Background Information for the Online Consultation by the Expert Panel on Sexual Violence Policies

University of Toronto students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to provide input on key elements for consideration in a new University sexual violence policy through an online consultation portal by Friday, June 24, 2016.

Legislative Framework

Bill 132 is a new piece of Ontario legislation that requires (among other things) all Ontario universities to have a stand-alone policy and accompanying processes in place to prevent and respond to sexual violence; and to provide training to faculty, staff, students, and other members of our community on sexual violence prevention. The three main aspects of the University’s obligation under this law are education, a climate survey, and the creation of a new policy. Specifically, legislation requires that, by January 1, 2017, a policy is put into effect that outlines how universities will respond to and address incidents and complaints of sexual violence involving students enrolled at the university.

General Response

The University has convened three expert panels to support the University’s action plans to prevent and respond to Sexual Violence. The expert panel on policies is intended to build on the work already completed at the University, in particular the work of the Presidential and Provostial Advisory Committee on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence.

The University has also committed to creating a new Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre. The Centre will coordinate education and prevention services, encompassing both new and existing aspects of sexual violence education and services.

Work Completed by the University Relevant to the Expert Panel

The Presidential and Provostial Advisory Committee on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence carried out extensive consultation with students, staff, and faculty, as well as research and deliberations over an eighteen-month period. Their work provides an excellent foundation for the work of the Panel.

In its Final Report (February 2016), the Committee stated:

2. The committee recommends that a policy on sexual violence be created and begin with a clear affirmation that sexual assault and harassment will not be tolerated on campus. The Policy and Protocol should provide a comprehensive and user-friendly set of resources for both formal reporting and confidential disclosures and include the appropriate procedural safeguards for all involved parties (complainants and respondents).

a. The committee recommends that an easy-to-understand procedural document accompany any policy/ guideline/protocol that addresses sexual assault or sexual harassment, similar to the Student Companion to the Code of Student Conduct.

b. The committee recommends an approach to ensure representative and marginalized voices are captured during policy consultation and review; and that newly created policy on sexual violence undergo regular review to ensure that it is reflective of the needs of the University community.

3. The committee recommends review and revision where applicable to the Policy and Procedures: Sexual Harassment and the Code of Student Conduct to ensure that they reflect the institutional commitment and provide mechanisms appropriate for resolving the full range of complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This review should include consultation with students, staff and faculty.

In their Response to the Final Report of the Presidential and Provostial Advisory Committee on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence (April 2016), the President and the Vice-President and Provost endorsed the Committee Report’s principles and accepted all of the recommendations, stating:

The creation of a new policy and the review of existing policies will proceed in two phases. First, Professor Moran’s expert panel will develop principles to guide the policy work and engage in consultations with stakeholder groups across the University of Toronto community. In this phase, the expert panel will rely heavily on the excellent foundation established by the Committee’s report. Specifically, the panel will advise and consult on two key policy issues: 1) the reporting process for sexual violence cases; and 2) the investigation, resolution, and adjudication processes for such cases. Throughout, the panel will consider how to incorporate principles of procedural fairness for all parties – respondents and complainants – and how to ensure that University policies and procedures reflect those principles.

In the second phase, the Offices of the Vice-President & Provost and Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity will work together to draft the new policy on sexual violence and draft revisions to existing policies.

With consultation, the Offices of the Vice-President & Provost and Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity will also develop a clear and concise procedural document to accompany the new policy on sexual violence and other related policies. Information about supports and services available to students, staff, faculty, and other members of the University community will be included in this companion document.

The Regulations

The accompanying Ontario Regulations to Bill 132, which also come into effect on January 1, 2017, require the University to establish a process to consult widely regarding the development of the sexual violence policy. Online consultation is the next step in a multi-phase consultation process.

Current Policy Framework