Policy Framework

About the Policy Framework

The policy framework is comprised of a Policy for the Development and Review of Governing Documents and a Procedure that establish a coordinated and consistent process for the development, approval and review of all University policies and regulations. It has been developed by the Secretariat and approved by the Board of Governors, on the recommendation of the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee. The Policy framework provides for definitions of what constitutes a policy, a regulation, a procedure, a directive and a guideline, standardizes and provides for protocols and clarifies roles and responsibilities in policy development. 

McGill University’s Governing Documents reflect and uphold the core values of the University’s mission statement and principles of academic freedom, integrity, responsibility, equity, and inclusiveness. The development and review of all Governing Documents is based in these core values, which support the University’s interests and priorities and promote an environment where academic excellence can flourish.

To whom does the Policy apply?

The policy framework applies to all executive sponsors or delegates responsible for the development and administration of all institutional University Governing Documents. Executive sponsors are senior administrators with responsibility for institutional Policy development. They are the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), the Vice-Principals, the Deputy-Provost (Student Life and Learning), the Associate-Provost (Equity and Academic Priorities), the Secretary-General and the General Counsel. Depending on the scope of the subject matter, a Governing Document may have more than one Executive Sponsor.

What is an institutional Governing Document?

A Governing Document is a Policy or Regulation approved by a governing body of the University (Board or Senate). Documents limited in scope to a specific unit or faculty are not subject to the Policy framework. The institutional governing documents are accessible here.

Is there a particular format to use for policy development and review?

The Policy Framework provides for templates to use for the development and review of policies and regulations, and procedures.

What are the steps for developing or reviewing a policy or a regulation?

  1.  When developing or reviewing a governing document, the executive sponsor or delegate shall prepare a Governing Document Proposal Form, signed by the executive sponsor and submit it to the members of the senior administration for consideration.
  2. Once approved by members of the senior administration, the executive sponsor or delegate undertakes a process to develop the governing document using the template for governing documents.
  3. Once the final draft of the governing document is complete, it is submitted for legal review, then for consideration by members of the senior administration.
  4. If approved by members of the senior administration, the draft governing document is submitted to the Secretary-General for submission to the appropriate governing body (Board or Senate).


Procedures outline how a policy is to be implemented. All institutional policies need to be accompanied by procedures with the exception of policies containing built-in operational measures that give effect to the policy.

Unless authority to approve procedures is granted to a particular position or body identified in a governing document, the authority to approve procedures rests with the executive sponsor or delegate.

What about directives and guidelines?

Directives and guidelines are approved by the executive sponsor or delegate, as determined by the executive sponsor and are not subject to following a particular format.

When should I start using the Policy on the Development and Review of Governing Documents and Procedure?

The policy framework does not have a retroactive application.

For new governing documents and procedures:

All new governing documents following Board approval of the Policy on the Development and Review of Governing Documents (October 5, 2017) shall be developed following the policy framework and using this template.

Procedures are developed using this template at the same time the governing document is developed or within a six-month period following approval of a governing document by the approving body.

For existing governing documents and procedures

The Secretary-General shall maintain a review schedule of all institutional governing documents and shall inform the executive sponsor of the review schedule. Procedures are reviewed at the same time the governing document is reviewed or within a six-month period following approval of a governing document by the approving body.

Existing policies and regulations, and procedures shall be reformatted upon review, using the appropriate templates.

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