Human Rights Policies
All members of the TMU community share the responsibility to uphold the university’s commitment to foster a learning and working environment free of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence.
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) is quasi-constitutional provincial legislation that applies to TMU as a provincially-regulated educational institution and employer. The Code outlines that every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination or harassment with respect to accommodation (housing), contracts (the right to enter into a verbal or written commercial agreement), employment, goods, services and facilities, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations.
Every member of the TMU community has a right to equal treatment without discrimination or harassment on the basis of personal characteristics related to one or more of the following protected grounds under the Code:
- marital status and family status
- race, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin and ancestry
- sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression
- receipt of public assistance (housing only)
- record of offences (employment only)
In implementing the Code at TMU, we have two policies that inform how TMU community members interact and the role that all individuals play in ensuring the full and equal participation and dignity of all students, faculty and staff at the university. TMU’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Sexual Violence Policy continue to apply on campus, as well as off-campus and online when engaging in university-related activities.
Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy
This policy provides direction to the university community on human rights matters, including the prohibition of discrimination and harassment with respect to the university’s delivery of educational services to students, employment of faculty and staff, and the provision of housing to students on the basis of the protected grounds (listed above).
Sexual Violence Policy
This policy provides direction to the university community on matters related to sexual violence, including the ways in which the university is committed to addressing sexual violence and rape culture through survivor support, awareness, outreach, education, training and prevention programs. It also outlines the process for handling reports or complaints of sexual violence incidents.
Read the Sexual Violence Policy.
Discrimination may occur if an individual in the university community experiences adverse treatment in education, employment or housing where one or more of their personal characteristics connected to a protected ground(s) (e.g. race, sex, disability, etc.) was a factor in the adverse treatment or impact.
In other words, the adverse treatment or impact must be in whole or in part because of the individual’s protected personal characteristic(s).
Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated differently and disadvantageously because of a personal characteristic(s) connected to one or more of the protected grounds.
Constructive discrimination occurs when a policy or practice that appears to be neutral nonetheless affects someone differently and disadvantageously because of a personal characteristic(s) connected to one or more of the protected grounds.
- Discrimination may be based on one or more than one of the individual’s protected personal characteristic(s). If it is based on a combination of protected grounds it is referred to as intersectional (external link) discrimination.
- Discrimination may occur even if the protected personal characteristic(s) is not the only reason, or even the primary reason, for the adverse treatment/impact; it only has to be one of the factors.
- Intention is not necessary for a finding of discrimination; it is the impact that is relevant.
Harassment is defined as a course of vexatious comments or conduct based on one or more personal characteristics connected to a protected ground(s) (e.g. age, sexual orientation, creed, etc.) where the person responsible for the behaviour knows or ought reasonably to know that the comments and/ or conduct is unwelcome.
Sexual harassment is a specific type of harassment that is based on the protected grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Sexual violence is any sexual act or acts targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent. This includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, sexual exploitation, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent, and cyber harassment or cyber stalking of a sexual nature.
How do TMU’s Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy (DHPP), Sexual Violence Policy (SVP), and Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61) apply to students online?
Yes. These policies may apply to online activity that is connected to the university. The policies apply to discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, and non-academic conduct that negatively impact the study and/or work environment of TMU community members. This includes incidents that occur on campus, off-campus, and online if connected to university activities.
Discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, and non-academic misconduct can and do take place online.
The policies may not apply if the online activity is not connected to university activities.
The policies apply to online classes and communications on university platforms such as Zoom, D2L Learning Brightspace and TMU email.
The policies may apply to student engagement with professors and students during video lectures, tutorials, and meetings, as well as course-related chats and discussion boards.
