Approved by Senate June 13, 2016 and by the Board of Governors June 27, 2016.
Date: November 25, 2019 - Senate
Date: December 9, 2019 - Board of Governors
Date: June 13, 2022 - Senate
Date: June 22, 2022 - Board of Governors
1.1 The overarching purposes of this Policy are to reaffirm the University of Ottawa’s commitment to a safe and healthy campus for work, for study and for campus community life for all members of the University community and its commitment to provide support to those members of the University community directly affected by sexual violence.
1.2 This Policy is also intended to:
a) set out the University’s statement of values and commitments to address sexual violence;
b) provide information about supports and services available at the University and in the community and to ensure follow-up once a disclosure is made to the University;
c) provide information about the University’s process for responding to and addressing incidents and complaints of sexual violence; and
d) meet the University’s obligations under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act, the Human Rights Code, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to sexual violence, sexual harassment and workplace sexual harassment.
2. APPLICATION AND RELATED POLICIES
2.1 This Policy applies to all members of the University community, whether they are in the University’s learning or work environment, on or off campus, or interacting through social or other electronic media. The learning and work environment, whether it be on or off campus, encompasses any setting where University learning, work or other activities take place, whether in the classroom, lab, in other teaching, research, study or office settings, in a University student residence or in connection with clubs or sports teams.
2.3 It is recognized that certain collective agreements include provisions relevant in addressing sexual violence and these are to be followed where not in conflict with legislative protections incorporated in this policy.
3.1 This Policy must be read and interpreted within the context of the overarching purposes referred to in section 1.
3.2 The following definitions are intended to assist in the interpretation of this Policy as well as other related University policies mentioned in paragraph 2.2.
“Accommodation” refers to a measure implemented in the context of education or employment to provide support to the survivor. These measures may include, for example, exam or assignment deferral, class and/or schedule changes, housing changes.
“Complainant” refers to the person who discloses one or more incidents of sexual violence or who files a formal complaint.
“Consent” means an active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired, and conscious choice and agreement to engage in sexual activity. These elements of consent must be present, even if alcohol or drugs have been consumed. Consent cannot be given by a person whose judgement is impaired by drugs or alcohol or by other forms of impairment. It is not acceptable for a person who is said to have engaged in sexual violence to use their own consumption of alcohol or drugs as an excuse for their mistaken belief that there was consent. For further clarity, consent:
a) cannot be assumed nor implied
b) cannot be given by silence or the absence of “no”
c) cannot be given by an individual who is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious
d) cannot be given by an individual who is asleep
e) cannot be obtained through threats or coercion
f) can be revoked at any time
g) cannot be given if the person who is said to have engaged in sexual violence has abused a position of trust, power or authority
h) might not be given properly if an individual has a condition that limits their verbal or physical means of interaction – in such instances, it is extremely important to determine how consent will be established.
“Disclosure” refers to a person's choice to report an incident of sexual violence to a member of the university community. A person making a disclosure will be advised of information about available options as well as services that can be accessed. A disclosure does not mean that an informal or formal process is automatically initiated.
“Formal complaint” refers to the choice of a survivor to file a formal complaint against the alleged perpetrator of sexual violence. On the other hand, the survivor may, if they prefer, choose alternative means, but this does not prevent them from filing a formal complaint at a later date.
“Interim measure” refers to a measure put in place to protect a person during their academic session and/or employment in order to stabilize the situation, protect the person from reprisals and address any security concerns. Such measures may include the implementation of preventive measures, such as avoiding contact between the parties and/or imposing a temporary leave of absence on a respondent, on a without prejudice basis.
“Reprisal” means an action or threat, that is intended as retaliation against a person for filing or withdrawing a complaint of sexual violence, or participating in the complaint process, pursuant to this Policy or related collective agreement provisions.
“Respondent” refers to a person who is alleged to have used sexual violence and who is the subject of a complaint.
“Sexual assault” means any sexual physical contact, without the consent of a person, which may include unwanted kissing, fondling, sexual intercourse, oral or anal intercourse, other forms of penetration, or any other unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature.
“Sexual harassment” means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a person based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. In some cases, one incident could be serious enough to be sexual harassment. The following is a list of examples that is not meant to be exhaustive:
a) sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement and the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome;
b) an implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request;
c) an implied or expressed threat of reprisal or actual reprisal for refusing to comply with a sexually oriented request;
d) a sexual relationship that constitutes an abuse of power in a relationship of authority
e) a course of sexually oriented comments or behaviours that may reasonably be perceived to create a negative psychological and emotional environment for work or study; or
f) indecent exposure, voyeurism, degrading sexual imagery, degrading comments of a sexual nature (in person or online) and cyber harassment of a sexual nature.
