Report: UTM Campus Council - November 14, 2023





To the Governing Council,
University of Toronto,

Your UTM Campus Council reports that it held a meeting in the Council Chamber, Room 3130, W. G. Davis building on November 14, 2023 with the following members present:

PRESENT: Ann Curran (in the Chair), Andrew Petersen (Vice-Chair), Alexandra Gillespie (Vice-President & Principal), Heather Anderson, Hassaan Basit, Rafael Chiuzi, Jenny Cui, Robert Gerlai, Rosa Hong, Ehab James, Karen Kwan Anderson, Latonya Ludford, Asif Mohammed, Phoenix Seelochan, Joanna Szurmak, Hana Tariq, Laura Taylor, Ziyaad Vahed, Ron Wener, Daniel Wright

NON-VOTING ASSESSORS: Deborah Brown (Chief Administrative Officer), Nicholas Rule (Vice-Principal, Academic & Dean), Mark Overton (Assistant Dean, Student Services and Dean of Student Affairs)

REGRETS: Wenchao Du, John Paul Lotesto, Eha Naylor

SECRETARIAT: Cindy Ferencz-Hammond

IN ATTENDANCE: Bruce Kidd (University Ombudsperson), Gulfy Bekbolatova (President, UTMSU), Andrea De Vito (Director, Hospitality and Ancillary Services), Christine Esteban (Executive Director, Budget, Planning & Finance), Jeff Espie (Director, Vice-Presidential Communications), Megan Evans (Asst. Director, Hospitality and Ancillary Services), Renu Kanga Fonseca, (Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Vicky Jezierski (Executive Director, Hospitality and Ancillary Services), Daniella Mallinick (Assistant Dean, Office of the Vice-Principal Academic & Dean), Felipe Nagata (Executive Director, UTMSU), Chad Nuttall (Assistant Dean of Students and International Initiatives)


  1. Chair’s Remarks

    The Chair welcomed members and provided a summary of the positions available in various constituencies in the upcoming 2024 governance elections. It was noted that the Deputy Returning Officer, Cindy Ferencz-Hammond, would be offering an elections information session on Tuesday, November 21 at 11 a.m. The Chair encouraged those interested in participating in governance to attend that session to learn more about governance, the positions available and the processes related to the elections.
  2. Report of the Vice-President & Principal

    Professor Gillespie began her remarks by noting that members of the Agenda Committee had expressed interest in the process of how new initiatives were developed and how they aligned with the university's planning processes. Therefore, she would focus her report on how ideas emerged from the Strategic Framework, how they were developed, and how they intersected with budget, space, and other planning processes.

    The Vice-President and Principal emphasized the significance of transparency and accountability in the university's planning processes. She discussed the processes and comprehensive guides and resources that provided step-by-step instructions for creating new degree programs and formulating the University’s budget.

    Professor Gillespie discussed the progress made in strategic planning at UTM, including the development of a second academic plan, which was currently underway, and that complemented the existing Strategic Framework. She also highlighted the role of governance in providing advice and ensuring transparency and accountability in the university's strategic initiatives. The Vice- President and Principal expressed gratitude for the engagement and collaboration of members, emphasizing the value of their questions and discussions in enhancing future planning efforts. She highlighted the advantage of principled flexibility in the university's planning, enabling the realization of priorities through various approaches and the ability to seize opportunities as they arose.

    Professor Gillespie then spoke about how the SpinUp initiative, which focused on providing affordable wet lab space for early-stage U of T entrepreneurs, creating experiential education opportunities for students, and promoting research partnerships for faculty, proceeded from ideation to implementation.

