Surveys/Reports

Annual Surveys and Reports:

Financial Information of Universities and Colleges (FIUC)

The Financial Information of Universities and Colleges (FIUC), the only common source of financial data of Canadian universities and colleges, facilitates statistical and trend analysis on an aggregate level. The FIUC data is based on an annual return completed and submitted by each of CAUBO’s member institutions. It is a joint undertaking between CAUBO and Statistics Canada. Click here to access

Investment Survey

The CAUBO Investment Survey is Canada’s most comprehensive survey of investments held by Canadian post-secondary institutions’ endowment and pension funds. The primary purpose of the survey is to provide institutions with information to assist them in better managing their investment portfolios and includes information on annualized rates of return, mandate performance and asset mix, spending policy and costs. The Investment Survey results are compiled into a published report that is available only to participating institutions; the results are also highlighted in an annual University Manager article. Click here to access

Fraud Survey

The Fraud survey is an annual survey of internal and external fraud cases within Canadian universities. It tracks the volume and value of fraud cases, fraud detection, the nature of control weaknesses exploited, the extent of anti-fraud policies and processes and the action taken against perpetrators. The results are intended to help audit and other professionals to better understand fraud and its characteristics in our environment, and to help build awareness at the executive level of fraud risks and impacts. Click here to access

Joint Projects:

CAUBO Partnership with HR Metrics Service

NEW CAUBO PARTNERSHIP WITH HR METRICS SERVICE

CAUBO knows that members need evidence-based data to support their institutional decision-making.

That’s why we are pleased to share with you that we have signed a partnership agreement with HR Metrics Service (HRMS) to provide CAUBO members with quality HR benchmarking services. HRMS is a privately owned national benchmarking service with 65 client organizations from a variety of sectors, including several Canadian universities. Participating universities report a high degree of satisfaction with the service, content, and quality of reporting they have received from HRMS and recommend it to colleagues in the sector. 


Joining HRMS has been a great investment for us at Memorial. We started with a limited number of metrics, and have now scaled up to 45 metrics! We use them for internal reporting, including the University’s Executive and annual reporting to the Board of Regents.

—Stephen Dodge (MUN)


This partnership will support the development of national HR metrics and help CAUBO members obtain reliable data to guide decision-making.

Key benefits for CAUBO members

CAUBO members that participate in the HRMS benchmarking service will receive:

  • Sector-wide data analysis and trend reporting, provided by a third-party consultant with support from CAUBO
  • Educational support to help use the resulting evidence-based data and information effectively
  • Differentiated HRMS participation fees for CAUBO members, based on institutional size 

Timeline for HRMS partnership with CAUBO

  • Right now: Universities can sign up to work with HRMS and begin measuring their institutional data using their choice of metrics.
  • In the coming months: CAUBO will coordinate the formation of a Steering Committee and Working Group to guide and convey a collective vision for HR benchmarking and measurement within the Canadian higher education .
  • Within the next fiscal year: A third-party consultant will be engaged to develop sectoral trends and analysis and provide professional development to help members get the most out of their participation.

This service is currently available in English only. Bilingual services will become available as additional universities sign on with HRMS. 

About HR Metrics Service

HRMS currently enables participating organizations to measure and compare their institutions based on more than 150 benchmarking metrics. Among them are six commonly used core metrics:

  • Turnover – voluntary and involuntary
  • First-year turnover
  • Grievances as a percentage of unionized headcount (under review)
  • HR headcount ratio
  • Average age
  • Average length of service

Many university-specific metrics have been added over the last several years. The full list is available here.

A list of current university participants is available online at www.hrmetricsservice.org/participants/

For information about this service, please contact HRMS directly at support@hrmetricsservice.org or toll-free at 1-855-323-6530 or sign up online at www.hrmetricsservice.org/signup.

Participation fees are payable to HRMS. CAUBO will provide trend analysis and educational support as part of your CAUBO institutional membership fee.

We hope CAUBO members will take advantage of this targeted opportunity to improve their HR data and decision-making capacity. If you have questions about this partnership, please contact Elizabeth Taylor at etaylor@caubo.ca.

McConnell and CAUBO: Charting a Path for Social Purpose Administration

How can higher education finance and administration leaders contribute to their institution’s social ambitions?

