Report: Executive Committee - February 07, 2023

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall, 2nd floor



To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto.

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. with the following members present:

Janet Ecker (Chair), Anna Kennedy (Vice-Chair), Meric S. Gertler (President), David Bowden, Paul Huyer, Sarosh Jamal, Dveeta Lal, Ernest W.N. Lam, Kikelomo Lawal, Jan K. Mahrt-Smith, Arman Rasekh, Lara Zink

Regrets: Mark Lautens, Joanne McNamara

Non-Voting Member:
Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council

Anwar Kazimi, Joanne Chou

In Attendance:
Vikram Chadalawada, Chair, University Affairs Board and Member of the Governing Council
Sandra Hanington, Chair, Business Board and Member of the Governing Council
Shashi Kant, Chair, UTM Campus Council
Grace Westcott, Chair, UTSC Campus Council
Wisdom J. Tettey Vice-President & Principal of University of Toronto Scarborough* (for item 3 and 12)
Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students (for item 3)
Nadina Jamison, Chief Strategy Officer, Office of the President
Bryn MacPherson, Assistant Vice-President, Office of the President & Chief of Protocol
Kristin Taylor, University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer
Susan Mazza, Special Projects Officer, Office of the President

(*attended remotely)

Pursuant to section 28 (e) and 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of items 11 to 14 took place in camera.

The meeting was held in Closed Session.

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members, Board and Council Chairs to the meeting and made brief introductory remarks. She offered congratulations to Ms Anna Kennedy and Ms Sandra Hanington for their recent election by acclamation as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Governing Council respectively, for a one-year term starting on July 1, 2023.  She concluded her remarks by noting a recent announcement of the Vice-President and Provost stepping down as of December 31, 2023.
  2. Report of the President

    The President began his report by acknowledging the recent passing of two outstanding members of the University of Toronto community. The Honourable David Onley was a proud alumnus of U of T Scarborough, a lifelong advocate on behalf people with disabilities, and a senior lecturer in the Political Science department until his death on January 14th. He served with great distinction as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 2007 to 2014. His State Funeral was attended by leadership from across the University of Toronto community. Hazel McCallion, the former Mayor of Mississauga, passed away on January 29th. The President acknowledged the various ways that Dr. McCallion had been an outstanding champion of higher education, and her key role in the development of U of T Mississauga as a powerful engine of progress in the Greater Toronto Area. . After her retirement as mayor, she also served as Special Advisor to the Vice-President and Principal at UTM, lending her wisdom and advice to successive administrations. Both Dr. McCallion and The Honourable David Onley had been awarded honorary degrees from U of T and will be remembered for their significant contributions to the University of Toronto and the broader community.

    Federal Matters

    The President noted that in advance of the Spring budget, U of T continued to advocate for new investments in research and talent and supported the advocacy efforts of both U15 and Universities Canada.  During these discussions, the President has emphasized the University’s budget priorities, including the need for research investments to match the significant research investments being made in the United States. U15 Executive Heads had authored a series of Op-Eds to amplify this messaging. He remarked that Universities Canada had partnered with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations to launch the Talent for Canada campaign, reinforcing the importance of federal investments in graduate scholarships and other mechanisms to strengthen the recruitment and retention of top talent.  He noted that key federal cabinet ministers had expressed support for major investments in science, including Minister François-Philippe Champagne. The President also stated that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) had launched an Advisory Panel on the Federal Research Support System last year. U of T, TAHSN, U15 and Universities Canada all provided submissions to the panel highlighting the importance of additional Tri-Council investments in investigator-led and priority-driven research. Additionally, they emphasized the importance of improving operational coordination and efficiencies among the three Granting Councils and promoting interdisciplinarity in research.

    The President noted that the federal government had recently launched Canada’s National Quantum Strategy. The strategy was driven by the goal of making Canada a world leader in quantum computing, communications, and sensing technologies. He cited the Strategy document where it highlighted the successes of the Quantum Stream at U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab and the launch of Xanadu, a quantum computing start-up. He remarked that Xanadu recently received $40M through the Federal Strategic Investment Fund to commercialize the world’s first photonics-based, fault-tolerant quantum computer. He stated that U of T currently ranked 5th in the world in the impact of its quantum research, and that the university continued to leverage this research strength in their advocacy work. The President highlighted a partnership with Deloitte in developing a report on quantum hubs in Canada. The report’s launch event emphasized the importance of the GTA quantum ecosystem in Canada and the critical role U of T played in supporting the GTA’s ranking as a leading quantum hub. The event was well attended by representatives from the federal and provincial governments, as well as from Xanadu, Toronto Global, Creative Destruction Lab, and Mitacs.