    SpinUp aligned with university-wide priorities and the Strategic Framework, as well as the strategic mandate agreement with the province of Ontario. The development of a new science building, which was set to open early next year, was endorsed by U of T and SpinUp contributed to the translation of research-based innovation into the life science market. The proposal for SpinUp underwent a thorough review process, starting with consultations with various stakeholders, including UTM staff and faculty, entrepreneurship leads, and external experts. The proposal was then sent for review at the UTM Capital Development and Space Allocation Committee (MCaPS), which evaluated capital and space proposals costing less than $10 million and was subsequently approved in the summer of 2023. SpinUp’s integration into campus-wide operations was another important step in the process. Once an initiative had an approved proposal, it was assigned to the appropriate team with the necessary support. The Office of the Vice-President, Research, Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives (OVPR) had an annual mandate that included SpinUp, and this work also aligned with other plans to maximize shared opportunities. SpinUp has also informed priorities in the Strategic Research Plan, which would be presented at governance early next year.

    Additionally, strategic presentations to governance were organized to provide detailed updates on priority initiatives and to engage governance in discussions and questions. Professor Gillespie noted that the goal of these reports and engagement efforts was to foster the growth and development of existing and new initiatives over time. It also allowed for new ideas and perspectives to be heard and incorporated into future plans.

    Professor Gillespie concluded her report by inviting Professor Nicholas Rule, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, and Mark Overton, Assistant Principal, Student Services and Dean of Student Affairs, to address another question that arose through governance, on the important topic of how student fees worked at UTM.

    During their presentation, they provided a detailed summary of the fees for undergraduate and graduate programs at UTM, as well as Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees (CNAIF).

    Professor Rule showed a chart of undergraduate tuition fees for Ontario residents, Canadian residents, and international students. The fees for most arts and science programs were approximately $6,100 for Ontario residents, $6,600 for non-Ontario residents of Canada, and $61,000 for international students. Deregulated programs had different fees, ranging from approximately $11,000 to $16,000 for Ontario residents, $12,000 to $17,000 for Canadian residents, and $63,000 to $69,000 for international students. Tuition fees for Professional Masters programs housed within the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI) were also provided. The tuition fees for these programs varied, with the Master of Science and Sustainability Management having the lowest fee at approximately $17,000 for domestic students, and the Master of Management in Professional Accounting having the highest fee.

    Scholarships and bursaries were highlighted as an important mechanism to offset the costs of tuition. These included government loans, and in-house scholarships and awards, grants and bursaries provided by UTM and the University of Toronto.

    Mr. Overton provided an overview of CNAIF associated with campus services and student governments. These fees were charged to all students based on their primary campus affiliation. The CNAIF covered services such as campus athletics and recreation, support for student governments, and access to facilities like Athletics & Recreation. The total CNAIF for the fall term for UTM students amounted to $1,063.

    The report concluded by providing a comparison of the fees with other institutions. It was noted that the fees at the University of Toronto were lower than international peers, like the University of Michigan, but higher than other Canadian institutions such as Queen's University, University of Waterloo, and McMaster University. A comparison of student service fees between the St.

    George Campus, UTM and UTSC was also provided, and it was noted that UTM’s fees were slightly higher because they included a fee for unlimited fare-free ridership of the UTM Shuttle Bus Service, which was not available automatically to, and charged separately for use by, UTSC or St. George students. It was also noted that UTSC’s recreation and athletics costs were lower because they were off set through its jointly owned and operated facility partnership with the City of Toronto.

    A member asked about the surplus in fees for athletics and recreation and other services and whether adjustments would be made if consistent surpluses were seen. It was noted that surpluses were considered when looking at the following year's budgets and related fees and adjustments were made to maintain appropriate reserves. In response to a member’s question about the breakdown in student numbers between regulated and de-regulated programs, Professor Rule noted that he would report back on that question at a future meeting. In response to member’s question about how deregulated tuition fees were established, Professor Rule explained that deregulated fees represented the actual cost of running the programs, while regulated fees were controlled by the province. He further noted that diversifying international students and the impact of fees on socioeconomic demographics was an important consideration, and scholarship programs were available to address this. In response to a member’s question about the criteria for refundable incidental fees compared to non-refundable fees, Mr. Overton explained that this was determined and outlined through the referendum question related to the specific fee. Finally, in response to a question about whether any CNAIF had historically been removed from the roster, it was reported that although rare, it had occurred.
  3. SpinUp Life Science Innovation

    At the invitation of the Chair, Raquel De Souza, Strategic Research Initiatives and Partnerships Manager, Office of the Vice Principal Research, presented an overview of U of T’s first wet lab venture incubator, supporting early-stage life science startups.

