Amid the post-holiday whirlwind, amendments to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 under Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016 (“Bill 132”) have come into force. As of January 1, 2017, colleges and universities must have a sexual violence policy in place that outlines how the institution will respond to and address incidents or complaints of sexual violence involving students. Bill 132 also adds a definition of “sexual violence” to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005. The definition encompasses non-consensual sexual acts and acts targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature.
As we explained in our earlier blog post, student input must now be considered in the development, subsequent review, and amendments of the policy, which must be reviewed at least every three years.
Additional obligations are also now in effect concerning data collection, requiring colleges and universities to collect, and provide to the Minister, data and information relating to incidents and complaints of sexual violence, in addition to information on the supports, initiatives and programs that have been implemented and their efficacy. In providing this information to the Minister, reasonable steps must be taken to avoid disclosure of personal information.
Finally, the Minister may now conduct, or direct the institution to conduct, a survey of students, or other persons, relating to the effectiveness of the institution’s sexual violence policy.