Report: Executive Committee - February 09, 2021

-
Via Virtual Meeting

REPORT NUMBER 519 OF

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto.

Your Committee reports that it held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. with the following members present:

Present:
Claire M.C. Kennedy (Chair), Brian Lawson (Vice-Chair), Meric S. Gertler (President), Olivia Batt, P.C. Choo, Janet Ecker, Sandra Hanington, Joan Johnston, Ernest W.N. Lam, Mark Lautens, Jiazhen (Diana) Li, Joanne McNamara, Salvatore Spadafora, Bruce Winter

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

Secretariat:
Anwar Kazimi and Kristi Gourlay

In Attendance:
Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost and Member of the Governing Council
Anna Kennedy, Chair, Business Board and Member of the Governing Council
Paul Kingston, Chair, UTSC Campus Council and Member of the Governing Council
Andrew Szende, Chair, University Affairs Board and Member of the Governing Council
Nicholas Terpstra, Chair, Academic Board and Member of the Governing Council
Samra Zafar, Chair, UTM Campus Council and Member of the Governing Council
Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships
Nadina Jamison, Assistant Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives, Office of the President
Bryn MacPherson, Assistant Vice-President, Office of the President and Chief of Protocol

Regrets:
none

Guests:
Steve Moate, Senior Legal Counsel, Office of the President (Item 3b)

Pursuant to section 28 (e) and 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of items 13 to 15 took place in camera.


The meeting was held in Closed Session.

  1. Chair’s Remarks and Orientation

    The Chair welcomed members, Board and Council Chairs, and Vice-Presidents to the meeting and made brief introductory remarks. She offered congratulations to Mr. Brian Lawson and Ms Janet Ecker for being recently elected by acclamation as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Governing Council. Their one-year terms start on July 1, 2021. She also noted the appointment of four Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council (LGIC)members
  2. Report of the President

    Report of the President
    The President began his remarks by reflecting on how well-served the University was by its volunteer leadership. He commented briefly on the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent announcement by Premier Ford that the lockdown that had been in place since January 12 would be lifted in phases in the coming weeks. He said that the University was evaluating the impact of these measures but noted there had been no significant changes to how the University had been operating since December 2020.

    US Election

    President Gertler commented on the inauguration of President Biden and Vice-President Harris on January 20 and the many positive implications of the new administration for the world, the environment, and academic partnerships with American institutions. He also noted that, while welcome, the positive changes would also likely present challenges for the post-secondary education sector in Canada. Namely, it may soon become more difficult for Canadian universities to attract and retain talent in the global marketplace as the United States moves both to become more welcoming to international talent and to reinvest in higher education.

    Referencing his recent op-ed in the Globe & Mail, the President spoke of Canada’s need to recognize this shift and develop a comprehensive Talent Strategy to serve the country’s needs as it contemplated its economic recovery from the pandemic. He stressed that this was not just for higher education and research, but for all talent-based organizations across the economy. The President noted that his op-ed had received positive reactions from the federal and provincial governments, and that discussions were already under way to explore options.

    Federal Matters

    The President referred to the cabinet shuffle in January and release of supplementary mandate letters for all cabinet ministers. He noted that the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne had replaced the Honourable Navdeep Bains in the innovation, science, and industry portfolio and that his mandate letter highlighted a number of priorities relevant to the higher education sector. President Gertler also commented on the mandate for Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, who had been directed in her letter to “use whatever fiscal firepower is needed in the short term” to get Canada through the pandemic and to “lead the creation of a resiliency agenda for Canada’s longer-term post-pandemic economic recovery”, while at the same time avoiding creating new permanent spending. The President reported that in light of the recent mandate changes and in the lead up to spring federal budget, the University, together with the U15 and Universities Canada, was focusing its advocacy efforts on highlighting universities’ central roles in Canada’s economic recovery. The University was also preparing to advance proposals to enhance Canada’s talent advantage. President Gertler noted that he would be participating in the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s Summit on Reimagining the Workforce on February 25.

    The President also commented on the new travel measures announced by the Prime Minister including a more rigorous quarantine strategy. He reported that the University’s Government Relations team was working closely with federal and provincial agencies to advocate that the University’s approved safe corridor plans for international students, which had been successfully in place since October, continued to be recognized under the new measures.

