Report: Business Board - September 28, 2022

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall, 27 King's College Circle, 2nd floor


SEPTEMBER 28, 2022

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto.


Your Business Board reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall, on Wednesday. September 28, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. with the following members:

In Attendance: Sandra Hanington (Chair), Rajiv Mathur (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), Glen Bandiera, Olenka Baron, Janet Cloud, Alicia Damley, Teo Dechev*, Annabelle Dravid, Indi Gopinathan*, Hans Hofmann, Sarosh Jamal, Kathryn Jenkins, David Regan, Ian Taylor, Grace Westcott, Mary-Agnes Wilson*

Regrets:  Heather Boon, K. Sonu Gaind, Sue Graham-Nutter, Maureen Harquail, Paul Huyer, Arman Rasekh, Danielle Skipp, Lara Zink


Secretariat: Anwar Kazimi, Timothy Harlick (Secretary) Joanne Chou


Non-Voting Assessors:

Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President and Provost), David Palmer (Vice-President, Advancement and Interim Vice-President, Communications), Jeff Lennon (Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education), Ron Saporta (Chief Operating Officer), Deborah Brown (Chief Administrative Officer, UTM), Joshua Mitchell (Director, Real Estate), Dave Lehto (Chief, University Planning, Design and Construction)


In Attendance:

Elizabeth Cragg (Director, Office of the VPOREP), Chuck O’Reilly (President and Chief Investment Officer, University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM)), Helen Bao (Executive Financial Officer, OREP), Ihab Khalil (Chief Operations Officer), Mary Williams (Associate Vice-President, Divisional Relations), Mila Miller (Executive Director, Strategic Planning & Advanced Organizational Development), Tad Brown (Counsel, Business Affairs and Advancement), Gillian Morrison (Assistant Vice-President, University Development), Barbara Dick (Associate Vice-President, Alumni Relations), Tanya Kreinin (Associate Vice-President, Brand Strategy & Integrated Marketing)

*Attended remotely


Pursuant to section 33(i) of By-Law Number 2,

items 14-16 were considered in camera.




  1.  Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed new and returning members and guests to the first meeting of the 2022-23 academic year. The Chair also introduced Vice-Chair, Rajiv Mathur, and Board Secretary, Timothy Harlick.

    The Chair then introduced the Senior Assessor, Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, and the Voting Assessors, Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture, and Mr. Trevor Rodgers, Chief Financial Officer.
  2.  Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Professor Mabury provided an update on several matters. 

    Capital Projects 
    • The University had been exposed to an approximately 18% inflationary increase in construction costs year over year.
    • Three stipulated sum construction tenders had been cancelled - one permanently and one temporarily due to significantly higher than expected tendering bids, another had not received any bids.
    • As a result, the University had shifted from a stipulated sum model to a construction management model for the bidding process and the related challenges given market price volatility.
    International Students 
    • An update was provided on the current landscape for international students and the delays in student visas. 

    • The Office of the Vice-President, International, as well as Government Relations, had been active in addressing the issue with the Federal government.  
    • Visa applications were starting to be processed more efficiently and that there were currently roughly 600 students remaining without a visa, and 233 of those students were already in residences at the University. 
    IT Hardware 
    • Recent legislative changes in the United States had led to a necessary inventory of IT hardware across the tri-campus. 
    • It had been an ongoing challenge to ensure all hardware was accurately accounted and the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer was actively engaged with divisions across the University offering support to update hardware. 

    There were no questions from members.

  3. Health and Safety Requirements – Quarterly Report on Compliance for April 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022

    The Quarterly Report on Compliance (April 1, 2022 – June 30, 2022) was received by the Board for information. Professor Hannah-Moffat provided highlights of the report which included:

    • There were four visits from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) to the University of Toronto Scarborough, three visits related to a workplace injury;
    • Regarding the injured employee, the University was issued six orders; two of which were complied with immediately and four of which were stop work orders. MOL follow-up on the incident resulted in no further orders;
    • There was one visit to the University of Toronto Mississauga regarding an employee injury, with no orders issued;
    • There was one follow-up visit to the St. George campus, with no orders issued; and
    • Based on the reports received through the operation of the University’s Occupational Health and Safety policy, Professor Hannah-Moffat reported that to the best of her knowledge, the University was in compliance with its health and safety obligations.


