Operating Principles

Policies Guiding the Quality Council and its Committees

1. Introduction

The mandate and mission of the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (the Quality Council) are defined in the Quality Assurance Framework (approved in 2010). The Quality Council and its two committees, the Appraisal Committee and the Audit Committee, operate under this Framework. Changes to the Quality Assurance Framework can be initiated by either the Quality Council or the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents (OCAV), and are subject to the approval of both bodies.

The Operating Principles cover policies that have been developed and approved by the Quality Council to govern it and its two Committees in their operations.

2. Scope of Authority

The policies in this document apply to the members of the Quality Council and its Committees. The work produced by Council and its Committees is the property of the Quality Council.

Members of the Quality Council and its Committees do not speak for the Council. All communication of the decisions of the Quality Council and its Committees and responses to inquiries from any source take place through the Quality Assurance Secretariat. The Secretariat will communicate with the institutional contacts that are identified by each university in its Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) and to other appropriate individuals and groups including the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as directed in the Quality Assurance Framework. The Quality Council and its Committees do not intervene to settle disputes at universities or communicate directly with individuals at universities who have not been designated as the institutional contact. All public statements and communications by any means related to the Quality Council and its Committees are the responsibility of the Executive Director, Quality Assurance and the Chair of the Quality Council. All inquiries should be directed to the Quality Assurance Secretariat.

3. Responsibility of Members of Quality Council and its Committees

Members are committed to the principles and practices of quality assurance in the post- secondary education sector. All members are thoroughly knowledgeable about the Quality Assurance Framework and are guided by it in their decision-making. Members of the Quality Council and its Committees represent the system, rather than their own institution, while they undertake their work related to the Quality Council and its Committees.

Recommendations are made by the Appraisal Committee and the Audit Committee to the Quality Council, which has the final authority to approve recommendations, as mandated in the Quality Assurance Framework. The Appraisal Committee has final authority to make decisions related to expedited approvals.

Decisions of the Quality Council and its Committees take place by consensus or vote following a full discussion of the relevant issues. All members of the Quality Council and its Committees are responsible for preparing for meetings and participating with respectful, open and honest communication, and ethical conduct. Members are committed to respecting issues of gender, race, religion and culture. Members of the Quality Council and its Committees are committed to responding to university submissions as expeditiously as possible.

4. Confidentiality

All submissions from the universities to the Quality Council are treated as confidential by the Quality Assurance Secretariat, the Quality Council, its Committees and auditors. Furthermore, members of the Quality Council, its Committees and its auditors agree to conform to the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FIPPA). All materials from the universities, agendas and other meeting materials are provided electronically, and are available to members through QAMS. Only authorized members of the Quality Council/Appraisal Committee/Audit Committee/Auditors will have access to this material, as appropriate. Members of the Quality Council and its Committees understand that these materials are provided for their consideration for program and IQAP approvals or for audit purposes. Members agree not to share, copy or use any information provided by the universities for a purpose other than mandated by the program and IQAP approval and audit processes. Members also agree to keep confidential all discussion of university submissions that occurs at Council and Committee meetings. Communication with the universities will be through the Quality Assurance Secretariat.

5. Conflict of Interest

Members of the Quality Council and its Committees must avoid conflicts of interest in carrying out their responsibilities. To that end, no member of Council or its Committees who currently is employed by an Ontario university will participate in a discussion or decision on a submission from his or her own institution. Members shall not participate in any discussion or decision in which they believe their impartiality may be affected by personal interest, by financial interest or by a recent personal or professional relationship with one of the parties. Members who believe they may have, or be seen to have, a conflict of interest on any matter before Council or its Committees shall declare it to the Chair in advance of the discussion.

6. Quorum

Quorum at meetings of the Quality Council and its Committees is 50% plus one eligible voting member. If a member is not voting because of a conflict of interest, the determination of what constitutes quorum will not include that member. The Chair shall have a vote.

Approved September 29, 2010.