Ontario Strengthening Laws to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment on Campus

MPP for Brampton-Springdale Harinder Malhi
MPP for Brampton-Springdale Harinder Malhi (centre)

Ontario recently introduced the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act that, if passed, will help keep students safer from the threat of sexual violence and harassment at postsecondary campuses in Peel.

Today, at Sheridan College, Davis Campus, student and community leaders discussed how the legislation, if passed, would help deliver on the province’s commitments in It’s Never Okay, the ground-breaking action plan to stop sexual violence and harassment.

Access to safe school communities is a necessary condition for students so they are free to concentrate on their studies,” Harinder Malhi, M.P.P. for Brampton-Springdale said.  The legislation would make campuses and communities safer and more responsive to the needs of survivors by requiring every publicly assisted college and university and private career college in the Region of Peel and across the province to have a stand-alone sexual violence policy and to review it — with student involvement — at least once every three years.
Other measures in the Action Plan will support the safety of students by:

  •  Ensuring every campus has a clearly stated procedure and protocol to address complaints of sexual violence; providing effective training and prevention programs for faculty, staff and students; and ensuring services and supports for survivors are available 24/7.
  •  Supporting initiatives to reduce sexual violence and ensure safe campuses, through initiatives such as the Women’s Campus Safety Grant.
  •  Making sure all students have information about preventing sexual violence and are informed of resources and supports, starting with their first week of orientation and continuing throughout the year, for students in all years of study.

The initiative has been welcomed by  Sheridan College President & Vice Chancellor Jeff Zabudsky.  “We welcome the Ontario Government’s action plan to curb sexual violence and harassment, as it further supports our efforts and others taking place at campuses across Ontario,” he said.  Sheridan has a section of its website dedicated to Respectful and safe schools, including resources for sexual assault.

Supporting survivors of sexual violence and creating a safer, more inclusive and more equitable province is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up. The province has committed $41 million over three years to implementing the action plan.