“Sexual violence” means any sexual act, or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent. It includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, non-consensual condom removing (stealthing), sexual exploitation, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent, and cyber stalking of a sexual nature. For further clarity, sexual assault includes rape.
“Survivor” refers to a person who has been affected by sexual violence. Although the term is widely used in this Policy, the person is always free to choose how they would prefer to be identified.
“Survivor-centered approach” refers to a form of intervention that focuses, as much as possible, on the needs of the survivor and respects the survivor's choices in decision-making, support and intervention.
“University community” means all individuals who have a relationship with or to the University, including but not limited to:
a) students, meaning individuals registered as students at the University, whether full-time or part-time (including special students), at the undergraduate or graduate level;
b) employees, including all unionized and non-unionized academic and support staff as well as those whose salary is paid through sources other than the University’s operating funds, such as grants, research grants and external contracts;
c) clinicians and physicians with an academic appointment; adjunct, visiting and emeritus professors; post-doctoral or clinical fellows; research trainees; and medical residents;
d) contractors, consultants, suppliers or other entities engaged by the University to provide services or goods when on University property or while acting in a capacity defined by their relationship to the University;
e) members of the Board of Governors, of the Senate and any of their respective committees, as well as members of any advisory committee formed to help the University achieve its goals;
f) employees of both unionized and non-unionized employee and student groups when on University property or while acting in a capacity defined by their relationship to the University;
g) visitors, including visiting students, which includes but not limited to students enrolled in a single course or on an exchange at the University, and volunteers or persons who serve on advisory or other committees.
“Workplace sexual harassment” means a) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or b) making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome. In some cases, one incident could be serious enough to be sexual harassment.
4. STATEMENT OF VALUES AND COMMITMENTS
4.1 The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment where members of the University community can study and work free of sexual violence.
4.2 The University recognizes that sexual violence is a fundamental affront to an individual’s rights, dignity and integrity.
4.3 The University seeks to prevent sexual violence, including by safely intervening and speaking out when the University sees it occurring.
4.4 The University ensures that members of the University community who experience sexual violence are believed, heard, supported, treated with compassion and the University will appropriately accommodate their needs, in line with a survivor-centered and trauma-informed response.
4.5 The University addresses acts of sexual violence in the University community fairly and promptly.
4.6 The University is committed to a survivor-centered approach to addressing issues of sexual violence and the development of French and English language services.
4.7 The University acknowledges and combats rape culture, which includes broader social attitudes about gender, sex and sexuality that normalize sexual violence and undermine equality.
4.8 The University will maintain annual statistics, without identifying information, on disclosed incidents of sexual violence on campus and in accordance with legislative requirements. External reporting of such statistics will be done in accordance with legislative requirements.
4.9 The University will provide or make available to members of the University community education and awareness training on this Policy and on the prevention of sexual violence, with content tailored to the audience and relevant to their role and responsibility in responding to and addressing sexual violence.
4.10 The University recognizes that members of the University community come from diverse backgrounds and may experience discrimination based on more than one of the protected grounds under the Human Rights Code and may be differentially affected by an incident of sexual violence and its consequences. The University is committed to ensuring that its responses, prevention and support efforts take an anti-oppressive and intersectional approach so that all members of the University community have equitable access to the informal and formal supports, services and processes described in this policy.
5. DISCLOSING SEXUAL VIOLENCE TO THE UNIVERSITY
5.1 General provisions about disclosing
a) Prior or subsequent to contacting or disclosing the matter to anyone at the University, the person is encouraged, and is always free, to consult with or seek the advice and support from the relevant student association, union or other employee group about the matter, including regarding confidentiality, support and services, and the complaint process.
b) If an incident of sexual violence is disclosed to a member of the University community, the person to whom it is disclosed has a duty to refer the person to this Policy and inform the person that the Human Rights Office is the office to contact in order to get support and information about the availability of services and on the complaint process and alternative measures.
c) Complainants, who in good faith, report an incident of, or make a complaint about sexual violence, will not be subject to discipline or sanctions for violations of any drug and/or alcohol use policies at the time the alleged sexual violence occurred.
d) Complainants who share their experience of sexual violence through disclosing, accessing support, and/or reporting to the University, will not be asked irrelevant questions from members of the University community, including investigators, such as those relating to sexual expression or past sexual history.
a) Disclosures of sexual violence to the University will be treated in a confidential manner and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and in accordance with the provisions of applicable collective agreements.
b) All members of the University community who receive a disclosure of sexual violence or who are involved in addressing or investigating it must keep the matter confidential in order to protect the rights of those involved in the allegations, prevent an unjustified invasion of their personal privacy, safeguard individuals against unsubstantiated allegations and to preserve the integrity of the investigation. See paragraph 6.6 of this Policy for more details on confidentiality related to the formal complaint process.
