Harassment and discrimination

Responsibilities of the OHR

Responsibilities of the Office for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment

  • To receive informal and formal harassment and discrimination complaints initiated by students at the University of Ottawa
  • To attempt to resolve harassment and discrimination situations through mediation or by other means of resolution
  • To offer guidance to all parties involved in the resolution of harassment and discrimination complaints
  • To develop, coordinate and facilitate education and awareness programs on issues of harassment and discrimination in relation to students of the University of Ottawa

To act as a consultant and resource person for all members of the University of Ottawa student community, who require information on harassment and /or discrimination as well as on University policies and procedures pertaining to these issues

The University’s Commitment to the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment

The University's responsibility in the academic environment

The University of Ottawa is committed to providing a respectful learning and workplace environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. In accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person is to be valued and treated with dignity and respect and be free from reprisal or the threat of reprisal by any individual in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement as a result of the rejection of a sexual advance or for complaining of inappropriate behaviour. This responsibility protects students and the University community and will apply in all situations whether on or off campus

The University as a provider of housing accommodation

The Ontario Human Rights Code provides that every person who occupies housing accommodation has a right to freedom from discrimination or harassment. The University must take reasonable steps to protect that right.

University obligations

The University must meet its obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code and take all reasonable steps to ensure that the rights of individuals to be free from discrimination and harassment under the Code are respected. Harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Discrimination refers to a distinction because of a person’s race, ancestry, ethnic origin, creed, place or origin, colour, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age, pregnancy, marital status, family status, record of offenses, political allegiance or disability.

Individuals who engage in acts of discrimination or harassment may be held personally responsible for their behaviour and can experience consequences as a result of their actions. Because the University may also be responsible for harassment or discrimination occurring among members of the University community or on its premises, the University has an obligation to undertake all reasonable efforts to ensure that prohibited behaviour does not occur in the University facilities or in the context of delivery of University services. This obligation may be met by the development and implementation of a Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy which provides for public education and training on the subject and the creation of an accessible and responsive complaint and resolution mechanism. In addition, the University must demonstrate that it has taken appropriate steps, including the imposition of discipline if warranted, to resolve complaints of discrimination and harassment as they arise.

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