To standardize the signing authority of externally binding transactions, agreements and contracts.
Signing Authority Policy
This policy applies to all Seneca employees.
The authority to approve a cheque, wire or electronic funds transfer on behalf of Seneca.
The authority to commit Seneca to an expenditure of funds and undertake contractual agreements.
The provision of expertise or strategic advice from external entities that is presented for consideration and decision-making purposes. This does not include professional services.
The authority to initiate payment of funds for the purchase of goods and/or services.
Engagement of external services related to departmental operations.
Purchase order (PO)
A formal order to a supplier to purchase goods or services and a commitment from that supplier to supply the goods and services that meet the specified requirements, at a defined price.
Purchase requisition (PR)
An internal request to purchase goods and/or services from a specific vendor that meets the specified requirement, at a defined price.
Financial instruments that represent ownership of a corporation, the right to ownership or a loan made to a corporation.
- Policy Statement
Seneca encourages the use of social media with consistency and Seneca’s reputation in mind. Across every touchpoint, internal and external, the brand’s look and voice must be constant. Social media activity affects Seneca’s brand and organizational reputation. Any social networking activities affiliated with the Seneca brand must be clear, concise and relevant to Seneca and adhere to Seneca’s brand guidelines and policy. Although the social media activity of individual employees via personal accounts is not governed by this policy, such activity may also be a reflection of the Seneca brand and affect Seneca’s interests, and is therefore subject to Seneca’s Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy —whether or not such activity relies on ITS resources. An employee’s inappropriate personal social media activity that reflects negatively on Seneca could result in investigation and, in some cases, disciplinary measures.
- Terms and conditions
2.1 Appropriate signing authority is required for an employee to commit Seneca to expenditures or other contractual obligations, to authorize payments and to transfer and/or assign securities.
2.2 Violation by an employee of their signing authority may be considered a breach of employment contract. Refer to Appendix A for the approval limits for all levels of signing authority.
2.3 Signing authority is determined by position within Seneca. If an employee changes position, their signing authority will change to align with the new role.
2.4 When employees leave Seneca, their signing authority will be cancelled by their effective departure date.
2.5 Seneca may rescind the signing authority of an employee at any time when deemed necessary, without disclosing cause.
2.6 Requisitions, contracts or payments exceeding an employee’s authorized approval limit must be approved by an employee with the required level of signing authority.
2.7 Employees with signing authority that are approving the purchase of goods and/or services received, need to ensure the purchase meets the intended need, and follows the terms and conditions of Seneca’s Purchasing Procedure.
2.8 Employees cannot authorize a transaction or contract from which they may benefit. For example, approving payments for personal expenses and/or reimbursements.
2.9 A contract or transaction commitment cannot be reduced to avoid exceeding an employee’s approval limit. Examples of these reductions may include subdividing projects, procurements and contracts or awarding multiple consecutive purchases to the same vendor.
- Temporary absences
3.1 During a temporary absence, employees can delegate their signing authority to another employee. The absent employee’s direct supervisor must approve the delegation prior to its effective date. If there is no prior delegation of commitment authority, absent employees should ensure contracts and transactions are forwarded to their direct supervisor.
- Commitment signing authority
4.1 Purchase requisitions (PR) are required for all purchases of goods and/or services greater than $5,000 (refer to Appendix A).
4.2 Purchase orders (PO):
- Only the Procurement department has the authority to issue a PO
- Approvals must be received prior to issuing a PO from the employee or employees with appropriate signing authority
- POs for purchases up to $250,000 are issued by the Procurement Specialist, and POs for purchases exceeding $250,000 are issued by the Senior Manager, Procurement
4.3 Contracts and agreements follow the “Purchase Requisition (PR) – Goods and Services within Budget” approval limits found in Appendix A for a term of three years or less and apply to:
- goods or services procurement contracts
- consulting service agreements
- service level agreements
- master service agreements
- licence agreements
- statements of work
4.4 Contracts and agreements greater than three years are considered “other agreements.” They follow the approval limits found in Appendix A and include the following:
- grant agreements
- memorandums of understanding
- academic agreements, such as field placements or student exchange programs
- international entity agreements
- any other contracts that obligate Seneca to financial and/or service commitments that are not related to the procurement of products and services
4.5 The authority to approve lease agreements is limited to the President and Vice President, Finance & Administration.
4.6 Prior approval is required for legal services. The following bodies have signing authorities for legal services (refer to Appendix A for approval limits):
- Human Resources – Associate Vice President, Human Resources
- Finance, procurement, and insurance – Director of Finance
- For all other services, President or Vice President, Finance & Administration
4.7 Transfers and sales of donated shares, stocks, bonds, etc. for donation purposes require approval by the President of Seneca, Vice President, Finance & Administration or Director of Finance.
