This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.
Approving Authority: Office of the President
Original Approval Date: June 21, 2012
Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: May 18, 2022
Administrative Responsibility: Legal Services and Fair Practices Office
Parent Policy: Signing Authority Policy (5.7)
This Appendix sets out the specific approval and signing authorities and limits for contracts executed by University employees and designated signing officers under university policy 5.7 Signing Authority Policy.
1.1 “Contract” – Includes any written or oral agreement, contract, subcontract, letter of intent, memorandum of understanding, memorandum of agreement, lease, deed, offer, grant, licence, purchase order, invoice, certificate, instrument, assignment, or any other document which creates a responsibility, right or benefit or which may be binding on the University, both monetary and non-monetary in value.
1.2 “Dollar Threshold” – The maximum monetary value of the contract for approval and/or signing authority in the Appendix. All thresholds are in Canadian pre-tax dollars and are based on the cumulative value of the contract over its full term (including specified options, renewals or extensions). Contracts with no dollar amount, an unspecified dollar amount, or of a non-monetary nature (e.g. affiliation agreements) may only be entered into in accordance with the provisions of this Appendix or with the specific approval of the President, Vice-President(s), University Secretary or General Counsel.
1.3 “Functional Unit” – An Academic unit or administrative department with authority over a specified functional activity and budget (e.g. Faculty of Science, Human Resources).
1.4 “Signing Authority” – Identifies the individual(s) within the University with authority to review, recommend and sign a Contract that commits the university to a legal relationship and contractual obligations or benefits. Individuals with Signing Authority are set out in Section 3.0 of this Appendix. Individuals with designated Signing Authority have authority to sign any approved Contract up to the maximum approved Dollar Threshold as set out in this Appendix.
2.1 To determine the appropriate Signing Authority, this three-step process must be followed:
2.1.1 Step One – Determine which University Policies, in addition to Policy 5.7 Signing Authority Policy, apply to the Contract. Other University Policies or Procedures may establish requirements for contract and should be considered at the earliest possible stage. Provided that all applicable University Policies have been followed, proceed to Step Two.
2.1.2 Step Two – Determine the Dollar Threshold of the Contract and refer to Section 3.0 of this Appendix. If the Contract relates to Employment Agreements, Collective Agreements, Academic Agreements, or Expense Reimbursements and P-Cards, refer to Section 4.0 to determine the appropriate Signing Authority.
2.1.3 Step Three – Once the appropriate Signing Authority has been identified, that individual must satisfy themselves that the following conditions have been met, prior to signing the Contract:
a. The Contract has received Board Approval, if required;
b. The Contract is within the Signing Authority of the individual signing;
c. The Contract is within the limits and controls of approved budgets;
d. The Contract terms are clear, understood and consistent with any RFP requirements (if applicable) or negotiations;
e. The Signing Authority does not have an actual or perceived conflict of interest;
f. The Contract has been referred to the Legal Services and Fair Practices Office for legal review;
g. Other risks associated with the nature of the contract have been considered;
h. All contracts binding the University must be in the name of Wilfrid Laurier University. If work has already been performed, or goods and services have already been provided under the Contract (for example, where the invoice or a purchase order is the contract), that the services or goods were provided in a complete manner, meeting all expectations and deliverables as specified in the Contract.
2.2 Electronic signature of the Contract is permitted under the following conditions:
a. The Contract meets all legal requirements for electronic signature and is signed using a University-approved electronic signature system;
b. The Contract is signed by an appropriate Signing Authority following all requirements in this Policy and procedures;
c. The electronic record to validate the approval and signing of the Contract must be retained with the Contract for the term(s) of the Contract and as required under the Records Management Policy.
3.1 The individuals who are granted Signing Authority to enter into Contracts on behalf of the University are outlined in the Levels designated below. Individuals may bind the University in a Contract only if they hold a position within the applicable Level as set out in Policy 5.7 Signing Authority Policy or this Appendix.
3.1.1 Level 1 Signing Authority – up to $50,000 – An individual with Level 2, 3 or 4 Signing Authority may assign Signing Authority to a report in that Functional Unit at the level of Manager (or equivalent), or Assistant/Associate Director of up to $50,000 by following the appropriate procedure. This level of Signing Authority is not to be used for absences and is intended to address long term operational requirements.
3.1.2 Level 2 Signing Authority – up to $100,000– Includes all administrative Directors (i.e. only Director positions that are excluded from a bargaining unit), Vice Deans, Associate University Librarians, Senior Administrative Officers and equivalent.
3.1.3 Level 3 Signing Authority – up to $1,000,000 – Includes all Academic Deans, Assistant/Associate Vice-Presidents, University Librarian, Chief Information Officer, University Secretary, General Counsel and equivalent.
