Investigation into events leading to Macdonald Campus building closures

Published: 14 March 2023

I have been closely following the situation involving the closure of the Raymond, Barton, and Macdonald-Stewart buildings on McGill’s Macdonald Campus. I have heard many of the concerns shared by our community members, and I agree that it is essential for us to ensure we have the fullest possible understanding of this situation.

To that end, on the recommendation of the Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), I have instructed McGill’s Internal Audit Unit to conduct an investigation into the events leading to, and following, the detection of asbestos at these buildings, as well as the control processes in effect during the period of review.

Specific deliverables will include:

  • An inventory of the actions taken, roles and responsibilities, and control processes relating to asbestos detection and management during the period of review
  • Verification that asbestos management processes and controls exist and are adequate to ensure compliance with McGill policies and procedures, as well as provincial standards and regulations.

To the extent possible, this investigation will both document the chronology of events and decisions that led to the detection and subsequent management of asbestos in the Raymond, Macdonald-Stewart, and Barton buildings, and project management processes relating to asbestos management and their application within these buildings.

The Internal Audit Unit has been mandated to complete its work by end of April, 2023, and will provide its final report directly to Principal-Designate Deep Saini, who will begin his tenure as Principal and Vice-Chancellor on April 1, and to Maryse Bertrand, Chair of McGill’s Board of Governors. The report will also be made public to members of the McGill community.

Shortly after the publication of the report, the University administration will hold another Town Hall for the Macdonald Campus community to present the findings, hear concerns, and answer questions.

Many of you have understandable concerns about these buildings, and when such concerns arise, as an academic community we must carefully gather data, draw conclusions supported by that data, make evidence-based adjustments as appropriate, and share our findings. If significant, serious questions remain unanswered following the initial investigation by the Internal Audit Unit, the University will look into further ways to gather the information. I am confident that this approach – rooted in facts and transparently executed – is the best possible way to address these concerns, and to ensure we all continue to be – and feel – safe in the spaces where we teach, work, and learn.

Thank you,

Professor Christopher Manfredi
Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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