Report: Executive Committee - October 17, 2023

Chairs' Boardroom, Simcoe Hall



To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto,

Your Executive Committee  reports that it held a meeting in the Chairs’ Boardroom, second floor on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, with the following members present:

PRESENT: Anna Kennedy (Chair), Sandra Hanington (Vice-Chair), Meric Gertler (President), Soban Atique, Seyedreza Fattahi Massoum, K. Sonu Gaind, Paul Huyer, Sarosh Jamal, Mark Lautens, Grace Westcott,

REGRETS: Ernest Lam, Kikelomo Lawal, Joanne McNamara, Mary-Agnes Wilson

SECRETARIAT: Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council); Anwar Kazimi, Committee Secretary

IN ATTENDANCE: Vikram Chadalawada (Chair, University Affairs Board); Ann Curran (Chair, University Campus Council); Douglas McDougall (Chair, Academic Board)

Bruce Kidd, Professor Emeritus, Ombudsperson (for item 4a); Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost; Ron Saporta, Vice-President, Operations (Acting); Christopher Lang, Director, Office of Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances (for items 2, 4a,15, and 16a); Carmelle Salamon-Labbé (for items 2, 15, and 16a); Leora Jackson, Legal Counsel (for items 2, 4a,15, and 16a); Nadina Jamison, Chief Strategy Office, Office of the President; Kristin Taylor, University Counsel, Chief Legal Officer

Pursuant to section 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of items 14 to 19  took place in camera.


  1. Chair’s Remarks and Orientation

    The Chair welcomed members, Board and Council Chairs and Vice-Presidents to the first regular meeting of the Executive Committee for 2023-24. She conducted a brief orientation for members about the Executive Committee and its mandate, its Terms of Reference, and the main areas of responsibility for the Committee.
  2. Overview of the Academic Discipline Process

    Mr. Christopher Lang, Director, Appeals, Discipline and Faculty Grievances and Ms Leora Jackson, Legal Counsel, provided an overview of the Academic Discipline process with a focus on the role of the Executive Committee. In the discussion that followed, Mr. Lang and Ms Jackson provided additional details on the processes, and on the responsibilities of the Committee. It was noted the University provided resources and support to students related to academic matters, and information on academic integrity processes and procedures at U of T.

  3. Report of the President

    Israel – Palestine Conflict

    The President began his remarks by commenting on the situation in the Middle East, noting that it remained top-of-mind for everyone in the University community. He noted that the Vice-President, International, Joseph Wong, had issued a statement on behalf of the University which condemned the terrorist violence and expressed horror at the kidnapping of civilians. The statement expressed the University’s grief at the loss of life on all sides and offered heartfelt condolences to all those who suffered in Israel and Palestine, and to those who had been personally impacted.

    He noted that the University had contacted its students in the region and had confirmed that they were safe. Support had also been extended to international students at the University from that region, and he recognized that many in the community were experiencing a huge amount of pain and anguish. The President said that he had expressed the importance of leadership at a recent meeting of the Principals, Deans, Academic Directors, and Chairs. He stated that there was a collective responsibility to ensure that the university discourse remain as civil as possible, and that all members of our community must be safe and free from harassment, discrimination and persecution.

    The President said that the University had continuously shown itself to be a truly caring and inclusive community and, in these difficult times, it needed to rise to that challenge once again. He expressed hope that the violence would soon give way to negotiation and a peaceful outcome.

    Landmark Project update

    The President reported that the Landmark Project on the front campus was nearing completion. Grass had been laid in the circle and the fencing around it had come down, and it was gratifying to see how quickly the space had been embraced by the community. He noted that the planting of gardens would continue, as would some work related to the underground infrastructure and parking garage.

    Times Higher Education (THE) World Academic Summit 2023

    The President, Provost, and other members of the senior administration had attended the THE World Academic Summit hosted by the University of Sydney in September. In this year’s THE World University Rankings, the University of Toronto had been ranked 21st in the world, 10th among public universities worldwide, and third among North American public universities.

    At the Summit, the President had participated in a session on indigenizing universities and further expanding indigenous access to higher education. The University’s recent initiative to cover tuition fees for indigenous students from nine local and neighbouring First Nations had been very well received, and many institutions were looking to Canada, and the University of Toronto, for leadership in this area.

    While in Sydney, the President had also met with university leaders from around the world, explored further opportunities for international partnerships, and hosted an alumni reception and donor meetings. 

    Federal Matters

    With regard to the current tensions in India-Canada relations, the President expressed hope that the situation would begin normalizing soon. The University had assured its Indian students that they continue to be welcome here and that the University would do everything it could to ensure their wellbeing and success. The University had also reached out to its research partners in India to reassure them of its continuing commitment to these institutional partnerships. He also noted that the leadership of Universities Canada had recently met with India’s High Commissioner to Canada, who had been cautiously optimistic that normal relations between the two countries would soon be restored.

    On the topic of international students, the President spoke to concerns that may have arisen regarding international student recruitment and access to housing. He noted that the University, the U15, and Universities Canada have continued to emphasize to the Federal government the value of international students, emphasizing the beneficial impact they have on Canadian institutions as well as the quality of education and support that they receive. The University continued to work with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to advocate for the implementation of the ‘Trusted Institution’ Model to expedite more effective visa processing.