RECODE and Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) are collaborating on a national initiative to support post-secondary institutions across Canada in exploring emerging trends and expectations in social purpose administration. The partnership draws upon RECODE’s insights and networks in advancing community-centered solutions and CAUBO’s mission to enable excellence in Canadian higher education administration.

This initiative stems from broader research RECODE and Simon Fraser University pioneered last year on the roles post-secondary institutions can play to enhance community well-being – including and beyond their primary mandates of teaching and research. This concept–known as social infrastructure– is described in their report, Maximizing the Capacities of Advanced Education Institutions to Build Social Infrastructure for Canadian Communities, which lists the capacities and assets of universities, colleges and polytechnic institutes that can be mobilized to meet community needs.

CAUBO and RECODE seek to identify industry best practices and support administrators in learning about embedding greater social value in domains such as human resources, facilities management, procurement, investment, risk management, planning and budgeting and ancillary services. While many administrative officers are already familiar with social and sustainable procurement and social and sustainable investment, the aim is that eventually, all core administrative functions will have a more explicit social component.

The partnership complements three additional projects RECODE is pursuing with Universities Canada, Colleges and Institutes Canada, and a cohort of BC institutions under co-leadership with Simon Fraser University.

Catch up on higher education’s social impact journey in Canada in this just-released Milestone Report. It highlights results of the CAUBO-McConnell partnership since 2017, along with other projects such as Universities Canada’s social impact initiatives. For information on the partnership, click here.

As you will see in this Report a number of collaborative projects are underway focused on:

  • UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Campus sustainability
  • Community engagement
  • Social and sustainable procurement
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Indigenous reconciliation

One of the Report’s remarkable findings is that nearly 90% of schools are involved in social impact collaborations. Hundreds of CAUBO members have also participated, via social impact workshops, conference sessions, webinars and the social impact administration and finance practices inventory. The partners continue to collaborate on professional development opportunities, further building the capacity of administrators to contribute to their institutions’ social impact priorities. One idea that surfaced from the social impact workshops held last year, is to embed social impact in hiring decisions and performance management. By hiring administrators experienced in social impact and including social impact in performance objectives and professional development, social impact will become more routine within finance and administration teams. Indeed, one University President recently included social impact criteria when hiring a VP of Finance and Administration. A 2021 workshop is planned on this topic. If your administration department has practices in this area, please contact khodgins@mcconnellfoundation.ca as we are collecting sample administrator job descriptions that include social impact or community engagement.

We are also holding a fall workshop on how administrators engaged community partners to address community needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome examples if you and your teams have stories to share. Please contact khodgins@mcconnellfoundation.ca.

Many institutions will likely update strategic plans to reflect COVID-19’s impact on their operations and plans. If that includes yours, check out these Social Impact Strategic Planning Guidelines. A related tool, for more immediate use, is this Social Impact COVID-19 Decision Lens produced to help institutions embed social considerations in COVID decisions. Use it as a prompt to stretch mindsets and decisions to foster increased social outcomes and community well-being. If you use either of these tools, we’d love to hear your story! The crisis has reaffirmed the role universities play in co-creating sustainable and equitable communities.

Please contact Kelly Hodgins at khodgins@mcconnellfoundation.ca for more information on CAUBO’s Social Impact Partnership with the McConnell Foundation

Topical Surveys and Reports:

Leveraging Robotic Process Automation to Optimize Administrative Processes

Now more than ever, higher education administrators are looking for efficiency gains and seeking to answer a critical question: How can we do more with less?

To help members answer this question, CAUBO has commissioned a report that outlines how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be applied to optimize administrative processes. The report suggests a framework specific to higher education that can be used to identify and prioritize opportunities for automation and offers practical, real-life examples of RPA application.

Carry-forward Policies and Practices

CAUBO conducted a survey to gain a better understanding of members’ policies and practices governing the carry-forward of unspent operating funds. A Roundtable discussion was held during the CAUBO 2019 Conference in Halifax to discuss the topic. The survey results and a summary of the Roundtable discussion are available (institutional members only).

As part of the survey, members were asked to share their institution’s carry-forward policies. These policies have been posted here for reference. Please let us know if you are willing to share your institution’s policy in order to advance sector knowledge on this topic.

A number of institutions in Ontario, in collaboration with the Council of Ontario Finance Officers (COFO), have developed a summary of best practices for reporting carry-forwards. This document is also available for viewing here.

Employee Benefits Initiative

CAUBO has been looking at ways to help Canadian Universities manage rising benefits costs and risks.

