Report: Governing Council - October 28, 2021

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Via Virtual Meeting room

The Governing Council

OCTOBER 28, 2021

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL held on October 28, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. via virtual meeting.

Present:
Brian D. Lawson (Chair), Janet L. Ecker (Vice-Chair), Rose M. Patten (Chancellor), Meric S. Gertler, (President), Trevor Young, (Acting Vice-President and Provost), Harvey T. Botting, Vikram Sainadh Chadalawada, Janet Cloud, Ann Curran, Teodora Dechev, Stark Draper, Susan Froom, K. Sonu Gaind, Vina Goghari, Sandra Hanington, Paul Huyer, Sarosh Jamal, Amin Kamaleddin, Shashi Kant, Evan Kanter, Anna Kennedy, Ernest W.N. Lam, Mark Lautens, Kikelomo Lawal, Ron Levi, Jan K. Mahrt-Smith, Rajiv Mathur, Douglas E. McDougall, Joanne J. McNamara, Mozynah Nofal, Danielle Skipp, Salvatore M. Spadafora, Ryan Teschner, Wisdom J. Tettey, Veronica Marie Wadey, Grace Ann Westcott, Kenneth Javier Williams, Geeta Yadav, Samra Zafar, Lara K. Zink. 

Sheree Drummond (Secretary of the Governing Council)

Regrets:
David N. Bowden, Andrew Chen, Maureen Harquail, Joan M. Johnston, Sameer Lal, Karen Ng, Nhung Tuyet Tran, Vishar Yaghoubian.

In Attendance:
David Estok (Vice-President, Communications), David Palmer (Vice-President, University Advancement, Kelly Hannah-Moffat (Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture), Scott Mabury (Vice-President, University Operations), Ted Sargent, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Joe Wong (Vice-President, International), Joshua Barker (Dean of SGS and Vice-Provost Graduate Research and Education), Heather Boon (Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life), Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Academic Programs and Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, Bryn MacPherson (Assistant Vice-President, Office of the President & Chief of Protocol, Office of the President), Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students, Jacqueline Fleisig (student presenter), Diana Virgovicova (student presenter), Ellen Hodnett (Former Ombudsperson), Bruce Kidd (Ombudsperson), Tad Brown, Barbara Dick, Juan Du, Dean (Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Design), Jaime Kearns (President, Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS)), Tanya Kreinin, Beth McCarthy, Gillian Morrison, Ron Saporta (Chief Operating Officer, Property Services & Sustainability), Melanie Woodin (Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science), Terezia Zorić (President, University of Toronto, Faculty Association (UTFA)), Anthony Gray, (Director, Strategic Research, Office of the President), Nora Gillespie (Senior Legal Counsel, Office of the Vice-President and Provost), Nadina Jamison (Chief Strategy Officer, Office of the President), Susan Mazza (Special Projects Officer, Office of the President), Archana Sridhar (Assistant Provost); Kristin Taylor (University Counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Office of the President)

Secretariat:
Anwar Kazimi, Kristi Gourlay, Emma Thacker, Samantha Frost


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. He also advised members that three speaking requests had been received. Professor Terezia Zorić, President, University of Toronto Faculty Association, had asked to address the Governing Council about matters of interest to the active faculty and librarians at U of T related to health and safety and COVID-19. Ms Jaime Kearns, President, Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), had asked to speak under Item 3, Report of the Ombudsperson and Administrative Response. The third speaker, Ms Mitra Yakubi, President, University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union, had requested to address the Governing Council about the January full return to campus, but was unable to attend the meeting. The requests had been granted.

    The Chair announced the resignation of Mr. Andrew Padmos as governor. He thanked Mr. Padmos for his service to the University and wished him well in his new role as Chair of the Senior Medical Advisory Committee for the Ryerson Medical School Project. He went on to offer congratulations to Ms Samra Zafar for being recognized for a second time as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. The Chair concluded his remarks by congratulating President Gertler on his recent appointment as Chair of Universities Canada, noting that President Gertler had delivered his inaugural keynote speech earlier in the day entitled “What Do Universities Owe Canadians?”
  2. Report of the President


The President thanked the Chair for his congratulatory words on being appointed Chair of Universities Canada. He noted that he was looking forward to fulfilling his role as Chair and continuing to champion Canadian universities. He echoed the Chair’s welcome to governors and, on behalf of the University community, expressed his gratitude and appreciation for their contributions.

