Election of Internal Members to the Board of Governors

Purpose

This policy governs the conduct of the election of internal members to the Board of Governors.

Scope

Seneca is committed to the values of equity, diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of its operations and activities. This commitment and policy apply to all members of the Board of Governors, the students and employees of Seneca.

Key Definitions

Candidate

A member of the constituent group (student or employee - academic, administrative or support staff) who is approved by the Returning Officer to stand for election as an internal member on the Board of Governors.

Nominee

A member of the constituent group (student or employee - academic, administrative or support staff) who declares an interest in being a candidate to run for election as an internal member on the Board of Governors.

Voter

A member of the constituent group (student or employee - academic, administrative or support staff) who is permitted to cast one ballot in the internal member election based on their main affiliation at Seneca.

Policy

The Board Secretariat is responsible for administering the election of internal members to the Board.

1. Voter Qualifications for Internal Elections

2. Notice of Election

  1. A notice of election for each constituent group will be communicated electronically.

3. Staffing

  1. The Corporate Secretary shall appoint the Returning Officer.

4. Duties of The Returning Officer

  1. The Returning Officer shall:
    1. receive the nominations from the constituent populations
    2. assess and verify eligibility of nominees, including determination of any conflict of interest that exists or may exist should the nominee become the successful candidate
    3. inform nominees of their eligibility
    4. establish procedures for the election
    5. ensure the integrity of the election
    6. monitor the campaign of the candidates
    7. conduct orientation sessions for candidates
    8. be responsible for obtaining the signed election agreements
    9. have authority to answer questions related to the election of internal members to the Board of Governors
    10. have authority to disqualify a candidate
    11. where appropriate, seek guidance from the Corporate Secretary.

5. Notification of Election

  1. The Returning Officer shall communicate to the Seneca community advising the date(s), method, place and time(s) during which the general election will be held.

6. Nominations

  1. Nominations for candidacy for each of the elected board positions must be submitted to the Returning Officer on the prescribed nomination form.
  2. Nominees must indicate their willingness to stand and attest to their acknowledgement of the requirements to run as a candidate.
  3. Nominees must be supported by 10 nominators from their respective constituent group.
  4. The Returning Officer will receive the nomination forms, assess and verify the eligibility of the nominees.

7. Qualifying Nominees to Become Candidates

  1. A nominee is deemed qualified to run as a candidate in the election by the Returning Officer.
    1. For the student constituent group, the candidate must be:
      • a full-time student maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.4
        or
      • a student enrolled in part-time studies who has completed more than five subjects and maintains a grade point average of 2.4 at the end of the previous semester
        and
      • a student in good standing
    2. For the academic/administrative/support staff constituent group, the candidate must be an employee working at Seneca in a full-time/part-time/sessional/partial load position.
  2. For greater certainty, nominees who wish to be candidates for governor must intend to be a student or employee, as appropriate, for the board term for which they are seeking election.
  3. Once elected, a change in status as a constituent of the category in which they were elected may be cause for governors to be disqualified from continuing in office.
  4. Qualified candidates are eligible to run in only one of the constituent groups described in Ontario Regulation 34/03. The candidate’s group is determined through their main affiliation with Seneca.
  5. The following individuals are disqualified from being a Governor:
    • an individual who is less than 18 years of age
      or
    • an individual who has the status of a bankrupt
      or
    • a student serving in any Seneca Student Federation (SSF) position.
  6. Qualified candidates may not be in a situation that could create a conflict of interest such as a student or an employee of another postsecondary institution or an employee of the federal or Ontario government.
  7. Where only one candidate has been officially nominated within the time fixed for that purpose, the Returning Officer may declare that candidate elected by acclamation.

8. Candidate Procedures and Guidelines

  1. If the Returning Officer finds a candidate to be in violation of the policies, procedures and guidelines of the Election of Internal Members to the Board of Governors, they shall take such action as deemed reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with these policies, procedures and guidelines, up to and including disqualifying the candidate from running in the election.
  2. Any candidate who fails to comply with 8.3 through 8.5 may be disqualified from running in the election.
  3. All qualified candidates must take part in an orientation with the Returning Officer to receive, review and agree in writing to abide by the policies, procedures and guidelines of the Election of Internal Members to the Board of Governors. In the event that any candidate cannot take part in the scheduled orientation session, it will be the responsibility of that candidate to reschedule a date with the Returning Officer.
  4. Campaign material may be posted and distributed as listed within the Campaign Materials Guidelines, which will be distributed by the Returning Officer.
  5. There is to be no electioneering by a candidate or the candidate’s representatives or supporters at any campus and by any means on voting day(s). ‘Electioneering’ includes, but is not limited to, displaying or replacing campaign materials, distributing campaign information and speaking to, or hosting activities for, members of the constituent group that could be viewed as asking the constituents to vote for a particular candidate.

9. Voting

  1. The Electronic Voting System will open at a designated time(s) and date(s) as set by the Returning Officer. Those eligible to vote will follow the electronic voting instructions to cast their electronic ballot.
  2. Electors will have the opportunity to vote through the Electronic Voting System from the time the vote begins until it ends.

10. Assisted Voting Process

Where an elector is unable to vote electronically due to medical or physical limitations, the elector may apply in writing, or by a means as deemed appropriate to their limitation, to the Returning Officer, to seek assistance casting their vote using the Electronic Voting System.

