Compulsory Non-Tuition Fees Protocol

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Purpose and Jurisdiction

The University of Guelph Administration, the Central Student Association (CSA), and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), agree that this document constitutes the University of Guelph protocol for University compulsory non-tuition ancillary fees[1] (hereafter referred to as compulsory fees). The Compulsory Fees Committee (the Committee) has the responsibility to ensure that the protocol is adhered to within the scope of all University student compulsory fees. The Terms and Conditions for the Committee are attached in Appendix 1.

For purposes of this protocol, compulsory fees are defined as those fees charged by the University, the revenue from which is not applied to the cost of instruction in any course or program normally offered for credit toward an eligible degree, diploma, or certificate, but is applied to the cost of services which enhance the cultural/social/recreational environment of students or provide other non-academic services to students.

Student groups recognized within the Student Organization Policy (SOP) which charge fees or introduce fees using their respective by-laws and approval mechanisms are not subject to this protocol. However, it is the expectation that these groups will follow the spirit of this protocol.

Compulsory Fees Include:

  1. Athletic Fee
  2. Athletic Building Fee
  3. Convocation Fee
  4. Student Health Services Fee
  5. Student Services Fee (SSF): This fee supports programs in the following areas:
  1. Career Services
  2. Centre for International Programs
  3. Counselling Services
  4. LANG School of Business: Business Career Centre Fee
  5. Learning Commons
  6. Student Financial Services
  7. Student Experience (Including Outline and Orientation Week Fee)
  8. Student Life Enhancement Fund (SLEF)
  9. Safewalk
  10. Visual and Performing Arts

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​Process for Fee Changes

  1. Student Services Fee Advisory Committees are struck annually to provide recommendations to the Committee on resource allocation and service assessment for each program that receives financial support from the Student Services Fee (SSF).  The Terms and Conditions for these SSF Advisory Committees are attached in Appendix 2.
  2. No new compulsory fees will be recommended to the Board of Governors unless approved by students as per the Approval Process attached in Appendix 3. The Committee will be responsible for recommending such fees to the Board of Governors.
  3. Annual increases in existing compulsory fees will be limited normally to the Statistics Canada consumer price index annual average for Ontario, and in exceptional circumstances, up to a further 3% at the discretion of the Committee. A fee larger than this must first be approved as per the Student Approval process before a recommendation is submitted to the Board of Governors (Appendix 3). Students will be informed if the Committee approves a fee increase greater than the cost of living.
  4. The University may decrease the operating budget for any program that is supported by a compulsory fee. In this circumstance, there will be discussions held in advance with the Committee and the relevant SSF Advisory Committee.  The SSF Committee has the right to recommend a reduction in the fee level or an appropriate reallocation of the fee revenue.
  5. Any new user fee for functions supported by compulsory fees or increases to existing fees beyond the consumer price index must be approved by the Committee. University administration will provide data on such fees to the Committee upon request.

This protocol will be reviewed by the Committee for approval by the Board of Governors at least once every five years. Revisions to the protocol that are supported by all the signing parties will be considered by the Board of Governors on the basis of recommendations from the Committee.


Appendix 1: Compulsory Fees Committee: Terms and Conditions


6 Students:

  • 2 Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) Nominees
  • 2 Central Student Association (CSA) Nominees
  • 1 Student Senator
  • 1 Student Member of the Board of Governors

5 Faculty or Staff:

  • Faculty and Staff are appointed by the Vice-Provost (Student Affairs).
  • The Vice-Provost (Student Affairs) or Designate: Convener (non-voting and does not count towards quorum). 


  • May be named by members to ensure quorum. Alternates will have voting privileges.

Resource People (Non-voting):

  • A representative from the office of Institutional Analysis and Research.
  • The Executive Vice-Provost (Student Affairs). 

At any time the Committee may invite additional resource personnel to join its meetings to provide clarity or support.   

At its first meeting in the fall, the Committee will elect the chair, who will have voting privileges.


Quorum shall be six members, including a minimum of two students and two faculty or staff.


