Student win: University of Toronto Student Union

March 31, 2023

In response to a student sit-in at the RBC OnCampus branch at the University of Toronto, the University of Toronto Student Union (UTSU) voted to end RBC sponsorships and move to end the tenancy agreement with the on-campus branch. The UTSU issued a statement restricting RBC’s presence on campus. Part of the statement reads:

We call on all lending institutions, including the  Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), to stop financially enabling—through loans and investments—the fossil fuel industry. All banks and lending institutions must decarbonize their loans and investments, and the UTSU stands with students on this issue. 

In November 2021, the UTSU entered a sublicense agreement with RBC  to allocate a space in the Student Commons building for an RBC On Campus location. This agreement is a standard sublicense agreement which was established to make banking services available to students and other members of our community at the Student Commons. The term of the sublicense agreement is for five (5) years (beginning in November 2021), though RBC currently holds the option to extend the contract term. The UTSU does not have any other investments or loans whatsoever with RBC and only uses RBC for standard banking.

Furthermore, the UTSU board of governors passed a resolution to take steps to cut ties with RBC including the following measures:  

  • Entering discussions with RBC so that the tenancy agreement of the RBC On Campus branch comes to an end at the end of the initial 5-year period, in 2026.
  • No longer accepting RBC sponsorships for UTSU events or within UTSU programming.
  • Investigating alternative options for day-to-day banking services, commit to adopting an Ethical Banking and Investing Policy, and authorize the signing officers to initiate the transfer of a portion of the UTSU’s reserve savings to an account with a recommended credit union immediately.

Read the full statement and the details of the steps being taken by the UTSU here.

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