Colleges Ontario, an advocacy group representing 24 colleges, introduced a province-wide sexual assault policy that promises to protect all members of Ontario post-secondary institutions.
This policy, which will be the first of its kind of Ontario, is welcome news to anyone who relies on the safe environment of these postsecondary institutions. Universities in Canada are now falling behind: a Toronto Star investigation revealed that only nine out of 78 across Canada are now falling behind: a Toronto Star investigation revealed that only nine out of 78 across Canada had a specific sexual assault policy.
It also acknowledges that while there are more female victims of sexual assault, men are still likely to be sexually assaulted during their time at the college.
The new policy will provide the framework for an effective 24-hour hotline, which victims can call to receive support in times of need. This is a service that is currently not available to students.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne shared her disbelief with the Toronto Star while visiting a pregnancy clinic about the lack of policy. “I can hardly believe that we are still having this conversation,” she said. “That there would still be students in this province who say we need to have these policies on our campuses and we need the university administration or the college administration to involve us in the policies.”
The draft also denounces the notion that if a man or woman becomes aroused during sexual assault it means that he or she must have consented.
After two months of involving as many students, faculty and local support groups, the Premier will reveal the finalized version of this policy and will hopefully have it in place by April.
You can view the draft on the Ontario Colleges website.