4.8 Directives to buy or sell securities for Seneca’s investment accounts will be managed by the Investment Manager of endowment and operating funds; the Investment Manager will follow the directives as outlined in Seneca’s Investment policy.
- Cheque authority
5.1 Cheque signing authority is exercised on the following:
- Cheques, including electronic funds transfer (EFT), wire payments and e-transfers.
- All cheques require signatures of two (2) individuals approved by the Board of Governors (BoG). Based on their position within the organization, these individuals are separated into the following categories:
A list: Chair of BoG, Vice Chair of BoG, President and Vice President of Finance & Administration
B list: Vice President of Academic and Director of Finance
- Payment authority
6.1 The signing authority levels for payment of goods and/or services received are equivalent to those stated in Appendix A. Should an amount exceed an employee’s signing authority, the request must be approved by an employee with appropriate signing authority.
6.2 Payments include EFT, wire payments and e-transfers. The Accounts Payable department manages payments with the following approvals:
- Payments greater than $200,000 require at least one (1) signatory from list A
- Manual cheques require two (2) signatures, with one (1) signatory from list A
- System-generated cheques require the signatures of the current Chair, Board of Governors, and President
- Payroll, statutory deductions and other payroll payments initiated from payroll, only require the Director of Finance approval
- EFT, wires and e-transfers require the following approval:
$200,000 and over Vice President, Finance & Administration, and Director, Finance $25,000 to $200,000 Director of Finance Lower than $25,000 Senior Manager of Finance
- Student refunds initiated by the Registrar’s Office are paid by cheque, EFT, wire or e-transfer and follow the approval process outlined in section 5, Cheque authority
- Senior managers of Finance have the following authority for transferring funds after approval has been granted, using an online banking tool:
$25,000 and lower One approver $25,000 and over Two approvers
6.3 The Accounts Payable department processes invoices with approved POs for payment.
6.4 POs must be approved prior to the delivery of the related goods and/or services.
7.1 Prior to preparing an invoice or other payable, the Accounts Payable department will conduct an assessment to ensure:
- The legitimacy of the receiver of the payment, including their business and tax status
- The invoice and corresponding details relate to the PO
- An approved receipt of goods and/or services is attached to the related PO – Receipt
- The invoice is paid based on due date, Seneca’s standard terms or as negotiated with the vendor
- A pre-payment register (cheque, EFT, wire or e-transfer) is prepared for and approved by the Senior Manager of Finance prior to printing the cheque or preparing files for EFT, wire or e-transfer payments
7.2 Approvals by the Director of Finance and the Vice President, Finance & Administration, for payments greater than $200,000 are received prior to releasing the payment; approval by the Director of Finance is required for payments $200,000 and lower.
7.3 Details of payroll, statutory deductions and other payroll payments paid by EFT and greater than $200,000 are approved by the Director of Finance.
Related Seneca Policies
Appendix A: Commitment Authority
|Purchase Requisitions – Goods and Services with Budget
Contracts (up to 3 Years)
|Purchase Requisitions – Goods and Services Without Budget||Contracts and Other Agreements||Legal Services||Lease Agreements||Sale and Transfer of Securities|
|Vice President, Finance & Administration||$1,000,000||$500,000||$1,000,000||$200,000||$500,000||Authorized|
|Vice President, Academic||$1,000,000||$500,000||$1,000,000||$100,000||Unauthorized||Unauthorized|
|Associate vice presidents (AVP)||$200,000||Unauthorized||$200,000||AVP Human Resources – $100,000||Unauthorized||Unauthorized|
|Deans, Executive Directors, Director of Finance||$100,000||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Director, Finance – $100,000||Unauthorized||Director, Finance – Authorized|
|Directors (reporting to the above-listed authority levels)||$50,000||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Unauthorized|
|Chairs, Associate Directors, Senior Managers||$25,000||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Unauthorized||Unauthorized|