Postsecondary students cannot be asked about their sexual history when reporting sexual violence or harassment

  • January 28, 2021
  • Anoop Kalsi

On January 27, 2021, the Ontario Government announced it will be moving to amend current regulations regarding Sexual violence and harassment policies as postsecondary institutions. The government has recognized that many instances of sexual violence and harassment on and around campus go unreported because students fear reprisal and/or a concern that they will not be taken seriously.

The proposed changes are centered around two main areas:

  1. A student who reports sexual violence will not be subjected to disciplinary actions for violations of the institutions drug and alcohol use policies at the time the alleged sexual assault took place; and
  2. Post secondary institutions would be required to amend their sexual violence and harassment policies to protect complainants from irrelevant questions, including a student’s sexual history.

For more information on these proposed amendments you can visit the Ontario’s Regulatory Registry online here (link) and here (link).

Currently, the Ontario Regulation 131/16 establishes the common standard and minimum requirement for post-secondary institutions in the public sector regarding the content of sexual violence policies. The purpose of the above amendments is to strengthen existing policies and ensure that institutions respond appropriately to students who experience sexual violence and provide increased protection to students without the fear of reprisal. The amendments would also be applicable to private colleges.

These proposed changes will distinguish Ontario from other provinces as being one of the only Canadian jurisdictions with such protections specifically outlined in legislation or regulation.

Public consultations on these amendments are being held online until March 15.

You can read more about these amendments on the Ontario news release site here (link) and on CBC’s article here (link).

Bakerlaw has represented Applicants in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. You can read more about our client’s success here (link) and here (link). To learn more about our work in this area, click here (link).

If you are a victim of sexual abuse or harassment at a postsecondary institution or elsewhere, contact us (link) to see if we can help or fill out a confidential intake form here (link). If you’re looking for some resources, visit the SHARE website (link).

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