Report: Governing Council - February 15, 2023

Council Chamber, University of Toronto Mississauga

The Governing Council

FEBRUARY 15, 2023

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL held on February 15, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber, University of Toronto Mississauga.

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


Janet L. Ecker (Chair), Rose M. Patten (Chancellor), Meric S. Gertler, (President), Sharleen Ahmed, Glen Bandiera, David Bowden, Vikram Chadalawada, Janet Cloud, Robert Cooper, Ann Curran, Sotirios Damouras, Teo Dechev, Annabelle Dravid, Susan Froom, Sonu Gaind, Alexandra Gillespie, Mathangi (Indi) Gopinathan, Sandra Hanington, Maureen Harquail, Paul Huyer, Sarosh Jamal, Madeline Kalda, Shashi Kant, Kikelomo Lawal, Ron Levi,  Jan K. Mahrt-Smith, Rajiv Mathur, Douglas E. McDougall, Joanne J. McNamara, Eha Mai Naylor, Danielle Skipp, Veronica Marie Wadey, Mary-Agnes Wilson

Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council)

Regrets: Anna Kennedy (Vice-Chair), Summer Hart, Jessica Johnson, Dveeta Lal, Sameer Lal, Ernest W.N. Lam, Mark Lautens, Scott MacKendrick, Arman Rasekh, Ryan Teschner, Nhung Tuyet Tran, Grace Westcott, Joseph Wong, Geeta Yadav, David Zingg, Lara K. Zink

In Attendance

Cheryl Regehr (Provost), Wisdom Tettey (Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough), Sandy Welsh (Vice-Provost, Students), Susan McCahan (Vice-Provost Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education), Amrita Daniere (Interim Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean, University of Toronto Mississauga),  Linda Johnston (Dean, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing), Patricia Houston (Vice Dean, Medical Education, Temerty Faculty of Medicine), Andrew Arifuzzaman (Chief Administrative Officer at the University of Toronto Scarborough), Kristin Taylor (University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer), Andrea Urie (Assistant Dean, Student Wellness Support and Success, UTM), Nadina Jamison (Chief Strategy Officer, Office of the President), Bryn MacPherson (Assistant Vice-President, Office of the President and Chief of Protocol), Melinda Scott (Executive Director, Office of the Vice-Provost, Students), Kendra Naidoo (Legal Counsel), Jessica Silver (Director, Student Engagement), Sheliza Ibrahim (Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy), Smyrna Wright (Community Engagement Coordinator: Access & Inclusion Programs), Jane Stirling (Executive Director, Communications Strategy and Stakeholder Relations), Noreen Ahmed- Ullah (Director, Office of the Vice-President Communications), David Curtin (Director, Communications Services), Jeff Espie (Director, Vice-Presidential Communications), Veronica Vasquez (Director, International Education Centre, UTM), Jaime Kearns (APUS), Jennifer Coggon (APUS)

Secretariat: Anwar Kazimi, Joanne Chou, Cindy Ferencz-Hammond, Tracey Gameiro, Lydia Gill, Kata Skoko, Samantha Frost

  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. 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 for a one-year term starting on July 1, 2023. She advised that a speaking request from the Students’ Law Society to address the Revisions to the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy was declined and a written submission was shared with the governors at the meeting. Two additional written submissions were received from the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Association of Lawyers with Disabilities, and these were shared with the governors.   She noted for the record that the Governing Board of Massey College recently approved the extension of Nathalie Des Rosiers’s appointment as Principal of Massey College to June 30, 2027.

  2. Report of the President

    The Chair invited the President to make his report to the Governing Council.

    The President began his report by extending his appreciation to Professor Gillespie and her team at UTM for the warm welcome to the Governing Council and noted the wonderful energy on campus.

    He acknowledged the recent passing of two outstanding members of the University of Toronto community. Hazel McCallion, the former Mayor of Mississauga, died on January 29th.  An outstanding champion of higher education, she was a great friend to U of T and played a key role in the development of U of T Mississauga as a powerful engine of progress in the western GTA. The Honourable David Onley was a proud alumnus of U of T Scarborough and served with great distinction as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, from 2007 to 2014. He died on January 14th. Dr. Onley was a lifelong advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Both Dr. McCallion and Dr. Onley were awarded honorary degrees from U of T and will be remembered for their significant contributions to the University of Toronto and the broader community.

    Earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye

    The President acknowledged the tragedy of the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye, noting the deep and significant impact to communities around the world.  He noted that the Vice-President, International had issued a statement on behalf of the University of Toronto expressing concern and sympathy for those here and abroad who were affected by this disaster and noting the availability of additional supports and resources for members of the university community, including the over 600 students from these countries, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni.

    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, supporting the advocacy efforts of both U15 and Universities Canada. During a recent trip to Ottawa, he attended U15 meetings and met with senior officials.  He emphasized the university’s priorities for the forthcoming Federal Budget, including research investments to match the significant research investments made in the United States, and increased funding for graduate students.

    The President highlighted the recent launch of Canada's National Quantum Strategy by the federal government. The strategy was driven by the goal of making Canada a world leader in quantum computing, communications, and sensing technologies. He noted that the Strategy document highlighted the success of the Quantum Stream at U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab, which has supported promising firms such as quantum computing start-up Xanadu.  Xanadu had received $40M through the Federal Strategic Investment Fund to commercialize the world’s first photonics-based, fault-tolerant quantum computer. U of T currently ranks 5th in the world in the impact of its quantum research, and the University continues to leverage this research strength in its advocacy work.

    Concerning visa processing issues, the President reported 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’ to relieve some of the pressure on IRCC’s current processing system. He noted that IRCC has responded positively and indicated that it expects visa processing to stabilize this year.   The federal government had committed approximately $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, citing recent media coverage related to collaborations between scholars at Chinese and Canadian universities, including U of T. He stated that the University takes advice and direction on national security matters from the Government of Canada and takes these matters extremely seriously. He noted that Ministers Champagne and Duclos had announced that the federal research councils and the CFI will not fund grant applications in sensitive research areas if any of the partners pose a risk to our national security. In addition, the government had signaled its commitment to work with the Canadian research sector to strengthen Canada’s security posture and provide ongoing support for an open and collaborative research environment. This was a welcome announcement, as the university sector continued to urge the government for clearer guidelines on national security risks and additional investments to respond accordingly.  He noted that the government would launch its new Research Security Centre at Public Safety Canada to provide advice and guidance directly to research institutions. The President explained that the University continued to work with the government to help them understand the value of international collaborations and academic freedom, while supporting the academic community to ensure academic freedom was protected and ensuring that tools were in place to protect their research and assess potential risks.

    Provincial Matters

    The President remarked that the Provincial government continued to review the ‘Value for Money’ audits of four universities recently conducted by the Auditor General. He noted that updates on the tuition framework and tuition freeze were still pending. The government is expected to appoint a Blue Ribbon Panel to offer insights on these matters shortly.

    Official Visits – London and Mumbai

    The President provided highlights from his institutional trip to London and Mumbai. In London, he hosted a successful alumni event featuring Professor Karen Chapple, Director of the School of Cities.  In Mumbai, the new U of T in India Centre was officially launched, supported by Tata Trusts. The Centre is a new collaborative research and education venture broadly focused on urban management and entrepreneurship and will be a conduit for sharing ideas and best practices between Mumbai and Toronto. An academic roundtable was held, focusing on "Moving towards Net Zero Carbon Cities in India and Beyond", and featuring U of T faculty as well as Indian experts and entrepreneurs. The President was honoured to appear as Chief Guest at a symposium organized by IIT-Bombay’s Sethi School of Entrepreneurship, and he delivered a keynote address on the pivotal role universities play in developing local innovation ecosystems. In addition, the President hosted a meeting with guidance counsellors from Mumbai’s leading high schools which reaffirmed U of T’s strong reputation amongst top students in India.

    The President concluded his report by reading into the record the names of the individuals who had accepted the Governing Council’s invitation to receive an honorary degree from the University of Toronto.

    David F. Andrews 

    For his excellence in the professions, through his innovative, foundational, and transformative contributions to the field of statistical sciences, and for his service to the public good, through his leadership in promoting the application of statistical sciences to an ever-widening range of problems in modern society.

    The Right Honorable Helen Clark

    For her outstanding service for the public good, through her ongoing, globally impactful commitment to a just, thriving, equitable, and sustainable world. 