c) The University will make every reasonable effort to maintain confidentiality when it becomes aware of an incident of sexual violence and will limit disclosure of information about individuals to those within the University who need to know for the purposes of, or those consistent with, addressing the situation, investigating or taking corrective action. Under the following circumstances, however, the University might face additional legal obligations and may not be able to guarantee complete confidentiality if:
i) an individual is at risk of self harm;
ii) an individual is at risk of harming an identified individual;
iii) members of the University community or the broader community may be at risk of harm; and/or
iv) reporting or investigation is required by law (the following examples are not meant to be exhaustive: an incident involving a minor or obligations related to occupational health and safety or to human rights legislation).
d) If a survivor or other person requests that the University not act on a disclosure of sexual violence, the University must weigh that person’s request against the University’s legal obligation to take action and provide a learning and work environment that is safe and free from sexual violence for all members of the University community.
5.3 Disclose in an emergency – Protection Services
- Phone (emergency number): 613-562-5411
- Call 911 for areas not serviced by Protection Services, for example, leased premises at 1 Nicholas or the World Exchange Plaza
- Emergency phones: Located throughout campus. Press the button to contact Protection Services. See phones on and phones on
- : Located throughout campus. Dial 613-562-5411 free of charge or press the pre-programmed button located under the keypad
- In person: Visit the Protection Services offices (on main campus, at 141 Louis Pasteur; at Roger Guindon Hall, Room 2013; at Lees Campus, 200 Lees C146), or alert a Protection Services Officer.
b) When a person reports an incident of sexual violence to Protection Services, Protection Services must inform the Human Rights Office for follow-up as referred to in paragraph 5.6 of this Policy.
5.4 Disclose in a non-emergency - Human Rights Office
a) The Human Rights Office is responsible for handling all disclosures of sexual violence involving a member of the University community in a non-emergency situation, whether the sexual violence has occurred on or off campus. An officer in the Human Rights Office will provide information about available support and services, including information about interim measures that may be available to address the immediate situation (see examples in paragraph 5.6 a) iv) of this Policy) and is the point of contact for a person affected by sexual violence to obtain academic, employment or other accommodations. The contact information of the Human Rights Office is as follows:
b) Pursuant to section 5.4 a), a member of the University community at the Faculty of Medicine may also disclose an incident of sexual violence through an online incident report form or contact the Vice-Dean Faculty Affairs or another relevant Vice Dean of the Faculty, who in turn must inform the Human Rights Office to ensure follow-up as referred to in paragraph 5.5 of this Policy. The contact information of these faculty administrators is as follows:
c) The following Faculty of Medicine office can also offer support to a member of the University community at the Faculty of Medicine:
5.5 Support and services
a) A person affected by sexual violence is not required to disclose an incident or make a complaint about sexual violence under the formal complaint process of this Policy in order to obtain the supports and services referred to below or to receive appropriate accommodation for their needs.
b) The supports and services available at the University to obtain information about sexual violence and/or support are as follows:
From the University, that include but are not limited to:
- (for students)
- (residence life coordinators, community advisers, in-residence professional counsellors)
- (for employees)
- (for employees)
- Faculty of Medicine or the (Wellness Program) (for Faculty of Medicine employees, students, residents)
From the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (OUSU) (for students), that include but are not limited to:
From other providers, that include, but are not limited to:
5.6 Follow-up on a disclosure
a) When a person reports sexual violence to Protection Services and/or the Human Rights Office, the person will be immediately referred to a Human Rights Officer. Upon contact with the Human Rights Office, the person will be provided a consultation to learn more about the circumstances, understand the person's needs and expectations and the outcome sought. The officer will make every effort to assist the person and will discuss with the person potential options to address or resolve the matter in a timely and supportive way, the appropriateness of which will depend on the person’s needs and on the circumstances. The following is a list of examples that is not meant to be exhaustive:
i) referral to contacts for suitable supports, services or resources available at the University and in the city;
ii) providing information to the person on what the person can do or what the Human Rights Officer or other person may do to intervene in the situation;
iii) communication with the person who is alleged to have engaged in sexual violence to inform that person that the conduct is unwelcome;
iv) availability of accommodations and interim measures or other measures to stabilize a situation or to protect the person from retaliation or the threat of retaliation, to address safety or other concerns, and/or otherwise support the person (examples for students include exam or assignment deferral, class and/or schedule changes, housing changes; examples for employees include making changes that are not disciplinary but precautionary to avoid contact between parties or placing the person who is said to have engaged in sexual violence on a temporary non-disciplinary leave with pay);
v) information about informal methods available or any other existing possibilities to facilitate a resolution. An informal resolution may include voluntary facilitation/mediation, education, restorative justice or other similar methods;
vi) information about the process for filing of a formal complaint under Section 7 of this Policy; and
b) The Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate may, where appropriate, also engage the response team (“Sexual Violence Response Team”) to ensure the safety, follow-up and support for those involved in the disclosure of sexual violence. The Sexual Violence Response Team is composed of:
- the Director of Human Rights Office and/or the Human Rights Officer in charge of the file;
- the Director of Protection Services or their delegate;
- a representative of the faculty or administrative service related to the person who disclosed the sexual violence and/or the person who is alleged to have engaged in sexual violence or their delegate;
- any other person considered relevant to the mandate of the response team.
