Highlights from February 10, 2022 Board of Governors meeting

Dear members of the McGill community:

It is once again our pleasure to provide you with an update on the recent activities of McGill’s Board of Governors. You can learn more about the Board’s mandate and membership on its website.

McGill’s Board of Governors held its third meeting of the 2021-2022 governance year on February 10, 2022. In keeping with public health guidelines, the meeting was held remotely.

The full minutes of the meeting’s open session will be available following approval at the Board’s next meeting, on April 21, 2022. In the meantime, we would like to share with you the meeting’s important discussions, decisions and developments.

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Board of Governors. If you have any questions, ideas or comments, please write suzanne.fortier [at] mcgill.ca.



Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Ram Panda, Chair, McGill Board of Governors


Key Updates

Closed Session

In closed session, the Board, on the recommendation of the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee, approved the appointment of Mr. Ariel Deckelbaum as a member-at-large of the Board of Governors of McGill University, for a term of up to five years commencing July 1, 2022.

A McGill graduate (BA’93, BCL/LLB’98), Mr. Deckelbaum has been a volunteer at McGill for many years and he is a loyal supporter of our University. He is the Chair of the McGill Tri-State Board of Advisors, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Faculty of Law at McGill and the Chair of the McGill University Advancement Board – U.S. He is a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and was a former Deputy Chair of the Corporate Department for twelve years.

On the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, the Board approved the appointment of Professor Sean Ferguson as Dean of the Schulich School of Music for a five-year term commencing July 1, 2022.

Professor Ferguson is an experienced senior administrator with a deep understanding of the Schulich School of Music, having previously served as Dean from 2011 to 2016. Prior to this, he was Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) from 2009-2011, and its Associate Director (Artistic) from 2006-09. Professor Ferguson earned his Bachelor of Music at the University of Alberta, and his Master and Doctorate of Music in Composition at McGill. He joined the McGill faculty as an Assistant Professor of Composition in 2003, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009. He currently teaches composition and co-directs the Digital Composition Studios.

We extend our congratulations to Mr. Deckelbaum and Professor Ferguson on their appointments.

The Board approved several recommendations of the Statutory Selection Committee:

  • The promotion of two Associate Professors to the rank of Full Professor;
  • The appointment of two candidates to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure;
  • The appointment of one candidate to the rank of Full Professor (Clinical) Contract Academic Staff.

The McGill Reporter will publish the names of these new appointments once the candidates have been notified.

On the recommendation of the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee, the Board also approved:

  • Appointments to the Advisory Committee for the Selection of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, including the designation of Ms. Maryse Bertrand as Chair of the Committee in light of her term as Chair of the Board of Governors beginning on July 1, 2022. Click here for more information about the work of the Committee.

A series of amendments to the University Statutes. The proposed amendments pertain to articles 1 and 2 of the Statutes affecting the Board of Governors. In general, the amendments involve changes that were required to reflect current and best practices. In accordance with the Statutes they will now be sent to the Governor General of Canada for consideration. A full overview of the changes will be available on the Secretariat website following consideration of the amendments by the Governor General.

On the recommendation of the Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, the Board approved a contract, for a three-year term, for the supply of cleaning services to McGill University’s Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

On the recommendation of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), the Board approved two new grants for research and an amendment to an existing one which increased the amount of the initial contribution. These inter-institutional agreements will be announced in due time.

On the recommendation of the IT Committee, the Board approved the IT Disaster Recovery project, which will enhance the University’s capacity to plan for and effectively respond to risks in this area. The University will therefore proceed to a call for tenders for the selection of a commercial host solution.

The Board also received the Report of the Executive Committee. This report summarizes approvals made by the Executive Committee in the name of the Board of Governors and presents key informational items reviewed by the Executive Committee.


Open Session

During the meeting’s open session, the Board received, for information, the Report of the Committee on Sustainability which outlined, amongst other items, the continued monitoring and implementation of the objectives of McGill’s Climate and Sustainability Strategy (2020-2025).

The Board was informed that the Audit and Risk Committee, at its meeting held on February 3, 2022, had approved the External Audit Plan for Fiscal Year 2022.