    Ontario Universities
    The President made reference to Laurentian University’s recent application for court protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to address the significant financial challenges the university was facing. He said that in response, the Provincial government had appointed Dr. Alan Harrison as a special advisor to advise the Minister of Colleges and Universities on options to support Laurentian’s path to regaining financial sustainability. He reported also that the government had indicated it would be exploring a range of options, which could include introducing legislation to give the province greater oversight over university finances. The President said that the University was working with the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) to communicate three key messages to the government:
    1. the pandemic and current tuition framework have strained universities’ finances, with varying effects across the sector;
    2. the government should be working in partnership with universities to ensure they have the tools they need to maintain financial stability, while at the same time addressing the financial aid requirements of their students; and
    3. there were already ample provisions in place to ensure accountability and transparency with respect to universities’ financial status and thus there was no need for further government intervention.

      The President reported that in the meantime, U of T and COU continued to meet with the Province to advance discussions around the next tuition framework as the government contemplates what to do when the current freeze ends. The president noted that the government was working to provide guidance in the coming weeks.

Convocation
The President reported that the University, along with six other Toronto universities and colleges, had announced that Spring Convocation ceremonies would be held virtually this year. The University of Toronto’s ceremony has been scheduled for June 23 with a similar format to last year’s Spring and Fall Convocations. He noted that the University would also be celebrating honorary degree recipients by creating unique videos of the conferral of each individual’s degree. In the two-week period preceding the ceremony, one recipient per day would be featured and celebrated. One of the honorary degree recipients would represent the cohort as the group’s Ambassador and would participate as the Convocation Speaker at the ceremony on June 25. He also reported that the call for nominations for 2021-22 would occur in late June for a late September deadline. The president reiterated the value and importance of identifying eminent candidates from diverse communities.

The President concluded his remarks with an invitation to the Provost to provide a COVID update.

Update on COVID-19 Response
Professor Regehr observed that the University was optimistic about the recent news that the Province might soon be lifting restrictions for the Toronto and Peel regions.

Students
The Provost cited the new federal government restrictions on air travel and suggested they might create additional challenges for incoming international students. She commented on the continued success of the University’s rigorous quarantine programs which had been extended through the end of March, and echoed the President’s statement that the University was advocating with the government to maintain its safe corridor and quarantine program as a recognized pathway for international students.

Research
Professor Regehr reported that on-campus research had been continuing and that the University was looking for ways to increase face-to-face research opportunities for labs with human participants.

Academic Continuity
The Provost reported that the University had been generally successful in its advocacy with the government for exemptions on the restrictions on in-person classes in for health science trainees and continued to work toward the inclusion of Dentistry in this cohort.

She reported that under the leadership of Professor Salvatore Spadafora, the Presidential and Provostial Advisor on COVID-19, the University had been exploring the best options for the Summer and Fall terms. She noted that summer courses would remain largely on-line and that a number of different options were being explored for the fall so that as public health information became available, the University could have as much in-person activity as allowed. She observed that the University had learned a great deal about online and technology integrated opportunities in classes and was looking for ways for those to continue post-pandemic.

Business Continuity
Professor Regehr reported that following the January 15 student application deadline, application numbers for the coming year remained strong and showed an eight per cent increase over January 2020 in the number of applicants listing the University of Toronto as their first choice. She also reported that there had been a 25 per cent increase in international applications and, as of February 1, a three per cent increase in graduate applications. She commended colleagues across the University for their success at improving application rates but noted that the continuation of the pandemic caused uncertainty about how many successful applicants would register in the fall. Professor Regehr also reported that enrollment had been strong for the current year: undergraduate enrollment was up 3.4% compared to last year, 1.8% over what the University had planned.

The Provost concluded her remarks by noting the ongoing incredible work of members of the University community.

A member commented about the increasing frustration and concern of colleagues who did in-person research, and who were unable to progress in their work while the duration of their grants remained static. The member offered the suggestion that the Vice-President, Research and Innovation (VPRI) reach out to this cohort of researchers to offer them some reassurance. The Provost confirmed that the VPRI was aware of these concerns and was looking at options to increase opportunities for in-person interactions while staying within Public Health guidelines and keeping subjects safe.