- The Sexual Violence Response Team must ensure that:
i) the person who has experienced sexual violence received information regarding internal and external personal support and advocacy services, and internal (non-criminal) and external (criminal and other legal proceedings) complaint processes;
ii) appropriate accommodations and interim measures are available and implemented to stabilize the situation and/or separate the parties and to address any safety or security concerns; and
iii) a threat assessment is conducted.
c) The Sexual Violence Response Team can, on a confidential basis, consult or seek the assistance of other internal authorities or resources for direction and can consult or seek the assistance of external parties relevant to the particular incident, such as student associations, employee associations, rape crisis centres and counselling services.
6. GENERAL PROVISIONS ON THE FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
6.1 External recourse: This Policy and the formal complaint process do not prevent and are not intended to discourage an individual from also reporting sexual violence to the police and pursuing a complaint of sexual violence through the criminal justice system or from pursuing a complaint of sexual harassment with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
6.2 Choice not to file a formal complaint or not to investigate: A person may choose not to file a formal complaint under Section 7 of this Policy. If a person decides not to file a formal complaint under Section 7 of this Policy or requests that the University not investigate, the full range of supports and services outlined in paragraph 5.5 of this Policy remain available to that person. To the greatest extent possible, the University will respect the person’s choice not to proceed with a formal complaint under this Policy or a request that the University not investigate.
However, there are circumstances where the University may not be able to fulfil the person’s wishes and must initiate an investigation.
Examples of such circumstances could include, but are not limited to:
- Where required by law
- Where the University has reason to believe that a member of the University community or broader University community may be at risk of harm; for example, where there is a risk of further sexual violence or violence
In such cases, the person has the right not to participate in such an investigation but may request, subject to any applicable collective agreement provisions, access to information and privacy legislation, that they be given an update on the status of such investigation and informed of its result, including the imposition of consequences or measures, if any.
6.3 Withdrawing a complaint: Subject to paragraph 6.2, a complainant may withdraw their complaint at any time throughout the informal and formal complaint process by notifying the Human Rights Office in writing, before the appropriate authority's final decision. The full range of supports and services outlined in paragraph 5.5 of this Policy remain available to that person.
6.4 Harassment and/or discrimination: Policy 67a and Procedure 36-1 and 36-2 apply to complaints of harassment and/or discrimination that do not involve sexual violence, sexual harassment or workplace sexual harassment. However, only this Policy applies if the circumstances of a disclosure or a complaint of sexual violence also encompass harassment and/or discrimination.
6.5 Support person: The Complainant or the Respondent can be accompanied by a support person of their choice at any time during the formal complaint process outlined in this Policy. The support person can provide encouragement or other emotional or moral support. The support person, with the person’s authorization, can speak with the officer and obtain status updates on a complaint. The support person’s role is not to act or speak on behalf of Complainant or Respondent; representations (both oral and written) must come directly from the Complainant and Respondent. The support person must agree in writing to maintain confidentiality in accordance with this Policy.
6.6 Confidentiality: In addition to the provisions on confidentiality contained in paragraph 5.2 of this Policy, when a formal complaint is filed under the formal complaint process of this Policy, the following applies:
a) Confidentiality of information disclosed at any time pursuant to this Policy is to be maintained to the extent possible, consistent with the University’s need to respond appropriately to the situation and to the safety of members of the University community. This means that information about the situation may be disclosed as provided for in this Policy only to those who need to know in order to investigate and/or address the formal complaint. Where possible, the person filing a formal complaint will be consulted before any disclosure of information is made and will be informed of any decision to disclose and to whom it was disclosed.
b) To ensure due process while a formal complaint process pursuant to this Policy is underway, the person making a formal complaint, the person who is said to have engaged in sexual violence and others who may have knowledge of the matter, including a support person, must maintain confidentiality in accordance with this Policy and not make public statements pending the outcome of the complaint. Breaches of confidentiality may jeopardize the proper handling of the matter and the functioning of the formal complaint process outlined in this Policy. If a breach of confidentiality occurs, the circumstances of the breach and its impact on properly addressing the matter and the fairness of the formal complaint process may be considered in the ensuing handling of the matter and in the processing of the formal complaint.
