MPHEC Finance Committee
Terms of Reference
- To advise and assist the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, an agency of the Council of Maritime Premiers, in reviewing, evaluating options, and recommending an appropriate course(s) of action, in areas having significant financial consequence for the Commission.
- To that end, the Committee shall:
- Review and recommend for approval the MPHEC's business plan and related documentation.
- Review and recommend for approval the MPHEC's administration budget and related documentation.
- Assist in the development and the review of financial policies and procedures of existing or new initiatives.
- Suggest relevant research/publications to the Commission and assist in their preparation.
- The Committee is composed of a maximum of 7 members, in addition to the Chair of the Committee. There are at least two members from each province, normally one from the government sector and one from either the institutional sector or the public at large.
- Each member is appointed for a three-year term, normally renewable only once.
- All members are Commission members.
- The Chair of the Commission and the Chief Executive Officer are ex-officio members of the Committee.
- Members are appointed by the Chair of the Commission.
- A majority (half plus one Committee member) represents quorum, with a minimum requirement of one government representative from each of the three Provinces at every meeting.
- Alternates can be designated for government representatives, providing the person is a Commission member and government representative.
- Normally, the Chair of the Commission is the Chair of the Committee.
Committee's scope of authority
- Committees are instruments of the Commission. A committee's work products are the property of the Commission.
- Committee members and chairs may not speak or act for the Commission except when formally given such authority for specific and time-limited purposes. Such authority will be carefully stated in order not to conflict with the authority delegated to the Chair of the Commission and the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission. Committee members and chairs cannot exercise authority over staff, and normally have no direct dealings with staff operations. Extraordinary requests for resources made by a Committee must be approved by the Commission.
- The attendance of the Chief Executive Officer, or designate (normally, a staff member), at all committee meetings as a resource and staff support is essential to the effective work of committees and to ensure proper and on-going alignment with the Commission's business plan. However, staff's primary accountability is to the Commission as a whole even when assigned the role of committee resource.
- The Committee has the authority to engage outside consultants as required to assist in its functions.
Policy on conflict of interest
- As relevant, the Commission's Policy on Conflict of Interest applies to the Committee:
Members shall act at all times in the best interests of the Commission rather than particular interests or constituencies. This means setting aside personal self-interest and performing their duties in transaction of the affairs of the Commission in such a manner that promotes public confidence and trust in the integrity, objectivity and impartiality of the governing body.
No member shall directly or indirectly receive any profit from his/her position as such, provided that members may be paid reasonable expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties and the honorarium, as set by the Premiers (new legislation: Ministers). The interests of immediate family members or close personal or business associates of a member are considered to also be the interests of the member.
Members are expected to avoid conflicts or the appearance of conflicts between their duties as a public appointee and their personal or business interest.
An actual or potential conflict of interest arises when a member is placed in a situation in which his or her personal interests, financial or otherwise, or the interests of an immediate family member or of a person with whom there exists, or has recently existed, an intimate relationship, conflict or appear to conflict with the member's responsibilities to the Commission, and the public interest.
Members shall not use information obtained as a result of their appointment for personal or commercial benefit.
Members must openly disclose a potential, real or perceived conflict of interest as soon as the issue arises and before the committee deals with the matter. If the member is not certain he or she is in a conflict of interest position, the matter may be brought before the Chair or Committee for advice and guidance.
A conflict of interest may be "real", "potential" or "perceived"; the same duty to disclose applies to each.
Full disclosure, in itself, does not remove a conflict of interest.
Principles for managing conflicts of interests
In consultation with the member, and in the light of the specific nature of the conflict, the Chair and member may determine the appropriate response to the circumstance, as follows:
- the member must withdraw from any discussion or decision-making process leading to a recommendation on the proposal; or
- the member may remain in the meeting and participate in the discussion but refrain from voting; or,
- the member may remain in the meeting and participate in the discussion and in the voting.
In all cases the Chair will advise the governing body as a whole of the conflict, and of the outcome above, with reasons.
Should the Chair be in a conflict of interest, the Chair will either (a) withdraw from any discussion or decision-making process leading to a recommendation on the proposal, or (b) ask the governing body to decide whether the Chair may remain in the meeting, participate in the discussion while refraining from voting, or remain in the meeting, participate in the discussion and in the voting.
It is the responsibility of other members who are aware of a real, potential or perceived conflict of interest on the part of a fellow member to raise the issue for clarification, first with the member and, if still unresolved, with the Chair.
Rules with regards to program proposals or specific funding request/issue
When Commission members (or Committee members) are directly associated with the university whose program proposal or funding request is under consideration, the member must, at a minimum, abstain from the final vote (or final recommendation/advice to Commission in the case of a committee). The abstention is noted in the minutes if requested by the member or Chair. In the event that this member is the Committee Chair, an alternate Chair is assigned for the consideration of the program proposal in question.
(Approved: June 20, 2005)
(Revised and Approved by Commission: April 20, 2009)
Sheila Brown (Acting Chair), Public-at-Large
Donald Desroches, Prince Edward Island
Greg Ells, Nova Scotia
Lily Fraser, New Brunswick
France Haché, New Brunswick
Anne Partridge, Prince Edward Island
Catherine Stewart, MPHEC (non-voting)
Vacant, Nova Scotia