In 2019, a series of educational briefs were developed to provide information on the employee benefits landscape and how common benefit models can help mitigate the rising risks and costs for employers. The surveys that accompanied each of the first three briefs enabled a discussion at the VP Forum in June 2019 about key considerations that must be addressed as CAUBO moves forward with next steps.

Member feedback, provided through the surveys and confirmed at the VP Forum, outlined that while members are preoccupied with the rising costs of benefits, collaborative solutions to be explored should initially focus on ease of implementation—solutions that are simple for institutions to join and, where possible, build on collaborative models that have proven successful in the higher education context.

The CAUBO National Benefits Steering Committee held industry consultations with benefits providers in November 2019 to better understand from experts in the field how various options could provide value to members.

The information yielded through those consultations identified an opportunity for institutions that work with common providers to achieve potential efficiencies, including savings on administrative costs and implementing pooling levels and stop-loss provisions.

This past winter, CAUBO issued a member survey to collect information on current providers of health, dental, life, short-term and long-term disability coverage and out-of-country insurance. Based on the survey results, it is apparent that most CAUBO members currently receive these benefits from one of two providers.

The Steering Committee is currently attempting to identify a value proposition for a collaborative agreement, which will be proposed to members this summer in order to determine member interest.

The briefs are available for VP institutional members only by clicking here.

Cannabis on Campus

As of October 17th, 2018, institutions across the country were faced with a new challenge on campus due to the legalization of cannabis. Regulations and legislation around the legislative change have been implemented and handled differently from coast to coast.

CAUBO conducted a survey to identify how universities and colleges are handling the change in legislation. The survey results and summary are now available on the website (institutional members only)

View the following documents:

Cybersecurity

With almost daily reports of intrusions, data breaches and cyber attacks, Cyber-security continues to be top of mind for university administrators and was identified as a priority issue in CAUBO’s service plan.

We are pleased to advise you that the following products and services have been developed:

  • Cybersecurity in Higher Education (PPT presentation – institutional members only)
  • Not Just an IT Issue: Roles of the Board and Executives in Managing Cyber Threats (webinar recording – coming soon)
  • Responding to a Cybersecurity or Data Breach: Are you ready? (webinar recording – coming soon)

Cybersecurity in a University Setting
CAUBO, with guidance from CUCCIO, has released a cybersecurity report to provide a tool to our members.  View the following documents:

Tax Resources - Tax Notes

A series of interpretive notes covering key university-specific issues in the areas of income tax and sales tax (GST/HST/QST) have been developed. These notes in the series are available for members by clicking here.

Divestment Case Studies

A series of case studies have been developed to highlight the different situations, experiences and lessons learned from institutions that have been through divestment campaigns. The case studies are available here for institutional members.

Canada’s Universities: Cost Pressures, Business Models and Financial Sustainability

This discussion paper identifies and examines the cost pressures and financial challenges that are an integral part of the Canadian higher education business model. Click here to read the report.

Deferred Maintenance at Canadian Universities: An Update

The 2019 report provides an updated perspective on deferred maintenance at Canadian Universities. It goes beyond stating the current situation and provides members with practical information regarding strategies for managing deferred maintenance and making the case for investment. Case studies and success stories are included in the report to provide insight into how institutions have found innovative methods to secure additional funding and/or manage the funding they receive. Click here to read the report.

A data dashboard has been developed to provide institutions that participated in the survey with access to benchmark data. Click here to login and access the dashboard.

Indirect Costs of Research (ICR) Report

This study explores three key areas of policy and practice related to indirect costs of research—measurement of indirect costs, recovery of indirect costs and allocation of funding received. The report is available here.

Building the student experience - Student Housing Report

A report on university student housing in Canada, student housing development models, and building business cases for new investment. Click here to access.

Financial Reporting Information Notes

These financial reporting information notes assess the impact of adoption of PSA and ASPE standards by Canadian institutions. Click here to read the notes.

Tri-Agency Transition Resources

CAUBO has developed a series of resources to support members during the transition to the new principles-based Guidelines. These resources are available for institutional members here.

Ancillary Benchmark Parking Survey Report

A high-level summary report of the Ancillary Benchmark Parking Survey results has been prepared and is available for members.

The Parking Services dashboard is available here for CAUBO members that participated in the survey.

Please participate in the next survey cycle in order to have access to the benchmark data available though the dashboards.