    The presentation highlighted the University of Toronto as a leading institution for scientist entrepreneurs. U of T was rated number one in Canada for research-based startups and was among the top five university-based incubators globally. Over the past decade, the University has successfully spun out over 650 startups, supported by a network of accelerators that provided entrepreneurship programming, education, mentorship, and funding. Dr De Souza noted however, that there was a lack of affordable laboratory space, particularly for early-stage life sciences companies. To address this gap, UofT was creating SpinUp, its first wet lab startup incubator, located in the new science building at UTM. SpinUp offered co-working lab space, access to basic equipment and infrastructure, entrepreneurship programming, networking events, and research partnerships with UTM students, postdocs, and researchers. The revenue generated by SpinUp would be redirected to support UTM research, fund new infrastructure, and create internal funding programs. Additionally, SpinUp would provide experiential learning opportunities for students and postdocs, support entrepreneurs emerging from UTM labs, and position UTM as an entrepreneurship hub, opening our access to new federal funding programs.

    Dr De Souza emphasized that the establishment of SpinUp filled a significant gap in the ecosystem by providing dedicated lab space for entrepreneurs, and elevating UofT’s position as a leader in research and innovation. It also helped retain technologies and talent within Canada, preventing the need for startups to leave the country due to a lack of wet lab space. This initiative not only supported the growth of new companies but also fostered the development of commercialization and entrepreneurship skills among STEM-trained individuals, ultimately leading to job creation. SpinUp, in conjunction with UTM’s existing accelerator ICUBE, positioned UTM as a hub for accelerating health innovations and strengthened its ability to attract large funding opportunities. Overall, SpinUp contributed to the University’s commitment to research and innovation and reinforced its reputation as a leader in the field.

    During the question-and-answer period, several participants asked about the availability of research experience opportunities for students. It was reported that the first cohort of startups was expected to be brought in early in the new year, with interactions with students being facilitated as early as the summer. In response to a member’s question about the connections being made for access to funding opportunities from federal and provincial governments, it was explained this information was being compiled and made available to young entrepreneurs. Also, in response to a question about wet lab support and equipment available for different types of research, it was clarified that the lab space was versatile and could accommodate both chemistry and biotechnology companies, while specialized equipment could be provided by on-campus facilities or brought in by the startups themselves. In response to a member asking for examples of startups that had applied for the initiative, it was noted that a range of companies working on therapeutics, tissue engineering, and clean technology solutions had shown interest. Professor Gillespie shared a potential application in the cultural heritage preservation space. She also acknowledged the hard work of the staff and faculty involved in the initiative.
  4. Status Report on Campus Strategic Priorities

    The Chair reminded members that starting in November, UTM would be discussing its budget plans with the Provost and the Vice President of University Operations and Real Estate Partnerships and would receive approval of its enrollment plans in the budget in February of 2024. The University’s institutional budget would then proceed for governance consideration and it, along with the UTM campus operating budget, would be presented for information to UTM governance bodies in cycles 4 and 5 of governance.

    The Chair invited Professors Alexandra Gillespie, Vice-President and Principal and Nicholas Rule, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, to present.

    During their presentation, it was noted that the Strategic Framework was developed between 2021 and 2022 through hundreds of conversations with various stakeholders. The framework emphasized the commitment to truth, openness, and reciprocity, particularly with Indigenous peoples. It also highlighted the importance of fostering student success, empowering research discovery and impact, embracing our local and global place, building efficient and sustainable operations, and encouraging collaboration and belonging.