    The President then spoke to the University’s continued advocacy work regarding the Federal government’s Report of the Advisory Panel on the Research Support System. The Report had called for an increase in the funding levels for the Research Councils of ten per cent per year for five years to allow institutions to maintain their competitiveness with other major research-performing nations. The Report had also noted the importance of increasing funding for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to internationally competitive levels. He noted that the University sector had been successful in bringing together a broad-based coalition to ensure a high level of coordinated advocacy on this matter, and that it was hoped that the Fall Economic Update may address some of these themes.

    Provincial Matters

    The President recalled that last year the Provincial government had set up a Blue-Ribbon Panel to provide advice and recommendations to the government on how to promote long-term financial sustainability for the sector. With the review completed, the University awaited the release of the report in the coming weeks. The President was hopeful that the report would recommend creating a sustainable financial framework to help lessen the financial burden that the sector was facing, through the combination of an increase in operating grants and the unfreezing of tuition fees for domestic Ontario students.

  4. Item for Endorsement and Forwarding to the Governing Council
    1. Report of the University Ombudsperson for the Period July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and Administrative Response

      The Chair indicated that the Report of the University Ombudsperson and the Administrative Response were presented annually to the Governing Council for information.

      At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Emeritus Kidd, University Ombudsperson, referred to the Report and highlighted four main themes, with recommendations to address each:

    • The University develop a comprehensive, tri-campus communication strategy which included an expectation for website accuracy, accessible contact information, and the prompt and effective response to queries.
    • The University continue to give high priority in its efforts to ensure that all members of the community are treated with civility, dignity, and respect.
    • There be an initiation of a comprehensive, consultative review and update of the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters in line with the current times; and that the cases of academic misconduct are resolved in a timely manner.
    • A need to update several University Policies with the goal to align them with current practices.

      In concluding his remarks, Professor Emeritus Kidd observed that in its response the Administration had referenced his observation that at times some of the University’s practices, policies, and decisions left “…some members of the community vulnerable and subject to abuse.” He explained that his point was that there remained challenges that needed to be addressed and that the intention of the recommendations in the Report were to strengthen the culture of fairness and civility at the University.

      At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President and Provost, thanked the Ombudsperson for his oversight of many areas of the University’s operations, and expressed gratitude to Professor Emeritus Kidd and his staff for the insightful report.

      In response to the recommendations contained in the report, Professor Regehr noted:


    • The Office of the Provost had asked the Principals and Deans to devise a process for regularly scanning their websites for broken links. It was acknowledged that the University’s webspace was connected to a web of separated and distributed pages and sites, managed by local units. The University’s Communications team would undertake to press this issue with divisional communication leads with a goal to address this matter.

      Professor Regehr noted the recent expansion of NAVI, a chat-based virtual assistant for students, to provide information on a range of topics, beyond its initial focus on mental health resources. The use of NAVI had helped students obtained information and assistance in a timely manner.

      Professionalism and excellence in customer service remained institutional priorities. The University would continue to refocus on the experiences of the undergraduate and graduate students with respect to their interactions with the administration.
    • The expectation of civil behaviour was reflected in many of the University’s policies, protocols and statements. The Office of the Vice-Provost, Students had created a new website that more clearly articulated the processes for students to follow when they had complaints about student services or discrimination, and it will continue to enhance information for students. Similar mechanisms developed by the Division of People Strategy, Equity, Culture had been put in place for employees if they had complaints related to civility or bullying.
    • On academic integrity matters, the four largest divisions (the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto Mississauga, and the University of Toronto Scarborough) continued to work through a backlog of cases that had spiked during the COVID phase.

      The Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life, to whom the Provost has delegated authority for academic integrity matters under the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, had committed to discussing the recommendation for a review and update to the Code with the incoming Provost.
    • The administration had acknowledged the importance of reviewing the University’s Policy library and the Governing Council Secretariat was undertaking the development a Policy Management Framework for the University.

In closing, Professor Regehr reiterated the administration’s commitment to make the University a welcoming place for all members of its community.

In response to a question from a member, Professor Emeritus Kidd noted that appointment with  the Office of the Ombudsperson could be booked through a portal on its website. The Office endeavoured to meet with students, as needed, on their campuses.

On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the Report of the University Ombudsperson for the period July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 and Administrative Response be endorsed and placed on the agenda of the Governing Council meeting of October 26, 2023.


The Chair noted that of the items listed on the Consent Agenda, one item, Item 5 – Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees: UTM Student Societies – Proposal for Fee Increases – was for confirmation and item 6 – Report of the Previous Meeting of the Executive Committee – was for approval. All other items were for information only.

No questions or requests to place these consent agenda items on the regular were received by the Secretary.

On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 5 be confirmed and item 6 be approved.