The President began his report by welcoming two students from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. Ms Diana Virgovicova, a second-year international student and a Pearson scholar, and Ms Jacqueline Fleisig, a fourth-year student and President of the Engineering Society, gave a brief presentation on their experiences of being back on campus in person.

Ms Virgovicova spoke of her enthusiasm for coming to campus this fall after a year of adapting to the challenges associated with studying remotely from another country. She noted that it was much easier to participate in classes when everyone was in the same time zone, and that while she had made friends in the online environment, she found it much easier to do so in person. She indicated how much she was looking forward to a full return of on-campus activities.

Ms Fleisig welcomed the return to campus and noted the benefits of being back in person, including the ability to build community by having people together and making connections. She described some of the challenges associated with the current hybrid model on campus which required students to navigate different pandemic restrictions for different activities and spaces. She said that she was also looking forward to a full return of in-person activities.

The President thanked the presenters for sharing their experiences with governors and wished them well this year and in the years to come. He then went on to report on a number of matters:

UTAM and University Operations

The President noted that the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) would be taking place in Glasgow beginning on October 31st. In anticipation of the meeting, he had recently written to the University community providing an update on the University’s approach to investment, operations, and engagement, and announcing several new measures to help address the challenge of climate change. Specifically, he announced that, beginning immediately, the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM) would be divesting from its fossil fuel holdings in the University’s $4 billion endowment fund. This would include:

  • fully divesting from direct investments in fossil fuels within twelve months;
  • divesting from indirect investments in fossil fuels (i.e. in the form of pooled and commingled funds managed by third-party investment managers) as soon as possible, and by no later than 2030;
  • allocating at least 10% of the endowment to sustainable, low-carbon and green investment strategies by 2025;
  • achieving net zero emissions in the endowment portfolio by 2050; and
  • becoming the first university in the world to join the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, which required the setting and meeting of five-year targets leading towards the net zero objective by no later than 2050.

    He noted that these new commitments were built on the tremendous progress already achieved by UTAM in reducing the University’s fossil fuel holdings by 37% as of June 30, 2021, and reducing absolute carbon emissions by more than 21% in the same period. Building on this progress, and having reduced fossil fuel holdings to approximately 1.6% of the University’s long-term investments, he noted that the time was right to set new goals to decarbonize our investments. He expressed hope that these actions would inspire other institutional investors – and governments at home and abroad – to take similar actions to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. The President went on to note that his announcement complemented the University’s other ambitious plans to fight climate change, which included:
  • the new Climate Positive St. George Campus Plan – which would convert the campus into a carbon sink by 2050;
  • local, national and global leadership, through the Canadian Universities Climate Charter, the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) and the U7+ global alliance of universities;
  • initiatives championed by the University’s Committee on Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability; and
  • research focused on supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the new Climate Positive Institutional Strategic Initiative, a $7.5M project to promote the development and application of energy-saving technologies and practices.

    He described this as a watershed moment in the history of the University and noted that the response to his announcement had thus far been overwhelmingly positive.

Federal Government Matters 

The President noted the outcome of the September 20th Federal election and the formation of another Liberal minority government. The new cabinet had been sworn in on October 26th, and he identified several noteworthy cabinet appointments relevant to the higher education sector. He anticipated the release of the mandate letters, which would indicate those commitments from the 2021 Spring Budget and the Liberal election platform that would be given high priority by the new government .

Provincial Government Matters 

Turning to provincial government matters, President Gertler noted that Premier Ford’s second throne speech had been delivered on October 4th, in advance of the Fall Economic Statement expected on November 4th and the next Budget planned for the spring. He noted that the emphasis had been on the continued response to the pandemic, initiatives in the health and long-term care sectors, attention to fiscal and economic recovery, and reconciliation. He noted that there had been no specific references to the higher education sector, but that the University continued its advocacy with a focus on operating grants for universities as well as measures to ensure financial sustainability.

