Ontario Government’s Action to Address Sexual Violence Within Post-Secondary Campuses
The Ontario Government has recently filed O. Reg. 646/21 (Amending Regulation), which amends O. Reg. 131/16, “Sexual Violence At Colleges and Universities” made under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act (the “Legislation”). The Legislation provides additional protection for college and university students who disclose or report sexual violence. The Legislation is broad in its application to also include private career colleges.
The Legislation requires the following:
- Students must be informed that if they, in good faith, report an incident/complaint of sexual violence that they will not be subject to discipline or sanctions for violations of the college/university’s policies related to drug or alcohol use at the time of the alleged sexual violence occurrence; and
- Universities and colleges must have a sexual violence policy containing a statement that prevents staff or university/college investigators from inquiring about irrelevant questions during the investigation process, including irrelevant questions related to the student’s sexual expression or past sexual history.
The Legislation will come into force on March 1, 2022.
The new requirements are additional to the existing requirements for university/college’s sexual violence policies under O. Reg. 131/16 and act to encourage sexual violence reporting.
Universities, colleges, and private career colleges are reminded to review their sexual violence policies to ensure compliance with the Legislation and the existing requirements under O. Reg. 131/16. It is recommended that universities, colleges, and private career colleges review their sexual violence processes and protocols to ensure allegations/complaints of sexual violence are properly investigated without unnecessary delays, and any barriers to reporting are removed.
If you have require assistance reviewing your sexual violence policy, please contact any member of our Labour and Employment team.