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Sexual Violence Policy

I.    Introduction

Sexual violence is a serious problem that needs attention and intervention throughout society and within institutions. Acts of sexual violence have a significant impact on survivors, their friends and family members, and on those who work closely with survivors as supporters, advocates and educators. It is the most underreported criminal activity and through many sources, it is known that the number of disclosed or reported incidents on campuses do not reflect the true number of assaults faced by members of the University. Many incidents of sexual violence at their core involve an abuse of power.

II.    Purpose

The University is committed to combating sexual violence in all forms in its community. Sexual violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Individuals and groups who commit or attempt to commit acts of sexual violence will be held accountable through a process that ensures procedural fairness. This policy makes clear this commitment to addressing sexual violence and rape culture through survivor support, awareness, education, training and prevention programs, the appropriate handling of reports or complaints of sexual violence incidents, and to fostering and promoting a culture of consent.

This policy is intended to:

a.    Outline commitments to raise awareness and educate about sexual violence;

b.    Prevent sexual violence and reduce the risk of sexual violence incidents;

c.    Promote a culture of consent in which everyone has a responsibility to prevent sexual violence;

d.    Respond to the needs of survivors in the University for support and empowerment; and

e.    Outline the process for making reports or complaints to initiate investigation and adjudication processes on campus.

III.   Application and Scope

This policy applies to all members of the University:

a.    On campus – With respect to the adjudication of reports or complaints outlined in Section V, Part Two of this policy, the scope includes incidents of sexual violence where the respondent is a member of the University and which take place on university land and premises either rented or owned, or using university-owned or run property or equipment including, but not limited to, telephones, computers and computer networks.

b.    Off campus – With respect to the adjudication of reports or complaints outlined in Section V, Part Two of this policy, the scope includes incidents of sexual violence that occur off campus where the respondent is a member of the University and:

i.   When the incident is part of a University course, co-op, experiential learning or organized class activity;

ii.   When the incident is part of a University event that has been defined as such; or

iii.   In exceptional circumstances, when the potential consequences of the incident may adversely affect the complainant’s course of learning, teaching or work at the university.

In the event that a conflict arises between the provisions of this policy and any relevant collective agreement, the terms of the collective agreement prevail.

This policy and its procedures may continue to apply even if a person's relationship with the University changes or terminates. Procedures under this policy may be initiated or completed even if the respondent is no longer a member of the University.

IV.   Definitions

a.    University: Toronto Metropolitan University 

b.    Adjudication: The process of making an official decision after a report or complaint of sexual violence is made.

c.    Complainant: When a report or complaint is made under this policy for initiating an investigation/adjudication, the person filing the complaint is referred to as the complainant.

d.    Consent: The active, ongoing, informed and voluntary agreement to engage in physical contact or sexual activity. Consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated (such as by drugs or alcohol), unconscious, or otherwise unable to understand and voluntarily given consent.

e.    Disclosure: When someone chooses to inform a member of the University about an incident where they were subjected to sexual violence.

f.    First Responder: The person to whom the survivor initially disclosed. This could be a friend or university employee. They may be significantly affected by the disclosure of sexual violence and may also be in need of support.

g.     Person Accused: A person who has been accused of committing sexual violence. They are referred to as a respondent when a report or complaint is made against them under this policy.

h.    Procedural Fairness: Provides parties with a fair process in resolving disputes. The concept requires transparency, equal communication and fairness.

i.    Progressive Discipline: Decision makers have a range of sanctions to determine how to appropriately address an incident. They will consider a respondent’s disciplinary history, the severity of the incident and the impact of the incident when determining sanctions.

j.     Rape Culture: A culture in which dominant ideas, social practices, media images, and societal institutions implicitly or explicitly condone sexual assault by normalizing or trivializing sexual violence and by blaming survivors for their own abuse.

k.     Report or Complaint: A report or complaint of an incident of sexual violence for the purposes of initiating investigation/adjudication on or off campus.

l.    Respondent: When a report or complaint is made under this policy for initiating an investigation/adjudication, the person accused and whom the complaint is made against is referred to as the respondent.

m.     University Community/ Members of the University: Students, Student groups, University employees, contractors, appointees, volunteers, alumni and invited guests.

n.   Sexual Assault: Any kind of sexual contact without mutual consent. It can include unwanted kissing, fondling, oral or anal sex, intercourse, or other forms of penetration, or any other unwanted act of a sexual nature.

o.    Sexual Harassment: A course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually oriented nature and/or a course of unwanted remarks, actions that promote gender-based violence, or behaviours or communications based on gender – where the person responsible for the remarks, actions, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome. Sexual harassment may consist of unwanted attention of a sexually oriented nature such as personal questions about one’s sex life, persistent requests for a “date”, or unwelcome remarks about someone’s hair, body shape, etc. Sexual harassment may also consist of unwelcome remarks based on gender which are not of a sexual nature but which are demeaning such as derogatory gender based jokes or comments.

p.    Sexual Violence: Any sexual act or act 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.

q.    Student: Currently enrolled students, students who are eligible for re-enrollment, as well as former students if they were enrolled at the time of the alleged violation or incident.

r.    Student groups: Student organizations including student government, student and course unions, societies, clubs and groups.

s.     Survivor: An individual who has been subjected to sexual violence. They are referred to as a complainant when they file a report or complaint under this policy. For the purposes of this policy, the term “survivor” is used. People who have been subjected to sexual violence have the right to choose how they want to be referred to. There is a lot of debate over the use of victim or survivor; in the end it is up to the individual to choose how they want to be referred to.

