Ontario Gives Universities More Power to Address Student Sexual Misconduct

The Ontario government has proposed new legislation to protect post-secondary students from incidents of sexual misconduct on campus involving faculty and staff.

Included in the plans is a new rule that would prevent any faculty member trying to get a job at another school from hiding any previous incidents involving student abuse.

The “Strengthening Post-Secondary Institutions and Students Act, 2022” was introduced Thursday by Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop.

“All students deserve to learn in a safe and supportive learning environment,” Dunlop said in a press release.

“From day one, we have been clear: this government has zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment or any other form of violence or misconduct. That’s why we’re taking steps to better protect students from violence and sexual misconduct on and off campus.

This action includes preventing the use of a nondisclosure agreement in any situation where an employee, convicted of abusing a student, leaves a college or university and attempts to be hired at another school. This abuse would not be allowed to be kept secret with an NDA.

Colleges and universities would have more tools to deal with student abuse cases involving faculty or staff, which would constitute “just cause for dismissal.”

The legislation would also require institutions to put in place employee sexual misconduct policies that provide rules of behavior between faculty, staff and students. These policies would also include disciplinary actions outlined when these rules are broken.

The changes follow a policy put in place last year that prevented students from being disciplined or asked about their sexual history when they filed a complaint of sexual assault or harassment.

If passed, the legislation would also make official Ryerson University’s name change to Metropolitan University of Toronto after it was changed by the school itself in the spring.

“The proposed renaming of Ryerson University to Metropolitan University of Toronto supports our government’s efforts to ensure Ontario has a post-secondary system that embraces diversity, inclusiveness and promotes success for all.” learners, including Indigenous learners, so they can find rewarding careers,” said Minister Dunlop. .