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Financial Sustainability

Reminder: UPP All-Member Information Session May 27

Information Session will review key themes raised at the recent Pension Plan Listening Sessions and key things to know going into July 1st 

The University Pension Plan (UPP) reminds pension plan members that they are invited to join UPP staff on May 27th from 5:30 – 7 pm for an All-Member Information Session, where UPP staff will reflect on some of the key themes raised at the Listening Sessions in a ‘fireside chat’ with UPP CFO, Henry Kim.

The UPP hopes to provide a sense of how they will go about things in this early stage of the transition to the UPP and our pace of change. They will also present a short ‘UPP 101’ touching on the key things to know going into July 1st and then will open the floor to a live Q&A.

Staff hope to get to all questions and will be sure to reply to any submissions through the MyUPP.ca online form or myupp@universitypensionplan.ca email address. They are also working to establish a comprehensive, up-to-date “Your Questions Answered” section on MyUPP.ca to address member questions submitted during recent sessions and online.

The UPP team thanks those who were able to join the May 11th University Pension Plan (UPP) Listening Session on responsible investing. It was so important for the UPP to start by hearing your perspectives, questions and concerns and appreciated participants’ time and candour.

Registration is required. A password was emailed to members by HR Pensions on May 10th. More information is available on MyUPP.ca.

University Pension Plan Member Consultations Begin Tomorrow

Listening Session seeks member views on investment approach

A reminder for those interested to register for UPP’s Investment Listening Session with pension plan members tomorrow, May 11th from 10.30 a.m. to noon, to share your views on UPP’s investment approach. This will follow with a UPP All-Member Information Session on May 27th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Registration for both events is now open at MyUPP.ca. The password to register has been sent to members by direct email.

Transforming the global academy

Principal Patrick Deane on how the SDGs are helping break down silos, provoke dialogue, and unite us all in a common global purpose.

[Photo of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane]
Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen's University

As a member of the international group tasked with updating the Magna Charta Universitatum – the declaration of university freedoms and principles that was first signed in Bologna in 1988 – I am struck by the extent to which the intervening three decades have altered the global consensus about the nature and function of universities. Where the original document spoke eloquently to the fundamental values of the academy, the new Magna Charta Universitatum 2020 reaffirms those values but also expands upon their social function and utility. I would summarise the shift this way: we have moved from an understanding of universities as defined primarily by their ability to transcend historical contingency to a more complicated view, which asserts that timeless principles such as academic freedom and institutional autonomy are the platform from which the academy must engage with history.

If the situation in Europe and around the world in 1988 made it important to speak up for the freedoms without which teaching and research would be impoverished, by 2020 it had become equally important to speak of the responsibilities incumbent on institutions by virtue of the privileges accorded to them. The reality of rapid climate change has brought urgency and authority to this new view of universities, as have parallel trends in the social, cultural, and political climate, and “education for sustainable development” has emerged as the increasingly dominant model for global higher education – one which fuses the concerns of environment, society, and economy.  

Recent columns in Times Higher Education have admirably described the diverse ways in which the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been intrinsic to this reorientation of the global academy: as a rallying point for students and staff, as an accountability framework, and as a global language for political action, for example. Here at Queen’s University, the SDGs have been an important frame for our current planning process, and in all of those ways have influenced the manner in which we understand and wish to articulate our mission.

At one point in the process, an influential and valued friend of the university expressed some irritation to me about the way in which the SDGs had come to dominate and disrupt the university’s normally untroubled and inwardly-focused dialogue with itself about mission and values. “And in any case,” came the throwaway dismissal, “there’s nothing original or new about aligning with the SDGs.” Of course, that is true in 2021, but is it relevant? If a university is able to maximise its global impact, does the inherent originality or novelty of its planning parameters matter? In such exchanges – still occurring, I’m certain, on campuses everywhere – we can see that the changing consensus about which I wrote at the start is not yet complete.

It seems to me, in fact, that much of the value of the SDGs as an organising framework for universities resides in their not being proprietary or “original” to one institution, or to an exclusive group of institutions. It has often been pointed out that they now provide a shared language which helps universities in diverse geographical, political, and socio-economic locations understand and build upon the commonality of their work in both teaching and research. Adoption of the SDGs, however variously that is done from institution to institution, is turning the “global academy” from a rhetorical to a real construct, and I can’t imagine why it would be in the interests of any university to hold itself aloof from that transformation. Having watched our planning process unfold at Queen’s over the last two years, I can confirm that what the SDGs do at the global level, they do also at the level of the individual institution, providing a common language that provokes and sustains dialogue – not only between disciplines, but between the academic and non-academic parts of the operation.