V.     Policy

Part One – Education and Support

1.         Sexual Violence and Identity

The University is a diverse community and every effort to address issues of sexual violence needs to be grounded in an understanding that each person’s experience will be affected by many factors including but not limited to sex, ancestry, race, ethnicity, language, ability, faith, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It must be acknowledged that acts of sexual violence can also be acts of systematic oppression, including but not limited to sexism, racism, colonialism, ableism, homophobia, and/or transphobia.

Sexual violence impacts people of all genders. The university recognizes that sexual violence is overwhelmingly committed against women, and in particular women who experience the intersection of multiple identities such as, but not limited to Indigenous women, racialized women, Black women, trans women and women with disabilities. Additionally, the university recognizes that those whose gender identity and gender expression does not conform to historical gender norms are also at increased risk of sexual violence. Due to the complexities of violence experienced by people with intersecting identities, the university is committed to ensuring that its responses, prevention efforts and supports take an anti-oppressive and trauma-informed approach so that all community members can access these supports and services with care.

2.         Awareness, Prevention, Education and Training

Consent Comes First (The Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education) will work with on- and off-campus partners including, but not limited to, student organizations and unions, Student Affairs staff, academic departments, Human Resources, the Office of Vice Provost Faculty Affairs, The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (The Learning and Teaching Office, Human Rights Services), and Community Safety and Security (Security and Emergency Services) to develop an annual education strategy that includes campaigns, training sessions, workshops, print and online resources, programs and events on a breadth of topics related to sexual violence on campus.

These campaigns will explore topics such as rape culture, consent culture, sexual assault awareness, how to seek support, resources for survivors, advice and resources for first responders, etc. The audience for these efforts would include employees, students and visitors to our campus. Education will include training on this policy, the prevention of sexual violence and responding to sexual violence, with content tailored to the audience and relevant to their roles and responsibilities in relation to this policy. A particular emphasis will be placed on educating new members of the University about this issue through student and employee orientation activities.

Faculties and departments are encouraged to include education related to rape culture and sexual violence in course materials and program curriculum where appropriate. They are also encouraged to use trained facilitators who understand the sensitivity with which these topics must be raised, who have the skills to respond appropriately to disclosures and those who may be triggered by the content of the material or resulting discussions.

3.         Parameters of Consent

The university through the efforts of Consent Comes First and its partners will work to promote a consent culture on campus based on the following principles:

a.    Consent is active, not passive or silent. Consent must be affirmative, ongoing, informed, respectful and engaged. There is no consent when a person, by words or conduct, expresses a lack of agreement to engage in the activity.

b.    Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act. Consent can be rescinded or withdrawn when a person expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity. Consent to one activity does not imply consent to any other activity.

c.    Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs or who is unconscious or otherwise lacks the capacity to give consent.

d.    Consent must be freely given, it cannot exist under conditions of coercion. Consent cannot be obtained through implicit or explicit threats of violence, abuse of power, trust or authority, threat of losing one’s job or threat of releasing sensitive information.

e.    It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in physical contact or sexual activity to make sure that they have consent from the other person(s) involved.

f.     Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship status or sexual history together.

g.    Impaired judgment on the part of the person accused that leads them to think or believe there was consent is not an excuse for an act of sexual violence.

4.         Commitment to Support and Accommodation for People Affected by Sexual Violence

All University students and employees should expect to receive support through the appropriate office if they are affected by sexual violence. Survivors may access supports, accommodations and/or academic considerations regardless of when, where or by whose hand they experienced an incident of sexual violence. Detailed information about on- and off-campus supports for students is provided on a dedicated Sexual Violence Support and Education website and can be found in Schedule 1 at the end of this policy.

Consent Comes First will work with individual survivors in determining their support and/or workplace and academic accommodation and/or academic consideration. Each survivor’s needs will be different, and the types and forms of support and accommodation made available will be tailored to the survivor’s needs on a case-by- case basis.

Survivors need only to disclose their experience to seek support and will not be required or pressured to make a formal report or complaint. Survivors have the right to decide whether to report to police and/or Community Safety and Security.

Survivors have the right to determine what, when and how much they choose to disclose.

Part Two – Adjudication of Reports or Complaints

1.         Reports or Complaints

Community members need only disclose that they are survivors of sexual violence to seek support through Consent Comes First. They also have options for filing a report or complaint in response to an incident of sexual violence in an effort to hold the person accused accountable.

Consent Comes First and/or trained professional staff from Housing & Residence Life, Human Rights Services or Human Resources can assist survivors in understanding each of these options and in ensuring that they have all the information that they need in order to make an appropriate decision on next steps. Detailed information about options and what to expect for all parties, survivors and persons accused, is provided on a dedicated Sexual Violence Support and Education website.

Reporting to the University - Reports or complaints of sexual violence can be made where they fall under the Application and Scope of this policy. A person may report to the University even when they have reported to the police.

In some cases, the university may be required to take some action without the survivor’s consent (see Section V. Part Two 3. g. Confidentiality, and 4. b. Circumstances where the University may Proceed without a Complaint). Individuals affected would be fully informed and supported at every step of any process and have the right not to participate in any investigation that may occur.

Reporting to Police and other legal action - A person may choose to report sexual violence to the police or pursue other legal action. In cases where the sexual violence is perpetrated by a non-University member the procedures in this policy may not apply. The University may still provide support to the complainant, which could include restricting the accused person’s ability to access campus through Community Safety and Security.          

