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UTSU 2021–2022 budget reflects Student Commons move, student aid increase

Quarterly report presented at August Board meeting
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MIRKA LOISELLE/THE VARSITY
MIRKA LOISELLE/THE VARSITY

The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) is working with over $3 million in revenue for the 2021–2022 school year. 

The budget has seen changes in a few key areas, including a change in insurance providers, funding for the Student Commons, and an increase in compensation for executives. 

In terms of expenses, Fiona Reuter, chair of the Finance Committee and vice-president operations, explained that the UTSU is on good footing for the upcoming year. “We are again completely on track, which is good to see,” Reuter said. 

Overview 

Reuter presented the budget breakdown to the UTSU Board of Directors back in August. 

The UTSU’s total predicted revenue is $3,214,560, while its total expenses are predicted to be $3,197,097, leaving a surplus of $17,463. 

The preliminary budget was passed at the June Board of Directors meeting. Reuter said that any last-minute changes to the preliminary budget will be small. The Financial Committee has enough leniency with the budget this year that changes “can [be made] very easily with our operating budget.”

Changes from past budgets

One change Reuter said the UTSU is “very excited about” is its switch to a new insurance provider. The UTSU recently changed health care providers from Desjardins to Green Shield Canada. “This was a decision made largely because it allows us to keep exactly the same services and benefits and actually lets us bring in Empower Me and a telemedicine program which will be very helpful for students, but at a lower cost,” Reuter said. 

The Student Aid program budget has been set at $152,000 after last year’s projected expenses of $81,200 nearly doubled in terms of actual spending by the end of the year. Reuter explained at the June Board meeting that the budget was increased in the hopes that it would allow the UTSU to increase support for students at times of financial need.

Orientation levies brought in $38,000 of revenue, down from last year’s total of $40,799. Projected professional development costs went up by over $9,000 from the amount they spent last year because the UTSU hired more people to expand the staff for the upcoming opening of the Student Commons. Facility and Grounds Maintenance & Repairs costs went up from $4,052 to $40,000 due to the upcoming opening of the Student Commons on October 4, and the projected costs associated with the move from the old UTSU building to the Student Commons increased from $7,500 to $10,000, although nothing was actually spent on it last year. 

Total compensation for executive officers went up by $8,000. Executives are now compensated at $19.48 per hour — adjusted from the previous $19 per hour due to changes in the consumer price index.