  1. Items for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council
    1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Instructional Centre 2 (IC2) at the UTSC (Arising from Report Number 230 of the Academic Board (January 28, 2021)

      At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, provided a brief overview of the project highlighting the following:
      • The Instructional Centre would be a prominent addition to the UTSC campus, anchoring the northern part of the campus.
      • It was designed to have a space program totaling 9,915 nasm (net assignable square metres), and a gross floor area of 19,646 gsm (gross square metres).
      • It would accommodate the growth and expansion of the units that would inhabit the space: four student services departments and the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences (CMS).
      • It would provide 24 new classrooms ranging in size from 24 to 500 seats, including a 360-degree classroom, all of which would support different approaches to teaching (e.g. an inverted classroom style).

        Professor Paul Kingston, Chair of the UTSC Campus Council then commented on the discussion of the item at the meeting of that body on January 27. He reported that:
      • Mr. Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer, UTSC) had shared the purpose and building features of the Instructional Centre with members, noting the planned location at the North Campus and the anticipated schedule for construction. Some of pedagogical benefits of the building were also highlighted.
      • A member had asked about community benefits of the space. Mr. Arifuzzaman had responded that the project would create opportunities for pre-apprentice trainees.
      • Another member had asked about the closed municipal waste site near the proposed building site and the HOLD referenced in the report. Mr. Arifuzzaman had responded that:
        • the ‘HOLD’ in the report spoke to a routine City by-law provision. 
        • the proposed site was a former parking lot, and, as such, salt contamination would be removed prior to building.
        • there were no environmental issues that caused any concern, and they anticipated no issues with the release of the HOLD.
        • the building site was not a previous landfill site, it was the site adjacent to the proposed location that had been a landfill site.   
      • Members had no further questions, and the recommendation received the support of the Campus Council. 


        Professor Nicholas Terpstra, Chair of the Academic Board, then reported that the project was well received by the Board at its meeting on January 28, and that the Board had supported the recommendation.

        There were no questions or comments from members on this item.

        On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

        YOUR COMMITTEE ENDORSED AND FORWARDED
        To the Governing Council the following recommendation:

        THAT the Report of the Project Planning Committee for the New Classroom, Academic, and Administrative Building (Instructional Centre 2 or IC-2) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), dated November 17, 2020, be approved in principle; and,

        THAT the project totaling 9,915 net assignable square metres (nasm) and 19,646 gross square metres (gsm), be approved in principle, to be funded by Future Major Capital Project Reserves, Borrowing and UTSC Major Capital Construction.

    2. Proposed Revisions: Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities (Arising from Report Number 221 of the University Affairs Board (January 19, 2021)

      The Chair briefly introduced this item. She noted that the proposed update to the Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities was administrative in nature and would ensure that the University was in full compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and would clarify the Statement.

      At the invitation of the Chair, Mr. Andrew Szende, Chair of the University Affairs Board, commented on the discussion at its meeting on January 19, 2021.
      • Professor Hannah-Moffat had provided an overview of the proposed administrative changes.
      • In reply to a question submitted in advance of the meeting, Professor Hannah-Moffat had reported that the term “timely manner” was language taken directly from the AODA which referred to the process by which accessibility needs should be met.
      • While the particular timeframe would depend on the nature of the request being made, it was generally expected that accessibility needs would be met in a timeframe that did not directly impede a student’s ability to access and take part in the curriculum, or an employee’s ability to participate in their role, irrespective of the complexity of the request.
      • The proposal had received the full support of the Committee.

        There were no questions or comments from members on this item.

        On motion duly moved, seconded and carried

        YOUR COMMITTEE ENDORSED AND FORWARDED

        To the Governing Council the following recommendation:

        THAT the proposed revisions to the Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities, dated November 1, 2004, be approved, effective February 25, 2021.
  1. Item for Confirmation by the Executive Committee
    1. Capital Project: Utility Services - Devonshire-Bloor Expansion (Arising from Report Number 230 of the Academic Board (January 28, 2021)

      The Chair explained that this was a Level 2 Capital Project which had been approved by the Academic Board at its meeting on January 28 as part of the Consent Agenda.

      Professor Mabury described the highlights of the project noting that:
      • It was a small project that was a key linchpin in the investment and development of three new buildings in the Devonshire and Bloor area: the Woodsworth Academic Building, the Academic Wood Tower, and a Rotman Commerce Academic Building.
      • It would extend the Innis College district energy system, which provided heating and cooling, to include the three new buildings.
      • This would be more cost-effective than constructing a new boiler-plant in each building.
      • It will contribute to the University’s Carbon Reduction Commitment, particularly to the Net Zero Carbon Campus Master Plan that will put the St. George campus on track to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

        There were no questions or comments from members on this item.