2.         Making a Report or Complaint under this Policy

It is important that a person who reports an incident of sexual violence perpetrated by another University member is heard and has access to appropriate support and resources. It should be noted that the use of the term “survivor” in this policy does not suggest that the outcome of any investigation or decision making process has already been determined, and will not prejudice the outcome of the investigation. For this reason, throughout the adjudication process as outlined in this policy, the survivor will be referred to as the complainant and the person accused will be referred to as the respondent.

To make a report or complaint of sexual violence, the complainant should contact Human Rights Services:

Human Rights Services
Location: POD 254A
Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 5349

The complainant may file a report or complaint in writing via e-mail or letter or may request an in-person meeting to make their report or complaint. Human Rights Services does not advocate for any individual or group and cannot take sides on a complaint. The role of the person taking the report or complaint is to listen, clarify details and assess appropriate next steps.

3.         Important Aspects of the Adjudication Process

a.         Principles Governing the Process

i.   Timeliness of the process:

This is a difficult process and for many survivors it is a pre-cursor to achieving healing and/or closure. Every effort will be made to expedite the process without compromising appropriate procedural fairness for all parties.

ii.   Transparency of the process:

a.    Parties will be advised of their rights and responsibilities related to the process

b.    Parties will know what to expect from the process

c.    Parties will be kept informed about the process and outcome

d.    Parties will receive regular updates on the progress of their case, estimated timeframes and any delays related to the resolution of their case (types and frequency of these updates will be determined through discussion with each complainant)

e.    Reasons will be provided for any decision made throughout the process

iii.   Support for parties involved in the process:

Both parties to a complaint will be offered access to a support person. For employees, this could include a union representative where permitted or required under any relevant collective agreement. Both parties will be offered referral to appropriate personal support resources (a list of on-campus resources for students and off-campus resources is provided in Schedule 1 at the end of the policy).

iv.   Fairness of the process:

The process will be conducted in a trauma-informed and impartial way and is intended to ensure fairness for all parties involved.

Where applicable, the process will be conducted consistent with the terms of any relevant collective agreement.

v.   Trained personnel:

Personnel involved in the adjudication process including staff in Human Rights Services and other offices assisting with cases of sexual violence, investigators and decision makers, will be trained in their roles, trauma-informed processes and the impact of identities on how an individual experiences sexual violence.

b.  Right to Support through the Investigation and Decision Making Process

Complainants and respondents will be provided with a support person throughout the investigation and decision-making process by the university. Support for complainants will be facilitated by Consent Comes First. Support for respondents who are students will be facilitated through the Student Conduct Office. Support for employees who are respondents will be facilitated by Human Resources, consistent with any existing relevant collective agreement provisions. Complainants and respondents also have the right to identify an alternate support person or representative of their choosing to accompany them to any meetings or proceedings related to the handling of their case. Support persons may include a friend, family member, employee union representative, legal representative, colleague, etc.

c.         Alternative Resolution

In appropriate circumstances, Human Rights Services will follow-up with the complainant and respondent to determine their willingness to participate in an alternative resolution process and offer options.

For it to be a meaningful process, participants must engage voluntarily and remain free from reprisal. At any stage during the process, the complainant may indicate they would like the complaint to move to an investigation and decision making process.

In appropriate circumstances, a complainant may request an alternate resolution process before an investigation is commenced or completed, or before the case is referred to a decision maker. In appropriate circumstances, a respondent could also request an alternative resolution process by notifying Human Rights Services.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Impact Statement/Letter: A complainant may decide to communicate to the respondent that their behaviours, remarks or communications are unwelcome or uncomfortable. The survivor may choose to communicate their concerns directly or indirectly, verbally or in writing with the assistance of Human Rights Services.
  • Facilitation: A complainant may request that Human Rights Services facilitate a discussion between themselves and the respondent. In such circumstances, a facilitator would try to reach a resolution between the complaint and the respondent by acting as a “go-between.” Neither party is required to attend any face-to-face meetings during this process unless they both agree to do so. This facilitated process may result in a written agreement that could include behavioural expectations, agreement to no contact, or an apology.
  • Education: A respondent may agree to participate in education and training related to anti-violence, anti-oppression and consent.
  • Restorative Justice: Restorative or transformative justice is an approach used in situations that require a deep understanding of the harm done, the needs of those affected, and the strategies for moving forward as a community and creating lasting change. Using processes such as accountability circles or community conferencing, those who have done harm and various stakeholders are actively engaged in understanding what happened, the impact of a harmful situation and hold those who have done harm accountable and responsible not only for their past actions but for shaping the future.

If the complainant and respondent are able to reach a resolution, a written record of the resolution will be prepared by Human Rights Services to be signed by both parties. The signed resolution will be kept in Human Rights Services. A copy of the signed agreement will be provided to the complainant and respondent, and may be provided to relevant university administrators if it is required to implement the terms of resolution.

Human Rights Services will monitor the implementation and compliance of alternative resolution processes. If there is a failure to comply with the terms of a resolution, the complaint may continue to an investigation and decision making process.

d.         Freedom from Reprisal

Every member of the University has a right to claim and enforce their rights under this policy, to provide evidence and to participate in proceedings under this policy, without reprisal or threat of reprisal.

Anyone who reports or makes a complaint about sexual violence in good faith, will not themselves be subject to discipline or sanctions for violations of the University's policies relating to any drug or alcohol use that may have occurred at the time of the alleged sexual violence.