President Gertler also referenced the October 22nd Provincial announcement regarding its gradual approach to lifting remaining public health and workplace safety measures over the next four to five months. He noted that the University would work with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to better understand how these plans would impact the higher education sector.

The President then invited the Acting Provost to comment on a number of matters including COVID-19 updates and the Fall reopening.  
Professor Young echoed the President’s words that the University was carefully reviewing the new provincial plan to reopen Ontario and was still considering options for January 2022. While he recognized that the University community was looking forward to lifted restrictions, he emphasized that public health measures guided the University in making sure that the campus was safe.

Vaccination Rates/Clinics

Professor Young noted that more than 88,000 members of the community had declared their vaccination status on UCheck and more than 99% had indicated that they were fully vaccinated or were on their way to being fully vaccinated. Staff were continuing to work on verifying the large volume of proof of vaccination documents which had been submitted.

He reported that the small number of employees who were needed on site but were not able to attend due to their vaccination status had been moved to unpaid status and noted that the administration continued to work through the details of the University’s long-term approach for unvaccinated employees. He confirmed that its overarching principle would ensure consistency in approach across all employee groups, recognizing the different nature of employment relationships, and the plans for significantly more in-person experiences in January.

Professor Young also reported that the University was assessing how best to use the Ontario government’s vaccine passport to verify the vaccination status for those who do not have UCheck access, such as visitors. He stated that the University was piloting a “UCheck Ambassador Program” to support the community-wide commitment to the vaccine mandate, health screening, and rapid screening initiatives in a positive, friendly, and encouraging manner. Trained UCheck Ambassadors would be visiting high-traffic locations across the three campuses to ask individuals if they had completed their health screening before coming to campus and would request that they flash their completed UCheck green screen or show their paper form. He offered his thanks to a governor, who had shared some further ideas about how to promote self-screening and checking green screens as a part of normal business operations and confirmed that the divisions continued to be consulted about the best approaches to checking green screens based on their local needs.

Pop-up vaccine clinics continued to operate on all three campuses and updated information on how and where to get vaccinated was available on the UTogether website.

Students

Professor Young reported that many students had expressed how important it was to be physically present on campus both for their academic work and their overall well being. He noted that the University was working to support those students, particularly international students, who had encountered delays in getting their approved bridging mRNA doses. He advised that students who had chosen not to be vaccinated were being encouraged to discuss their academic options with their registrars or program directors. Quarantine and financial support programs remained among the most critically important supports for students. More than 9,000 students had completed the quarantine programs since their launch in 2020 and the University had dispersed $11 million in COVID-19 Emergency Grants to more than 8,000 students since March 2020.

Research

Professor Young reported that as of October15th, academic research labs which met the definition of “instructional space” were permitted to operate at full capacity without social distancing, provided there was an appropriate vaccine policy and other public health measures in place. Academic leaders were using the COVID-19 General Workplace Guideline to determine when and where expanding lab capacity could be done safely.

He noted that the University was working with Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to explore opportunities to provide graduate students with a safe space to work when they returned to campus. This included increasing capacity in spaces that EHS had advised should be considered instructional spaces, such as some labs and offices, provided appropriate conditions were met.

The Research Ethics Boards had begun accepting submissions for all risk levels on June 19th, including high risk face-to-face human participant research which had been paused due to concerns about the safety of participants. Professor Young noted that all such activities also had to be reviewed by the Face-to-Face COVID-19 Review Committee before commencing. Researchers were able to conduct off campus research provided they followed all local public health and third-party location requirements and they were encouraged to review the University’s Guidance on Research and Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic and complete the Off-Campus Safety Planning Record.

