University Policy Framework

About the Policy Framework

The University Policy Framework consists of the Policy for the Development and Review of Governing Documents and its Procedure. Approved by the Board of Governors in October 2017 and amended in May 2023, the Policy Framework establishes a clear, coordinated and consistent process for the development, approval and review of policies and regulations under the jurisdiction of either or both Senate and the Board of Governors ("Governing Documents"). 

What is a Governing Document?

A Governing Document is a policy or regulation approved by either or both Senate and the Board of Governors, normally on the recommendation of an appropriate standing committee. Unlike Unit-Level Documents, Governing Documents apply to the University as a whole or to a broad population of University faculty, staff or students. The Secretariat maintains the University's official repository of Governing Documents and related Procedures, which may be accessed here. The Secretariat also regularly updates the Guide to McGill University's Policies and Regulations which organizes Governing Documents into 9 functional categories and provides more information on how the University's policies and regulations apply to its different constituents. 

Who is Responsible for Developing and Reviewing Governing Documents?

The Policy Framework assigns responsibility for the development and review of Governing Documents to designated Executive Sponsors. Members of the University community who perceive the need for the development of a new Governing Document, or the revision of an existing Governing Document, should consult the Executive Sponsor responsible for the subject-matter of the proposed new Governing Document or, in the case of an existing Governing Document, the named Executive Sponsor. When an Executive Sponsor decides to sponsor the development of a new Governing Document (or to revise or repeal an existing Governing Document), the Executive Sponsor prepares a Governing Document Proposal in accordance with the process outlined in the Procedure for the Development and Review of Governing Documents.

Is there a required format for Governing Documents?

Yes. A standard format for University Governing Documents and Procedures is required as established in the Procedure for the Development and Review of Governing Documents. Please contact the secretary.general [at] (subject: Information%20on%20Governing%20Document%20Templates) (Secretariat )for more information on the official templates.

How often are Governing Documents reviewed? 

Governing Documents and Procedures may be reviewed at any time but must undergo a comprehensive substantive review at least once every 5 years. The Secretariat manages and coordinates a review cycle calendar for existing Governing Documents and prompts Executive Sponsors when a Governing Document is due for a 5-year review. A list of Governing Documents currently under review may be accessed here.

What is a Secondary Document?

A Secondary Document is a Procedure, Directive or Guideline that is developed and approved by an Executive Sponsor, or delegate thereof, in support of a Governing Document. A Procedure is the highest order of Secondary Document. Procedures prescribe a process or provide instructions for the implementation of Governing Documents. For this reason, most, but not all, Governing Documents require a Procedure. A Governing Document may not require a Procedure when, for example, it already contains built-in operational measures that give it full effect. Other Governing Documents may require more than one Procedure, or a combination of Secondary Documents, to give them full effect. 

Directives and Guidelines are lower-order Secondary Documents. Directives are normally mandatory in nature, as they provide specific instructions to targeted units or groups on how to perform an action often in relation to a particular aspect of a Governing Document or Procedure. Guidelines are almost always advisory in nature. They provide guidance, advice or explanation to support the implementation of a Governing Document or Procedure where a degree of operational flexibility is required. 

What is a Unit-Level Document? 

A Unit-Level Document is a policy, procedure or guideline, often operational in nature, established by and applicable only to a specific unit, activity or service at the University. Although Unit-Level Documents are not required to follow the process established by the Policy Framework, they must be consistent with relevant laws and regulations, as well as Governing Documents established by either or both Senate and the Board of Governors. In the event of a conflict or contradiction between a Governing Document and Unit-Level Document, the Governing Document prevails. 

To access Unit-Level Documents, please refer to the following websites:






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