    David F. Denison

    For his excellence in the professions, as a recognized corporate leader in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and for his outstanding service to the University, through his visionary leadership as co-chair of the University’s Investment Committee.

    Beverly Glenn-Copeland

    For his excellence in the arts, through his internationally recognized innovative and influential musicianship and sterling artistic reputation.

    Wesley (Wes) Hall

    For his excellence in the professions, through his innovative corporate and entrepreneurial leadership, and for his outstanding service to the local community, as a champion for equity and the removal of systemic barriers impacting the Black community.

    Robert Houle

    For his excellence in the arts, as an internationally recognized Indigenous artist and curator known for his trailblazing revisioning of the history of abstraction and representation through an Indigenous lens.

    Barbara Jackman 

    For her excellence in the professions, through her transformative impact on Canadian immigration and refugee law, and for her outstanding service for the public good, as a tireless advocate for social justice and human rights.

    Claire Kennedy

    For her excellence in the professions, as one of Canada’s leading tax lawyers, and for her outstanding service to the University, as a tireless advocate and volunteer.

    Alanis Obomsawin

    For her excellence in the arts, as an internationally recognized, multi-disciplinary artist dedicated to the cultivation of exemplary documentary film practice grounded in both social justice and artistic achievement.

    Derrick Rossi 

    For his excellence in the academy through his ground-breaking scientific research that has been translated into effective therapeutics with global impact, and for his outstanding service for the public good, through his extraordinary contributions to global public health and biotechnology innovation.

    Sara Seager

    For her excellence in the academy, as an internationally renowned leader in the fields of astrophysics and planetary science, and as a pioneer of the field of exoplanet atmospheres.

    James (Jim) and Louise Temerty 

    For their outstanding service for the public good, for their dedication to bettering the lives of others through a sustained, thoughtful, and generous commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism, and for their outstanding service to the University, through their transformative support of the Faculty of Medicine and other initiatives. 

    F. Michael Walsh

    For his outstanding service to the University, through his commitment to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and transformative gift of the Walsh Philosophy Collection, and for his outstanding service for the public good, by ensuring that the collection remains as an accessible resource for scholarship.

    The President then introduced Professor Alexandra Gillespie, Principal and Vice-President, University of Toronto Mississauga to offer welcome remarks. Professor Gillespie began her remarks by speaking to the power of place.  She highlighted several tri-campus initiatives including the Robotics Institute and work with the Indigenous communities.  She briefly introduced the Support, Engage, Experience University of Toronto Mississauga (SEE UTM) program and collaboration between the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and Peel District School Board.  Members from the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy and the Centre for Student Engagement gave a presentation, and highlighted the SEE program objectives and features, partnerships, and the notable impact on the students.  Professor Gillespie concluded her remarks by noting that SEE UTM represented an important step towards a larger change, creating meaningful and lifetime impact for Mississauga’s students.

  3. 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

    At the invitation of the Chair, Wisdom Tettey, Vice-President of the University of Toronto and Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough provided an introduction of the SAMIH project. He highlighted the collaborative nature of project and that it was an inclusive hub for education, strengthening connections among healthcare providers in the region.  He emphasized the overall global and local impact of U of T’s health education programs, connecting people directly to the local health care institutions that provide essential care to the diverse community in Scarborough.

    Mr. Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, UTSC, gave a brief presentation which highlighted the following aspects of the project:
  • The SAMIH project brought together MDs, physician assistants, physiotherapists and residency positions to improve the quality and quantity of care. 
  • A historic $75-million gift from Orlando Corporation would strengthen health care and health education in Scarborough and the Eastern GTA.
  • An important academic and physical pillar for UTSC, SAMIH takes place in a new, purpose-built building on the UTSC campus, located close to the Toronto Pan American Sports Centre.
  • The project included a unique set of programs such as classroom spaces, teaching and research labs, clinics, and teaching pharmacy.
  • Significant collaborative partnerships had been established, such as Scarborough Health Network, Ontario Shores, and community-based agencies and providers to advance health care in eastern GTA.
  • The approach of the Design-Build Teams for SAMIH.