    The Vice-President & Principal spoke to progress and plans in each of these spokes of plan. In terms of fostering student success, plans for the coming year included accelerating programs with other UofT divisions such as the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering on robotics and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health on Indigenous Health, implementing a strategic enrollment management plan, and launching a comprehensive student advising project.

    Regarding empowering research discovery and impact, a new strategic research plan would be launched, and plans to renovate the Davis Building research lab spaces would begin. The possibility of locating some Acceleration Consortium Self-driving Labs at UTM was also explored. Additionally, plans were discussed to develop a UTM-based hub for the Robotics Institute and the Canadian Robotics Council.

    It was reported that embracing the local community was an important part of UTM’s strategy, with plans to strengthen connections with Mississauga employers through a new campus-wide co-op program. UTM planned to collaborate on partnerships to advance projects for biodiversity and climate resilience with organizations such as the Riverwood Conservancy, the Suzuki Foundation, and Credit Valley Conservation. The new memorandum of understanding with the City of Mississauga was also highlighted as an opportunity for engagement with the community.

    In terms of capital projects, the launch of UTM's climate positive strategy was highlighted, along with the opening of the new science building and Student Services Hub shortly. Plans were underway for a new student residence, Indigenous placemaking, and student recreational facilities. More information about these projects as well as plans for the F2 building site would be forthcoming in the near future.

    On the topic of encouraging collaboration and belonging, the focus was on supporting student mental health, including the establishment of new resources for Black, Indigenous, and racialized students. The recommendations of the tri-campus Student Mental Health Task Force would guide this work. The need to integrate and connect various well-being and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) initiatives across the campus was also highlighted. A mapping exercise was conducted to identify all the initiatives and explore ways to cross-pollinate and integrate them. Another important part of this goal was the assessment and expansion of programs like Black STEM Scholars and Support, Engage, Experience (SEE) at UTM, which aimed to support high school students from equity-deserving groups in succeeding in STEM fields and other disciplines. Additionally, plans were discussed for Indigenous language teaching and revitalization, organizing a second All Nations powwow, and the return of Indigenous belongings through a consultative process.

    The Vice-Principal Academic & Dean spoke to UTM’s academic plan and noted that it would build on the success of the previous plan and guide the future growth and development of UTM. The plan would be developed based on insights from UTM’s external review and feedback from various stakeholders. It was reported that a consultant, Karyn Dumble from the Monarch Group, had been contracted to assist with the plan. The plan was to hold consultation sessions with the UTM community, including students, staff, and alumni, in the late fall. A strategic planning task force was also being formed to support the consultants in their work on the new academic plan.

    During the question-and-answer period, members discussed the memorandum of understanding with the City of Mississauga and its impact on transit. Professor Gillespie explained that the City valued UTM's input on transit and worked closely with UTM and with the UTM Student Union to address needs and plan for the future. The City of Mississauga had a comprehensive transit plan and was developing a grid of transit, and urban planning experts from UTM sat on the appropriate transit committees. The creation of the UTM’s External Relations portfolio, along with the Operations Committee, provided a framework for ongoing conversations with the city about transit.

    Regarding the possibility of extending GO Transit to the campus, similar to other universities that had GO Transit hubs on their campuses, Professor Gillespie acknowledged the issue and noted that the City’s transit and GO Transit schedules did not currently align. Joint lobbying efforts with the city and the province were ongoing to increase train service on the Milton line and improve bus connections. Mr. Overton added that the new electronic Presto-based UPass would provide valuable data to improve transit services.

