Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (2022)
The Final Report of the 2022 Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (PDF) was submitted to the President, Provost, and Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture in early July 2022, and was released on July 15, 2022, along with an Administrative Response (PDF).
The Response accepts all of the Review’s recommendations and commits to proceeding with their implementation as expeditiously as possible. The University expresses its gratitude to the Review’s Co-Chairs for their thoughtful and diligent report, and to the many members of the U of T community who contributed to this Review through their feedback during the Review’s consultations.
Expected completion in 2022-2023
- Community consultations on proposed changes to Policy via student consultations website (September– October) (R9, R10)
- Revise Provostial Guideline on Conflict of Interest and Close Personal Relations (Guideline) in line with reviewers’ recommendations and changes to Policy (R10)
- Bring changes to Policy and Guideline resulting from review and consultations to governance in Cycle 2
- Create and fill new Case Manager roles (R1)
- Develop and implement a process to implement the AAU recommendations and address the issue of passing the harasser (R12)
- Continue to raise profile of the Centre through expanded communications and marketing (R6)
- Expand training on sexual violence and sexual harassment across all campuses (R4)
- Identify the appropriate existing offices for respondent support (R7)
- Determine ways in which timeliness and transparency can be increased in the complaint process while upholding due process and privacy requirements and communicate these across campuses (R11)
Expected completion in 2023-2024
- Initiate robust annual institutional reporting in 2023-24 reporting year (R2)
- Revise the Student’s Guide to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment and create companion guides for faculty and librarians and staff (R3)
- Enhance student-focused education program on healthy boundaries, communication, and consent practices within relationships (R5)
Before next review (2025)
- Work with community and institutional partners to provide enhanced supports for survivors of sexual violence and sexual harassment (R8)
About the Review
The University’s Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment came into effect on January 1, 2017 and applies to all students, staff, faculty, and librarians. The Policy outlines the University’s response to incidents of sexual violence involving members of the University community and the supports provided for those who have experienced sexual violence. The Policy is an important component of the University’s commitment that all members of the University community should have the ability to study, work, and live in a campus environment free from sexual violence, including sexual harassment.
Section VIII of the Policy states that “the University will conduct a review of this policy every three years that will include members of the University community, including students, staff and faculty, and will amend the Policy as appropriate.” The previous review took place in 2019.
Due to their expertise in clinical practice, equity, and student services, Professor Linda Johnston, Dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and Allison Burgess, Director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office, were appointed Co-Chairs of Review’s consultation phase.
Additionally, in September 2021, the Ontario government released a Provincial Announcement and updated regulations (Ontario Regulation 131/16 made under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act) with new requirements for sexual violence policies at publicly assisted colleges and universities. The government requirements are aligned with established practice at U of T under the current Policy. At that time, any technical changes limited to the requirements of the updated government regulations were brought forward to governance for approval.
In his Statement on Recent Concerns Regarding Sexual Violence, University President Meric Gertler requested that the Review expand its mandate to address four additional questions:
- What are best practices to address the barriers to reporting and to provide support for survivors?
- How do we appropriately account for power dynamics that are inherent in institutions of higher learning?
- What information can be shared with participants engaged in, and at the conclusion of, a sexual violence process while taking into account confidentiality, privacy obligations and a fair and effective process?
- Should the university sector develop a process for sharing information between institutions about findings of sexual violence misconduct by faculty members? If yes, then how?”
The Review Co-Chairs hosted a total of 12 open consultation sessions for all U of T Community Members. In following public health guidance, all scheduled sessions were held virtually on Zoom with closed captioning available.
Separate sessions were held for students, faculty, and staff & librarians at each campus. Additionally, sessions were hosted for Black, Indigenous, and Racialized communities, 2SLGBTQ+ communities, and for Persons with Lived Experiences of disability to provide an opportunity for the Review Co-Chairs to hear a diverse range of perspectives and experiences. During the 90-minute sessions, participants:
- Learned about the background of and process for the Review
- Shared their thoughts on the existing Policy and opportunities for improvement
- Listened to and engaged with feedback from other participants
Participants were invited to actively participate in four ways:
- Respond to interactive questions asked by the Review Co-Chairs
- Submit questions to a moderated Q&A
- Share feedback directly on mike or on camera
- Engage with session content via the chat function
Counsellors were available during each session for any participant who required support. Additional resources can be found anytime at https://uoft.me/SeekSupport
Additionally, the Co-Chairs met in closed feedback sessions with representatives of student advocacy groups and staff from various offices, administrators, frontline workers to gain feedback on their experiences with the Policy. A full list of those consulted is available in the Report. Feedback from the U of T community was also collected via an online form on the University’s consultations website.
Related Documents & Resources
- Final Report of the 2022 Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (July 2022)
- Administrative Response to the Final Report of the 2022 Review of the Policy in Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (July 2022)
- “U of T accepts all recommendations of sexual violence and sexual harassment policy review,” U of T News, July 15, 2022
- President’s Statement on Recent Concerns Regarding Sexual Violence (October 19, 2021)
- PDAD&C Memo: Launch of the Periodic Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (October 7, 2021)
- Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (updated December 16, 2021)
- University of Toronto Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre