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Signing on the dotted line

University policy highlights proper protocol to respect when authorizing contracts
October 23, 2012
By Isabel Rut

This article is the last in a series of seven, published weekly on important Concordia policies. This is part of a policy-awareness campaign that will culminate in employees being asked to confirm that they have read the policies when they access my empath in the MyConcordia portal beginning November 1.

Some Concordia employees may, in the course of their work, be required to sign contracts with individuals or firms. So it’s important for all employees to understand Concordia’s signing protocol before entering into any contractual obligation.

“Concordia’s Policy on Signing Authority and Required Approvals has been created to ensure that there is no ambiguity or question as to who can authorize a contract,” says Vice-President, Institutional Relations and Secretary-General, Bram Freedman. “It is important for all university employees to familiarize themselves with this policy to ensure that they understand the implications of endorsing a contract on behalf of the university.”  

Understand the policy prior to committing to a contract. | Photo by Concordia University
Understand the policy prior to committing to a contract. | Photo by Concordia University

As indicated in the signing authority policy (BD-1), an employee cannot authorize a contract on the university’s behalf unless he or she has signing authority as a designated signing officer.

Before signing a contract, the officer must be satisfied that certain conditions have been met and must be responsibile for overseeing that all obligations on the part of the university and the other parties are met. The contract must comply with relevant legislation, collective agreements and university policies and procedures.

The term “contract” is also clearly defined, as it can represent any written or verbal agreement, contract, letter of intent, memorandum of understanding or memorandum of agreement, the provisions of which are binding upon the university.

The signing authority policy clearly outlines who, within the university, can enter into a contract on the university’s behalf and under which conditions. It also stipulates the maximum value of a contract. Depending on the total value and type of expenditure, varying levels of approval are required.

“When in doubt, refer to the policy,” says Freedman. “It can save a great deal of misunderstanding, legal issues and potential negative perceptions on our reputation.”

Concordia employees are encouraged to review the complete Policy on Signing Authority and Required Approvals for more details. There are also other important policies available on the Official Concordia Policies webpage that have been developed to clarify ambiguous situations, which may be relevant to employees within specific departments. See the question-and-answer section on the Human Resources page under “policies and procedures” for a full list of policies related to the awareness campaign.

Related links:

•    Policy on Signing Authority and Required Approvals (BD-1) 
•    Official Policies page 
•    "Code exists to protect" — NOW, September 12, 2012
•    "Policy awareness campaign highlights employee Code of Ethics" — NOW, September 19, 2012
•    "Protecting personal information" — NOW, September 26, 2012
•    "Safety first" — NOW, October 3, 2012 
•    "Promoting a culture of safety" — NOW, October 10, 2012 
•    "Shining a light on harassment" — NOW, October 17, 2012 
•    Policies and procedures Q&A


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