    Concerning visa processing, the President remarked that U of T continued to engage with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to resolve the lengthy delays in the processing of study permits for international students. With U of T’s support, Universities Canada had developed a ‘trusted institutions framework’ that aligned with IRCC requirements to relieve some of the pressures on their processing system. IRCC had indicated that they expected their visa processing to stabilize this year. To assist, the federal government had committed $75M last year to help improve the efficiency and speed of visa processing for the Fall 2023 intake of international students.

    The President then turned to Research Security matters, as had been recently reported in the media. He cited the Global and Mail article that raised national security concerns over research collaborations between scholars at Chinese and Canadian universities, including U of T. He stated that the University takes advice and direction on all national security matters from the Government of Canada. He noted that these types of issues were complex and involved different types of risks, and that the University had developed a checklist for faculty members as part of their research application process for all potential international partnerships. He explained that the University continued to work with the government to help them understand the value of international collaborations and the role that academic freedom must play in shaping research programs. He stated that the University is working with the academic community to ensure academic freedom is protected and that they have the tools to protect their research and assess potential risks. Minister Champagne has noted that additional National Security Guidelines for Research Partnerships would be forthcoming, and that they would apply to all Canadian universities. In addition, the government was expected to launch its new Research Security Centre to assist universities with these efforts, and that the university was working closely with our partners on this issue.

    In the discussion that followed the President noted that:
  • The Globe and Mail article highlighted the changing nature of global partnerships and Canada’s relationship with China. However all of the research was published in the public domain, and as such would have been available to anyone.
  • The University provided resources to support faculty members when they enter into any type of partnership.
  • U of T has put processes in place proactively to prepare faculty members in anticipation of potential security risk issues. Once the new Research Security Centre has launched, it will also provide additional resources and supports to the academic community.
  • Open international collaboration is a primary driver of the advancement of knowledge, and bilateral relationships contribute significantly to knowledge creation and exchange, which speaks to the value of open collaboration.

    The Committee moved In Camera.

    The Committee returned to closed session.

    Third anniversary of Flight PS752

    The President noted that the University marked the third anniversary of the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 in January. An event was held at Massey College to honour the eight U of T community members who were lost, and many family members and friends of the victims were in attendance. The memorial event recognized the importance of the Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund that had been set up to honour the legacy of the victims.  The Fund was established by the University of Toronto and the Iranian-Canadian community in the wake of the tragedy.

    Official Visits – London and Mumbai

    The President provided highlights from his institutional trip to London and Mumbai. In London, the President hosted a successful alumni event featuring Professor Karen Chapple, Director of the School of Cities. He remarked on the tremendous energy in the room and evident enthusiasm to return to in-person events. The UK/Western Europe International Leadership Council also met in-person for the first time since January 2020.The President conducted one-on-one meetings with prominent alumni and met with several UK university partners.

    In Mumbai, the new U of T in India Centre was officially launched, supported by Tata Trusts and Social Alpha. The Centre was a new collaborative research and education venture broadly focused on urban management and entrepreneurship. It would be a conduit for sharing ideas and best practices between Mumbai and Toronto. The launch began with an academic roundtable focused on "Moving towards Net Zero Carbon Cities in India and Beyond", which featured U of T faculty as well as Indian experts and entrepreneurs. The President was also honoured to appear as Chief Guest at a symposium organized by IIT-Bombay’s Sethi School of Entrepreneurship and delivered a keynote address on the pivotal role universities play in stimulating the development of local entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems. In addition, the President convened a meeting with guidance counsellors from Mumbai’s leading high schools to support the recruitment of India’s top talent

    Earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye

    The President acknowledged the recent tragedy of the earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye noting that the University community had over 600 students from these countries, as well as a broader community more generally, including faculty, staff, and alumni. The Vice-President, International had issued a statement expressing concern and sympathy for those here and abroad who were affected by this disaster and providing additional supports and resources for members of the university community.  

