AP 539: Delegation of Signing Authority
Business & Finance
The Division acknowledges its obligation to fulfill contracts and/or provide payment for those agreements the Division enters into. The Superintendent delegates signing authorities to organizational positions based on specific responsibilities and approved limits. Clear authorities and the proper exercise and delegation of authority facilitates effective, efficient and consistent operational practices across the Division and thereby increasing accountability and safeguarding of Division assets.
a) Signing Authority: refers to organizational positions that have delegated approval authority for employees placed in those positions to approve commitments within specified limits.
b) Capital Asset: refers to expenditures for goods or services with value of $5,000 or more and typically have a useful life longer than a year.
c) Commitment: refers to all contracts and obligations that bind the Division with respect to the expending of the Division public funds or other assets.
d) Consultant: shall include services or expert advice provided by an individual or organization in a particular area, such as construction, engineering, auditing, research, or banking, and is not typically considered an employee.
e) Contract: shall include those legally enforceable business agreements between two or more parties with mutual obligations. A contract may: define procurement of goods and services; define funds (revenue or grants) to be received from a third party; include memoranda of understanding (MOU) or letters of understanding (LOU); and/or have a zero, or null, dollar value. A contract is intended to define responsibilities (actions) or deliverables between the parties.
f) Grant Agreement: refers to the contract executed between the granting agency and the grantee after a grant application or proposal has been selected and approved for funding under a grant program.
g) Electronic Fund Transfer: refers to an electronic transfer of money from one bank account, either within a single financial institution or across multiple institutions, via computer-based systems, without the direct intervention of bank staff.
h) Employment Services Contract: shall include those legal agreements, in which the skills or talents of an individual are material, between an individual employee and an employer that clarifies the terms and conditions of employment. Payments to the employee are handled through Payroll.
i) Lease: refers to the contract calling for the lessee (user) to pay the lessor (owner) for use of an asset. j) Property: is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly owned by a group of people. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner has the right to consume, sell, rent, mortgage, transfer, exchange, or destroy their property, and/or to exclude others from having these rights. Recognized types of property include real property (land and buildings), personal property (property owned by the Division that is not affixed to or associated with the land), and intellectual property (exclusive rights over artistic creations, inventions, etc.).
k) Purchase Card (P-Card): refers to a corporate credit card used by Division employees.
1. Signing authorities, along with their authority limits and areas of authorization are outlined in the Authority Matrix (Appendix 539-A).
2. Unless otherwise specified, authority is attached to the position, not to the named employee.
3. During absences, signing authority may temporarily delegate their authority for approval and/or signing of contracts to the next lower level positions, they deem appropriate.
3.1. Such delegation shall be completed in writing to either accounts payable or via Atrieve.
4. Where an employee has been appointed into a position temporarily, in an “acting” or “interim” capacity, the authorities applicable to the position in which the employee is acting or interim will automatically devolve to that employee.
5. Grant applications, approved grants and contracts (regardless of value) shall be accompanied by the Contract Approval Form when submitted to the Associate Superintendent, Corporate Supports and Services.
6. Only those individuals with appropriate signing authority shall enter into transactions and/or commitments.
7. Commitments should be valued in Canadian Dollars (CAD) on the day of authorization, over the term of the contract (rather than the annual value of the contract) and shall be inclusive of all taxes, service charges, other associated fees and the total value of potential options or extensions to the contract in order to determine the appropriate authority level that applies.
8. Where a commitment exceeds an individual authority limit, the commitment shall be forwarded to the next authority level.
9. Practices that undermine the intent of this administrative procedure, such as splitting large commitments into smaller parts in order to circumvent authority limits, are expressly prohibited.
10. Contracts in which no signing authority has been determined and/or contracts with terms over five (5) years, shall be brought to the Associate Superintendent of Corporate Supports and Services for determination of the responsible signing authority or for referral to the Board of Trustees.
11. All contracts, irrespective of contract value, shall be directed to the Associate Superintendent of Corporate Supports and Services; notably, a heightened level of scrutiny shall be applied to the following:
11.1. Contracts that present a significant level of risk;
11.2. Contracts that could bring the Division under public scrutiny or affect its reputation;
11.3. Contracts that involve controversial matter or potential conflict of interest; and/or
11.4. Contracts that involve or are related to litigation or settlement claim, or include unusual legal provisions.
12. Every signing authority or delegate who executes a contract on behalf of the Division shall demonstrate an understanding that, in doing so, they are binding the Division and not just an individual site or department; therefore, prior to signing, a signing authority or delegate shall be satisfied and prepared to take responsibility for the following:
12.1. That proper consultation and review has taken place;
12.2. That the appropriate level of approval required by any applicable policy or procedure has been obtained;
12.3. That in exercising their authority, they avoid conflict of interest and shall not directly or indirectly benefit from the transaction;
12.4. That the Division is able to meet its obligations within the terms of the contract and that the other party is reasonably likely to meet its obligations;
12.5. That the contract complies with legislation, collective agreements, Division’s policies and procedures;
12.6. That the business and legal risks and liabilities presented by the contract have been addressed; and
12.7. That approval and signing of contracts is exercised in accordance with the approved Division budget or sources of funding and adequate funds are available.
13. Signing authorities, if unsure, are responsible to verify their ability to sign a document prior to doing so with the Associate Superintendent, Corporate Supports and Services.