Academic Continuity

Professor Young reported that campuses and divisions had adopted a range of approaches to course delivery that served their specific needs. Approximately 15% of courses were in-person only, 45% were being delivered with a mix of in-person and remote learning, and 40% were remote only. He noted that faculty and staff had worked hard to ensure that students returned to a safe and welcoming environment, including the improvement of ventilation and HVAC systems. He anticipated that there would be a careful increase in on-campus activity for the Winter 2022 term and that more in-person courses would be available. Course delivery modes would be communicated to students as soon as possible to allow them to plan accordingly.

Business Continuity

Professor Young reported that the University’s fall enrolment numbers were healthy -- there had been an increase of nearly 9% in domestic student confirmations, and an increase of more than 5% in international student confirmations, putting UofT ahead of the average in the province. He reported that staff had been working diligently to open up food services and spaces on all campuses for students to eat, study, and relax between classes and an app called SYNC had been created to help students find spaces on the St. George campus to join their online courses. Professor Young also reported that the University’s early detection system to monitor for COVID-19 through wastewater testing had been expanded to include eight residences. He noted that this was one of the ‘12 Ways’ the University had prepared for a safe return to campus and reported that a set of metrics was being developed that would help assess and refine the University’s efforts to arrest COVID-19 transmission in the community. He reported that, thanks to the commitment of the University community and its health and safety measures, there had been zero instances of transmission of COVID-19 reported on any of the campuses.

Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

Professor Young provided an update on the periodic review of the University’s Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. The process had been initiated and would start with a consultation phase to allow members of the community to provide feedback. The review had an expanded mandate, and alongside any issues raised in the consultation phase, would address four specific areas:

  • barriers to reporting and supporting survivors;
  • power dynamics inherent in institutions of higher learning;
  • communication with participants about outcomes; and
  • information sharing across universities.

    Professor Young noted that any recommendations or policy changes arising from the review would be brought forward to governance in Cycle 6.

    Professor Young addressed a question from a member which had been submitted in advance regarding students and food insecurity. He noted that food insecurity was a wider societal issue and referred again to the millions of dollars of emergency funding that the University had provided to students for pandemic-related financial needs. This had included funding an emergency food bank on the St. George campus when the food bank run by the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) was forced to close during the pandemic. He reported that the UTSU food bank had reopened, and there were also food banks operating on the UTM and UTSC campuses run by their respective student unions.

    Professor Young concluded his remarks by expressing gratitude to all faculty members, librarians, and staff for their extraordinary hard work, positive attitude and flexibility as the University carefully returned to in-person activity on our campuses.

    In the discussion that followed, members raised questions about the following:
  • The percentage of the University community that was vaccinated and the plan for those who were not.
  • Access to space for student groups.
  • The focus of the Climate Positive Campus Plan on the St. George campus.
  • Whether the University was doing enough to address the issue of sexual harassment and violence on campus.

    In response to these questions, the President, Professor Young and Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students, noted the following:
  • The University community included approximately 130,000 members, but not all of them were currently on campus.
  • The 88,000 members who had declared their vaccination status included everyone on campus and it was anticipated that as on-campus activities increased this number would rise.
  • The University was currently prioritizing instructional space. However, the importance of student activities and the related need for space was acknowledged and the situation would evolve as the new provincial rules were being reviewed. Some spaces like Hart House were already hosting student events and working with student groups.
  • The Climate Positive Plan was intended to become a tri-campus plan, building on the current climate positive initiatives at UTM and UTSC.
  • The University treated the issue of sexual violence and harassment with utmost seriousness and there was acknowledgment that important work was still to be done. It was intended that the review would not only result in improvements to policy but also recommendations to improve our culture.
  • All 65 member institutions of the Association of American Universities, including the University of Toronto, had recently adopted a groundbreaking set of principles to address and prevent sexual harassment on campus.

