University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

site header

Policy Development Guide

Steps to Policy Development/Review:

1   If you or your unit have decided that a policy on a specific topic or issue needs to be created:

  • Start by reviewing existing related policies that could be revised or expanded rather than writing a new policy  You may find it helpful to consult Queen’s University-Wide Policy Library.
  • If needed, you are welcome to contact the University Secretariat to determine if there is an existing policy and whether your policy proposal is necessary.

2   Ask yourself:

  • Is there a need to manage significant risks at the university that on which this policy could provide guidance? (e.g., safety, financial, reputational risks)
  • Is there a need to ensure coordination and consistency across departments or units, or is the proposed policy more appropriate for just one unit (in which case the following process does not need to be followed), or does this impact more than one unit/Faculty/School?

Ensure you discuss your intentions with your colleagues and others who may be stakeholders.

Lastly, review any relevant legislation (e.g. Ontario Human Rights Commission and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act etc.) and  Queen's University’s collective agreements to ensure that the proposed policy is not in contravention of any relevant documents. Feel free to consult with members of the university community such as the University Counsel, the University Secretariat, Human Resources, and the Human Rights and Equity Offices for advice.

3   Draft the policy:

  • Use the template provided by the University Secretariat.
  • Write in clear and concise statements so that the document and what it mandates will be easily understood. 
  • Use the active voice (“shall” and “will”), rather than passive ( ”should” or “could”).

4   If applicable, write the procedures (PDF*, 62 KB)  for the policy, which are the steps by which the policy will be implemented. Guidelines provide instructions that explain how a  policy can be implemented in differing circumstances and provide assistance when the use of judgment is required for the application of a policy. Often they will establish a "best practice" for applying a policy and can assist in interpreting policy.  Take a look at procedures associated with previously approved university-wide policies for guidance.

Share your draft with key stakeholders inside and outside of your unit and consider all feedback received when making revisions.

If applicable, have the draft policy approved by your unit and/or Faculty/School and reviewed by the university’s Operational Review Committee.

Complete a cover sheet and forward it, along with your draft policy, procedure, and guidelines documents with a request that the item be added to a future Policy Advisory Subcommittee agenda for review.

The secretary of the Policy Advisory Subcommittee (PASC) will review the draft policy and accompanying documents, and contact you with a proposed date to attend a Policy Advisory Subcommittee meeting.  You, or an appropriate representative from your unit, will have the opportunity to attend the meeting to explain the policy’s development and answer questions from Subcommittee members. 

5   Once PASC has provided its approval, the policy will be posted on the University Secretariat’s website for two weeks to give members of the university community an opportunity to provide their feedback.

6   Once community feedback is considered, the policy will be submitted to the final approval body (e.g., Senior Leadership Team, University Senate, Board of Trustees, etc.).

7   When final approval is given, the policy will be added to the University-Wide Policy Library.