I want to end by commenting on the excitement generated when siloes are broken open and when people and units understand how they are united with others in a common purpose and in service to the greater good. To cultivate that understanding has been the primary objective of planning at Queen’s for the last two years, and preparing our first submission to the Impact Rankings has been an intrinsic part of that process of learning and self-discovery. Naturally, we are delighted and excited by where we find ourselves in the rankings, but we are energised in a more profound way by the knowledge of what synergies and collaborations exist or appear possible both within our university and in the global academy.

The first 16 SDGs point to the areas in which we want to have impact. The 17th tells us what the whole project is really all about: acting in community for the communal good.

This op-ed was originally published in the Times Higher Education supplement.  

Queen’s community comes together to illustrate social impact

THE Impact Rankings submission measures the university’s overall contribution to global sustainability.

[Graphic image with a "Q" of the Queen's community]

Times Higher Education (THE), the organization best known for its World University Rankings, sees universities as representing the greatest hope of solving the most urgent global challenges. In 2019, they moved to create the Impact Rankings – an inclusive evaluation of post-secondary institutions’ commitments to positive social and economic impact measured against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year, out of more than 1,200 participating institutions worldwide, Queen’s placed first in Canada and fifth globally in the 2021 Impact Rankings. It is the first time Queen’s has participated in this ranking exercise, and our performance is a result of the campus community’s united effort to create a comprehensive submission package for Impact Rankings adjudicators.

THE Impact Rankings

While many traditional ranking processes are designed with research-intensive universities in mind, the Impact Rankings are open to any institution teaching at the undergraduate or post-graduate level. Using the SDGs as a means of gauging a university’s performance, THE developed a methodology involving 105 metrics and 220 measurements, carefully calibrated to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons between institutions across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching.

“The Impact Rankings are unlike any other ranking. They offer a global platform to acknowledge and celebrate the partnerships integral to advancing international initiatives, developing the leaders of tomorrow, and working towards an inclusive, diverse, and sustainable future,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations) and co-chair of the Queen’s Impact Rankings Steering Committee. “On behalf of the Steering Committee, thank you to the community for your support and collaboration in advancing this initiative.”

In their submissions, universities must demonstrate progress toward meeting at least three SDGs, as well as toward SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals. THE evaluates each institution’s submission, drawing on the quantitative and qualitative data provided, as well as bibliometric research datasets provided by Elsevier, a data and analytics company.

The Queen’s Submission – A Community Effort

“Participating in the Impact Rankings requires self-reflection. We are asked to contemplate our current impact and think about what we want to achieve for the future,” says Sandra den Otter, Vice-Provost (International) and co-chair of the Queen's Impact Rankings Steering Committee. “These results testify to the work we have done together. I hope this is a moment for recognizing the progress we have made, and to furthering our aspirations as a university and as members of a global community committed to change.”

To lead its submission process, Queen’s established a Steering Committee, Project Team, and Working Group, comprised of leadership, staff, and faculty from across the university. This team set about gathering over 600 unique pieces of evidence, representing the efforts of over 70 departments and portfolios. Queen’s chose to submit evidence in support of all 17 SDGs – a decision that led to top-100 rankings in 14 of 17 SDGs, including top-10 in three categories (Zero Hunger, Sustainable Cities, and Life on Land) and being ranked first – globally – for SDG 1: No Poverty and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. 

Metrics and measurements were unique for each SDG, with each goal requiring a specific combination of quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative evidence integrated research bibliometric data and key words that measured number of publications, co-authors, and field-weighted citations. Other quantitative measurements looked at water consumption per capita, energy and food waste measurements, university expenditure on arts and culture, the number of first-generation university students, and number of employees from equity-seeking groups.

Qualitative evidence spanned institutional policies and individual courses, to the missions of research centres and institutes, community volunteer initiatives, and strategic plans, all demonstrating how we are advancing the SDGs. Metrics often required evidence of local, national, and global-reaching initiatives to illustrate full impact.

More than 400 internal links pointing to Queen’s websites were supplied as publicly accessible evidence of Queen’s research, outreach, teaching, and stewardship efforts. Additionally, nearly 100 external links were included in the submission, each reflecting the university’s extensive partnerships: internally with student-led clubs, locally with Sustainable Kingston and United Way KFL&A, nationally with the Government of Canada, and globally with the Matariki Network of Universities.