    The Chair invited Professor Zorić to address the Council. Professor Zorić requested that the administration act more transparently by sharing with those who studied or worked on campus the relevant documentation that underpinned health and safety decision-making. She suggested that such transparency would build trust and allow employees to make informed decisions about exercising their right to refuse unsafe work as formalized in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    At the invitation of the President, Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffatt, Vice-President, Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture, confirmed that the University shared with UTFA a commitment to health and safety. She agreed that transparency was important, noting the information posted on the UTogether website regarding how the University was preparing for a safe return to campus. She confirmed that the University continued to work closely with experts to ensure a safe environment for all faculty, staff, and students and that the University would continue to work with UTFA at the regular meetings of the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

  1. Report of the University Ombudsperson for the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 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, the Former Ombudsperson, Professor Emeritus Ellen Hodnett, highlighted some of the content of her final Report. She noted that she had made three recommendations. The first two concerned ways to enhance support for the Professional Managers group. Her third recommendation encouraged a critical examination of how complex problems of uncivil conduct and harassment had been handled across academic units and constituencies, with an eye toward improvements which would a) encourage disclosure of problems, b) improve the clarity of policies and guidelines, c) increase transparency in the process, and d) enhance the quality and alacrity of responses to complaints.

    Professor Emeritus Hodnett went on to thank those who had come to the Office of the Ombudsperson for assistance, particularly those who had raised issues that pointed to the need for improvement in University policies and practices, and those who had put themselves at personal and professional risk in doing so. She also expressed her gratitude to members of the Administration, staff, and faculty for their consistently prompt and serious attention to concerns that the Office had brought to them over the past six years. She concluded her remarks by expressing her enthusiasm about the new Ombudsperson, Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, whose breadth and depth of institutional knowledge, and his unstinting commitment to fairness, would be invaluable to the role.

    Professor Young offered some brief remarks on the Report of the University Ombudsperson and the Administrative Response. He thanked Professor Emeritus Hodnett and her staff for the insightful report and for her team’s excellent work supporting the University community during an extraordinarily challenging year. He noted that the Administration had accepted all recommendations and their implementation was underway. He expressed confidence that the recommendations would help the University continue to foster a caring community. He also noted that the Administration had provided a table showing how the Ombudsperson's recommendations over the past five years had been implemented. He closed his remarks by thanking Professor Emeritus Hodnett for her exceptional service to the University and saying that he was looking forward to working with her successor on the important issues and situations brought to the attention of the Office.

    In response to questions and comments from members about Recommendation #3 in the Report regarding policies and practices related to uncivil conduct and harassment, and the Administrative Response, Professor Young, Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students, and Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture (PSEC), noted the following:
  • The University continually examined its practices and processes with respect to building a respectful and safe environment across the University. Civil conduct was expected among and between all members of the community and was addressed in a number of University policies and guidelines which included:
    • the Policy with Respect to Workplace Harassment,
    • the Policy with Respect to Workplace Violence,
    • the Guideline on Civil Conduct,
    • the Code of Student Conduct,
    • the Statement and Guideline on Prohibited Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment, and
    • the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment.
  • In addition to the measures that the Office of the Vice-President, PSEC was taking to support access, education, clarity, and transparency, the Provost’s Office and the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students, would continue to work with the Office of the Vice-President, PSEC to improve upon the complaint resolution process for students, as well as for faculty and staff.
  • There were many options for support currently available to members of the community who came forward with complaints including:
    • the Family Care Office;
    • tri-campus Equity Offices;
    • the Community Safety Office;
    • personal support through the Health and Wellness Centres, and through the 24-hour MySSP telephone/web counselling service;
    • a new Equity Hub to be launched in the near future which would provide information and guidance about where students and other community members could go for help; and
    • Human Resources for staff including students who are also staff.
  • Outside third-party investigators were the norm for staff-related investigations into complaints. Student complaints under the Student Code of Conduct were investigated by trained internal officers, although external investigators were engaged in particularly complex cases.
  • The work of the Anti-Semitism Working group was wrapping up and a report was anticipated in the next few months.
  • The work of the Islamophobia Working Group was still in progress and it was hoped that within year it would provide some important recommendations.