  1. Review membership and mandate of Student Services Fee (SSF) Advisory Committees (Appendix 2) on an annual basis.
  2. Provide advice to the University administration regarding student services and associated policies, utilization, costs, funding, delivery arrangements, performance and accountability.
  3. Review and approve the Compliance Report supplied by the Office of Institutional Analysis and Research in order to ensure compliance with the original terms of the SSF:  no more than 50% of the cost of the programs and services are to be covered by the fee. 
  4. Drawing from the reports of the SSF Advisory Committees and other information sources made available to the Committee, review the usage, effectiveness, and associated costs of student services supported by student services fees and forward recommendations to the university administration, as appropriate.
  5. Propose to university administration any revisions in the allocation of revenue from student services fees to services and programs receiving support from such fees, having consideration for user fees in effect.
  6. Recommend to the Board of Governors new University compulsory fees or changes to established compulsory fees ensuring that the recommendation  goes through the appropriate  approval processes (Appendix 3).
  7. Review all referendum questions for proposed new University compulsory fees or for proposed changes in fee levels which necessitate referendum endorsement to ensure that the referendum question is clear, is without bias, and is targeted to the appropriate voting group (e.g., CSA membership, GSA membership or both) (Appendix 3).
  8. Inform University students annually regarding the programs and services receiving support from compulsory fees.
  9. Review Student Life Enhancement Fund (SLEF) applications and final reports annually. The Committee is responsible for allocating funds as outlined in the terms and conditions of the SLEF.

Conflict of Interest:

The Committee is committed to maintaining a high standard of professional integrity and transparency in the collection and distribution of funds generated by compulsory fees.

It is essential that both the Committee members and the University of Guelph community are confident in the Committee. Thus, even the appearance of a conflict of interest should be avoided. As such, members will disclose any potential conflict as outlined below:

  • Committee member(s) will declare a conflict of interest if they or the group they represent are connected to any proposal discussed, or on any proposition to increase fees for the Unit they represent.
  • Committee member(s) with a declared conflict of interest will leave the meeting room during the discussion and vote on the proposal. 

Appendix 2: Student Services Fee Advisory Committee: Terms and Conditions

Each unit that receives support from a University Compulsory fee will form an advisory committee to review programming and make recommendations for fee changes to the Board of Governors. These Committees include:

  1. Athletics Advisory Committee (Athletics Fee and Athletic Building Fee) Student Health Advisory Committee (Student Health Services Fee).
  2. University Centre Board (University Centre Fee).

In addition, Student Services Fee (SSF) Advisory Committees will be established annually for all units and programs that receive funding from the Student Services Fee:

This fee supports programs in the following areas:

  1. Career Services
  2. Centre for International Programs
  3. Counselling Services
  4. Learning Commons
  5. Student Financial Services
  6. Student Life (Including Outline)
  7. Student Life Enhancement Fund
  8. Special Grants and Speakers Fund (Including: College Royal; the Debating Society; Safewalk; and the Student Help and Advocacy Centre)
  9. Visual and Performing Arts


Each SSF Advisory Committee is advisory to the Compulsory Fees Committee on matters dealing with programs funded all or in part by the SSF. Specifically, on an annual basis, each SSF Advisory Committee shall provide the following:

  1. a qualitative assessment of the programs funded.
  2. an analysis of the expenditures against the budgets for each program area.
  3. recommendations for changes to be made in programs or budgets for the future.

Each SSF Advisory Committee shall also be an important source of advice to the Directors of Units/Programs/Services as members shall:

  • consult with their student colleagues on important issues and bring feedback to meetings.
  • represent student interests on the SSF Advisory Committee.

Each SSF Advisory Committee may add other responsibilities to its mandate and will submit proposed changes to the Compulsory Fees Committee for approval.


Each program/unit listed above will submit names of prospective members for the up-coming academic year for its SSF Advisory Committee to the Compulsory Fees Committee normally by September 30. Students should comprise at least 50% of the Committee membership. At least one student member should be appointed by each of the Central Student Association (CSA) and Graduate Students’ Association (GSA). If by September 30 the CSA or GSA has been unable to find a student representative, the chair of the Committee may appoint a student. The other student members should be selected to reflect the users of the programs offered.