3.1.4 Level 4 Signing Authority – up to $5,000,000 – Includes the President, all Vice-Presidents, Provost, SEO: Brantford Campus, and equivalent.
3.1.5 Board Designated Signing Officer for all Contracts requiring Board approval – Includes all designated signing officers of the University as approved by the Board of Governors, and for clarity include:
a. Chair of the Board of Governors;
b. Vice-Chair(s) of the Board of Governors;
c. President and Vice-Chancellor (“President”); and
d. Any Vice-President (“VP”).
3.2 Designated affiliated organizations that have formal agreements with the University (for example, Martin Luther University College, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union) may be authorized to use University platforms for procurement or finance purposes, which arrangements are separate from this Appendix.
4.1 The following Contracts deal with specialized subject matter and do not follow the process set out in Section 3 above. This section sets out the process for signing of these Contracts:
4.1.1 Employment Contracts (Non-Academic)
a. For the President, requires the signature of a Board Designated Signing Officer
b. For any Vice President, requires the signature of a Board Designated Signing Officer and the President
c. For any Assistant/Associate Vice-President, requires Level 4 Signing Authority
d. For any Management Appointment, requires Level 3 Signing Authority, or one level above the position
e. For any Staff Appointment, requires Level 2 Signing Authority or one level above the position
f. For any Student Appointment (Fixed Term of Part-time), requires Level 1 Signing Authority
4.1.2 Employment Contracts (Academic)
a. For Decanal, University Librarian, AVP Enrollment Services or AVP, Teaching and Learning Appointment, requires the signature of a Board Designated Signing Officer and the President or applicable VP.
b. For Full-time Faculty or Librarian Appointment, requires Level 4 Signing Authority
c. For Contract Teaching Faculty or Part-time Librarian Appointment, requires Level 3 Signing Authority with an academic appointment
d. For Adjunct Faculty Appointment, requires Level 3 Signing Authority with an academic appointment
e. For Visiting Faculty Appointment, requires Level 3 Signing Authority with an academic appointment
f. For Post-Doctoral Fellowship Appointment or Graduate Student Appointment (with financial support), requires Level 2 Signing Authority
g. For Undergraduate Student Appointment, including Assistantship (RA and TA) Appointment, requires Level 1 Signing Authority
4.1.3 Collective Agreements
a. Collective Agreements and other related agreements, require the signature of a Board Designated Signing Officer, following Board approval
b. Settlement documents, require Level 3 Signing Authority
4.1.4 Payroll and Pension – The AVP: Human Resources and Equity, Manager of Payroll Services, AVP: Financial Resources, along with the VP: Finance and Administration, are authorized to make payments of pension plan benefits and expenses relating to the administration of the University pension plan in accordance with the terms and conditions of the plan and to make all payroll related deductions, transfers or expenditures on behalf of University employees.
4.1.5 Academic Agreements – A Level 4 Signing Authority (typically the Provost and VP: Academic (or designate)) shall sign all Academic Agreements, including university affiliation or collaboration agreements with other academic institutions or organizations relating to the university’s academic mission (e.g. placement, practicum, transfer, exchange or articulation).
4.1.6 Expense Claims - Expense reimbursement and P-Card expenditures (including Laurier Purchasing or Travel Cards) require approval from the individual with supervisory oversight of the claimant at the level of manager (or equivalent) position or above, or from an authorized Signing Authority (Level 1, 2, 3 or 4) who has signing authority for the Functional Unit. No Laurier employee may directly or indirectly approve their own expense.
Approvers are required to ensure that each expense: (a) was incurred in the performance of University business; (b) is supported by all required documentation, including proof of payment; and (c) adheres to University policies and procedures.
4.1.7 Externally Funded Research Expense Claims - Expense reimbursements and P-Card expenditures (including Laurier Purchasing and Travel Cards) expensed to an externally funded research grant require approval from the Principal Investigator (PI) or authorized grant delegate documented through the Research Finance delegation process. If the claimant is the PI or authorized grant delegate, approval is required per 4.1.6, as no individual may approve their own expense.
Approvers are required to ensure that each expense: (a) contributes towards the direct costs of the research for which the funds were awarded, with the benefits directly attributable to the grant; (b) is supported by all required documentation, including proof of payment; and (c) adheres to University policies and procedures.
5.1 Any original signed copies of a Contract shall be securely stored by the applicable Functional Unit, with a digital copy sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for permanent retention. The validation and approval of a Contract signed by electronic signature shall be retained with the digital copy of the Contract.
6.1 Any and all applicable University Policies must be adhered to when negotiating and signing a Contract on behalf of the University.