By Mohamed Omar
The Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) health and dental plan opt-out cheques won’t bounce, despite showing the signatures of former executives.
RSU president Rodney Diverlus said he “freaked out” when he discovered that many of the almost 15,000 cheques showed the electronic signatures of previous RSU president Caitlin Smith and former vicepresident operations Sean Carson.
“I went and talked to both our accountants, our bank, and our finance coordinator, and apparently it’s not a big deal,” Diverlus said.
“Everyone has assured me that things are good, that there’s no need for me to freak out.” The RSU’s bank, Scotiabank, and their insurer, GreenShield Canada, retain electronic signatures of former RSU executives, according to Diverlus.
“It’s an automatic signature, and the bank knows with the opt-out cheques – from my understanding – that it’s meant to be mine and [current vice president operations Andrew McAllister’s],” he said.
“I don’t know how banking works. In all honesty I was like ‘okay, will they get honoured?'” Diverlus said Smith and Carson’s signatures are used to process the cheques they issued when they were still working at the RSU.
“It would make sense for the reissued [cheques] to be signed by the past executives because they were already accounted for, but the bank has a loophole time in their own timelines apparently.”
Don Blair, a spokesperson for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), said organizations are responsible for telling financial institutions which signatures to accept.
“Every company or not-for-profit, if they have a chequing account with a financial institution, they would have a list of authorized signatures for those cheques that they issue,” Blair said.
“It could be a very long list and it’s their responsibility to update it if it needs to be updated.” Smith and Carson have been removed as signing officers, according to Diverlus.
Blair said he doesn’t know if a student would be charged for a bounced cheque.
“It depends on the agreement that you have with the financial institution,” he said.
This automatic processing with saved signatures only happens with opt-out cheques, Diverlus added, it does not impact other RSU funds.
“Any other cheque that’s not through that system, the automatic system, it has to be me that physically signs it,” he said.
“But because I don’t sign 15,000 cheques, it’s our electronic signatures that get put in. All of these cheques are already called for and verified.”
“It’s a whole logistical nightmare, but nothing will bounce and the money will be honoured.”