Launch of the Periodic Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (PDAD&C #20)

From: Trevor Young, Acting Vice-President & Provost 
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity and Culture 
Date: October 7, 2021 
Re: Launch of the Periodic Review of the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment (PDAD&C #20) 

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, as well as supports 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.” As the last review took place in 2019, we are launching the next policy review process at this time.  

We are pleased to announce that Professor Linda Johnston, Dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and Allison Burgess, Director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office, will be co-chairing the consultation phase of the review process. We are grateful to the co-chairs for agreeing to share their valuable expertise from clinical practice, equity, and student services for the benefit of this initiative. They will be reaching out to student society leaders and other stakeholder groups for feedback during the consultation phase, which will run through February 2022. After that date, we will be presenting the review recommendations and any resulting policy changes to governance in late spring. Open in-person consultation sessions for students, staff, faculty, and librarians will be held early in the new year. 

Other components of the University’s response to sexual violence are closely related to the Policy and should be considered part of the review. All members of the University community are invited to submit their feedback on the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, the Student’s Companion to the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, and the supports and services available to the U of T community, including the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre, through the consultation website.  

Finally, last month 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. As the full review of the Policy gets underway, any technical changes limited to the requirements of the updated government regulations will be brought forward immediately to governance for approval.  

Please communicate this information to staff, faculty, and librarians in your unit. We look forward to engaging with you and the U of T community as the review process begins.