All respondents will be informed of the university’s position regarding the seriousness of any allegations of reprisal against complainants, witnesses or others involved, what constitutes reprisal; any claims of reprisal will also be investigated and responded to.

e.         Withdrawal of a Complaint

At any time throughout the process, before a decision is rendered, a complainant may choose to withdraw their complaint. They should communicate, in writing, their decision to withdraw their complaint to Human Rights Services. In some circumstances, the university may still pursue the complaint (see Section V. Part Two, 4. b. Circumstances where the University may Proceed without a Complaint). If a complaint is withdrawn, complainants and respondents can still seek support through the appropriate offices on campus.

f.          Procedural Fairness

The university has a duty to be fair with respect to process by which investigations and decisions are made that may result in findings of sexual violence and may potentially impose serious consequences against a member of the University who has engaged in such conduct.

The core element of procedural fairness is that a person against whom allegations are made, must know the allegations and evidence against them, and must be given the opportunity to answer prior to a decision being made. Further to the right to know, complainants and respondents will also have notice of the investigation and decision making process, and will have the matter decided by an impartial decision maker. If credibility is at issue, complainants and respondents may appear in person and make oral representations to an investigator and decision maker, and comment and ask questions with respect to the evidence in accordance with this policy.

Survivors who disclose their experience of sexual violence through reporting and incident of, making a complaint about, or accessing supports for sexual violence, will not be asked irrelevant questions during any investigation process by the University staff or investigators, including irrelevant questions relating to their sexual expression or past history.

The duty to be fair is context-specific, for example, the more serious the consequences contemplated, the higher the level of procedural fairness. As such, the university reserves the right to adjust the process to ensure procedural fairness in accordance with the facts of the individual case with notice to the complainant and the respondent.

g.         Confidentiality

Ensuring confidentiality is a key principle in creating an environment and culture where survivors feel safe to disclose and seek support and accommodation. The university is committed to ensuring such an environment and culture exists. As such, all members of the University who receive a disclosure of sexual violence or who are involved in addressing or investigating it, must keep the matter confidential, except in accordance with the terms of this policy, in order to protect the rights of those involved in the allegations, prevent an unjustified invasion of their personal privacy, and preserve the integrity of the investigation.

The university will make every reasonable effort to balance confidentiality with its legal responsibility to provide a campus environment free from sexual violence. The university protects personal information and handles records in accordance with its policies, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, and the provisions of applicable employee collective agreements.

The general practice of the university is to keep all information confidential except as outlined in this policy, for example where employees require information to carry out their authorized duties under the policy, e.g. conduct investigation, make or implement a decision or interim measures, etc. Complainants, respondents and witnesses are expected to keep the details of any case confidential, outside their circle of support, in order to ensure the integrity of the investigation and decision making process.

Notwithstanding the above, there are additional circumstances where a staff member may be required to disclose information within or outside the university in order to address safety concerns or to satisfy a legal reporting requirement. In such circumstances, the minimum amount of information needed to allow such concerns to be addressed, or meet such requirements, will be disclosed. These additional circumstances might include, for example:

  • An individual is at risk of life-threatening self-harm;
  • An individual is at risk of harming others;
  • There is risk to the safety of the university and/or broader community;
  • Disclosure is required by law; for instance, under the Child and Family Services Act, reporting is legally required if an incident involves a child 16 or under; or, to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act or with human rights legislation; and/or
  • Evidence of the disclosed incident of sexual violence is available in the public realm (e.g. video shared publicly on social media).

These above circumstances represent exceptions, not the rule, and are necessary to ensure the university is meeting its legal obligations. If one of these situations applies to an individual, they will be fully informed and supported at every step of the process.

h.         Maintenance of Statistics and Reporting

The University will maintain annual statistics about the supports, services, and accommodations provided to students, in addition to information about programs and initiatives for students relating to sexual violence. The University also will maintain annual statistics about the number of incidents and complaints of sexual violence reported by students under this policy.

Such statistics and information about the implementation and effectiveness of this policy, will be provided annually to the Board of Governors, reviewing the preceding year. The University shall take reasonable steps to ensure the information provided in the annual report does not disclose personal information within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

4.         Investigation Process

a.         Process for Determining Whether a Report or Complaint will be Investigated

Once the report or complaint is submitted to Human Rights Services, the Director or designate will make an assessment of the appropriate next steps in responding to the complaint. This will include:

i.    Determining whether a report or complaint has been made through any other internal or external process as well as through this policy.

ii.    Referring the complainant to Consent Comes First for support and referral to additional resources.

iii.    Determining the jurisdiction of Human Rights Services in proceeding with the report or complaint, i.e. both parties are members of the University. 

iv.    Determining whether the sexual violence policy is relevant to the complaint and/or if the complaint should be referred for review under a different policy,

i.e. Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61), Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy, Workplace Civility & Respect Policy, etc.

v.    Determining whether the complainant is interested in an alternative resolution, as opposed to the completion of an investigation and decision making process.

vi.    Consulting appropriate offices in the implementation of interim measures while the complaint is being investigated and while the decision on the complaint is pending. For more details, see Section V. Part Two, 4. e. on Interim Measures during Investigation and Decision Making Processes.

