TORONTO, September 16, 2021 – “Every Ontario university is committed to providing a safe, supportive and respectful environment in which to live, learn and work. Understanding and addressing sexual violence experienced by our students is a priority for Ontario’s universities and we remain committed to creating safe environments that are free from sexual violence.
Our universities strongly condemn all forms of sexual violence or harassment and acknowledge the important role our institutions must continue to play to make students feel as safe, secure and supported as possible.
All Ontario universities have policies and processes in place to address sexual violence, and if a student or someone they know has been impacted by sexual violence, help is available 24-7. All universities offer on-campus counselling services to students as well as referrals to off-campus services. Many are implementing new awareness, education and prevention initiatives, including bystander training. The following document highlights just some of the ways universities are supporting students, raising awareness and working to prevent sexual violence and help ensure that those affected by sexual violence get the help they need.
But more can be done. Today’s announcement by the provincial government is another step towards increasing campus safety and helping reduce the fear and stigma for individuals who are bringing forward a sexual violence or harassment complaint.
Universities are committed to working with their partners in the sector and the community to ensure the safety of students on our campuses, and that they have access to high-quality supports.
Universities believe that reducing sexual violence requires an integrated approach, with partnerships across all educational institutions, student associations, government agencies, community organizations and service providers. Though a collaborative approach, we can work together to reduce incidents of sexual violence and to support victims.”
-Steve Orsini, President and CEO, Council of Ontario Universities