Report: Elections Committee - October 17, 2019

Simcoe Hall, 27 King’s College Circle, Governing Council Chamber 2nd Floor

October 17, 2019

To the Executive Committee,
University of Toronto.

Your Committee reports that it met on Wednesday, October 17, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the President’s Board Room, Simcoe Hall, with the following members present:

Mr. P.C. Choo, Chair, Mr. J.P. Morgan*, Mr. Ron Levi*

Mr. David Bowden

Mr. David Walders, Secretary
Mr. Anwar Kazimi, Deputy Secretary of the Governing Council and Chief Returning Officer       (CRO)
Ms Cindy Ferencz-Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council and Deputy Returning Officer (DRO)*
Ms Emma Thacker, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council and Deputy Returning Officer, UTSC*

 *Participated by teleconference.

  1. Welcome/Introductions.

The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting.

  1. Overview of Mandate & Terms of Reference

The Chair provided an overview of the Committee’s mandate and highlighted its areas of responsibility as outlined in its Terms of Reference, including its composition. One of the Committee’s stated areas of responsibility was to review and recommend for approval the policy on elections. While there was not a separate document on “elections policy”, the Election Guidelines and the University of Toronto Act, 1971, each contained elements which together were considered the elections policy.  He added that the U of T Act also spoke to a number of areas related to Governing Council membership and elections. 

The Act empowered the Governing Council to determine the manner and procedure of election of its members. The Act also authorized the Governing Council to set constituencies and assign administrative staff, student, and teaching staff to these constituencies, which could be characterized as subgroups within each estate. The Committee also oversaw the elections process and the CRO would present an Elections Report to the Committee at the final meeting of the governance cycle.

Turning to Elections Guidelines, the Chair noted that an important function of the Committee was to review annually the Election Guidelines and approve any minor amendments. The draft 2019 Guidelines would be considered by the Committee at the next meeting.  If required, rrecommendations for “major” amendments to the Guidelines would be forwarded by the Committee to the Executive Committee for approval.

As in past years, the 2020 elections schedule would start with the opening of the nomination period in January, through the campaign and voting period in mid-February, the appeals period, and ended with any hearings regarding election expenses towards the end of March.

The Chair then discussed the important role of the Committee as election overseers. In this role the Committee would be empowered to consider any appeal of a decision of the CRO as well as any appeal or other question arising from the conduct of the elections as outlined in the Guidelines.

  1. Calendar of Business

Mr. Kazimi noted that a central function of the Committee would be to consider the Election Guidelines 2020 at its next meeting.

  1. Preliminary Discussion - Election Guidelines 2020

Mr. Anwar Kazimi provided a preliminary report on the proposed revisions and updates to the 2020 Guidelines. In particular, Mr. Kazimi drew members’ attention to the proposed change to allow teaching staff and administrative staff from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to now vote through the platform. Members expressed general approval of the proposed changes.  

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting - Report Number 84 (June 5, 2019)

The Report of the Previous Meeting – Report Number 84, was approved.

  1. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  1. Date of Next Meeting:  Thursday, November 28, 2019, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

    The Chair confirmed that the date of the next meeting would be held on November 28, 2019.
  2. Other Business

Mr. Kazimi provided an update on by-election results. Notably, he reported that Ms Oliva Batt had been elected (by acclamation) as a part-time undergraduate members of the Governing Council. He also informed members that two teaching staff members had been elected to the Academic Board and also that one current member of the Academic Board had resigned their position.  To fill this position, Mr. Kazimi proposed that the teaching staff member who had placed in third (by a clear margin) in the by-election be approached to fill the vacated spot, for a term ending June 30, 2020.  The Committee expressed agreement with this approach. 

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 a.m.

October 23, 2019