c) Information disclosed by a person during an informal resolution under this Policy is without prejudice to that person and cannot be used during subsequent steps in handling the matter or in the formal complaint process under this Policy. Any person conducting an informal resolution of a complaint cannot be called to testify in a subsequent proceeding in relation to information disclosed during the informal resolution, unless ordered or compelled by a court, tribunal or arbitrator.
d) Documents and information related to a formal complaint, including the written formal complaint, written responses, witness statements, investigation notes and reports, and documents related to the formal complaint and its investigation will be securely maintained by the Human Rights Office.
6.7 Deadlines and timelines: The deadlines mentioned in this Policy are meant to ensure that the matters are dealt with in a timely fashion. There may be, in exceptional circumstances, reasons to extend a deadline. In such cases, the Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate can extend a deadline where the delay is requested in good faith and the extension does not prejudice or harm those involved in the complaint. It can be difficult to determine appropriate timelines for the resolution, investigation or a final disposition with respect to a formal complaint. Therefore, where no deadlines are mentioned in this Policy, the intention is always to use a reasonable time period and to act as expeditiously as possible in light of the nature and complexity of the circumstances of the complaint and in light of other circumstances that may arise during the process that are beyond a party’s reasonable control.
6.8 Applicable collective agreements: The formal complaint process provided in this Policy is not meant to replace or supersede complaint or investigation processes in applicable collective agreement provisions. If there is an applicable collective agreement, the formal complaint will be dealt with under the relevant provisions of that collective agreement. Where there is more than one applicable collective agreement, the formal complaint will be dealt with under the relevant provisions of the collective agreement applicable to the Respondent. Where there is no applicable collective agreement or no relevant provisions within a collective agreement, the complaint will be handled in accordance with this Policy.
6.9 Interim measures: During the formal complaint process under this Policy, interim measures may be implemented during the formal complaint process and pending a final decision. Examples of such interim measures are as outlined in paragraph 5.6 a) (iv) of this Policy.
6.10 Conflict of interest: Throughout the formal complaint process, if either party believes that the investigator or appropriate authority may have a conflict of interest, they may submit their concern in writing to the Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Office will make a decision about the appropriate course of action.
6.11 Reprisal: There shall be no reprisal nor any threat of reprisal or retaliation against anyone pursuing their rights under this policy or who has provided information regarding a complaint, incident, report or disclosure of an incident of sexual violence. All involved parties must be able to participate freely in the formal complaint process without reprisal or threat of reprisal.
7. FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
7.1 Filing of a formal complaint
a) The Human Rights Office is responsible for receiving and handling formal complaints of sexual violence. Only a person who reports experiencing sexual violence (the “Complainant”) can choose to file a formal complaint under this Policy.
b) A formal complaint can be filed with a Human Rights Officer (the “Officer”) if the individual who is said to have engaged in sexual violence is a member of the University community and was a member of the University community at the time of the incidents alleged in the formal complaint (the “Respondent”).
c) If the Respondent’s relationship with the University ends and they are no longer at or with the University, the formal complaint process in this Policy may be suspended. If the Respondent returns and once again becomes a member of the University community, a formal complaint process may resume. A Respondent’s temporary leave of absence from the University or a temporary break in their relationship with the University does not prevent a resumption of a formal complaint process when such leave has ended or when the relationship between the University and the Respondent resumes.
d) A formal complaint must set out in writing the name of the Respondent, the nature and the details of the circumstances, including detailed facts, specific dates and names of potential witnesses. The Officer who receives the formal complaint will acknowledge receipt, review it and if necessary, seek clarification from the Complainant on the information it contains.
7.2 Officer’s assessment
a) The Officer will assess the formal complaint and determine whether the conduct forming the basis of the complaint appears to fall within the definition of sexual violence as set out in Section 3 of this Policy.
b) If the Officer considers that the conduct in question appears to fall within the definition of sexual violence as set out in Section 3 of this Policy, the Officer will inform the Complainant and will send a Notice of Complaint to the Respondent informing the Respondent of the formal complaint, enclosing a copy of the complaint, a copy of the Policy and advise the Respondent that they will have an opportunity to provide the investigator with a written response to the complaint pursuant to section 7.4 a). The Officer will also notify the Appropriate Authority (as defined in paragraph 7.4 c) of this Policy) of the existence of the formal complaint.
c) If the Officer considers that the conduct complained of does not fall within the definition of sexual violence as set out in Section 3 of this Policy, the Officer will convey this assessment in writing to the Complainant and inform the Complainant of their right to request a review under paragraph 7.3 of this Policy, and the Officer will provide the applicable timelines and procedures for requesting this review.