Learn more about Queen’s performance in the Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Rankings.

Travel and Expense Policy updated

Revisions to Queen’s University’s Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy were recently approved and came into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

The revisions help to further modernize the processes related to Travel and Expense Reimbursements, managed by Financial Services, and provide further clarifications, which will add to the efficiencies of these processes for all involved.

The main changes include:

  • Mandatory use of the Employee Reimbursement System (ERS) for all who have access
  • Reference to the new Professional Expense Reimbursement Procedure for QUFA members
  • Release of a new Travel Credit Card (TCard) program (and related Policy and Procedures)
  • Updates to the related Cash Advances Procedure
  • Additions to the list of positions that can approve an Exception to Policy

The Employee Reimbursement System (ERS) has been updated to synchronize with the Scotiabank TCard program to ensure an efficient and effective process for both the university and employees.  Use of the ERS is now mandatory for the processing of all expense reimbursement claims for all who have access to it, including all Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Students.   

The new Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) procedure for Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA) members provides general information on the processing of PER expense claims as defined in the Collective Agreement (article 36.3) between QUFA and Queen’s University. This procedure ensures that requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency are met, and that the expenses incurred and any related balance carry forwards are in accordance with the terms set out in the QUFA Collective Agreement. The PER procedure sets out standard guidelines on eligible and ineligible expenses, as well as defining matters such as the timing and method of submission to be applied equally to all QUFA members at Queen’s.

The Scotiabank TCard program provides employees and departments more flexibility in paying for expenses when traveling on behalf of the university. The program will ensure an efficient and effective process for both the university and employees. Credit card forms (applications and change requests) have been moved from paper to electronic (via acQuire), to ensure correct approvals are obtained and stored for ease of audit tracking. Wherever possible, electronic processing has been implemented to ensure efficiencies.  If using a TCard, multiple expense claims can be filed for one trip, to allow prepaid travel costs to be accounted for on a timely basis, and all vehicle rentals should be paid for with a TCard.  Currently, all university-sponsored travel is suspended, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This provided an opportunity to introduce the TCard program effectively with limited use and be ready for when travel is once again allowed. The launch is in no way an endorsement of non-essential travel.

The existing Cash Advances Procedure was also updated.  This was primarily to reflect the availability of TCards, and to note that Travel Advances will no longer be provided for items that could be paid for on a TCard.  The additions also added that a cash advance is now available to pay for course fees in an instance where a Procurement Credit Card (PCard) could not be used for the course prepayment.  For situations where a cash advance needs to be repaid, Financial Services has also added the ability to process these repayments through Interac eTransfers, to reduce the need for the handling of cash and cheques, and in-person transactions. 

A number of positions have been added to the list of those who can approve Exceptions to Policy. In addition to the positions of Principal, Vice Principal, Associate Vice Principal, and Dean are the newly-added Associate Dean, Vice Dean, Vice Provost, University Librarian and Associate University Librarian.

New travel credit card program launched

Queen’s University has introduced a new travel credit card (TCard) program through Scotiabank that provides employees and departments more flexibility in paying for expenses when traveling on behalf of the university. This new program replaces the previous American Express (AMEX) Corporate Program.

With the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, travel has been limited to essential purposes only,  providing an opportunity to introduce the TCard program and be ready for when travel is once again allowed. The launch of the program is in no way an endorsement of non-essential travel during this pandemic.

“The introduction of the Scotiabank TCard program will make the travel process more efficient while providing additional benefits and financial savings to departments and research budgets” says Nicole Fowler, Associate Director, Procurement Operations, Strategic Procurement Services.  Features of the new TCard program include:

  • Queen’s pays directly to the card provider on behalf of the cardholder, any travel expenses charged to the TCard that are submitted and approved through an expense claim processed in the Employee Reimbursement System (ERS);
  • Collision/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW / LDW) insurance for rental vehicles while travelling for business purposes;
  • Additional coverage for travelers, including international concierge service, insurance for flight delay, emergency purchases, lost luggage, and travel accident insurance;
  • Synchronization with the Employee Reimbursement System (ERS) for ease of submitting reimbursement claims; and
  • Travelers are permitted to submitted multiple claims for one trip, if advance paying for airfare, transportation, etc.

As the TCard program will significantly reduce the need for travel advances, corresponding changes have been made to the Cash Advance procedure of the Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy.   Moving forward, cash advances will only be available for expenditures that cannot be processed on a TCard.

Applications for Travel Credit Cards are now being accepted via acQuire. Complete the application found in Credit Card Forms. Weekly training sessions are being held for cardholders – information can be found on the SPS website.