Once Human Rights Services reviews the complaint and it has been assessed, they will confirm in writing with all parties whether an investigation or fact-finding based on the complaint will be conducted.

b.         Circumstances where the University may Defer an Investigation

In some cases, including when a complainant has made a report to the police, the University may put the complaint process under this policy on hold until such time as it is appropriate to proceed.

c.         Circumstances where the University may Proceed without a Complaint

In some cases the university may be required to or choose to investigate an incident of sexual violence even though the survivor has chosen not to file a report or complaint.

Examples of such circumstances could include, but are not limited to:

  • Where there is risk to the safety of individuals and/or the broader community; for example, where repeated allegations have been made about the conduct of the same individual.
  • Where required by law, such as under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Where there is evidence of sexual violence in the public realm (such as a video posted on social media).

If such a situation applies to the survivor, information and support will be made available at every step of the process, even if they choose not to participate.

d.         Initial Meeting with Human Rights Services

After Human Rights Services has indicated that an investigation will be conducted, the Human Rights Services Director or designate will meet separately with the complainant and respondent.

In these meetings, the Human Rights Services staff member will:

i.    Explain to each party their rights in the investigation and decision making processes

ii.     Go over the process and answer any questions about what will happen

iii.     Discuss details of interim measures, if applicable

iv.     Determine the outcome that the complainant is seeking

e.         Interim Measures during Investigation and Decision Making Process

In some cases it may be necessary to implement interim measures that are appropriate in the circumstances. Interim measures are temporary measures put in place to protect the parties, the community, and the integrity of the process during the investigation and decision-making process. Such measures are without prejudice to the ultimate outcome of the investigation. Consequences for violating interim measures will be clearly communicated to the respondent at the time they are applied.

Examples of interim measures that might be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes within university housing if the parties are residents
  • Restrictions to access campus or parts of campus
  • No contact order
  • Employment/workplace modifications or restrictions
  • Changes in employment reporting structures
  • Changes to class and/or section enrollments

Where the respondent is an employee and any interim measures implemented by the university affect the respondent’s terms and conditions of employment, the normal procedures of any relevant collective agreement will apply to the implementation of the interim measures.

f.          Referral to an Investigator and Notice of Investigation

Human Rights Services will appoint an impartial investigator who has knowledge, training and experience in sexual violence investigations and related issues, and who has been trained on the terms of this policy. The investigator may be internal or external to the university.

Where the complainant or respondent reasonably believes that the investigator may have a conflict of interest, they may request an alternative investigator. Human Rights Services will consider their concerns to determine whether or not to assign an alternative investigator.

Once an investigator is appointed, Human Rights Services will provide a notice of investigation to:

i.        The complainant

ii.         The respondent

iii.        The investigator

The notice of investigation will include the following information:

i.        The name and contact information of the investigator

ii.         A written account of the complaint

iii.        Confirmation of the right to a support person or representative during the investigation (as per Part Two, Section 3.b. Right to Support through the Investigation and Decision Making Process)

iv.        Any interim measures that will be in place during the investigation

v.         A link to this policy and any other related policies

vi.        The name and contact information of the university support person designated to support each of them

Once an investigator is appointed, they will contact the parties within seven (7) business days to confirm:

i.        Their appointment by Human Rights Services

ii.         The role of the investigator

iii.        Next steps in the investigation process

g.    Role of the Investigator

Human Rights Services will determine the scope of the investigation for each case. The investigator works independently. They develop a plan identifying the issues of the case, who will be interviewed, which questions will be posed and which documents will be requested for review. The investigator conducts all of the interviews. These include interviews with the complainant, respondent and any witnesses.

h.         Conducting an Investigation

After reviewing the written account of the complaint and any relevant documentation, the investigator will contact the complainant and the respondent to arrange separate interview times. At the time of initial contact, the investigator will explain to all parties the investigation process, and their role as investigator.

The investigator will conduct interviews with the complainant and the respondent separately and may need to meet with each party several times during the course of the investigation. The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to provide the investigator with information, documents, names of witnesses, and other submissions or evidence that they believe are relevant to the complaint.

Human Rights Services will always aim to complete an investigation as expeditiously and thoroughly as possible. Depending on the complexity of the case and/or the availability of parties and witnesses, the investigation could take several months.

The investigator will ensure that both the complainant and respondent have had a full opportunity to review and respond to all material aspects of the allegations, and the evidence upon which the investigator will rely, in order to ensure procedural fairness. The investigator will provide the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses with the notes from, or a synopsis of, their own respective interviews, and each will have the opportunity to make any clarifications or corrections to their own statements.

The complainant may still request alternative resolution of their complaint before the final report is sent to the decision maker as per Section V. Part Two, 3. C. Alternative Resolution.

If there is no request for alternative resolution at this time the investigator will incorporate any relevant details from the further submissions into the final investigation report and submit it to the decision maker.

5.         Decision Making Process

a.         Referral to the Decision Maker

The Director of Human Rights Services or their designate will review the investigator’s report and provide it to the appropriate decision maker for review and decision.

i.    Where the respondent is a faculty member, instructor or teaching/graduate assistant, the Dean of their faculty will normally decide the matter.

ii.    Where the respondent is a staff member, the senior head of the unit (Director, Registrar, Senior Director, Executive Director, Assistant Vice President, Vice Provost, or Dean) will normally decide the matter.

iii.    Where the respondent is a student, the Vice Provost, Students will normally decide the matter.

