Understanding Your University's Governance Structure

AuthorCheryl Foy
 
Understanding Your University’s
Governance Structure
As every university in Canada is dierent, this chapter will provide an
overview of the legislation that creates universities, the role of the bylaws,
and policy. University legislation almost always establishes the board’s com-
position. e unique composition of each university board is an aspect of
university governance that creates the basis for a dynamic and successful
board culture.
It’s helpful to think of your university’s legislative and governance frame-
work as a hierarchy. e source of all authority is the document that created
the university. As described above, while many universities have their own
acts and charters, some provinces (Alberta and British Columbia) have one
piece of legislation that applies to multiple universities. ere is a small
list of universities that were created by royal or papal charter prior to .
Many of these have subsequently been continued by a piece of provincial
1 Post-Secondary Learning Act, SA 2003, c P-19.5; University Act, RSBC 1996, c 468.
2 Theresa Shanahan, Michelle Nilson & Li-Jeen Broshko, Handbook of Canadian Higher
Education Law (Kingston: School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, 2015) at 41. This
list includes: University of King’s College, Nova Scotia; McGill University, Quebec;
King’s College (University of Toronto), Ontario; University of Laval, Quebec; Queen’s

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