7.3 Review of the Officer’s assessment
a) A request to review the Officer’s assessment of the complaint can be made only if the Officer has determined that the complaint falls outside the definition of sexual violence as set out in Section 3 of this Policy.
b) If the Complainant disagrees with the Officer’s determination that the complaint is outside the definition of sexual violence as set out in Section 3 of this Policy, then the Complainant may ask the Director of the Human Rights Office to review the Officer’s assessment, if the Complainant submits the request in writing within 10 business days after the date of the Officer’s determination. Upon review, the Director’s decision is final and will be communicated to the Complainant in writing.
a) Where the Officer has determined under paragraph 7.2 that the complaint is within the definition of sexual violence as set out in Section 3 of this Policy, the Officer will appoint an investigator . Exceptions will be made in the following cases:
i) If the complaint is a complaint of sexual harassment, then the Officer can choose to appoint an investigator that is internal to the University who has knowledge, training and experience in sexual harassment investigations and related issues, including section 5.1 d), to investigate the complaint and whose status at the University and role of investigator do not present a potential, perceived or actual conflict of interest; or
ii) If the Respondent is a unionized employee and if the Respondent’s collective agreement provides for an investigation process to address a complaint of sexual violence, then the Officer will proceed under paragraph 7.4 b) of this Policy.
b) Where the Respondent is a unionized employee and the Respondent’s collective agreement provides for an investigation process to address a complaint of sexual violence, the Officer will send the complaint along with any other documentation provided to the Officer in connection with the complaint to a person in a position of authority over the Respondent (the “Appropriate Authority”) for investigation, in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreement. The Officer will also inform the Human Resources Service or the Associate Vice-President, Faculty Affairs, as applicable, of the existence of the complaint and its referral to the Appropriate Authority.
c) For the purposes of this Policy, the expression the “Appropriate Authority” means the person in a position of authority over the Respondent as identified in the applicable collective agreement governing the Respondent’s employment, where the complaint arises from the Respondent’s employment as a unionized employee or as set out in the table below. If the person identified as the Appropriate Authority in the table below is unable to act, then the person who has authority over that person will be the Appropriate Authority. The Director of the Human Rights Office will determine the Appropriate Authority if it is not clear from the table below whom the Appropriate Authority is.
Where Respondent is
Appropriate Authority means
Undergraduate student, special student, graduate student or postdoctoral fellow
Dean of Respondent’s faculty
Professor (full-time, part-time, adjunct, visiting, emeritus)
Dean of Respondent’s faculty
Medical resident, clinical fellow, research trainee, physician with academic appointment at the Faculty of Medicine
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Dean or University Librarian
Vice-President Academic and Provost
Support staff (unionized and non-unionized)
Director, Dean, Associate Vice-President or
Chair of the Board of Governors
Member of the Board of Governors
Chair of the Board of Governors
Chair of the Board of Governors
Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors
Contractor, consultant, supplier, volunteer, visitor
University employee in position of authority over the Respondent
d) Once the Officer has appointed an investigator, the Officer will immediately send a Notice of Investigation to the Complainant and Respondent informing them of the name of the investigator.
e) The investigation must be done in a timely fashion and in keeping with the intent described in paragraph 6.7 of this Policy on deadlines and timeliness. The investigator will ask the Respondent to respond in writing to the formal complaint. If the Respondent does not provide a written response within the time requested by the investigator, the investigation will proceed in the absence of a response.
f) The investigator sends the Respondent’s response to the Complainant, who can submit a written reply to the Investigator within the time requested by the investigator. If no written reply is provided within the time requested by the investigator, the investigator proceeds in the absence of such reply. The Respondent will receive a copy of the reply, if any. The investigator will examine all of the information submitted by the parties as well as any other information gathered during the investigation and conduct all interviews in a fair, impartial and professional manner. The investigator will remind the individuals that they contact, of the requirement to protect and keep confidential the personal information of the persons involved in the investigation.
g) The investigator will keep the Officer informed on the status of the investigation at regular intervals or at the request of the Officer in order to allow the Officer to monitor the timeliness of the process and to ensure that the scope of the investigation is adhered to. The Officer will keep the Complainant and the Respondent informed on the status of the complaint and of the investigation.