Human Rights Services will notify the complainant and respondent by e-mail within five (5) business days of receipt of the final report from the investigator and inform them of who has been appointed the decision maker on their complaint. Where the complainant or respondent reasonably believes that the decision maker may have a conflict of interest they may request an alternative decision maker. Human Rights Services will consider their concerns determine whether or not to assign an alternate decision maker.

b.         The Rendering of the Decision

The decision maker will review the final report from the investigator.  The decision maker may also request an opportunity to meet with and ask any questions of the investigator, the complainant, the respondent and/or any witnesses separately before rendering a decision. Any in-person meetings will be transcribed so as to document any new evidence presented that does not appear in the investigator’s report. If in the course of these meetings, new information is presented by any party, the complainant and respondent will be given the opportunity to respond to or question that new information, in person or in writing before the decision is rendered. The complainant will not be required to appear before a decision maker in the presence of the respondent.

Within 20 business days of reviewing the investigator’s report and completing all requested meetings with parties involved and reviewing all additional written submissions or questions submitted by either party, the decision maker will render a decision and where applicable assign an appropriate sanction/remedy. The time frame to render a decision may be extended in extenuating circumstances and the extension will be communicated to the parties.

The final decision prepared by the decision maker will indicate whether there has been a breach of the policy or not.

If there is a finding that the policy has been breached, the decision maker may consider the following in determining an appropriate sanction:

i.        The sanction or remedy sought by the complainant

ii.         The principle of progressive discipline and the university’s role as an educational institution

iii.        The requirements under any relevant collective agreement

iv.        The nature and severity of the incident

v.         Any other relevant factors

The decision maker will provide both the complainant and the respondent with a summary of the investigation results, their decision, reasons for the decision and any applicable sanctions.

Any request by either party to receive a copy of the investigation report will be subject to restrictions under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

c.         Remedy/Sanction Options

Remedies and sanction options could look different depending on the status of the respondent. Other university offices may become involved in monitoring compliance with sanctions imposed by the decision maker, e.g. Student Conduct Office, Human Resources, Office of Faculty Affairs.

Examples of general remedies/sanctions

  • Letter of apology
  • Mandated educational workshops or counselling
  • No contact order
  • Letter of behavioural expectations
  • Restrictions related to accessing buildings or parts of campus or certain activities

Examples of additional remedies/sanctions applicable to student respondents

  •  Community service activities
  • Removal from a course or section of a course
  • Relocation in or eviction from university owned and/or operated housing
  • Suspension from school for a defined period (1)
  • Expulsion from the university permanently (2)

Additional sanctions/remedies applicable to employees

  • Change in work assignment
  • Suspension from work for a set time with or without pay
  • Dismissal from employment

6.         Appeal Process

a.         When the Individual Appealing is a TMU Employee

i.   In the case of an employee who is a member of a union, the right to appeal the decision is with the grievance and arbitration process of the applicable collective agreement.

ii.   In the case of an employee who is not a member of a union, the right to appeal is under the Management and Confidential Excluded Group Employee Appeal Policy and related procedure.

b.         When the Individual Appealing is a TMU Student

i.   Who Reviews and Decides Appeals

Findings, measures, remedies and sanctions may be appealed to a Vice President of the university. Appeals in cases where the respondent is a student will normally be decided on by the Provost and Vice President, Academic.

ii.   Submission of an Appeal

A complainant or respondent wishing to appeal a finding or a remedy/sanction in a case shall submit to Human Rights Services a written request for appeal and an explanation of the basis for the request, within 10 days of communication of the original decision.

iii.   Grounds for Appeal

The Vice President will consider appeals based on the following grounds:

a.   Whether there was a substantial procedural error in the application of the policy

b.   Whether there is new evidence that could not have reasonably been presented earlier

c.   Whether the decision maker’s finding is consistent with the evidence

d.   Whether the remedy/sanction are reasonable in the circumstances

 iv.   Appeal Review Process

If an appeal is filed by one party, other parties to the case will be notified that an appeal has been submitted. They will also be invited to make a written submission for consideration in the review of the appeal. In deciding on the appeal the Vice President will review the investigation file, the original findings and remedies/sanctions determined by the decision maker and any other relevant documents or information. The Vice President may also interview the parties. The Vice President will communicate the findings of their review in writing to all parties, normally within 15 days of commencement of the review.

A decision of the Vice President is final with respect to the options available within the university. Where applicable, any party not satisfied with the decision may pursue external avenues for redress.

c.         Other

Where the individual appealing is neither a University student nor a University employee, Findings, measures, remedies and sanctions may be appealed to a Vice President of the university, and the processes in a apply.


VI.    Roles and Responsibilities

All members of the University: 

i.        Will make themselves aware of the policy and their responsibilities under the policy.

ii.         Will participate in the wide variety of education and training programs made available on campus.

iii.        Respect an individual’s right to confidentiality if an incident of sexual violence is disclosed to them by a survivor; refer them to Consent Comes First where the survivor can seek support, accommodations if needed, and advice about reporting options.

iv.        Will make themselves aware of the services listed in Schedule 1 of this policy so that they might refer individuals looking for specific types of assistance and support.

v.         Report to Community Safety and Security if they witness sexual violence and do not know the survivor, or become aware of an incident that promotes rape culture.

The University Executive are responsible for:

i.        Maintaining and communicating an ongoing commitment to combat the issue of sexual violence at the University.

ii.         Fostering a consent culture on campus.

The Vice Provost, Students will:

i.        Provide an organizational home for Consent Comes First

ii.         Oversee the operation of the Student Conduct Office and Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61).

iii.        Work in close partnership with the Director, Human Rights Services; the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs; and the Chief Human Resources Officer on the interpretation and application of this policy.

iv.        Ensure that the appropriate supports and services are put in place in the many units reporting to the Office of Vice Provost Students.