  1. Compulsory Non- Academic Incidental Fees: UTM

    On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried,


    THAT, beginning in the Fall 2024 session, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU; legally, Erindale College Students’ Union) fee be modified as follows: (a) the establishment of $5.00 per session ($2.50 part-time) in the HOUSE UTM portion of the fee, and (b) the establishment of $5.00 per session ($2.50 part-time) in the Regenesis UTM portion of the fee.

    If approved, the total Fall/Winter UTMSU fee will be $451.76 per session ($176.27 part-time), charged to all UTM undergraduate students. The total Fall/Winter UTMSU fee for Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM) students will be $530.65 per fall session and $530.64 per winter session.
  2. Report of the Previous Meeting of the Executive Committee

    Report Number 544 from the meeting of June 27, 2023 was approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  4. Minutes of the Governing Council Meeting

    Members received the Minutes of the September 6, 2023 Governing Council meeting for information.
  5. Business Arising from the Minutes of the Governing Council Meeting

    There was no business arising from the minutes.
  6. Report on Approvals under Summer Executive Authority

    The Committee received a report on matters within the Executive Committee’s authority that had been approved under the Summer Executive Authority.

  7. Reports for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:

    1. Report Number 60 of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council (October 10, 2023)
    2. Report Number 61 of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council (October 11, 2023)
    3. Report Number 274 of the Business Board (September 27, 2023)
    4. Report Number 247 of the Academic Board (October 12, 2023)
    5. Report Number 236 of the University Affairs Board (October 4, 2023)


  1. Date of Next Meeting: Tuesday, December 5, 2023 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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

      The Committee finalized the agenda for the Governing Council meeting to be held on Thursday, October 26, 2023, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

      On another matter, the Chair provided the Committee an update to the Policy on the Approval and Execution of Contracts and Documents. The Policy delegated authority to the President and the Secretary of the Governing Council to, among other non-substantive changes, update the titles of positions or add positions directly comparable to the those included in the Policy. Any such changes were to be reported to the Executive Committee. Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate, had requested a minor change to the Policy to facilitate business processes within the Real Estate Unit. The change was to add the Managing Director, Real Estate to the roles noted under section C(2.) contract and documents not requiring signature under seal. The President and the Secretary of the Governing Council had reviewed and supported this change that had taken effect on September 20, 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 Capital Projects for information.
  2. Judicial Board Decision

    An update on a Judicial Board Outcome was received for information. 
  3. Items for Approval
    1. Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters: Recommendation for Expulsion

      The Committee approved the President’s recommendation for expulsion, as outlined in the memorandum and supporting documentation from the Secretary of the Governing Council, dated October 10, 2023, be confirmed.

    2. External Appointments: University of Toronto Press Board of Directors 2023-24

      On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


      THAT the following individuals be appointed/re-appointed as members and directors of the University of Toronto Press Board of Directors, effective immediately, for terms to continue until the 2024 Annual General Meeting, or until their successors are appointed:
  • Ms. Jessica Mosher (President, Publisher and CEO) 
  • Ms. Julia Woods (Chair) 
  • Professor Emeritus Carolyn Hughes Tuohy 
  • Mr. Larry Alford 
  • Ms. Ann Clavelle 
  • Professor Robert A. Davidson 
  • Ms. Martha Tory 
  • Dr. Amit Monga 
  • Mr. Jake Gilbert 
  • Mr. Bill Harnum  
  • Professor Scott Mabury  
  • Ms. Anne Macdonald 
  • Ms. Trish Wheaton  
  1. External Appointment: Hart House Board of Stewards

    On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT Ms Tee Duke be appointed to the Hart House Board of Stewards for a term effective from October 18, 2023 until June 30, 2024, or until her successor is appointed. 

  2. Review of the Office of the University Ombudsperson 2023-24


    On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT a Committee be established:

    1. to review the status and progress of the Office of the Ombudsperson in the light of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee to Review the Office of the University Ombudsperson, 2020-21, approved by the Governing Council on May 13, 2021; 

    2. to make recommendations concerning the appointment of an Ombudsperson. 

      THAT the membership of the Committee to review the Office of the University Ombudsperson be: 

      Sarosh Jamal(Administrative staff governor) 
      Indi Gopinathan (Alumni governor) 
      Seyedreza Fattahi Massoum (Student governor) 
      Sandra Hanington (Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council governor), Chair 
      K. Sonu Gaind (Teaching Staff governor) 
      Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Administrative Advisor) 
      Anwar Kazimi (Secretary) 

  3. Senior Appointment

    On a motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


    THAT Professor Vincent Tropepe be appointed as Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance, for a five-year term, effective July 1, 2025 to June 30, 2030.

    THAT Professor Lorraine Ferris’ appointment as Associate Vice-President, Research Oversight and Compliance be extended for one year, for a term ending June 30, 2025.  

  1. Item for Endorsement and Forwarding
    1. Appointments: Members of the Governing Council to Governance Bodies 2023-24

      The Committee resolved that a motion be endorsed and forwarded to the Governing Council for the approval of the proposed assignments of members of the Governing Council for 2023-24.
  2. Committee Members with the President

    Members of the Executive Committee met with the President.
  3. Committee Members alone

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

    The Committee returned to closed session.

The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.

October 19, 2023