    In response to questions that followed, the President noted that:

  • Recent concerns about private post-secondary education centres in Ontario may reflect changes in government regulation and increased demand for education.
  • The funding for the U of T India Centre came from Tata Trusts and covered six years of operations. The new centre would work closely with Tata Trusts and Social Alpha to support student exchanges and competitions, emerging local startups, and develop networks in both innovation ecosystems.    
  • The potential financial impact to the higher education sector due to Bill 124 would be determined via ongoing court processes.
  1. Item for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council
  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Scarborough Academy of Medicine & Integrated Health (SAMIH) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) – Project Scope and Sources of Funding

    The Chair briefly introduced the project noting that SAMIH, a collaboration between several faculties and divisions would be starting construction in October 2023, with the new SAMIH Building projected to be completed and ready for occupancy by the end of August 2026.

    Ms Grace Westcott, Chair of the UTSC Campus Council, then commented on the discussion of the item at the meeting of that body:
  • In the undertaking of any new Capital Project, the administration considered a multitude of factors.
  • Temerty Medicine accepts up to 13 international students into the MD program and was regulated by the provincial ministry of health. 
  • It was an opportunity for internationally trained medical professionals to apply for the post-graduate spots through the Canadian Resident Matching System.
  • Parking was consolidated into a stacked parking lot that would house 1,200 parking spaces.
  • Drawing on the UTSC ‘Inclusive Excellence’ Strategic Plan, it was inextricably linked to the development and thriving of the local community. This was supported by the existing and forthcoming pathway programs for equity deserving communities.
  • The integrated nature of education at SAMIH would help develop and train well- rounded health professionals from the community.
  • The procurement agreement included language that required apprentices from local partners.   
  • The membership was excited for this project and looked forward to seeing it come to fruition. SAMIH was truly a transformational addition to UTSC and the Eastern GTA.

    Professor Ernie Lam, Vice-Chair of the Academic Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body:
  • Topics related to Indigenous health were currently part of the MD Program’s curriculum.
  • Partnerships were in place with Women’s College Hospital and TAIBU Community Health Centre.
  • A design-build project delivery approach had been adopted to mitigate risk.
  • The proposal was an opportunity for innovative new programs, with many synergies and interest for other potential partnerships both with the local community and other health care providers. 
  • The clinics within SAMIH focused on interprofessional approaches to care of communities in the region.
  • Working groups were being established to investigate ways in which SAMIH could partner more broadly in areas such as knowledge translation in research and scholarship.
  • The mandate of ‘integrated health’ would extend beyond the health professions and into the larger ecosystem of programs at UTSC, such as the Health Humanities program, as well as with UTSC research institutes.
  • The addition of new student spaces in specific fields reflected the areas of greatest need as determined by the Ontario government.

    In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:
  • Temporary parking lots would be installed to accommodate vehicles until the Retail and Parking Commons, UTSC’s new parking structure, was constructed.

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the following recommendation be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council:

    THAT the project scope of the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) as identified in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), dated November 17, 2022, be approved in principle; and,

    THAT the project totaling 10,801.5 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded through: the UTSC Infrastructure Fund; Lawrence S. Bloomberg School of Nursing, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Provostial Funding Sources, Donor and UTSC Financing.

  1. Revisions to the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy

    At the invitation of the Chair, the Vice-Provost, Students, provided a brief overview of the revisions of the Policy and a summary of the 2021-2022 review process. She noted the comprehensive consultations during the review process and highlighted the recommendations. She emphasized the changes to the Policy that reflected recommendations from the initial review as well as the external expert consultations that included experts in Human Rights Law and Psychiatry. She highlighted the key Policy revisions that included renaming the Policy to more accurately reflect its purpose and the options contained within the PolicyShe explained the various Policy resources and supports in response to the recommendations, and the impact of the Policy changes, underscoring the reinforcement of the compassionate intent of the Policy.  