    The Chair then asked Ms Kearns to address the Council. Ms Kearns referred to recommendation 3 of the Report. In the opinion of Ms Kearns, the Administrative Response did not address the severity of the subject matter, offer any tangible actions items in tackling the problem, nor address student experiences and the harmful effects of all forms of uncivil behaviour and harassment. Ms Kearns suggested that there should be mechanisms in place to protect the anonymity of victims, and an option for students to be able to disclose but not report incidents of harassment or uncivil behaviour, similar to the provisions in the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. She commended the administration for the initiatives already undertaken but encouraged them to act on Professor Emeritus Hodnett’s recommendation that there be a broad examination of policies and practices regarding uncivil conduct and harassment across all academic units and constituencies which could lead to recommendations with wide-ranging benefits for the entire University community.

    Professor Young thanked Ms Kearns for her suggestions and reaffirmed that the University would continue to work on addressing these issues and to seek feedback from student leaders.

    The Chair then introduced the new Ombudsperson, Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, and invited him to say a few words. Professor Emeritus Kidd spoke of his enthusiasm for his new role and indicated that he was looking forward to continuing the long tradition of Ombuds support to the University community.

    The Chair reiterated his thanks to Professor Emeritus Hodnett for her exemplary service to the University.
  1. Items for Governing Council Approval
    1. Bicentennial Campaign Plans and Priorities

      The Chair introduced the item noting that Mr. David Palmer, Vice-President Advancement, and Professor Young, had made presentations regarding the campaign plans and priorities at the various governance bodies during this cycle. He invited Mr. Palmer to make a brief presentation.

      The presentation discussed the framework for gifts and donations at the University of Toronto in the context of academic priorities and the Provostial Guidelines on Donations which had been updated in 2021. Mr. Palmer noted that the size and ambition of the campaign—the largest and most ambitious in Canadian history—was commensurate with the University’s excellence, the depth and breadth of its aspirations, its outsized impact on the day’s most pressing societal challenges, and the scale of the University’s community of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and donors around the world.

      The campaign would advance a wide range of academic funding priorities for students, faculty, research, and programs that had been identified by the divisions and approved by the Provost’s Office. These included priorities related to sustainability as well as equity, diversity, and inclusion. In closing, Mr. Palmer acknowledged those who had worked with exceptional diligence and dedication to lay the foundation for a successful campaign.

      Ms Anna Kennedy, Chair of the Business Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body. She reported that Mr. Palmer and Professor Young had outlined a series of initiatives that had been developed by the divisions, as well as University-wide initiatives for equity, diversity, and inclusion. The Board had supported the recommendations for the campaign.

      Professor Salvatore Spadafora, Chair of the Academic Board, then commented on the discussion of the item at that body. He reported that the Board had received a comprehensive presentation on the Campaign’s academic priorities and its goals. As part of the ensuing discussion, Mr. Palmer had addressed a member’s concern about investment of endowment funds in the fossil fuel industry stating that the campaign would pursue funding for a wide range of academic priorities related to climate change and sustainability. He also had noted that students were the primary beneficiaries of campaign funding priorities and donations.  In response to a question about whether the University’s endowment policies related to fossil fuel divestment would have an impact on fundraising outcomes, Mr. Palmer had stated that, to date, they had not diminished the University's ability to raise funds and he expected that track record of success would continue into the public phase of the new campaign.

      The Chair thanked Ms Kennedy and Professor Spadafora for their reports.

      There were no questions or comments from members.

      On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      It was Resolved 

      THAT (i) the Summary of Approved Academic Priorities (Campaign Priorities Summary), as of August 20, 2021, and (ii) the Overview of Campaign Plans, copies of which are appended to the Vice-President, Advancement, Mr. David Palmer’s memorandum dated October 21, 2021, be approved as the planning framework for the University’s fundraising campaign.

      The Chair noted that this was an exciting moment in the University’s history and expressed his gratitude to Mr. Palmer for his leadership.

