Institutional Risk Mitigation Strategy

Established: January 2016
Revised: N/A
Mandatory Review Date: October 2016
Supersedes: N/A
Responsible/Originating Department Secretariat
Executive Contact: University Secretary 

Related Policies, Guidelines & Procedures:

Policy 11 - University Risk Management

Risk Management Reporting Guideline

Statement of Institutional Risk Appetite

Capitalized terms, used in this Mitigation Strategy, in the tables appended to this Mitigation Strategy and in Appendix A to this Mitigation Strategy, and not otherwise defined in the Policy, have the meanings assigned to them in the list of definitions appearing in section 3 of this document.

1.  Introduction

University of Waterloo Policy 11 – University Risk Management (the “Policy”) provides the principles and framework for Risk assessment, monitoring and reporting under the URM program. The Risk Management Reporting Guideline (the “Guideline”) is an integral part of the Policy and provides guidance to employees assessing, monitoring and reporting Risks under the Policy.  The Statement of Institutional Risk Appetite (the “Statement”) summarizes the risk appetite levels of the University relative to Risks identified through processes described in the Guideline.

This Institutional Risk Mitigation Strategy (the “Mitigation Strategy”) outlines high level oversight, strategic directions, and special projects intended to manage institutional risks identified through execution of the Policy and the Guideline.  The Mitigation Strategy is based on the Risk categories and individual Risks summarized in the Risk Registry appearing as Appendix A to the Guideline, and specifically links those Risk categories and individual Risks to the University’s strategic plan for the period 2013-2018, known as “A Distinguished Past, A Distinctive Future” (the “Strategic Plan”). In addition, the Mitigation Strategy connects the University’s Risk mitigation strategy to other activities related to the good governance of the University.  Execution of the strategy outlined in the Mitigation Strategy is intended to manage institutional Risk to levels acceptable according to the Statement.

The Mitigation Strategy has been developed by the President, the VPs and the USGC, with consultation at the Audit & Risk Committee (the “Committee”) of the Board of Governors.

The USGC will initiate a review of this Mitigation Strategy in September following completion of the Risk survey to be done in accordance with the Guideline, in advance of the meeting of the Committee scheduled for October of those years.  The provisional plan is to conduct the survey every five years in June, beginning in 2016, that is, in June of the third year in each strategic planning cycle. Periodic updates will occur between formal reviews.  The Mitigation Strategy and any revisions will be provided to EC for information, and will be published on the website of the Secretariat & Office of General Counsel.

2.  Risk Mitigation Strategies

The University will take a responsible approach to URM in pursuit of its strategic objectives as identified in the Strategic Plan.  Risks will be identified, assessed and managed in a manner consistent with the Policy and the Guideline, with the Risk mitigation strategies summarized in this Mitigation Strategy intended to reduce Risk to acceptable levels according to the Statement.

The specific mitigation strategies summarized in this Mitigation Strategy are derived of the categories of institutional Risk identified in the Risk Registry appearing as Appendix A to the Guideline.  The categories represent seven groupings of the 30 most prominent institutional Risks identified through the University’s institutional Risk survey, conducted as required by the Guideline.  As adjustments are made in the 30 most prominent Risks, adjustments will likewise be made in the categories, and the Risk Registry appearing as Appendix A to the Guideline will be updated accordingly.  Those adjustments will be reflected as necessary in the review of this Mitigation Strategy referred to in the Introduction above.

In the tables appended to this Mitigation Strategy, summaries are provided for mitigation strategies for each Risk in each category, positioned with the relevant risk appetite level identified in the Statement. Monitoring of mitigation strategies is identified generally in the table.  The top eleven Risks identified through the most recent institutional Risk survey are identified with an asterisk.

Principal and secondary responsibility for overseeing the Risk mitigation strategies at the institutional level are assigned in Appendix A to this Mitigation Strategy.  Those with principal responsibility as identified in Appendix A are responsible for reporting to the USGC on a semi-annual basis in accordance with the Policy and the Guideline, drawing on input from those with secondary responsibility and others as may be required.

3. Definitions

“AP” means associate provost, and “AVP” means associate vice-president.

“COU” means the Council of Ontario Universities, an advocacy group acting on behalf of publicly assisted universities in Ontario, of which the University is a member.

“EC” means the Executive Council of the University, comprised of the president, the VPs, the USGC, and all direct reports to the VPAP.  EC meets on a monthly basis from September to June.

“PVP” means the committee of the president, the VPs and the USGC. PVP meets on a weekly basis from September to June, and otherwise as necessary.

“Steering Committee” means PVP sitting in its capacity as the senior committee responsible for implementation of the Strategic Plan.  The Steering Committee meets on a quarterly basis.

“Theme Groups” means the groups of employees formed to design and implement action plans intended to meet institutional strategic planning objectives in the eight central themes of the Strategic Plan.

“U15” means the organization of the top 15 research intensive Canadian universities, of which the University is a member.

“VP” means vice-president, and individual VPs are referred to as follows:

                “VPA” means Vice-President, Advancement

                “VPAF” means Vice-President, Administration & Finance

                “VPAP” means Vice-President, Academic & Provost       

                “VP Relations” means Vice-President, University Relations

                “VP Research” means Vice-President, University Research