The DHPP applies to discrimination and harassment that occurs within the university community in relation to education, employment, or housing at the university. The discrimination and harassment must also be connected to one or more of the protected grounds listed in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The protected grounds are:
- Marital status and family status
- Race, colour, place of origin, ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship
- Sex, gender identity, and gender expression
- Sexual orientation
- Receipt of public assistance
- Record of offenses (employment only)
Examples may include:
- Racist slurs
- Homophobic or transphobic jokes
- Disparaging people based on their religion
- Failing to provide information or examinations in an accessible format
The SVP applies to sexual acts against a person without the person’s consent, as well as unwelcome comments or conduct that target a person’s sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression.
Examples may include:
- Comments or jokes of a sexual nature
- Sexually explicit images
- Cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking
TMU’s (PDF file) Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61) applies to non-academic behavior of students and student groups that does not uphold the community standards of the university as outlined in the policy.
Examples may include:
- Behaviour that is violent, threatening, abusive, or demeaning
- Disruption of learning, teaching, and working environments
- Misuse or abuse of facilities, equipment, materials, processes, policies or services
The university embraces the free exchange of ideas within a culture of mutual respect. Recognizing and respecting diversity of people, thought and expression are an essential part of this ideal.
The policies are not intended to inhibit appropriate instances of freedom of expression or academic freedom. Students have the freedom to express themselves online, which includes the freedom to consider, inquire and write about any topic. This includes information and ideas that may be considered offensive or contrary to widely-held opinions.
The policies may place limits on freedom of expression to the extent that students’ online activities have a connection to the university and constitute discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, or non-academic misconduct as defined by the policies and/or the law.
The policies typically do not apply to the following types of free expression online:
- Asking questions
- Engaging in discussions or debates about controversial topics
- Political statements or critiques
- Participating in peaceful and lawful assembles and demonstrations
More information can be found in the university’s (PDF file) Statement on Freedom of Speech.
Students can contact Human Rights Services with questions about the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and Sexual Violence Policy.
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 416-979-5349
Students can contact Consent Comes First, the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education if they have been affected by sexual or gender-based violence.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Students can contact the Student Conduct Office with questions about the Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61).
- Email: email@example.com
Yes. University community members can file complaints with Human Rights Services if the complaints involve another community member’s online conduct that is connected to university activities and is believed to be discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual violence under the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy or the Sexual Violence Policy.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 416-979-5349
Yes. University community members can file complaints under the Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61) if the complaints involve a student’s online conduct that is connected to university activities and involves student behaviour that is not related to the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy or the Sexual Violence Policy (see above).
Human Rights Services
- Human Rights Services works to promote an equitable and inclusive campus community, free from discrimination and harassment based on the protected grounds identified in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
- Prevention through education is one of our key goals. We work to empower individuals, groups and units with the tools and understanding to address human rights concerns.
- Human Rights Services offers free and confidential complaint resolution services to the university’s students, faculty, staff and community members based on the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy and the Sexual Violence Policy.
Sexual Violence Services
All TMU community members, including students, faculty and staff, can access services from Consent Comes First and Human Rights Services.
- Free and confidential support for those affected by sexual violence, harassment and other forms of gender-based violence (whether it occurred on- or off-campus, or if they were subjected to the violence before they came to TMU).
- Connection to counselling and medical services, safety planning, academic considerations and workplace accommodations, and more.
- Support to university community members to make an informed decision should an individual choose to report to authorities within the university, police or professional bodies.
- Core customized workshops, seminars and speakers to foster understanding of topics such as online harassment, bystander intervention, consent in the workplace, sexual harasment and sexual violence. The team is responsible for coordinating campus-wide education on sexual violence.
- Community programming and campaigns for the wider campus community on gender justice, sexual violence, dismantling rape culture and creating cultures of consent.
Consent Comes First works as a team to support people affected by sexual violence, including those who have directly harmed and those supporting them. We offer training, policy work, and education campaigns for the broader TMU community.
If TMU community members have been affected by sexual violence, they should contact Consent Comes First to be connected to services and for expert support thinking through options. CCF is here to listen.
Consent Comes First is responsible for administering part 1 of the Sexual Violence Policy (Education and Support).