7.5 Investigation report
a) Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will send to the Complainant and the Respondent, a confidential preliminary report containing findings of fact and their determination that the complaint is substantiated or not, or a determination that the investigation is inconclusive. The Complainant and the Respondent may send written comments regarding the preliminary report, to the investigator within the time requested by the investigator. Following receipt of the comments, the investigator will proceed with the final drafting of the report.
b) The investigator will send to the Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate, the final written confidential report containing a summary of the facts and information gathered during the investigation, the investigator’s analysis of the facts and information and the investigator’s conclusion regarding whether or not sexual violence occurred and the role of Respondent.
c) The Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate will send the final investigation report to the Complainant and to the Respondent and remind them of the need to protect and keep confidential the personal information of those involved in the investigation and to avoid acts of reprisal.
d) The Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate, will inform the Complainant and the Respondent of the opportunity to produce, within 10 business days, written comments on the final investigation report.
e) Once the Complainant and the Respondent have sent their written comments to the Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate, the Human Rights Office will send a copy of the complaint, the response and any written replies, the final investigation report and the comments to the Appropriate Authority.
7.6 Appropriate Authority
7.6.1 The Appropriate Authority will consider both parties’ written responses, along with the investigation report and upon consultations with appropriate internal persons (such as Legal Counsel, Human Resources, Human Rights Office, etc.) will,
a) decide on appropriate consequences or measures to remedy or mitigate any academic or employment harm or disadvantage arising from the complaint, to prevent its reoccurrence and to ensure the safety of both the Complainant and members of the University community.
b) decide, where a consequence or measure is not within their authority, recommend such consequence or measure to the University body that has the authority to approve or decide.
7.6.2 Consequences or measures in response to sexual violence will depend on the circumstances, on the severity of the conduct, on any mitigating factors and on applicable collective agreements or other University policies. If a complaint of sexual violence is substantiated, consideration will be given to preventing its reoccurrence in the future, to correcting the negative impact of the incident on the Complainant and to ensuring or enhancing the safety of the Complainant and the University community. The following list provides examples of consequences and measures and is not meant to be exhaustive nor necessarily represent a progression of consequences or measures:
a) a letter of apology if requested by the complainant,
b) participation at awareness sessions on the impact of sexual violence,
c) participation at training and coaching sessions on consent and sexual violence prevention,
d) restricted or prohibited access to University campuses and/or services,
e) disciplinary measures.
7.6.3 The Appropriate Authority will decide on consequences or measures and on the imposition of any disciplinary measure within 10 business days after the Appropriate Authority’s receipt of the investigation report and comments if any and will notify the Complainant and the Respondent in writing of the following:
a) the consequences or measures and any corrective action that has been taken or that will be taken as a result of the investigation report, subject to applicable collective agreement provisions and access to information and privacy legislation;
b) the possibility of appeal of the final decision on consequences or measures, in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 7.7 of this Policy.
7.7.1 Faculty and Staff Appeals
126.96.36.199 Any Complainant or Respondent who is a member of a bargaining unit and is adversely affected by the decision may pursue their rights, if any, under the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
7.7.2 Non-Union Employee and Student Appeals
188.8.131.52 An appeal is not an opportunity for the Complainant or the Respondent to repeat the information provided to the investigator or to the Appropriate Authority. The right to an appeal is not automatic and an appeal will only be considered if it meets the following requirements:
a) The appeal is of a final decision of the Appropriate Authority or a University governing body under paragraph 7.6.1.
b) An appeal must be made by either the Complainant or the Respondent.
c) The appeal must be made in writing to the Human Rights Office and within 10 business days after the date of the final decision that is the subject of the appeal.
d) The appeal must include the reasons for the appeal, the reasons why the appeal should be granted, the arguments in support of the appeal and the outcome sought.
e) The person seeking to appeal must demonstrate that:
i) there has been a fundamental procedural error in the making of the final decision and that such error has caused or will cause actual prejudice to the person seeking the appeal; or
ii) there are new facts relevant to the final decision that were not available and could not have been provided to the Appropriate Authority or the University governing body.
f) The following is a list of some examples of situations where an appeal would not meet the requirements of paragraph 184.108.40.206:
i) The appeal asks for review of a consequence or measure that has not yet been finally decided or approved.
ii) The appeal repeats arguments made in written submissions and does not provide any new information relevant to the final decision.
iii) The appeal is based only on a disagreement with a finding of fact, including findings made about the credibility of witnesses.
iv) The appeal raises new arguments that were not made but could have been made in written submissions or to the Appropriate Authority or University governing body.
v) The appeal amounts to a mere speculation or a bald statement of a procedural error causing prejudice and does not provide detailed and convincing information to establish the error and to establish a link between the error and actual prejudice or a reasonable expectation of prejudice to the person seeking the appeal.
7.7.3 The appeal process is conducted in writing. The Complainant or Respondent, as the case may be, does not need to respond to the appeal unless the Appeal Committee sends a letter requesting them to do so.
