On January 27, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) Board of Directors (BOD) met to approve levy fee increases and the 2022–2023 Operating Budget.
Wenhan (Berry) Lou, vice-president internal, presented a motion to dedicate $10,000 toward urgently replacing a broken fridge at the Blind Duck. The fridge lasted 15 years, and a new replacement is projected to last another 15 years.
Levy fee increases
Felipe Nagata, the UTMSU executive director, presented 2023–2024 levy fee increases for the upcoming year. Nagata confirmed that fees will increase but services remain the same. “All fees are pretty much increased by [Canada’s consumer price index (CPI)] with the exception of the U-Pass.” The CPI represents changes in consumer prices due to inflation.
The UTMSU Food Centre levy fee, which is the only financial contribution to the food centre budget except for donations, will increase from $0.64 to $0.68 per session. This levy fee affords the operation and staffing of the food bank, while the Mississauga Food Bank supplies the food for the centre. A session is equivalent to one semester.
The Academic Society levy fee which goes toward the operation of 17 clubs and societies at the UTM campus will increase from $1.19 to $1.26 per session. The UTMSU Student Society fee will increase from $37.51 to $39.72 per session for full-time students and $1.22 to $1.29 per session for part-time students, as per the CPI.
The UTM chapter of the World University Service of Canada Program levy fee affords the sponsorship of a refugee student’s full tuition as well as social and academic support to aid their transition to Canada. This levy fee will increase from $2.08 to $2.20 per session for full-time students, and from $1.28 to $1.36 per session for part-time students.
The Canadian Federation of Students funds the implementation of on-campus grassroots campaigns such as Consent is Mandatory, United for Equity, We The Students, and Reproductive Justice. This levy fee will increase from $8.86 to $9.42 per session.
All increases were approved.
The U-Pass and health and dental plan
For the upcoming academic 2023–2024 year, the Mississauga Transit U Pass will be changing from a physical pass to a digital pass; students will be able to tap their phone onto the Presto card readers. The UTMSU will pilot the digital U-Pass program in the summer semester. As the U-Pass will be digital, there is no longer a replacement fee if a student loses their physical copy.
The student cost for the Fall/Winter 2023–2024 Mississauga Transit U-Pass will increase from $144.74 to $157.77 per session, while the Summer 2023 U-Pass will remain $192.29. “The summer fee remained the same… because the summer students currently pay more for the pass than the fall/winter students,” Nagata said. He added that the increased cost of the Summer U-Pass was due to decreased ridership in the summertime.
The UTMSU student society fee designated for the Green Shield student insurance Accidental Health Plan will be increasing from $102.09 to $112.30. The Dental Plan will increase from $83.34 to $93.87. All student levy fee increases were approved unanimously, and subject to implementation in the upcoming 2023–2024 year.
Blind Duck Operating Budget
Lou presented both the Blind Duck and the UTMSU’s Operating Budgets from the 2022–2023 year. The Blind Duck, the on-campus pub and restaurant run by the UTMSU, noted a $3,000 increase in both rental income — from renting space to Chatime, a bubble tea location in the Student Centre — and an increase in Alcohol Labour Income because it is the only place on campus that sells alcohol.
Lou highlighted that the Blind Duck saw a $2,000 decrease in ticket sales and an increase in rentals of CO2, china, and linens — up $1,000 from its Preliminary Budget of $3,000. The report also indicated that there was also a $10,000 increase in salary expenses. Overall, the Blind Duck lost $18,800.
UTMSU Operating Budget
Because of the unexpected decreases in sponsorships for orientation events, the UTMSU saw a $171,169 increase in expenses for Frosh Week from the forecasted $35,000. The union experienced a $49,000 deficit in the Major Events budget category.
Also forecasted in the budget is a reading week trip to Montréal, which is budgeted at $36,000. The UTMSU hopes to raise $33,400 in students’ ticket sales, resulting in a $2,600 net expense for the union.
The upcoming budget forecasts increased funds allotted to the InfoBooth for the purchase of tickets. This service facilitates access to discounted vouchers to Wonderland, Boston Pizza, bowling, escape rooms, and Cineplex Movies.
The budget indicates a $26,000 increase in Executive Stipends after the BOD voted to increase executive salaries in September 2022.
The Duck Stop, the UTMSU convenience store, noted a $53,000 decrease in Food and Beverage sales. Despite paying less than initially predicted for Food and Beverage, the Duck Stop still reported a $13,100 net income loss.
The BOD voted to approve the Operating Budget.
The UTMSU plans to increase the hours of the UTM Student Centre on Thursdays and Fridays until 9:00 pm. The Student Centre currently closes at 6:00 pm.
The board meeting ended with a summary of upcoming events. These include UTM Lobby Week, which will see the UTMSU “showcase its progress on active campaigns such as Education for All, Academic Advocacy, Food Insecurities. Black History Month will see events from numerous UTM clubs, and on February 8 an International Students Forum, which aims to connect international students to different supports, will occur. During February reading week, the UTMSU’s Montréal trip will be held for the first time since February 2020.