    A member asked if UTM had considered filling in transit gaps by providing a shuttle service between nearby transit hubs. Professor Gillespie said that she would take the suggestion to the operational committee for further discussion. She added, however, that the challenge would be the cost of running the shuttle service, but UTM was open to ideas and recognized the importance of transit for the institution and the community.
  5. Annual Report: Office of the Ombudsperson, and the Administrative Response, 2022-23

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

    At the invitation of the Chair, Professor Emeritus Bruce Kidd, University Ombudsperson, reported that the Office had received 350 new requests for assistance (2022-23), 49 from UTM, a number consistent with previous years. He referred to the Report highlighting its recommendations, as follows:
    • The University develop a comprehensive, tri-campus communication strategy to address 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.
    • The University review and update as needed, several outdated institutional policies, including the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, also ensuring the timely resolution of cases under the Code.

Professor Kidd reported that he was encouraged by the Provost and the broader Administration’s response, including the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). He also noted that the four largest divisions had addressed their academic misconduct case backlogs which had required leadership and the deployment of resources. He noted that UTM had made considerable efforts in this regard and was progressing well. The Office of the Ombudsperson (OO) would continue to monitor various issues and would follow up with the incoming Provost on the Report.

In response to a member’s question, Professor Kidd explained that the services of the Ombudsperson were available to any member of the University whose relationship with the University was under the jurisdiction of the Governing Council. These individuals included students, members of the teaching staff, and members of the administrative staff and former students and former members of the teaching and administrative staff, but only in respect of matters arising out of and crystallizing during their former student or employment status. He also explained that the Office was one of last resort so that complainants availed themselves of existing processes before seeking the Office’s help.

  1. Reports of the Presidential Assessors

    Deborah Brown, Chief Administrative Office and Brian Cunha, Director of Student Housing and Residence Life, provided an update on the development of the Operating Plans and Fees for UTM’s Service Ancillaries, which would be submitted for governance consideration at the Council’s next meeting.

    During their presentation, they provided an update on the financial objectives and initiatives of the ancillary services at the university. Ms Brown began with explaining that the ancillary services operated without subsidy and were responsible for capital renewal and maintaining an operating reserve. She reported that the parking operation was currently in a deficit position due to the pandemic but was expected to recover in the next few years. She further highlighted the consultation activities of various administrative committees consisting of faculty, staff, and students in the decision-making process for ancillary budgets.

    The CAO then discussed some of the new contracts and initiatives undertaken by Hospitality & Ancillary Services, including the introduction of a new food service provider, Dana Hospitality, and the renewal of the vending machine contract. In addition, UTM had also implemented a license plate recognition system for parking and the expansion of EV charging stations. Future initiatives included introducing vending machines for Subway outlets, renovating the kitchen to accommodate more sustainable practices, and implementing a pay-by-app mobile parking payment system. There were also plans for a motorcycle parking expansion.

    Mr. Cunha continued the presentation and provided an update on student housing and residence life. He highlighted the engagement of the student housing advisory committee and their role in facilitating communication between students and housing staff. He also reported on the recent renovation of Leacock Lane residence and the ongoing planning for the renovation of McGrath Valley. He noted that the first phase of the MaGrath Valley renovation was expected to be completed by Spring 2025.


On motion duly moved, seconded, and carried


THAT the consent agenda be adopted and that Item 9, report of the previous meeting, be approved.

  1. Report on Capital Projects, as at October 31, 2023
  2. Reports for Information
    1. Report Number 52 of the Academic Affairs Committee – October 18, 2023
    2. Report Number 61 of the Campus Affairs Committee – October 19, 2023
    3. Report Number 62 of the Agenda Committee - November 2, 2023
  3. Report of the Previous Meeting: Report Number 61 – October 11, 2023
  4. Business Arising from the Report of the Previous Meeting

  5. Date of the Next Meeting – Wednesday, January 24, 2024

  1. Other Business

    A member requested that the Chair provide an opportunity for some guests in attendance to address the Campus Council. The Chair turned down the request and explained that the appropriate protocols for such a speaking request had not been followed.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:50 p.m.

November 21, 2023