    Mr. Vikram Chadalawada, Chair of the University Affairs Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
  • Consultation with key student and university community groups on the companion guide.
  • The Office of the Vice-Provost Students was part of the working group regarding divisional voluntary leaves and planned to provide periodic updates on the progress.  
  • The process if a threshold of violence had been reached, and the review and appeal process.
  • Feedback was collected from the student case manager and that students could provide information at any time during the process.
  • A Student Support Team (SST) brought together multi-disciplinary expertise to assist in a comprehensive analysis of the student’s needs.  
  • The Policy had been revised to be made very clear what is mandatory and what is discretionary and ensured the Policy was continued to be used in a fair and equitable way.
  • The board heard from the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union and the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students. The Scarborough Campus Students' Union was not present.
  • The UTMSU speaker commented on the exclusionary nature of the Policy and encouraged the administration to consider the various sources of stresses that affect the student community.
  • The APUS speaker focused on the divisional leaves of absence were made accessible to all students and to work with the First Nations House and The Office of Indigenous Initiatives to ensure indigenous student supports were in place and that their rights were recognized, as a step towards reconciliation.
  • In response, the administration would continue to work with First Nations House to expand mental health supports to Indigenous students.
  • Information sharing was part of the University’s understanding of the student experience and support for their return to studies.
  • The Policy was developed with an understanding of student visas, and that students on leave continued to maintain a connection to the University.
  • The Board recommended the revised policy for approval.

    Professor Shashi Kant, Chair of the UTM Campus Council, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
  • The companion guide to the Policy would address any misunderstanding about the revisions and engage with all the appropriate stakeholders, especially student societies.  
  • The companion guide and the various revisions to the Policy would be disseminated through various committees and health centres, division heads, Registrars and Deans of Students, and others who played important supporting roles to students.

    Ms Grace Westcott, Chair of the University Affairs Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
  • The administration worked closely with the student, and if they were engaging in dangerous and threatening behaviors, then their status may be impacted. The Student Case Manager worked with the student to support them with securing housing.   

    Professor Ernie Lam, Vice-Chair of the Academic Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
  • Disclosures made to mental health support clinics or Accessibility Services would not invoke the Policy. 
  • The Policy was focused on behaviour that was dangerous and threatening or that interfered with the educational experience of others, and that in other circumstances could give rise to charges under the Code of Student Conduct.
  • When a student was placed on leave, there was consideration of what financial and housing supports a student might need.
  • Study visas of international students were not impacted when a student was placed on leave.
  • External experts reviewed a sampling of cases and found that the Policy was invoked appropriately and that communication with students was supportive and compassionate throughout.
  • The Office of the Ombudsperson would review any cases falling under the revised Policy following its first year in practice.
  • The Board recommended the revised policy for approval.

    In the discussion that followed, it was noted that:
  • The Policy was available online and would be a living document that would evolve over time. 


    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the following recommendation be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council:

    THAT the proposed revisions to the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy, dated January 2, 2023, be approved, effective March 1, 2023.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that items 4 be approved.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting of the Executive Committee

    Report Number 537 of the Executive Committee (December 6, 2022) and Report Number 538 of the Executive Committee (December 15, 2022) were approved.
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the reports of the previous meetings.
  1. Minutes of the Governing Council Meetings – December 16, 2021

    Members received the Report of the December 16, 2021 Governing Council Meeting for information.
  2. Business Arising from the Minutes of the Governing Council Meetings

    There was no business arising from the minutes.
  3. Reports for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:
  1. Report Number 57 of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council (January 24, 2023)
  2. Report Number 56 of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council (January 25, 2023)
  3. Report Number 232 of the University Affairs Board (January 18, 2023)
  4. Report Number 243 of the Academic Board (January 26, 2023)
  5. Report Number 269 of the Business Board (February 1, 2023)

  1. Date of next meeting: 

    The Chair advised members that the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  2. Other Business
  1. Governing Council Meeting

    The Committee finalized the agenda for the meeting of the Governing Council to be held on February 15, 2023.

    The Committee Moved In Camera.


  1. Report of an Ad Hoc Committee for a Capital Project

    Members received a Report of an Ad Hoc Committee for a Capital Project for information.
  2. Item for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council
  1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) - Total Project Costs and Sources of Funding

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT the following recommendation be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council:

    THAT the total project cost of the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) as described in the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) dated November 17, 2022 be approved in principle.

  1. Committee Members with the President 

    Members of the Executive Committee, with the Board Chairs, met with the President.
  1. Committee Members Alone

    Members of the Executive Committee, with the Board Chairs, met privately.

The Committee returned to closed session.

The meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

February 14, 2023