Report: Elections Committee - October 16, 2023

Via Virtual Meeting room

Report Number 97 Of The Elections Committee


To the Executive Committee,
University of Toronto.

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on October 16, 2023 at 3:00 pm with the following members present:

PRESENT: Mark Lautens (Chair),
Mathangi (Indi) Gopinathan, Maureen Harquail, Sarosh Jamal

REGRETS:  Firdaus Sadid

SECRETARIAT: Joanne Chou, Secretary, Anwar Kazimi, Deputy Secretary, Governance and Chief Returning Officer (CRO), Timothy Harlick, Secretary and Deputy Returning Officer (DRO), St. George, Cindy Ferencz-Hammond, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council and Deputy Returning Officer, UTM, Emma Thacker, Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council and Deputy Returning Officer, UTSC 


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting.

  2. 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 undertake an annual review of the Election Guidelines and approve any minor amendments. The draft 2024 Guidelines would be considered by the Committee at the next meeting.  If required, recommendations for “major” amendments to the Guidelines would be forwarded by the Committee to the Executive Committee for approval.

    As in past years, the 2024 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.
  3. Calendar of Business

    The CRO, Mr. Anwar Kazimi, noted that a central function of the Committee would be to consider the Election Guidelines 2024 at its next meeting, as well as the important responsibility of the Elections Overseers.

  4. Preliminary Discussion – Elections Guidelines 2024

    The CRO, Mr. Anwar Kazimi provided a preliminary report on the proposed revisions and updates to the 2024 Guidelines. He noted that no major amendments were expected to be brought forward, and that the minor revisions proposed related to timelines for nominations.

    Mr. Kazimi then provided an update on the number of elections that was being envisaged for the Governing Council. He noted that there would be 8 student governor seats, 5 teaching staff seats and one administrative seat. Mr. Kazimi concluded by noting that there would 15 teaching staff seats and one librarian seat for the Academic Board, and elections for the two respective Campus Councils and their governance bodies.  

    There were no questions from members.
  5. Report of the Previous Meeting – Report No. 96, June 1, 2023

    The Report of the Previous Meeting – Report Number 96, was approved.

  6. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  7. Date of the Next Meeting: November 23, 2023

    The Chair confirmed that the date of the next meeting would be held on November 23, 2023.
  8. Other Business

The meeting adjourned at 3:22 p.m.


October 16, 2023