On February 11, the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) held its monthly Board of Directors meeting. Executives announced their success in securing pro-pedestrian traffic reform for St. George Street, explained their efforts in lobbying the federal government for more university funding, and presented blueprints for their embryonic Student Senate.

Pedestrian infrastructure

Vice President (VP) Public and University Affairs Aidan Thompson happily announced that after nine months of UTSU lobbying, the City of Toronto has decided to introduce a “pedestrian scramble” to the St. George and Hoskin intersection, meaning that people will be allowed to cross the street diagonally similar to the Bloor and Yonge intersection. 

Thompson reported that the city will likely implement it by the summer of this year and that the UTSU is trying to help the project along by demonstrating student support through the collection of signatures.

Government lobbying

Thompson also reported that the UTSU has submitted its annual set of budget recommendations to the federal government for the upcoming year. The union’s first recommendation is for Canada to create a 1.5-billion-dollar student housing fund. It also requested the government allocate 500 million dollars in funding toward student mental health support. 

Thompson said that to circumvent the federal government’s concerns over whether universities would make effective use of mental health funding, the UTSU has suggested that it give student unions that funding directly. 


VP Finance and Operations Samir Mechel presented a policies manual for the UTSU Senate, defining procedures like how much each Senator would be allowed to speak at meetings and how Senators can form committees. 

The Senate is a new advisory body to the BOD that the UTSU established in its 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM). The union has not yet defined how or when it will conduct elections for the Senate. In the 2023 AGM, students voted against executives’ plans to replace the Senate with another type of student advisory group.

The BOD voted to adopt Mechel’s manual.