On the recommendation of the Human Resources Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee, the Board approved the Emergency Management Policy.

The Board also received the Report of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR). In accordance with its terms of reference, the Committee carefully reviewed an expression of concern. The review did not lead to a finding of social injury and, as such, CAMSR did not recommend any action by the Board of Governors.


Principal's Remarks

The Principal’s remarks provided updates since the last Board meeting in December.


Campus update

The winter semester started as scheduled, first online as per public health directives; and then with a progressive return to in-person teaching from January 24. Most classes with enrolment of more than 200 student will remain online and all members of our community are still required to continue to wear a mask in the classroom and practice social distancing.

The Principal expressed how great it is to see our campuses getting busy again. More than 23,000 people are on our campuses each day, with more expected soon.

The Principal also expressed her gratitude and appreciation toward the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) team for all their hard work in preparing for the winter term and adjusting to the evolving situation. She indicated that the EOC has been deactivated and that COVID-related issues and initiatives will now be led by the Recovery and Operations Resumption Committee (ROR).


Government Relations

New Vic Project

McGill is focusing actively on this priority project and several meetings were held with people in key positions at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.

The preparatory decontamination work began on January 24th and will continue well into the summer of 2023. This work is essential to the preservation of the buildings and their future uses.


Meeting with Mayor Valérie Plante

The Principal recently met with Mayor Valérie Plante and seized the opportunity to emphasize McGill’s contribution to the vitality of downtown Montreal – especially with the return of students to campus.

The Principal is looking forward to increasing our collaboration with the city, particularly on our construction projects. The Mayor reiterated her strong support for McGill’s New Vic project.


Meeting with federal Members of Parliament

The Principal met with McGill’s downtown campus MP and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Mr. Marc Miller, to discuss McGill’s federal priority files. Minister Miller confirmed his support and his willingness to serve as a champion of the New Vic Project in Ottawa.


Budgets 2022 Consultations

McGill is awaiting important budgets at both the federal and provincial levels and consultations are underway.

With respect to the federal budget, McGill is working in collaboration with our colleagues at Universities Canada and U15, and promoting, in particular, additional investments in the federal research granting agencies and the creation of 1,000 new Canada Research Chairs.

At the provincial level, McGill is actively working with universities across the province to make the case for additional investments in our institutions.


Community Relations

Meaningful virtual campus events were organized over the past weeks, including:

  • A campus commemoration in memory of the five-year anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque Attack. McGill hosted a virtual event that included a recorded message by Benoit Charette, Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, live remarks by City Councilor Alia Hassan-Cournol – the first Arab woman elected to council – and words by students from the McGill Muslim Students Association.

McGill is hosting again a series of events in February on the occasion of Black History Month. The inspiring keynote address during the opening event was delivered by Dr. James Jones, the Trustees’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Black American Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Diversity at the University of Delaware. Guests included federal, provincial and municipal officials.


Selected Kudos

The Principal concluded her remarks by highlighting some of the members of our community who have recently received well-deserved recognition:

  • The Governor General closed out 2021 by announcing new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among the 135 honorees are Morris Goodman, a great friend and supporter of McGill, Prof. Roderick McInnes (Department of Biochemistry), and Harriet Stairs, McGill alumna and governor emerita.
  • Three McGill-led initiatives made the Québec Science Top 10 list for 2021: a new treatment for breast cancer, softer brain implants, and a study on self-pollinating flowers.
  • McGill is well represented at the Beijing Winter Olympics, currently underway. Among the 17 members from the McGill community participating in the Games are three athletes: Mélodie Daoust is competing with Canada’s women hockey team, aiming for a third Olympic medal; Lilah Fear is representing the UK in figure skating; and graduate Tina Garabedian is representing Armenia, also in figure skating. [Addendum: Canada’s women hockey team did of course win the gold medal!]



The Board received the following reports. Click on the links to read the full reports:


Closing remarks

The Chair concluded the meeting by reminding the Board members of the upcoming Board retreat. The next meeting of the Board will be held on April 21, 2022.


Additional activity

A community session had been planned for this meeting but no questions were submitted. The next community session will be held in October 2022.



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