The Director, Human Rights Services will:

i.        Work in close partnership with the Vice Provost, Students; the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs; and the Chief Human Resources Officer on the interpretation and application of this policy.

ii.        Oversee the Human Rights Services Office and the adjudication of complaints process.

The Chief Human Resources Officer will:

i.        Work in close partnership with the Director, Human Rights Services; the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs; and the Vice Provost, Students on the interpretation and application of this policy.

ii.         Ensure that appropriate supports are in place for survivors who are employees of the institution through human resources benefits, programs and employee assistance program (EAP).

iii.        Collaborate with the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs, to ensure that training opportunities are made available for all faculty, staff and other employees and contractors related to sexual violence and the processes for handling incidents and complaints.

iv.        Work with human resources consultants; the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs (where applicable); and managers and supervisors to support workplace accommodations required in response to incidents of sexual violence at the University.

The Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs:

i.        Work in close partnership with the Director, Human Rights Services; the Vice Provost, Students; and the Chief Human Resources Officer on the interpretation and application of this policy.

ii.         Ensure appropriate supports are in place for survivors who are academic staff of the institution, liaising with Human Resources regarding available programs or offerings that will assist survivors.

iii.        Work with Deans, Chairs and Directors and Human Resources to support workplace accommodations required in response to incidents of sexual violence at the University.

Human Rights Services:

i.        Provides advice, consultation and training on reporting, complaints and investigation processes under this policy.

ii.         Manages the complaint and investigations process including inquiries, consultations, alternative resolutions, investigations related to sexual violence.

Consent Comes First:

i.        Oversees the day-to-day implementation and operation of this policy as outlined in the office’s mandate and job descriptions.

ii.         Develops and implements with on- and off-campus partners the awareness, prevention, education and training strategy.

iii.        Works with Student Affairs in the development and delivery of training opportunities available for students and appropriate student staff.

The Executive Director, Community Safety and Security:

i.        Provides appropriate services and supports through Community Safety and Security such as safety planning, assisting survivors who chose to report to police, referral of community members to Consent Comes First, assisting Human Rights Services with investigations and application of sanctions where appropriate.

ii.         Ensures that all Community Safety and Security staff are trained in working with survivors of sexual violence, trauma-informed services and processes, and the impact of identities on how an individual experiences sexual violence.

Faculty and Academic Departments are responsible for:

i.      Providing reasonable academic accommodations and/or considerations to students impacted by sexual violence.


Student-Led Governing Bodies will:

i.        Maintain an ongoing commitment to peer-to-peer sexual violence education, training and support, and promotion of a consent culture at all events.

ii.         Work in collaboration with university administration including but not limited to the Director, Human Rights Services; Executive Director, Community Safety and Security; Vice Provost, Students; and Consent Comes First to communicate student concerns in regards to sexual violence and rectifying them.

iii.        Develop campaigns and initiatives about sexual violence and consent culture that are student-led and that centre voices and experiences, including but by no means limited to those of students.

VII.   Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed every three years with meaningful consultation with members of the University and in accordance with the agreement made between the university and representatives of the university’s elected student governing bodies, for the provision and consideration of input from a diverse selection of students.

Schedule 1

Supports and Services on Campus

Name of Service/Department

Supports Available

Contact Information

Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education

Provides referrals to counselling and medical services; safety planning; assistance with academic and workplace accommodations; self-care resources; advocacy and help in navigating resources. Also provides assistance in making informed decisions about next steps involving reports to authorities within the university or to the police. Delivers education, prevention, training and awareness activities with campus partners.

Hours: E-mail or call to book an appt.

Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 3596


Community Safety and Security

24-hour emergency response, including crisis intervention/emergency management and referral. They provide safety planning and can assist in making a report to the police if this is what the survivor requests. Also provide Walk Safe service and free self-defense courses.

Hours: 24 hours a day

Phone: Dial 555040 from internal phones or call 416-979-5040

Location: Victoria Building, First Floor, 285 Victoria St.

Centre for Student Development and Counselling

Provides confidential on-campus, individual and group counselling for students.

Hours: Monday to Friday 9 am. – 4:45 pm.

Phone: 416-979-5195

Location: Jorgenson Hall, Room JOR-07C (Lower Ground Floor)

Toronto Metropolitan University Medical Centre

Offers medical attention during regular business hours by appointment for students. Can test for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) or pregnancy. Can refer to local hospitals and specialists. Requires OHIP or similar out-of-province insurance.

Hours: Monday to Friday 9 am. – 5 pm.

Phone: 416-979-5070

Location: Kerr Hall West, Room 181

Toronto Metropolitan University Indigenous Student Services

A culturally supportive environment where all First Nations, Aboriginal, Inuit, Metis status and non-status students can get support and assistance with traditional teachings.

Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 7699

Location: Kerr Hall West, Room 389

Housing & Residence Life

Direct connection to the professional staff Residence Life On Call personnel, Residence Advisors (RA) on-call and/or Residence Service Desk (RSD) Agents; personal connection/referrals to Consent Comes First, and the Centre for Student Development and Counselling.

24-Hour Service Desks: Pitman Hall: x5210

ILLC: x7700

Department hours

Phone: ext. 5284

Location: Pitman Hall 100

Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 am-5:00 pm


Human Rights Services

Support for the Toronto Metropolitan University community, promoting a study, work, and living environment free from discrimination and harassment. Manages the complaint investigation and decision making processes related to cases of sexual violence under this policy.

