brand was deeply connected to work on the fundraising campaign; UTC was working closely with the Office of Advancement; Phase 2 in January (with additional banners); and the third phase would be underway in middle of 2022.

    The Chair thanked Mr. Estok for his report.
  1. Report on Capital Projects as of October 31, 2021

    The Board received the Report on Capital Projects as of October 31, 2021 for information. 

    Professor Scott Mabury provided a summary overview of the capital projects underway as well as a forecast of projects anticipated to come forward through governance this academic year.  He noted that construction on all three campuses had been accelerated to take advantage of the significantly reduced traffic on campuses during the pandemic. An estimated thirteen capital projects were anticipated to come forward through governance in the 2021-22 academic year – some of the projects included the Emerging and Pandemic Infections Centre at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, the Harbord Residence, the Dentistry Simulation Lab and the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Campus Phase 2 project, which was planned as a development partnership.

    In response to members’ questions, Professor Mabury stated that the issue of construction pricing escalation remained and as a result, the University continued to add contingency elements to capital project budgets.  The VPOREP stated that the University would no longer rely on architect estimates for all capital projects but would implement an integrated project design (IPD) process.

    The Chair thanked Professor Mabury for his report.


On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and items approved.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting

    Report Number 260 from the meeting of October 5, 2021, was approved.
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no other business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  3. Status Report on Debt to October 31, 2021

    Members received the status report on debt to October 31, 2021 for information.
  4. Health and Safety: Quarterly Compliance Report (July 1 to September 30, 2021)

    The Health and Safety: Quarterly Compliance Report for the period July 1 to September 30, 2021, was received for information.
  5. Report Number 144 of the Audit Committee, October 4, 2021

    The Board received Report Number 144 of the Audit Committee dated October 4, 2021 for information.
  6. Date of the Next Meeting

    The Chair advised Board members that the next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  7. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

The Board Moved In Camera

  1. In Camera Reports of the Administrative Assessors (oral reports)

    Professor Mabury presented an update on a property matter.

    The were no other in camera reports from the Administrative Assessors.
  2. Quarterly Report on Gifts and Pledges over $250,000: August 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021

    The Quarterly Report was received by the Board for information.
  3. Collective Agreement: University of Toronto and University of Toronto and United     Steelworkers, Local 1998 - College Residence Dons Unit

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried


    THAT the recommendation of Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture, as outlined in the memorandum dated November 4, 2021, regarding the new Collective Agreement: University of Toronto and University of Toronto and United Steelworkers, Local 1998 - College Residence Dons Unit, be approved.
  4. Business Board Striking Committee: 2021-22 Membership

    On motion duly made, seconded and carried


    THAT the following be appointed to the Business Board Striking Committee to recommend appointments for 2021-2022:

    Sandra Hanington (Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council)

    Sarosh Jamal (Administrative Staff)

    Evan Kanter (Student)

    K. Sonu Gaind (Teaching Staff)

    Harvey Botting (Alumni)

The Board returned to Open Session.

The meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m.


November 27, 2021