    2. Revisions to the University of Toronto Policy on Capital Planning and Capital Projects

      The Chair introduced the item, noting that the revised Policy had arisen out of a Working Group that Ms Claire Kennedy, former Chair of Governing Council, had struck, and which he had chaired. The Working Group members had included governors as well as members from the Operations and Real Estate Partnerships (OREP) team and the Secretariat. He advised that a major objective with this Policy was to reflect the primacy of the academic mission. The overall goal was to give the administration the necessary flexibility to plan and execute capital projects on an expeditious and commercially effective basis, while at the same time providing governors with the necessary information, opportunities for discussion, and approval capabilities to ensure that they could fulfill their obligations as governors and provide the administration with the necessary approvals to support their actions.

      At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Scott Mabury, Vice-President, OREP, made a few brief comments on the revised Policy. He noted that it had been realigned to the financial levels currently necessary to deliver a capital project, was a clearer document, and was more focused on explaining the role of project planning reports and how they interfaced with governance. He described it as a more nimble document than the one it replaced because it included an ad hoc group to consider scope or budget changes with alacrity, and was more representative of the current construction market in Toronto.

      Ms Anna Kennedy then reported on the discussion of the item at the Business Board meeting. The Board had reviewed the report from the working group responsible for the review of the Policy. It had noted that, in addition to ensuring the efficiency of the process followed by the University administration, the group had worked diligently to ensure effective governance and oversight of capital projects so that governors, would continue to fulfill their fiduciary obligations. The Board had reviewed its role in approving the execution and financing of projects; it was not to approve design and function but was to review for reasonableness through a business lens to determine if the University could afford the project given its current debt capacity. By approving execution, the Board would be effectively giving the University’s administration the authority to sign the underlying contracts and begin implementation. In response to a member’s question, Professor Mabury had explained that the execution of projects involved a competitive tender process for vendors, per University policies and Provincial regulations for public institutions. Ms Kennedy reported that the Business Board supported the recommendation regarding the Policy.

      Professor Spadafora then commented on the discussion at the meeting of the Academic Board. He noted that the proposed revisions had been well received and that members had had no questions.

      There were no questions or comments from members.

      On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      It was Resolved 

      THAT the Policy on Capital Planning and Capital Projects dated September 1, 2021, be approved, to be effective October 28, 2021.

    3. Revisions to the Terms of Reference of the Planning and Budget Committee, the Academic Board, the Business Board, and the UTM and UTSC Campus Councils, and Campus Affairs Committees

      The Chair introduced the item, advising members that the proposed changes to the Terms of Reference of the Board and Committees, resulted from the recent review of the Policy on Capital Planning and Capital Projects.

      There were no questions from members about this item.

      On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

      It was Resolved

      THAT the proposed revised Terms of Reference of the Planning and Budget Committee, the Academic Board, the Business Board, and the UTM and UTSC Campus Councils, and Campus Affairs Committees dated October 21, 2021 be approved, effective immediately.

CONSENT AGENDA

The Chair noted that no requests had been made to place any consent agenda items on the regular agenda.

On motion duly made, seconded, and carried

It was Resolved

THAT the consent agenda be adopted and items on it approved.

  1. Revisions to the UTSC Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) Terms of Reference

    On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried

    It was Resolved 

    THAT the proposed revised UTSC Academic Affairs Committee Terms of Reference dated October 12, 2021 be approved, effective immediately.
  2. Report of the Previous Meetings of the Governing Council – September 9, 2021

    The minutes of the September 9, 2021 meeting were approved.
  3. Business Arising from the Reports of the Previous Meetings

    There was no business arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.
  4. Reports for Information

    Members received the following reports for information:
    1. Report Number 45 of the Pension Committee (May 26, 2021)
    2. Report Number 225 of the University Affairs Board (September 27, 2021)
    3. Report Number 260 of the Business Board (October 5, 2021)
    4. Report Number 49 of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Council (October 6, 2021)
    5. Report Number 49 of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Council (October 7, 2021)
    6. Report Number 235 of the Academic Board (October 12, 2021)
    7. Report Number 525 of the Executive Committee (October 19, 2021)

END OF CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Date of Next Meeting – Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.

    The Chair advised that the next meeting of the Governing Council was scheduled for

    December 16, 2021.
  2. Question Period

    There were no questions from members.
  3. Other Business

    There were no items of other business.

The meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

November 5, 2021