Hours: Monday to Friday 9 am. – 5 pm.

Phone: 416-979-5349


Location: POD-252-A

Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) Centre for Safer Sex and Sexual Violence Support (Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line)

The center offers drop-in peer support hours, and the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line. (external link) 

Hours: Monday – Friday 12 pm – 12 am



Centre for Women and Trans People

A student-run safer and inclusive place for all self-identified women, trans people and non-binary individuals on campus. Provides educational pamphlets, referrals and resources on issues that include racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, eating disorders, housing, sexual assault, pro-choice resources, violent relationships, support programs, women’s health and much more. (external link) 

Phone: 416-979-5255, ext. 2350


Location: SCC 210

Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) Legal Advice and Referral Services

Legal advice for students related to family and criminal law, legal procedures and documents, and dealing with lawyers. (external link) 

Hours: Appointments available on Tuesdays and Fridays (book ahead)

Phone: 416-979-5255


Toronto Metropolitan Association of Part-time Students (TMAPS) Legal Clinic

Free, in-house legal services to TMAPS members with in-house lawyer, Bill Reid. (external link) 

Hours:  Appointments available on Tuesdays only between 3pm - 7pm. Book in advance online.

Toronto Metropolitan Association of Part-time Students (TMAPS) Students Rights Coordinator

TMAPS' Student Rights Coordinator can assist with grade appeals or standing, charges of academic misconduct or other issues at the university. They can guide you through the university's policies to protect your student rights. (external link) 

Phone: 416-979-5000 ext. 1-7056


Ombudsperson’s Office

A confidential information, advice and assistance resource for those who wish to address what they believe to be unfair treatment at the university.

You can use this resource if you are not sure what your options are or you would like to discuss how a University policy or procedure applies to your situation.

Hours: Monday to Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. & Fridays 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 7450
Location: Oakham House, 2nd Floor, OAK Rooms 214/215/216

Supports and Services Available in the Community

Name of Services

Supports Available

Contact information

Services for all Genders

Women’s College Hospital Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre

For those assaulted within the past week, this support is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Women, men, and trans people who are survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic/intimate partner violence can access this support. (external link) 

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Phone: 416-323-6040

Location: 76 Grenville St. (Ground floor (in the AACU), Room 1305)

Victim Services Toronto

Assists people in crisis, 24-hours a day, seven days a week in the immediate aftermath of crime or tragedy. (external link) 

Hours: 24 hours a day
Phone: 416-808-7066

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel

Provides a 24/7 crisis line, online crisis chat, individual therapy, therapeutic groups and workshops. The online crisis chat can be located here: (external link) 

Hours: 24 hours a day
Phone: 1-800-810-0180

Toronto Police Services

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. For all other safety issues… please call the 416 number  In the next column (external link) 

Hours: 24 hours a day Phone: 416-808-2222

Family Service Toronto

Provides professional, short-term, individual, couple and family counselling for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (LGBTQ) (external link) 

Hours: Monday to Friday 9am-5pm OR Wednesday Walk-in: 3:30-7:30pm 
Phone: 416-595-9618
Location: 202-128A Sterling Road, Toronto

Central Toronto Youth Services- Pride and Prejudice Program

Programs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, Two-Spirit and questioning youth, ages 13-24. Includes "Yo- Yoga" which is an 8-week trauma sensitive yoga program. (external link) 

Phone: 416-924-2100

If you self-identify as a woman

Assaulted Women’s Helpline

24-hour telephone support and counselling available in several languages (external link) 

Phone: 416-863-0511

Barbara Schlifer Clinic

Provides counselling, legal information, interpreters and referral for women who have been physically or sexually abused. (external link) 

Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Phone: 416-323-9149


Location: 489 College St

Fred Victor Centre

24/7 Drop-in for women located in the Adelaide Resource Centre offers a warm, safe and welcoming space with access to health services on site. (external link) 

Phone: 416-392-9292

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Woman Against Rape

Crisis intervention, counselling and referral for survivors of rape/sexual assault.  Open 24 hours. (external link) 

Hours: 24 hours a day Phone: 416-597-8808

Women’s Support Network of York Region

Provides free, confidential services for women who have experienced sexual violence (external link) 

Hours: 24 hours a day

Phone: 905-895-7313

If you self-identify as a man

Support Services for Male Survivors of sexual abuse

Provides help for male survivors of sexual abuse, both recent and historical. The program is the first of its kind in Canada and is delivered by agencies across the province. Survivors also have access to a 24-hour, multilingual, toll-free phone line for immediate crisis and federal services (external link) 

Hours: 24 hours a day
Phone: 1-888-887-0015

If you are, or faced abuse when you were under 18, or have children who have been abused

Sick Kids’ Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Program

Care, support and assessment to children and teenagers who may have been maltreated, and their families. The SCAN program provides a link between SickKids and community doctors and hospitals, Children’s Aid Societies, police, schools and other community agencies. (external link) 

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
Phone: 416-813-6275
Location: 555 University Ave (Room 6427, Black Wing)

The Gatehouse

Offers support groups for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse as well as partners. (external link) 

Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Location: 3101 Lake Shore Blvd West

(1) Where a sanction involves a suspension or expulsion, a notation is put on the student record and transcript in the same manner as described in the Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct (Policy 61).

(2) Ibid