7.8 Appeal Committee
7.8.1 Within ten business days after receiving the written request for appeal, the Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate will appoint three individuals, from the University community, to form an appeal committee, taking into consideration the parties to the formal complaint (for example if both a Complainant and the Respondent are students, the Director or their delegate will appoint a student to the appeal committee).
a) As a whole, the appeal committee must have knowledge of proper investigative practices, and of basic principles of fairness in complaint processes, specifically in relation to sexual violence matter. Each member of the appeal committee will have received training provided or arranged by the Human Rights Office in the sensitive issues surrounding sexual violence, in procedures leading to fair resolution and in consequences or measures that may be appropriate to an incident of sexual violence and which act as deterrents to further occurrence of sexual violence. This training will not deal with the specific complaint currently before the appeal committee and is in no way meant to hinder the independence of any appeal committee member to make a decision and/or recommendation based on the information provided to the appeal committee and according to their conscience.
b) The Director of the Human Rights Office or their delegate will send a copy of the complaint, the response and any written replies, the final investigation report and any comments, a copy of the written appeal and a copy of the Appropriate Authority’s decision to the members of the appeal committee.
c) The Appeal Committee reviews the documentation, to determine whether the appeal meets the requirements of paragraph 220.127.116.11. of this Policy and will inform the appealing party accordingly within 10 business days of receiving the documents listed at paragraph 7.8.1 b).
d) If the appeal meets the requirements of paragraph 18.104.22.168, the Appeal Committee will decide who among them will chair the committee. The chair of the appeal committee will inform the responding party to the appeal of the appeal, will provide the documents listed at paragraph 7.8.1 b) to the responding party and request that the responding party provide their response if any to the appeal within ten business days.
7.8.2 Once the Respondent has had an opportunity to file a response with the appeal committee, the appeal committee will convene a meeting. Upon reviewing and considering the documents listed in paragraph 7.8.1 b) and upon considering any written representations made by the appealing party and responding party the appeal committee will,
a) decide to grant or reject the appeal;
b) if needed, provide recommendations to the Appropriate Authority to revise the final decision related to consequences or measures.
7.8.3 The decisions of the Appeal Committee and the reasons in support of it must be in writing and be delivered to the Complainant and to the Respondent within 15 business days of the meeting referred to in paragraph 7.8.2 of this Policy. Simultaneous with the delivery of the decision to the Complainant and the Respondent, the decision of the appeal committee will also be communicated to the Director of the Human Rights Office, or their delegate and to the Appropriate Authority.
7.8.4 All decisions of the Appeal Committee are final.
8. STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE PREVENTION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
The University will establish a committee on the prevention of sexual violence with representation from students, academic staff, employees and senior administrators. This committee will report to the President, who will keep the Administrative Committee informed of its activities. Generally speaking, the purposes of this committee will include the following:
a) encourage student organizations, faculties and administrative units to work together to promote a safe learning and work environment for the members of the University community;
b) receive and consider the annual reports from the Human Rights Office in respect of sexual violence, including the following:
(i) the number of times supports, services and accommodation relating to sexual violence are requested and obtained by students and information about the supports, services and accommodation;
(ii) initiatives and programs established to promote awareness of the supports and services available to students;
(iii) the number of incidents and complaints of sexual violence disclosed by students, and information about the incidents and complaints;
(iv) the implementation and effectiveness of this Policy;
c) make recommendations to the Office of the President on this Policy with regard to sexual violence;
d) make recommendations to the Office of the President on additional resources required or other measures related to addressing sexual violence;
e) make a report of its activities annually to the Office of the President for submission to the Board of Governors;
f) consider and recommend proposals for new training programs brought forward by the Human Rights Office and monitor the coordination, implementation and success of training programs related to sexual violence;
g) monitor the implementation of, and access to academic accommodations and other interim measures reported to it as referred to in paragraph 8 b), to address sexual violence across campus using a survivor-centered approach.
9. POLICY REVIEW, AMENDMENTS AND EXCEPTIONS
a) The Human Rights Office is responsible for the review and implementation of this Policy. This Policy will be reviewed at least once every two years.
b) Revisions to the Policy will be sent for comment to the student associations, unions and employee groups, to the Standing Committee on the Prevention of Sexual Violence referred to in Section 8 of this Policy and any other stakeholder, as determined by the Human Rights Office, to ensure the provision and consideration of input from a diverse selection of students and employees.
a) Amendments made to this Policy, other than those described in paragraph 7.4 of this Policy, require the approval of the Senate and of the Board of Governors.
b) Updates to the following information contained in this Policy do not require approval of the Senate or the Board of Governors:
i) the supports and services referred to in paragraph 5.5 of this Policy;
ii) the identity of officials, offices, and departments at the University that provide information about supports, services and accommodation or that receive reports or formal complaints.
c) A copy of this Policy as approved and amended is posted on the University’s website.