The Ontario government has introduced legislation it says will help protect postsecondary students from sexual misconduct by staff or faculty.
Bill 26, which received first reading Thursday, would empower postsecondary institutions to dismiss a staff or faculty member with just cause and prevent rehiring if found to have sexually abused a student.
“All students deserve to learn in a safe and supportive learning environment,” Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop said in a statement. “From day one, we have been clear: this government has zero-tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, or any other forms of violence or misconduct. That’s why we are taking action to better protect students from sexual violence and misconduct on and off-campus.”
The bill would prevent potential employees from using non-disclosure agreements to hide past misconduct, the government says.
Colleges and universities would be required to put in place rules to guide conduct between staff, faculty and students and to spell out disciplinary measures for violations, the government says.
The bill would also officially change the name of Ryerson University to Toronto Metropolitan University, which “supports our government’s efforts to ensure Ontario has a postsecondary system that embraces diversity, inclusivity and promotes success for all learners — including Indigenous learners — so they can find rewarding careers,” Dunlop said.
The bill can be found at ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-43/session-1/bill-26.