11. Election Results

  1. The Returning Officer will oversee the process of the electronic voting.
  2. Candidates and/or their designated representative will be informed of the total number of ballots cast per elector register.
  3. In the event of a tie between two candidates, the Returning Officer shall select the successful candidate by the flipping of a coin.
  4. The Returning Officer shall provide the names of the candidates elected/acclaimed and a report of the official tabulation of the results to the Corporate Secretary.
  5. The Corporate Secretary shall notify the Chair of the Board of Governors and the College Employer Council (“The Council”).
  6. The board shall ratify the election results. Should an appeal be in progress, ratification will happen upon the resolution of the appeal.

12. Disposition of The Election Documents

  1. The Returning Officer shall arrange to have all pertinent election materials stored for a period of one month.
  2. In the event of an appeal, pertinent election materials will be retained until final disposition of the appeal process. Thereafter, the stored materials may be securely destroyed.

13. Election Appeal Board

  1. Before an election is held, the Board of Governors shall appoint an Election Appeal Board consisting of five (5) current external board members. One of these members shall be selected to chair the proceedings.
  2. The Election Appeal Board shall hear and resolve any appeal by a candidate (appellant) against a decision of the Returning Officer (respondent).
  3. Any appeal to the Election Appeal Board must be filed with the Board Secretariat within three (3) business days of the decision of the Returning Officer. The appeal must be in writing and contain reasons why the Returning Officer’s decision should be reviewed.
  4. Parties shall be entitled to full disclosure of all information to be relied upon at the Election Appeal Board hearing.
  5. The Election Appeal Board shall hear any appeal within five (5) business days of its having been filed.
  6. The Corporate Secretary shall notify the appellant, Returning Officer and any other person with information or knowledge relevant to the appeal of the date, time and place of the hearing. The notice of hearing shall include a statement that if any party does not attend, the hearing may proceed in their absence and they will not be entitled to any further notice of the proceedings.
  7. The appellant shall be invited to attend the Election Appeal Board hearing and to address the contents of their letter of appeal and present any other information they believe is relevant to the matter under appeal.
  8. The Returning Officer and any other person with information or knowledge relevant to the appeal shall also be invited to attend the Election Appeal Board hearing and to present information about the matters at issue.
  9. The Election Appeal Board, appellant and respondent may put questions to any person present at the hearing. The appellant and the respondent shall have the right to call and cross-examine witnesses.
  10. All parties shall be entitled to be represented at the hearing by a person of their choice and at their own expense.
  11. The Corporate Secretary shall communicate the written decision of the Election Appeal Board, with reasons, to the Chair of the Board of Governors. The decision shall be communicated to the parties within five (5) business days of the hearing.
  12. The decision of the Election Appeal Board is final and binding on all the parties.

14. The Electronic Voting System

  1. The Electronic Voting System allows voters to log in and be authenticated as an entitled voter for election purposes. The Electronic Voting System is recognized as secure and accurate in its ability to authenticate voters and to tabulate voting results.

15. Access to The Electronic Voting System

  1. The Returning Officer will promote and advertise to the electorate the applicable voting days for elections.
  2. During such a voting period, the Electronic Voting System will include a link enabling the electorate to cast their votes. By engaging this link, the voters will be authenticated for validity and then be directed to the electronic ballot form. Voters will complete the electronic ballot as indicated.
  3. Voters may access the Electronic Voting System either at Seneca or at another location (e.g., personal computer at home).
  4. The Returning Officer will be responsible for ensuring the activation of the Electronic Voting System at the start of the voting period and deactivating the Electronic Voting System at the conclusion of the voting period.
  5. It is the responsibility of the voters to ensure that they allow enough time to complete the voting transaction process on the Electronic Voting System when the voting period will be closing.
  6. Should a voter not compete the voting transaction process by the stated end of the voting period, the electronic ballot will not be included in the final vote tabulation.

16. Failure of The Electronic Voting System

  1. In the event that the Electronic Voting System is inaccessible, the ITS department shall notify the Returning Officer and provide details regarding the delay and the estimated time when the system will be restored.
  2. If the Returning Officer is made aware by other means that the Electronic Voting System is inaccessible, they will notify ITS.
  3. In appropriate circumstances, a message advising the constituents of the unforeseen delay and estimated time when the system will be restored will be posted.
  4. In the event that the Electronic Voting System is rendered inaccessible by a system failure or through a failure of the access portal, the Returning Officer, in consultation with ITS, will determine if the voting period must be rerun, extended or continue without interruption.
  5. When possible, the period for conducting the rerun or extension should be no longer than five (5) business days after the system is restored. Such rescheduling of the vote will be communicated to the Seneca community.
  6. The Returning Officer will only extend the voting period should the system have been inaccessible during a large portion of a business day during the voting period, (i.e., inaccessible for six (6) hours during a normal business day).
  7. ITS will be consulted in determining if the voter’s list has been compromised by a system failure.
  8. Should the list be determined to have been compromised, the Returning Officer will rerun the voting period as described in 16.4.
  9. Should the voter’s list not be compromised by the failure, the Returning Officer will be permitted to continue.
  10. The Returning Officer reserves the right to re-start elections where there is concern for the reliability of the Electronic Voting System or the system is in a state of prolonged failure.

Supporting Documentation

Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act 2002, Ontario Regulation 34/03,  s. 4 (1) and s. 4 (7)

Related Seneca Policies

None

Related Materials

None