    In response to a member’s questions, Professor Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Diversity updated the Board with the following:

    • The University had a systematic reporting protocol for any incident/accident through its online reporting system;
    • Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) could also be contacted directly at any time regarding concerns;
    • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) oversees all health and safety matters which ranged from issues involving any communicable disease across the tri-campus to issues involving large or small workplace hazards, critical injuries, fatalities, work refusals, regulatory visits from the Ministry of Labour, safety in labs, and others; and
    • The implementation of orders can vary from a requirement to provide information, a modification in the workplace, or in some extreme circumstances, they may involve a fine and/or criminal charges.
  4. Annual Report: Vice-President, Advancement

     The Annual Report of the Vice-President, Advancement, was received by the Board for information. Mr. David Palmer, Vice-President Advancement, began by thanking the Business Board for the opportunity to present on Advancement’s year end and what was ahead for the Defy Gravity campaign. Mr. Palmer introduced the senior members of his team and thanked them and divisional advancement teams across the University for their many contributions throughout the past fiscal year.

    Highlights presented included the following:

    • Against a backdrop of uncertainty, due to the pandemic and market stress, loyal, supportive, and generous alumni and donors helped the University continue its strong levels of alumni engagement and fundraising results in FY 2021–22;
    • For the fiscal year 2021-2022, a total $409.7 million was raised for critically important student, teaching, research, and capital needs across the three campuses, while 21,489 newly engaged alumni University participated in events, volunteerism, mentorship, and giving;
    • These near record levels of giving and engagement brought the cumulative totals on the Defy Gravity Campaign to $1.29 billion raised toward the overall goal of $4 billion, and 108,380 unique alumni engaged in 398,456 contributions of time and talent, as of April 30, 2022.
    • The report also referenced the commitment to Inclusive Excellence as a defining framework for the Defy Gravity Campaign. This commitment was also reflected in the University Advancement Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Advancement, which was struck and completed its work in the 2021-22 fiscal year, and which produced 79 recommendations for how Advancement prioritizes EDI in its fundraising, alumni engagement, and advancement organization.
    • Highlights of major gifts recorded during the FY 2021-2022 included a very significant commitment from the Mastercard Foundation, supporting the creation of a collaborative network of African universities working with U of T on developing health professionals, health innovation and entrepreneurship, and improvements to health systems, across 8 institutions and 6 countries in Africa.
    • Another highlight of the fiscal year was the new Tanenbaum Institute for Science in Sport, made possible by a $20 million gift from the Lawrence and Judith Tanenbaum Family Foundation, to advance the science and medicine of sport, aimed at improving health care for high-performance and recreational athletes in the Toronto region and beyond, and created in partnership between the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and Sinai Health Centre.
    • As part of the Defy Gravity rollout, the U of T Brand Hub launched a global brand awareness campaign to help lift the University’s profile and reputation in key markets. It included owned, paid, and earned media coverage, with content appearing in The Guardian, The Hill Times, Toronto airports, Toronto street level media such as transit shelter, and digital and social media.


    In response to members’ questions, Mr. Palmer reported on the four main metrics the University used to track alumni engagement which included events and event attendance, giving, volunteering and meeting attendance as these provided perhaps a deeper connection to the University than other metrics. He further commented on the impacts of market volatility and noted that the rate of increase in giving was usually aligned with market conditions.

    The Chair thanked Mr. Palmer for his report.

  5. Investments: Semi-Annual Update on Investment Performance to June 30, 2022

    The Board received the Semi-Annual Update on Investment Performance to June 30, 2022, for information.

    Mr. Rodgers reported that there were two pools of funds that UTAM managed: the expendable funds investment pool (EFIP) which included working capital in operating, ancillary, expendable donations, capital and research funds; and the long-term capital appreciation pool (LTCAP), which included funds invested for the long-term, including, predominantly endowments. Each investment pool had its own risk profile, target return and investment strategy. All funds were under the management of the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM), which reported on a January to December fiscal year, resulting in timing differences with the results reported in the University financial statements based on a May to April fiscal year. He also noted that the University was primarily concerned with long-term investment returns and had smoothing mechanisms in place to minimize the impact of short-term market volatility on the University’s operations.

