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Student Society Fee Changes & Referenda

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Annual Memo to Student Societies

Memo to Student Societies re: Establishing or Changing a Student Society Fee – January 22, 2024

(This memo was sent to all St. George and University-wide student societies. UTM and UTSC student societies were contacted at the beginning of November.)

Fee Changes

The University Affairs Board has established procedures for organizations considering changes in the student incidental fees collected on their behalf by the University. The Office of the Vice-Provost, Students reviews submissions from student societies concerning fee changes in light of the requirements spelled out in these procedures, and then, if appropriate, forwards the requests with its recommendations to the University Affairs Board. The Board looks particularly for assurance that:

  • the decision to change the fee was arrived at by proper constitutional process and with adequate discussion and publicity within the constituency concerned;
  • applicable referenda were conducted in a fair and democratic manner; and
  • accurate financial records are maintained.

Societies requesting changes in fees are required to submit the required documentation to the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students as early as possible. The deadline for UTM and UTSC societies to submit fee change documentation is usually in January. The deadline for St. George and multi-campus societies to submit fee change documentation is usually in March. These earlier timelines for UTM and UTSC reflect that fee decisions can be local ones and are considered at Campus Council before continuing to the University Affairs Board. Requests for fee changes for a summer session should be submitted no later than December 31 of the preceding fall/winter academic period.

It is important to note the deadlines. Early timing is essential in order to allow for adequate attention to be paid to the requirements and processes outlined by University policy and the society’s constitution and/or by-laws; to resolve any questions or issues that may arise; to ensure that the approvals process is completed while students are engaged in campus activities; and to make any necessary adjustments to calendars, fee assessments, and collection procedures.

Fee Change Procedure

All requests for new fees, changes to existing fees, new designated portions of fees, and changes in the designations and/or levels of existing portions of fees must be made using on the fee change request website with the following:

  1. Evidence that the request to change the existing fee (or to institute a new fee) has been authorized by due constitutional process of the student society. This evidence should include:
    • a copy of or specific reference to the section of the society’s constitution and/or by-laws and/or policies which relates to the mechanism for fee changes;
    • a copy of the relevant rules and procedures governing the process related to the mechanism for fee changes;
    • minutes of the meeting at which the resolution to request the fee change was approved and minutes of any other relevant meetings (e.g., the minutes of the meetings at which referendum questions were approved and ratification of referenda results occurred, if these decisions were independent of a formal resolution to request a fee change); and
    • a formal declaration from an appropriate officer or representative of the society certifying that the society has complied with the terms of its constitution and/or by-laws and/or policies and the rules and procedures relevant to the request.
  2. Details of any referenda related to the subject which may have been held, including:
    • the full text of the referendum question (and a copy of the paper ballot, if applicable);
    • the full results of the referendum (including the number of members voting in favour of the proposal, the number voting in opposition, the number of spoiled and/or abstaining ballots, and the total number of eligible voters);
    • copies of formal notices, listserv emails, social media posts, newspaper advertisements, flyers, posters, and other publicity given the matter to ensure that those who may be affected by the change are aware of the proposal, including the size and purpose of the increase, and have had the opportunity to make their views known; and
    • the decisions and rulings concerning any applicable complaints or concerns related to the referendum process.
  3. The budget for the current year, together with details of any subsequent amendments or deviations, and an estimate of actual income and expenditures to date (not required for fees for designated purposes or cost of living increases).
  4. An audited statement of accounts for the previous financial year, showing sources of income and nature of expenditures, may also be required.

As part of the fee change request process, an assessment of the procedures used to seek approval of the fee change is undertaken. This assessment addresses the fairness and democracy of the process, as well as compliance with all applicable rules, procedures, and policies.


A student society conducting a referendum on the subject of a fee change may find it impractical or impossible to do so before the final documentation deadline. In this event, the preliminary information and available supporting documentation related to the fee change request should be submitted as above, and should include a notice of intent to hold a referendum. The referendum results must then be available by the cycle 5 meeting date of the University Affairs Board (held at the end of April/beginning of May).

Student societies should consult with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students, early in the referendum planning process in order to ensure that the University’s requirements are met. Societies are also asked specifically to seek advice on the wording of referendum questions. As a service to student societies, the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students provides a review process for referendum questions. Although our staff will offer advice on a proposed referendum question’s clarity and compliance with applicable rules, procedures, and policies, responsibility for referendum questions rests with the society.

The advice offered is not a substitute for legal advice, nor will the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students consult legal counsel on a society’s behalf. This is something that student societies will need to undertake themselves, if they so wish. A review by our office does not constitute an endorsement in any way of the referendum question itself; it is an administrative service only. Moreover, the fact that the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students has provided such a review does not constitute an undertaking that the Provost will take steps to move the question forward to governance; that is always a separate assessment.

Student societies are encouraged to review their quorum for referenda and revise if needed. Societies without a quorum for referenda are encouraged to establish one.

Frequently Asked Questions