        On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

        YOUR COMMITTEE CONFIRMED THE DECISION OF THE ACADEMIC BOARD

        THAT the Utility Services – Devonshire-Bloor Expansion Basis of Design, dated July 16, 2020, be approved in principle, to be funded by Recovery from the Academic Wood Tower Project, Recovery from the Woodsworth Academic Building, Divisional Reserves, and the St George Campus Utilities Infrastructure Fund.

CONSENT AGENDA

On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE RESOLVED

THAT the consent agenda be adopted, and that item 5 be approved.

  1. Report of the Previous Meeting of the Executive Committee

    Report number 518, from the meeting of December 8, 2020 was approved.

  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  3. Minutes of the Governing Council Meetings – December 17, 2020

    Members received the Report of the December 17, 2020 Governing Council Meeting for information.

  4. Business Arising from the Minutes of the Governing Council Meetings

    There was no business arising from the minutes.

  5. Reports for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:

    1. Report Number 221 of the University Affairs Board (January 19, 2021)

    2. Report Number 45 of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council (January 26, 2021)

    3. Report Number 45 of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council (January 27, 2021)

    4. Report Number 231 of the Academic Board (January 28, 2021)

    5. Report Number 256 of the Business Board (February 3, 2021)

END OF CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Date of next meeting:

    The Chair advised members that the next meeting was scheduled for Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  2. Other Business
    1. Governing Council Meeting

      The Committee finalized the agenda for the Governing Council to be held on February 25, 2021.

THE COMMITTEE MOVED IN CAMERA

  1. Item for Confirmation
    1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the Devonshire-Bloor Corridor Utility Expansion – Total Project Costs and Sources of Funding (for confirmation) (Arising from Report Number 231 of the Academic Board (January 28, 2021))

      On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      YOUR COMMITTEE CONFIRMED THE DECISION OF THE ACADEMIC BOARD

      THAT the recommendation of Professor Scott Mabury, Vice President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, regarding the Total Project Costs and Sources of Funding for the Utility Services – Devonshire-Bloor Expansion, as outlined in the memorandum dated February 2, 2021, be approved in principle.
  2. Items for Approval
    1. External Appointments: Member Representative for Academic Pharmacy (“Discovery Pharmacy Inc”) at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and Further three Directors for Board of Directors of the Academic Pharmacy (“Discovery Pharmacy Inc.”)

      On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

      THAT, effective upon incorporation and thereafter until their successor is appointed, three further Directors of the Academic Pharmacy (“Discovery Pharmacy Inc.”)  be approved to be added to the initial slate of directors approved by the Executive Committee at its December 8, 2020 meeting, namely: 
      • Dexter R. Voisin, Dean and Professor, Sandra Rotman Chair in Social Work, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work 
      • Linda Johnston, Dean and Professor, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing 
      • Aldo DiMarcantonio, CAO, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy 

        AND THAT:  
      • The Member’s representative for the Academic Pharmacy (“Discovery Pharmacy Inc.”) be: 
      • Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost 
    2. External Appointment - Banting Research Foundation Board of Trustees

      On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

      THAT Mr. Richard Nunn be appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Banting Research Foundation for a three-year term from March 1, 2021 until the Foundation’s annual general meeting in 2024, or until his successor is appointed.

    3. Senior Appointment

      On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      YOUR COMMITTEE APPROVED

      THAT Professor Dwayne Benjamin be appointed as Vice- Provost, Strategic Enrolment Management, from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2026.
  3. Item for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council
    1. Capital Project: Report of the Project Planning Committee for the UTSC Instructional Centre (IC2) – Total Project Costs and Sources of Funding

      (Arising from Report Number 231 of the Academic Board (January 28, 2021) and Report Number 225 of the Business Board (February 3, 2021))

      On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      YOUR COMMITTEE ENDORSED AND FORWARDED

      To the Governing Council the following recommendation:

      THAT the recommendation by Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships regarding the Total Project Cost and Sources of Funding for the New Classroom, Academic, and Administrative Building (Instructional Centre-2 or IC-2) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), as outlined in the memorandum dated February 2, 2021, be approved in principle.

    2. Committee Members with the President 

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

    3. Committee Members Alone

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

The Committee returned to closed session

The meeting adjourned at 6:29 p.m.



February 24, 2021