    Mr. Chuck O’Reilly, President and Chief Investment Officer, University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM), highlighted the following key points related to investment performance for LTCAP and EFIP:

    • All investment returns for LTCAP and EFIP were net of all investment fees and expenses, including UTAM fees;
    • Over the past 12 months, total assets under management increased by 3.6% to approximately $6.9 billion;
    • Over the first half of the calendar year (H1 2022), LTCAP returned -11.0%. EFIP, in aggregate, was down 3.6%;
    • The Reference Portfolio had realized a return of -15.7% in H1 2022, while the Target Return (CPI plus 4% annually) was 6.9% for the first six months of the year.
    • Due to recent market volatility, both LTCAP and the Reference Portfolio had been unable to achieve the University’s Target Return over the 1-year and 5-year periods. Over the 10-year horizon, LTCAP continued to outperform the Target Return by 2.2%;
    • Dollar value-add (compared to the reference portfolio) in H1 2022 was +$205.1 million. Over the last year, on a simple arithmetic basis, dollar value add was also positive, at $262.9 million. The 10-year dollar value add of LTCAP exceeded $555 million.
    • Despite recent negative performance, long-term performance was positive and both the short-term and medium-term EFIP portfolios had outperformed their respective target returns over all horizons; and
    • Active Risk for LTCAP remained well within the “Normal” Zone (-50 bps to 100 bps) at the end of June 2022.


    In response to a member’s question, Mr. O’Reilly provided context as to why the university assesses its portfolio against a Reference Portfolio as opposed to the broader market or against peer Universities or other capital allocators. He highlighted that the University’s portfolio was constructed to meet institutional risk tolerance levels and those risk tolerances were likely different than those of other peers. Mr. O’Reilly also noted that the reference portfolio was reviewed at least every two years to reassess the asset mix and its likelihood of achieving the University’s target return over the long-term. Mr. O’Reilly further noted that despite reviewing the Reference Portfolio with the Investment Committee during the Q4/2021 to Q1/2022 period, UTAM would be conducting an updated review over the coming quarters given recent market volatility.

  6.  Status Report on Debt to August 31, 2022

    The Status Report on Debt to August 31, 2022, was received for information. Mr. Rodgers provided an overview of the Report and advised that Board that going forward, this item would be included in the consent agenda.

    Mr. Rodgers also reported that the University had ended it engagement with the credit reporting agency Dominion Bond Rating Service (“DBRS”). He noted that DBRS had decided to issue an unsolicited rating report using publicly available information and that the University had not participated in that process.


    In response to a member’s questions, Mr. Rodgers stated that the University’s existing debt was composed of long-term debentures at fixed rates. Other than the pending issuance of debt related to the Canadian Infrastructure Bank transaction, the University did not have plans to issue external debt in the near future. In the near term, the University had sufficient capacity to borrow from its own expendable funds to meet capital needs. He further noted that on a monthly basis, he reviewed and updated the debt projection based on the status of ongoing projects and debt repayments. When a project was cancelled, or approved for a cost increase, it would be immediately reflected in these reports of available debt capacity and reported at the subsequent Business Board meeting.

    In response to a members’ questions regarding DBRS, Mr. Rodgers stated that while the fee associated to engage with DBRS was not high, time commitment from university staff was significant and was the deciding factor to reduce the use of credit reporting agencies from three to two. He also noted that while there was some concern regarding DBRS continuing to issue unsolicited rating reports, those concerns had been mitigated because DBRS provided its report to the University to correct errors in advance of distribution.



    On a motion duly moved, seconded and carried


    THAT the consent agenda be adopted, and items approved.


  7.  Approvals Under Summer Executive Authority Report of the Previous Meeting

     The report on Approvals Under Summer Executive Authority was received for information.

  8.  Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 266, June 21, 2022

    Report Number 266, from the meeting of June 21, 2022, was approved.

  9. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.

  10. Report Number 148 of the Audit Committee, June 20, 2022

     Report number 148 of the Audit Committee, June 20, 2022, was received for information.

  11. Calendar of Business, 2022-23

     The Calendar of Business (2022-2023) was received for information.



  12. Other Business

     There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.

  13. Date of the Next Meeting

     The Chair advised Board members that the next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, November 23, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

    The Board moved In-camera.

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

    Professor Mabury reported on the University’s upcoming capital priorities and ongoing capital projects.

    The were no other in camera reports from the Administrative Assessors.

  15. Quarterly Report on Gifts and Pledges over $250,000 : February 1, 2022 to  April 30, 2022

     The Quarterly Report was received by the Board for information.

  16.  University of Toronto and the UPP: Legal Context and Governance

     The Board received a presentation from Ms Elizabeth Brown, Legal Counsel for the University Pension Plan (“UPP”) Employer Sponsor Committee.

     The Board returned to Open Session.

    The meeting adjourned at 6:58 p.m.

    October 12, 2022