Chantel Teng/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) proxy vote system is going completely online for the first time. The new process is being implemented for the union’s Special General Meeting (SGM), to be held on November 18.

In previous years, students acting as proxyholders for others who could not attend the meeting were required to pick up a proxy form from the UTSU or the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) offices. A proxy-holding student could collect the signatures and student numbers of up to ten other students on one form.

Changes to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) resulted in proxy changes for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on October 7, 2015; individuals proxying their vote were required to submit a form, rather than the proxy holders. The form was made available for download for the AGM, but students still had to print them out and return them to the UTSU or UTMSU office.

According to the latest executive report from Ryan Gomes, UTSU vice-president internal & services, the paper system used for the AGM “resulted in a lot of complaints regarding the difficulty that many encountered while proxying their votes.”

Students proxying their votes will still need to fill out their own form, but that form will now be online. It will be run through SimplyVoting, the same voting system that the UTSU uses for its elections and referenda. 

Students wishing to proxy out their vote can log in and enter the student number of the student to whom they wish to proxy their vote. The proxy-holding student will receive an email notification inviting them to accept the proxy vote. Proxy-holders will be able to act as a proxy for up to ten students, the same number as in previous years.

“We were already making other changes to the proxy system to align with CNCA regulations,” said Tka Pinnock, UTSU executive director, on the decision to introduce the online system for the SGM rather than the AGM in October. “We thought a gradual process of change would be more tolerable to the membership.”

During the most recent UTSU Board of Directors meeting on October 30, Pinnock told the board that she consulted with Students for Barrier-free Access, who were supportive of the online system.

Pinnock also said that a lot of money and staff time went into the AGM, and that this new system would be less labour and resource intensive, as there would be no need to manually process and verify the proxies.

The UTSU will accept proxies from November 10 to November 17. The SGM is scheduled to be held at 5:30 pm in the OISE auditorium on November 18.

The SGM was called to address business which was not considered during the October AGM. Items on the agenda include the receipt of audited financial statements, approval of the appointment of auditors, and confirmation of a new Board of Directors structure for the union.

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