Full details regarding the new TCard policy and procedure can be found on the SPS website.

Questions regarding the new TCard program can be sent to creditcards@queensu.ca

Queen’s advances environmental sustainability commitments, transparency in investments

Queen’s University’s Investment Committee, charged in February by the Board of Trustees with the task of acting on recommendations of the Climate Change Action Task Force (CCTAF), is putting in place an integrated strategy that will enable the University to effectively address environmental sustainability in its investments. Actions include the development of an enhanced Responsible Investing website, the establishment of new metrics to measure the carbon footprint of Queen’s investments, and a renewable energy investment allocation within the university’s endowment fund.

Queen’s is putting greater transparency at the center of its investment strategy, and has already put in place an enhanced website for the Department of Investment Services. The website provides details on the institution’s Responsible Investing policies and practices, and now includes transparency into the University’s external investment managers’ responses to annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) questionnaires.

“We recognize that our investment managers are doing great work in applying ESG principles,” says Jim Keohane, Chair of the Investment Committee. “As a founding signatory to Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities, we are proud that Queen’s is leading the way in the sector on providing this level of transparency in our investments.”

Another initiative is an energy transition allocation designed to enable investment in areas which can outperform with the transition to a lower carbon economy, such as renewable energy.  This effort has been spearheaded by the Investment Committee’s Energy Transition Subcommittee (ETS), which was struck in the spring of 2020. The allocation is being developed and includes an approved US$30 million investment in renewable energy which is in the final stages of due diligence review.

“This new allocation will represent a significant investment into the world’s largest private renewable power company,” says Don Raymond, Chair of the ETS. “Queen’s sees the need for Canada to address the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability collectively and comprehensively. Environmental sustainability practices can help mitigate climate change, and both can benefit from innovation in the use and production of energy.”

With the assistance of the Institute for Sustainable Finance at the Smith School of Business, an approach to measuring the carbon footprint of the University’s Pooled Endowment Fund is also being developed and will be used by the committee to help select a data provider for carbon measurement.

The Investment Committee’s initiatives fit well with the university’s efforts to support the International Association of Universities Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development.  They represent a step toward aligning the University’s goals and impact with those of the Global Academy, and its efforts to promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane recently pointed out in his Report on the Conversation

Queen’s signs climate charter

Queen's has become a founding signatory on a charter that commits Canadian universities to responsible investing for the environment.

Photo of solar panels
Queen's is one of 15 Canadian universities signing the Charter.

In its efforts to become carbon neutral by 2040, Queen’s has taken many steps to lessen its impact on the environment. Now it is pledging to promote sustainability through its investments as well by becoming a founding signatory of Investing to Address Climate Change: A Charter for Canadian Universities.

Laying out a set of principles and practices to guide the investment decisions of Canadian institutions of higher education, the Charter is being signed by 15 Canadian universities including Queen’s, McGill, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, Western University, and Dalhousie University.

“Universities have a unique and critical role to play in the fight against climate change. As researchers and educators, we produce and disseminate knowledge about both the current state of our environment and efforts to change a potentially disastrous trajectory. Looking to the future, we must consider decisions that help transition our society to a low-carbon economy. Embracing the principles of this Charter helps articulate how the university will address climate change and the responsibility we will take in ensuring a healthy environment for the future,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane.

Queen’s and the other signatories of the Climate Change Charter pledge to adhere to a set of principles and practices:

  • Adopt a responsible investing framework to guide investment decision-making, in line with recognized standards such as the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment (UN-PRI). Such a framework should:
    • Incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment management practices.
    • Encourage active engagement with companies to foster disclosure of ESG (including climate) related risks, and adoption of operational practices that reduce carbon emissions and foster ESG-positive behaviour more broadly. 
  • Regularly measure the carbon intensity of our investment portfolios and set meaningful targets for their reduction over time.
  • Evaluate progress towards these objectives on a regular basis and share the results of such assessments publicly.
  • Ensure that the performance evaluation of our investment managers takes into account their success in achieving such objectives, alongside the other criteria for assessing their performance.

The Charter was reviewed and endorsed by the Queen’s Climate Change Action Task Force (CCATF) and the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Charter reflects a commitment to principles for moving to low-carbon investment practices, and it aligns with the recommendations of the CCATF that were approved by the Board in March 2020. It also aligns with Queen’s current Responsible Investing Policy, and critically is set in a risk-return context in line with the Board of Trustee’s fiduciary responsibilities.