    The Chair provided comments on the discussion of the item on behalf of the Chair of the UTSC Campus Council. She reported that:
  • Whether a larger facility was considered - in the context of a growing population in the Eastern GTA.
  • The administration took into consideration many factors when determining the size of the project.
  • Parking would be consolidated into a stacked parking lot that will house 1200 parking spaces.
  • Temerty Medicine can accept up to 13 international students into the MD program and this is regulated by the provincial ministry of health.
  • Internationally trained professionals may apply for the post-graduate spots through the Canadian Resident Matching System.
  • Regarding the UTSC ‘Inclusive Excellence’ Strategic Plan and how the administration planned to engage with the local community on various issues, Vice-President & Principal Tettey responded that Inclusive Excellence was linked to the development of the local community and is supported by the existing and forthcoming pathway programs for equity deserving communities.
  • Membership was very excited about the project and looked forward to seeing it come to fruition.

    The Chair concluded that the proposal had been recommended for approval by the UTSC Campus Council.  

    Professor Doug McDougall, Chair of the Academic Board, commented on the discussion of the item at that body. He reported that:
  • Indigenous health was part of the MD Program’s curriculum.
  • Partnerships were in place with Women’s College Hospital and TAIBU [TA-BOO] Community Health Centre to ensure students have exposure to this area of practice.
  • The design-build project delivery approach had been adopted to mitigate risk.
  • One of the strongest aspects of the project were the clinics within SAMIH that focused on interprofessional approaches to care of communities in the region and that working groups were being established to investigate ways in which SAMIH could partner more broadly.
  • 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, including the newly established Institute for Inclusive Health and Well-Being.
  • Members were very supportive of the project and voted to recommend the project for approval.

    No questions from members.


    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried


    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 Faculty 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, the history and application of the Policy. She explained the comprehensive consultations during the review process and emphasized the recommendations that informed the policy development. She highlighted the changes to the Policy that reflected recommendations from the initial review, as well as the external consultations that included experts in Human Rights Law and Psychiatry. She highlighted the key Policy revisions that included renaming it to more accurately reflect its purpose and the options contained within it. She explained the various Policy-related resources and supports in response to the recommendations, and the impact of the changes, underscoring the reinforcement of the compassionate intent of the Policy. She concluded her remarks by citing an example of the application and student experience of the Policy.

    The Provost acknowledged receipt of the three written submissions and was appreciative for the feedback. She noted that Professor Welsh had addressed the issues that were raised by two of the three groups, the U of T Law Union (brought forward by the Students’ Law Society) and the Canadian Association of Lawyers with Disabilities. In response to the submission from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), the Provost stated that the University had responded to the letter from the OHRC dated Nov. 8, 2021, on Nov.16, 2021, and that this response was publicly available online. She reiterated that one of the two external experts consulted during the review process was a former Chief Commissioner of the OHRC and that the University was continually engaged with the OHRC throughout the review process. She explained that the letter was part of an ongoing dialogue with the OHRC. She noted that the administration would respond to the OHRC letter and share the revisions to the Policy.

    Mr. Vikram Chadalawada, Chair of the University Affairs Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
  • The administration was committed to consulting with key student and university groups on its development of the Companion Guide.
  • The Office of the Vice-Provost Students, in collaboration with the Office of the University Registrar was leading a working group regarding divisional voluntary leaves, and periodic updates would be provided on the progress of this work.  
  • Professor Welsh explained the process if it was determined that the threshold of violent behaviour had been reached and what was done to protect the safety and health of the student and others before a leave was put in place.
  • A Student Support Team (SST) brought together multi-disciplinary expertise to assist in a comprehensive analysis of the student’s needs, and the terms and conditions identified in the Policy required a tailored compassionate approach for each student.
  • The Policy had been revised to make very clear what is mandatory and what is discretionary on the part of the University, and to ensure the Policy continued to be used in a fair and equitable way.
  • The Policy was developed with an understanding of international student immigration issues, and that students on leave would continue to have a connection to the University.
  • The speaker from the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union shared their view of the exclusionary nature of the Policy, and that it did not always account for systemic inequities. She encouraged the administration to consider the various sources of stress that affect the student community.
  • The speaker from the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students requested that divisional leaves of absence be accessible to all students, and that Indigenous student supports be in place and their rights recognized as a step towards reconciliation.
  • The third speaker, from the Scarborough Campus Students' Union ultimately did not attend the meeting.  
  • Several members commended the administration on the revisions and the Board recommended the revised Policy for approval.

