UTSU and UTMSU Separation
RE: Separation of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU)
Since 2008, full-time undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus have been represented by two students’ unions, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU). As of 1 January 2019, UTM students will be represented exclusively by the UTMSU. The following outcomes are worth noting:
- All fees currently paid by UTM students to the UTSU will instead be paid to the UTMSU.
- The UTMSU will assume sole responsibility for the representation of UTM students on campus and off of it.
- The UTMSU will assume sole responsibility for the provision of essential services, including health and dental insurance.
- The UTSU will continue to provide health and dental insurance to UTM students until the end of the policy year ending 31 August 2019.
Ten years after a contractual agreement was signed between the UTSU and UTMSU, both unions committed to evaluating the relationship between the respective organizations. After careful consideration, it was soon concluded that a model of joint representation and service delivery was no longer the best solution for UTM students. In the last decade, the population of the UTM campus has grown from 8,000 to more than 14,000 students, and it is clear that these students will be best served by a more independent UTMSU. Moving forward, the UTMSU will be recognized by the University as the sole representative of UTM students. In every respect, the UTSU and the UTMSU will be equals—and partners.
Members of both respective organizations were asked to approve the proposed course of action. The new model—separation and independence—was approved by the UTSU membership on 30 October 2018 at its Annual General Meeting, and by the UTMSU membership on 29 November 2018 at its Annual General Meeting.
We understand that many students will have questions. An evolving Q&A section touching on critical points of interest will be available at utsu.ca/utmsu-separation. UTM students are encouraged to contact the UTMSU at firstname.lastname@example.org. UTSG students may contact the UTSU at email@example.com. All students, however, can expect a process that is orderly, transparent, and minimally disruptive.
Here, we mark the end of an era—and the beginning of something better.
Yours in service,
The UTSU Executive
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About the University of Toronto Students’ Union
Founded in 1901, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is the official student government of more than 50,000 students at the University of Toronto. If you’re a full-time undergraduate student at the St. George Campus or the Mississauga Campus, you’re automatically a member of the UTSU. As a student government, we operate independently of the University and strive to be a democratic, member-driven organization.
The UTSU is led by a President and six Vice-Presidents, all of whom report to a council called the Board of Directors. The President, the Vice-Presidents, and the Board of Directors are all elected directly by the members.
The UTSU has two essential functions: 1) advocacy and 2) service provision. Our advocacy work includes lobbying the government and the university administration, organizing public education campaigns, and supporting student initiatives. Our services include grants for students in need, funding for student clubs, and the student health insurance plan. Finally, all of our work is guided by a commitment to equity.
For all press inquiries, please contact President Anne Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions & Answers
(1) How will my representation change?
If you are a student enrolled at the University of Toronto St. George (UTSG), you will see minimal changes to your representation. The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) will continue to represent you as it has before:
- On campus, through its privileged seats on various university committees and boards, and through its relationships with university administrators; and
- Off campus, through its participation in municipal committees, through its collaboration and membership in advocacy-oriented external organization, and through its access to officials at all levels of government.
If you are a student enrolled at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM), you will see some of your representation shift from the UTSU to the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU). Up to 31 December 2018, the responsibility of representing UTM students was split between the UTSU and the UTMSU. From 1 January 2019 forward, the UTSU will transfer its responsibilities in this regard to the UTMSU. This will entail measures including, but not limited to:
- Changes to the allocation of seats on certain university committees; and
- Altered lines of communication between the university administration and the UTSU/UTMSU; and
- A substitution of representation in all areas extending beyond campus.
(2) How will this affect the services provided to me by my students’ union?
UTSG students will see no changes to the services provided to them. The UTSU will continue to provide the same roster of services as in past.
Up to 31 December 2018, UTM students were able to claim service benefits offered by both the UTSU and the UTMSU. With specific exceptions, UTM students will receive services exclusively from the UTMSU from 1 January 2019 forward. Notably, UTM students will continue to receive health and dental insurance from the UTSU until the close of the policy year ending 31 August 2019 (addressed in greater detail below). Service groups serving UTM alone, or both UTSG and UTM, will continue to provide their services in the same way as before.
(3) Will this change the fees I pay to my students’ union?
UTSG students will pay the same fees as before, to the same entities as before. Changes to the amounts of these fees will take place on the same annual cycle as before. No exceptional increases are expected to result from the separation.
The UTMSU will adopt full ownership and control of the fees which UTM students have paid to the UTSU in past. As a consequence:
- UTM students will pay the same fees as before, but to the UTMSU instead of the UTSU.
- Changes to the amounts of these fees will take place on the same annual cycle as before, but as decided on and approved by the UTMSU Board instead of the UTSU Board.
- Beginning in the Fall term of 2019, UTM students will pay new insurance-related fees instead of the health fee and the dental fee that they have paid to the UTSU in past. The UTSU does not have any indications as to what the amounts of these will be.
(4) How will this affect the health and dental insurance provided to me by my students’ union?
The UTSU provided health insurance, dental insurance, travel insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance to a membership group that included UTM students for several years leading up to the separation of the UTSU and the UTMSU. This was a central service that was provided to UTM students by the UTSU, and not by the UTMSU.
UTSG students will continue to receive insurance benefits from the UTSU moving forward, with coverage and premium changes taking place on the same annual cycle as before.
UTM students will continue to receive insurance benefits from the UTSU until the end of the policy year ending 30 August 2019. The coverage benefits and associated fees during this period will be the same as were received and charged in the Fall term of 2018.
From 1 September 2019, UTM students will receive insurance benefits from the UTMSU instead of the UTSU. Details on coverage and associated fees remain forthcoming. All questions pertaining to this change should be directed to the UTMSU at email@example.com.
(5) Will this affect my academics?
The separation of the UTSU and the UTMSU will not have any appreciable impact on the academic lives of UTSG or UTM students. The UTSU and the UTMSU are both organizations entirely independent of the university, and as such, their separation will not affect the policies, services, or other relationships of the university to students.
Responses to potential areas of concern follow:
- The opportunity for UTM students to enrol in classes on the UTSG campus, and vice versa, will remain open as it is now.
- Over the long term, the shift in representation from the the UTSU to the UTMSU may change how the university administration on the UTM campus responds to student issues in the area of academic policy.