Each university signing the Charter will continue to manage its own investments independently and set its own investment policies. It also lays out an agreement to set metrics for evaluating the carbon intensities within investment portfolios, so that all signatories will be able to measure their progress.

The Charter’s advisory committee was made up of financial experts, and it does not single out any specific industries.

Signing this charter is the latest of many efforts taken by Queen’s to strengthen its commitment to sustainability. In 2016, Queen’s adopted the Climate Action Plan, which lays out a strategy for the university to become carbon neutral by 2040. As part of this work, the university has made significant investments in infrastructure to reduce its carbon footprint. For example, the West Campus District Energy Conversion Project was a $10.5 million project that reduced greenhouse gas emissions on campus by 1,500 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. To collaborate with other leading North American universities and share best practices around sustainability, Queen’s joined the University Climate Change Coalition in 2019.

Queen’s has also established a Sustainability Working Group that is co-chaired by the vice-principal (finance and administration) and the deputy provost (operations and inclusion). The group provides strategic direction and recommendations for the evaluation, planning, development, communication, and implementation of initiatives aligned with the university’s sustainability goals.

To learn more about the university’s strategy to help build a sustainable future, see the Queen’s Climate Action Plan.

Read the Charter on the Queen's Responsible Investing website.

More than a decade of service to Queen’s

Donald M. Raymond is concluding his term as chair of the Board of Trustees and reflects on memorable moments.

Donald M. Raymond
Donald M. Raymond speaks during the November 2018 announcement of Patrick Deane being named as Queen's 21st Principal and Vice-Chancellor. (University Communications / Bernard Clark)

As his time as chair of Queen’s Board of Trustees comes to a close, Donald M. Raymond reflects on the university’s progress and feels confident in its ability to face new challenges. He has presided over the governance body since 2016, having first joined the board in 2008, and has made wide-ranging contributions to the institution’s financial stability, student experience, climate policy, and infrastructure development.

The Queen’s Gazette connected with Dr. Raymond recently to revisit some of his most memorable moments and achievements, and to learn what he sees as strengths Queen’s can continue to carry forward.


How do you feel Queen’s has evolved since you joined the Board of Trustees in 2008?

There have been obvious physical signs of change. The student body has grown around 40 per cent, we’ve built new residences, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Mitchell Hall, a new medical building, and revitalized Richardson Stadium, among many other projects.

Looking a little more inwardly, to who we are as a community, I have seen a major increase in the focus on student success and wellbeing in all its forms — mental health, diversity, inclusion, and indigeneity. Of course, there is still work to do and we must be ever vigilant in championing continued progress.

My first board meeting was in September 2008, a few weeks after the onset of the global financial crisis. The board had 44 trustees, Queen’s had a new principal, and the institution faced severe financial challenges, including an unsustainable pension plan. Since then, the board has been downsized to a still large, but much more efficient structure of 25 members, Queen’s again has a new principal, the pension plan is sustainable, we had a record-breaking capital campaign, our endowment surpassed $1 billion, and we are now on a firm financial footing.

You became chair in 2016. Do you recall your aspirations for the university at the time? In reflecting on the four years since, do you feel you have accomplished what you hoped you would?

Coming into the role as chair, I had a few goals, recognizing that four years is a very short period of time when measured in university years. One goal was to continue our work on ensuring the sustainability of the Queen’s Pension Plan, as it’s an important benefit for our employees. The creation of the University Pension Plan took many years of hard work by many people and is now a reality.

I also knew that important decisions regarding the principalship would occur during my tenure as board chair. While I played a role on the joint Board-Senate search committee chaired by the chancellor that ultimately recommended Patrick Deane, my job was to get board approval, land the candidate, and successfully onboard our 21st principal – in reality not that difficult given his prior experience at Queen’s and his role as McMaster’s president.

I also knew that there would be unforeseen challenges along the way and there certainly were, the COVID-19 crisis being the most obvious example. My goal was to work closely with the principal and other senior leaders, including members of his senior team, the chancellor, and my board colleagues, to help make the best decisions for Queen’s in what are often complex situations.

What are some of your most memorable milestones or accomplishments as board chair? What are you most proud of?

During my tenure as chair, we celebrated Queen’s 175th anniversary, we bade farewell to our 20th and welcomed our 21st principal, we opened wonderful, new facilities that have strengthened our campus experience. Those were all very fun events.