    Ann Curran, Vice-Chair of the UTM Campus Council, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body.
  • The Companion Guide was an important part of the communication strategy.
  • Professor Welsh and her team would be engaging with all the appropriate stakeholders and information about the revisions to the Policy would be disseminated through various committees, health centres, division heads, Registrars and Deans of Students, and others involved in supporting students.

    The Chair provided comments on the discussion of the item on behalf of the Chair of the UTSC Campus Council. She reported that:
  • A member inquired about whether the status of a student living in residence would be impacted if they are placed on a mandated leave of absence. Professor Welsh explained that if they were engaged in dangerous and threatening behaviors, it may be the case that their status would be impacted and, in those cases, the Student Case Manager worked with the student to support them with securing housing.

    Professor Doug McDougall, Chair of the Academic Board, commented on the discussion of the item at that body. He reported that:
  • Disclosures made to mental health support clinics or Accessibility Services would not result in a leave under the Policy being invoked. 
  • Discussion with case managers included consideration of what financial and housing supports a student might need.
  • External experts reviewed a sampling of cases and had found that in their view the Policy had been invoked appropriately, and that the communications with students had been supportive and compassionate.
  • The Ombudsperson has agreed to review any cases under the revised Policy after its first year in practice.
  • The Board recommended the revised Policy for approval.

    In the discussion that followed, Professor Welsh added the following:
  • In alignment with the recommendations from the 2019 Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health, significant efforts were made in partnership with the University’s three health clinics to improve operations of counselling services, including same-day appointments and increased crisis support for students.
  • Continued use of the U of T My Student Support Program (MySSP) which provided students with real-time and/or appointment-based confidential, 24-hour access to a counsellor directly from anywhere in the world.
  • Partnership with CAMH to harmonize mental health services across all three campuses and build integrated care pathways between campus-based services and CAMH for students with complex needs. 
  • The appointment of an inaugural Senior Executive Director, Student Mental Health Systems, Policy and Strategy in 2022, a tri-campus role that worked closely with campus mental health service providers, mental health experts and the broader university community to guide the ongoing implementation of the recommendations made by the Task Force on Student Mental Health
  • In the area of accessibility services, enhanced collaboration between instructors, learning strategists, registrars, and accessibility advisors to meet the needs individual students.
  • Increased support for targeted student populations like graduate and Indigenous students, expanded transition programming to students with disabilities, and enhanced communication and training for faculty and staff to support students with disabilities.
  • Acknowledgement of the increasing need to support and provide resources to help the growing number of students that access accessibility services. Strong efforts across the three campuses to focus on access and high-quality accommodations that meet the needs of students and the academic needs of the programs.
  • The duty to accommodate to a standard of undue hardship was a fundamental responsibility of everyone at the university, and a core of the Policy and revisions. Additional language provided by the external reviewers was added about this duty and the University has ensured they had met these requirements. 
  • Students who choose to take a voluntary leave through their division (i.e., not through the Policy) do so for a wide variety of reasons, many of which are not mental health related. Students who take a voluntary leave typically return to the University and go on to complete their degree.
  • The Ombudsperson would be engaged to review the cases in the first year after the Policy revisions are implemented.
  • An annual report on the Mandated Leave of Absence was presented at the University Affairs Board for information.


    On motion duly made, seconded, and carried


    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 Item 5 approved.

  1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Governing Council – December 15, 2022

    The minutes of the previous meeting of the Governing Council were approved.
  2. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

    There was no business arising from the report of the previous meeting.
  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)
    6. Report Number 539 of the Executive Committee (February 7, 2023)


  1. Date of Next Meeting – Thursday, March 30, 2023 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

    The Chair advised that the next meeting of the Governing Council was scheduled for Thursday March 30th.
  2. Question Period

    A governor noted the low-level funding of graduate students and encouraged others to strengthen the efforts to urge the government to support graduate students.  
  3. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

    The Governing Council moved in camera.


  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 made, seconded, and carried


    THAT the total project cost of the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) as outlined in the Memorandum from Professor Mabury dated November 17, 2022 be approved in principle.

    The meeting returned to open session.

The meeting adjourned at 6:23 p.m.

March 7, 2023