Report: Planning and Budget Committee - February 25, 2020

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Simcoe Hall, 27 King’s College Circle, Governing Council Chamber 2nd Floor

REPORT NUMBER 191 OF THE PLANNING AND BUDGET COMMITTEE
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto

Your Committee reports that it met on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at 4:10 p.m. in the Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall with the following members present:

Jan Mahrt-Smith (Chair), Mark Lautens (Vice-Chair), Cheryl Regehr (Vice-President and Provost), Scott Mabury (Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships), Trevor Rodgers (Assistant Vice-President, Planning & Budget), Stephanie Anagnostou, Shauna Brail, Adalsteinn (Steini) I. D. Brown, Markus Bussmann, P.C. Choo, Ettore V. Damiano, David Dubins, Gary D. Goldberg, Ira Jacobs, Anil Kishen, Ernest Lam, Joanne J. McNamara, Melanie Woodin

Regrets:
Nicole Breakey, Susan Froom, Maureen MacDonald, Nicholas Rule, Christopher Yip

Non-Voting Assessors:
Sheila Brown (Chief Financial Officer)

Secretariat:
Tracey Gameiro (Secretary)

In Attendance:
Archana Sridhar (Assistant Provost, Office of the Vice-President and Provost), Elizabeth Cragg (Director, Office of the Vice-President University Operations)

ITEM 3 IS RECOMMENDED TO THE ACADEMIC BOARD FOR APPROVAL. ITEM 6 WAS APPROVED. ALL OTHER ITEMS ARE REPORTED FOR INFORMATION.


OPEN SESSION

1. Chair’s Remarks

The Chair welcomed members and guests to the meeting. He encouraged members to participate actively in the discussion and thanked those individuals who also attended the Budget Information Session on February 12, 2020.

2. Assessors’ Reports

There were no reports from the assessors.

3. Budget Report, 2020-21

Professor Cheryl Regehr, Professor Scott Mabury and Mr. Trevor Rodgers, Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget, gave a comprehensive presentation addressing the Budget Report for 2020-21, the Long Range Budget Guidelines 2020-21 to 2024-25, and the Enrolment Report.

As part of her introductory remarks, the Provost noted that the shift continued in the balance of funding between tuition and provincial operating grants, with just 22% of the operating budget supported by the Provincial government, down from 24% last year. Despite the challenges this presented fiscally, the Long Range Budget Guidelines planned for a balanced budget in each of the five years. To that end, the Four Corners Strategy which was being rolled out, would develop amenities to support the academic mission, and grow the portion of the University’s operating budget from “other revenue”.

It was reported that the total budgeted operating revenue for 2020-21 of $2.99 billion was 8.0% higher than the 2019-20 budget. This reflected a freeze in domestic tuition fees, increasing international enrolment, and an increase in international tuition fees. Key budget priorities included, enhancing the student experience, increased diversity in faculty hiring associated outreach/access programs, budget support for the indirect costs of research, and capital investments. Total spending for student aid was projected at $258M for 2020-21, growing to $344M over five years.

Discussion

As part of the discussion, the following matters were addressed:

Student Mental Health

The University was committed to addressing the issue of student mental health, and would marshal resources from the operating budget and other sources toward this important initiative. Investments would include renovating health and wellness spaces, resources in terms of external partnerships (e.g. CAMH), making curricular changes, process improvements, and student service enhancements within academic divisions to enhance UofT’s culture of caring beyond mental health services.

Improvements to Capital Infrastructure

Improvements to the University’s capital infrastructure were fully aligned with the priorities outlined in the operating budget. Growth in enrolment, for example, drove the need for both academic spaces like the UTSC Instructional Centre as well as campus amenities such as student residences. Many divisions continued to set aside contributions toward these projects from their operating funds.

Tuition Revenue Risks

International enrolment remained the most material risk. Although international demand remained strong, current geopolitical and global health issues were outside of the University’s control. A second source of risk was the domestic tuition fee framework. The University had certainty regarding a tuition fee freeze for 2020-21, but did not yet have a commitment from the Province on a fee framework for 2021-22 and beyond.

On motion duly moved, seconded and carried

YOUR COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED

THAT the Budget Report 2020-21 be approved, and

THAT the Long Range Budget Guidelines 2020-21 to 2024-25 be approved in principle.

4. Enrolment Report, 2019-20

The Enrolment Report, 2019-20, was provided to members with the Budget Report presentation.

5. Update to the Policy on Information Security and the Protection of Digital Assets

The Committee received a presentation from Isaac Straley, Chief Information Security Officer. Mr. Straley reviewed changes to the Policy on Information Security and the Protection of Digital Assets which reflected changes in the organization of the Information Security Office (“the ISO”), most notably the appointment of the institutional Chief Information Security Officer.

There were no questions from members.

6. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 190 – January 9, 2020

Report Number 190 of January 9, 2020 was approved.

7. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

8. Date of the Next Meeting – Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 4:10 – 6:10 p.m.

The Chair reminded members that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 4:10 p.m.

9. Other Business

There were no items of other business.

The Chair thanked members for their attendance and participation in the Committee meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 5:22 p.m.