I am also proud of Queen’s decisions and actions to address climate change. In addition to reducing our campus carbon footprint, I would highlight the recently adopted recommendations of the Climate Change Action Taskforce. Unlike some other universities that have made largely symbolic decisions, I believe that Queen’s will contribute far more to meaningful change in the transition to a sustainable future. We will do this by collaborating with the newly established Institute for Sustainable Finance and engaging the multidisciplinary research enterprise to help solve this generation’s grand challenge. Ultimately, we will be judged by our actions and impact.

How about memorable challenges?

Revamping the Student Code of Conduct, which had been essentially unchanged in over 100 years, was a necessary but also a very difficult process. It is also a shining example of collaboration between Queen’s student leaders and the administration and board to achieve the best outcome for the university. There are many similar examples, but I wanted to highlight the special role students play in governance at Queen’s.

Of course, chairing my final board meeting via videoconference will not soon be forgotten.

As you complete your term as chair, what is your hope for the board, and for Queen’s generally, as it heads into the future? Any thoughts specific to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

As it relates to the pandemic, it was incredible how quickly the university adapted to the necessities of online learning. It was an enormous undertaking that using normal university processes would have required years of planning. It shows how galvanizing a crisis can be in accelerating change. It took the entire Queen’s community — faculty, staff, administrators, and students — in many cases working practically 24/7 to make it happen and it was impressive to see.

A key challenge in the coming months is to ensure that the day-to-day decisions that must be made through this very uncertain time are anchored in our long-term strategy. In any major disruption, some institutions emerge stronger and some weaker, though perhaps only in a relative sense. It is important that Queen’s takes the opportunity to reset and reinvent itself, while not losing sight of the things that make it special.

Looking a little further down the road, my hope is that the board and Queen’s unites around a common vision that flows from the Principal Deane’s Conversation and resulting strategic direction developed with the board.

Do you have any words of wisdom for incoming chairperson, Mary Wilson Trider, as she takes on the role?

Mary and I have spoken a lot in recent months, but if I could make one suggestion, it would be to become deeply familiar with Queen’s fascinating past, as looking back can help bring current and future challenges into perspective. Queen’s has been through some very difficult times in its long history and has always emerged stronger. Reading our history also makes one realize that we are stewards for a brief period of time and that our objective ought to be to leave Queen’s stronger than when we started.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share with the campus community?

It may sound trite, but it has been an incredible honour to serve on the Board of Trustees of my alma mater, let alone have the opportunity to play a leadership role. I feel that Queen’s will be guided well through the pandemic and beyond by the current board and administrative leadership.

Queen’s awards Aramark new foodservices management contract

Queen’s is pleased to announce that Aramark Canada has been awarded a new multi-year foodservices management contract for the provision of food services to students, employees, and visitors on campus through its three residence dining halls, 23 retail food service venues, catering services, and the Donald Gordon Hotel and Conference Centre. The contract comes into effect July 1, 2020.

Aramark was selected through an open and competitive Request for Proposal bidding process, and their proposal was approved by the Board of Trustees at its May 9, 2020 meeting.

“We are very pleased and excited to welcome Aramark to the university to manage the day-to-day operations of our food services,” said Leah Wales, Executive Director, Housing and Ancillary Services. “Together, we will continue to focus on healthy, quality food options our students value such as variety, allergy concerns, cultural authenticity, vegetarian and vegan options, Fair Trade products, and agricultural sustainability.”

The change impacts approximately 650 employees on campus. The majority of workers are members of CUPE Local 229 and will stay on to work with Aramark, who will be reaching out to workers shortly to provide them with details around this transition. The current foodservices management provider, Sodexo, has already informed workers of the pending changeover.

“I also want to thank our outgoing provider, Sodexo, which has been an amazing partner for many years, and we wish them every success in the future,” added Wales. “They have had a lasting and positive impact on the student experience at Queen’s.”

Students, employees, and visitors will recognize many of the same great staff and can expect to see continued improvements in quality and diversity of food offerings, refreshed physical facilities, and a strong commitment to local food suppliers and wellness programs, including a new teaching kitchen within the renovated Leonard Dining Hall.   

Queen’s has always sourced a portion of its food from local producers and will continue to do so. The university purchases fresh produce from over 27 farms in Ontario and Quebec – more if you factor in eggs, dairy, and meat.

Suppliers such as Burnbrae Farms supplies approximately 1 million free-run eggs each year, and Wilton Cheese is sourced in Odessa, just 28 kilometers away. This commitment to sourcing from local producers is even more important as the region recovers from the impacts of economic shutdowns related to COVID-19.


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