All membership terms to be a minimum of one year duration. Ideally there should be some members who take on a 2-3 year term so that the committee benefits from longer term advisory capacity and so that there is not complete turnover in membership each year.

A chair is to be elected at the first meeting of the SSF Advisory Committee. The SSF Advisory Committee may designate a Chair-elect to support continuity in the advisory process. The Chair shall:

  • preside at all meetings of the SSF Advisory Committee.
  • draw-up the agenda for each meeting after consultation with the Director of the Program/ Service.
  • ensure that the agenda is circulated to all members, preferably three days in advance.
  • be responsible for communicating SSF Advisory Committee advice to the Compulsory Fees Committee.

Meetings of each SSF Advisory Committee:

It is recommended that these committees be struck early in the year to provide time for orientation of new members as well as sufficient time to review programs and make recommendations for change, if appropriate.  Directors should attempt to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • An inaugural meeting will normally be held in October at the call of the Director of the Program/Service (the chair will be elected at this meeting). At this meeting, efforts will be made to establish a meeting schedule for the year.
  • There shall be at least one meeting per semester.
  • Members shall be notified at least three working days prior to a meeting.
  • A quorum shall, at all times, consist of a majority of the members.
  • All questions shall be resolved by a simple majority of the members present and voting.
  • Minutes will be taken at all meetings which include a summary of major issues discussed.


Each SSF Advisory Committee will present an annual report to the Compulsory Fees Committee. Written reports which address the matters outlined in the mandate above no later than the end of December.


Appendix 3: Definition of Student Approval

This approval procedure outlines the referendum process that is required to increase or introduce a University compulsory non-tuition related fee (compulsory fee). New or changes to compulsory fees that are being introduced by student groups must go through the appropriate student government fee process. The goal is for student groups to have similar principles in place regarding quorum and student approval processes.

  1. Any request for a new or increased University ancillary fee must be submitted to the Compulsory Fees Committee, who will determine the target group for the question (i.e., graduate students, undergraduate students, or both).
  2. The Compulsory Fees Committee will devise the referendum question and the preamble to the question, taking into consideration the original request, as well as any  comments received from the student governments. The question will adhere to the Student Affairs Protocol for Referendum Questions.
  3. A student referendum will be administered separately for graduate students and undergraduate students.  Voting will normally be held in conjunction with the scheduled CSA and GSA General Elections or their referendum elections. The University has the right to run its own referendum question independently of the CSA or GSA elections.
  4. The referendum question will go to the CSA and the GSA Board of Directors for information. 
  5. Ballots for graduate and undergraduate students are combined for the purposes of counting; however, quorum for each student group must be reached independently in accordance to the CSA and GSA quorum by-laws. The total number of students (graduate and undergraduate) who voted will determine the voting population for those questions where the funding to support programs, services, or facilities cannot be directed specifically to a particular group.
  6. Provided that quorum is satisfied at both the undergraduate and graduate level, student approval will require a majority (50%+1) of the total valid votes cast.
  7. The Compulsory Fees Committee will strike an Election Committee with the membership consisting of 3 members of the Compulsory Fees Committee: one undergraduate student; one graduate student; and, one faculty or staff member, where the unit or program does not directly benefit from a successful referendum result.  The duty of this Committee will be to oversee the referendum process.
  8. Results of the voting will not be made public until CSA and GSA referendums are complete. The report of the voting will identify the count separately at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  9. Recommended new fees and/or fee increases must be approved by the Board of Governors.

[1] The Ministry defines compulsory non-tuition related ancillary fees as: “a fee which is levied in order to cover costs of items which are not normally paid for out of operating or capital revenue.” Complete information regarding Ministry guidelines can be found at: The Ontario Operating Funds Distribution Manual.
[2] The revenue directed to the Debating Club came initially from the President’s Office and not from the Student Services Fee, but it is recorded with the fee for accounting purposes. 
Authorization: Board of Governors
Established: May 1, 2000
Updated: April 2017
Next Review: 2021-2022