Report: Planning and Budget Committee - September 28, 2023

Council Chamber, Simcoe Hall


SEPTEMBER 28, 2023

To the Academic Board,
University of Toronto,

Your Committee reports that it held a meeting on September 28, 2023 at 3:10 p.m. with the following members present:

PRESENT: Mark Lautens (Chair), Markus Dubber (Vice Chair),  Ron Saporta (Acting Vice President, Operations), Basil Abu Sara, Catherine Amara, Carol Chin, Janet Cloud*, Ramy Elitzur, Adam Fox, Robert Gazzale, Meric Gertler, Sandra Hanington, Linda Johnston, Rita Kandel, Anna Kennedy, Jeff Lennon, Scott MacKendrick, Rose Patten, Suresh Sivanandam, Lindsay Stern, Sali Tagliamonte*, Steven Thorpe, Melanie Woodin
*participated remotely via Zoom

REGRETS: Cheryl Regehr (Vice President and Provost), Lisa Dolovich,

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: Dave Lehto (Chief University Planning, Design & Construction),

SECRETARIAT: Tracey Gameiro, Secretary

IN ATTENDANCE: Alex Matos (Director, Internal Audit)

Pursuant to section 38 of By-Law Number 2,
consideration of items 9 took place in camera.


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    Professor Mark Lautens introduced himself as Chair of the Committee and welcomed members and guests to the first meeting of the governance year.  The Chair also introduced Vice-Chair, Professor Markus Dubber, and Committee Secretary Ms Tracey Gameiro.

    The Chair referred members to the Planning and Budget Orientation video which had been provided to members in advance of the meeting.  He noted that the orientation video had been designed to provide an overview of where the Planning and Budget Committee sat within governance at the University of Toronto, as well as key elements of its Terms of Reference and areas of responsibilities.  He strongly encouraged members who had not yet had the chance to view the video to do so, and suggested to those who had, that they revisit it throughout the year.

    The Chair then reviewed the roles of the Senior Assessor, Professor Cheryl Regehr, (Vice-President and Provost), and the Voting Assessors, Ron Saporta, (Acting Vice-President, Operations), and Jeff Lennon, (Assistant Vice-President, Planning and Budget). 
  2. Calendar of Business for 2023-2024

    Members received the Calendar of Business for information. The Chair encouraged members to review the Calendar carefully so that they would have a better understanding of the items that would come forward for the Committee’s consideration.

  3. Approvals Under Summer Executive Authority

    The Chair reported that no decisions within the purview of the Planning and Budget Committee had been made under Summer Executive Authority in 2023.
  4. Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    Jeff Lennon, Assistant Vice-President Planning and Budget provided an update on Fall 2023 enrolment.  Mr. Lennon noted that while final numbers would be confirmed in November, preliminary data suggested that approximately 16,300 new undergraduate students registered in direct entry programs.  This was approximately 500 students more than the previous year, with growth in both domestic and international populations, but below target growth projections by about 2.5%. The result was 690 fewer international students than anticipated.  This was offset by approximately 250 more domestic students than targeted. Mr. Lennon explained that this was partly due to an increase in the rate of students with dual citizenship who were recruited internationally, but then registered with domestic status.

    Mr. Lennon reported that diversification strategies around international enrollment had been successful in recruiting students from a broader set of countries.  He advised members that yield rates from these newer markets are more volatile than more established markets and would continue to improve as the University’s presence in those countries strengthened.

    Summer enrolment was also slightly below targets, most notably at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and Scarborough (UTSC) campuses, but still higher than pre-pandemic enrolment.

    Finally, members were advised that geo-political tensions between Canada and India were being closely monitored. Mr. Lennon underscored the importance of India as a source country, noting that it was the second largest, with an estimated 2,400 students from India currently enrolled at the University of Toronto, and close to another 500 new students recruited each year into the University’s undergraduate programs. The impact on current student levels was minimal as most had arrived on campus prior to tensions escalating.  Mr. Lennon conveyed however, that should tensions continue to strain relationships between the two countries, planned travel for faculty and students during the current academic year could be disrupted.  He stated that individual support was being offered to any of those affected. Mr. Lennon warned that should the current geo-political situation extend into the fall it could impact recruitment efforts for 2024.  The University was working closely with local recruitment partners in India to try and mitigate that risk.

    A member asked Mr. Lennon to comment on ongoing delays with visa processing times for international students. Mr. Lennon acknowledged that this was a continuing challenge for the sector, but noted that the deferral rates at the University of Toronto were much less compared with those at other institutions. He reported that the University continued to work closely with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada towards an expedited pathway.  
  5. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 208 – May 3, 2023

    The Report of the Previous Meeting was approved.

  6. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

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

  7. Date of the Next Meeting: October 25, 2023, 3:10 – 5:10 p.m.

    The Chair reminded members that the next Committee meeting was scheduled for October 25, 2023.

  8. Other Business

    No items of other business were raised.

    The Committee moved IN CAMERA.


  1. In Camera Reports of the Administrative Assessors

    As required by the Capital Planning and Capital Projects Policy (Oct 28, 2021), Ron Saporta, Acting Vice-President, Operations, together with Dave Lehto, Chief of University Planning, Design and Construction,  presented a summary overview of the major capital projects prioritized for the St. George campus. 

    The Committee moved IN CAMERA.

The meeting adjourned at 4:11 p.m.

October 2, 2023