Toronto NDP MPP proposes bill to issue consent awareness across Ontario

NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam of the Center of Toronto introduced a bill Thursday morning in the hope of creating Consent Awareness Week across Ontario.

The proposed measure follows a national action plan issued by student leaders from more than 20 post-secondary institutions and national organizations across Canada for “organizations and governments that address and prevent sexual violence on campus.”

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Student leaders issue national action plan against sexual violence on campus

The 10-step plan, titled Our Campus, Our Safety, highlights various recommendations, among them: mandatory sexual violence prevention training for all students born; ensure learning facilities and complaints procedures are available to survivors; and there are more facilities that follow the province-regulated “campus climate” surveys.

Click to play video: 'Student leaders deliver action plan to tackle sexual violence on campus'

Student leaders offer action plan to tackle sexual violence on campus

Student leaders lay out action plan to tackle sexual violence on campus – August 30, 2022

“Recent events in Ontario have led to an awareness of the urgency to address sexual violence and consent,” says Wong-Tam.

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“These events include allegations against members of the hockey team for engaging in group sexual assault, high profile sexual assaults in the media, and public outings. student ministry in response to post-secondary campus sexual assaults.”

Both the proposed bill and the action plan come as a response to a series of allegations made during Western University’s 2021 orientation week. Social media posts allege 30 students were drugged and sexually assaulted at the Medway-Sydenham Hall residence in London, Ont., on September 10, 2021. About 9,000 students subsequently died. left the classroom to protest what they called a “culture of deviance” on campus.

“From my personal experience as a student leader at Western last year, I can share how national news events rocked our entire college community, as students and student leaders are in shock after last year’s orientation events,” said Jessica Look, president. of the University of Ontario Student Union, and vice president of external affairs for the student council at Western University.

Students are most at risk of sexual assault during the first eight weeks of the school year, according to British Columbia’s End Violence Association, and 50% of sexual assaults on campus occur during “The Red Zone” or the first six weeks of school.

Students gather on UC Hill for a walk at Western University on September 17, 2021.

Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

According to Wong-Tam, Consent Awareness Week will be held every year in the third week of September.

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Wong-Tam said: “The week was chosen to recognize and raise awareness about the increase in sexual violence in post-secondary schools during the first six weeks of the new school year.

“The week will act as an annual reminder that Ontarians have a right to respect and safety where they live, work, study and play.”

Read more:

Western University unveils plan to tackle gender and sexual violence on campus

Keneisha Charles, a student at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), shares their experience, saying that “before becoming a college student, consent was really not a word in the everyday vocabulary mine”.

They said: “Consent is like asking permission to touch a black person’s hair. “It looks like asking transgender and non-binary students about their pronouns and their use. It’s like asking people with disabilities what their accessibility needs are and building accommodation into an everyday space. It’s about our relationships with others, yes, but also with ourselves, the space around us, the land, and more.

Charles adds: “Consensus is at the heart of all good relationships, and it is the foundation of communities founded in care.

“Consent Awareness Week is about writing a new story for our young people.”

Officials explained that this week could look “really different” across Ontario, with the hope that it will grow every year.

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“In my ideal world, universities and student unions could work together, carry out educational campaigns, programs, etc. with government support,” says Look.

Kayla Han, steering committee member of the Ontario University Student Union and vice president of government and stakeholders with Wilfred Laurier University’s student body, shared how her campus is performing to address sexual and gender violence.

“Laurier will be guiding a number of schools across Ontario to join the anti-sexual violence movement, who have made the issue a top priority this year,” she said, referring to a rally that will be held. held at the school’s Waterloo and Branford campuses on September 22.

“As student leaders, we recognize the value of standing in solidarity with our students and survivors and want to emphasize the importance of continuing this conversation beyond Week 1. Consent Awareness Ceremony.

“It is important that we strengthen the voices of students and survivors who have been talking about this for a long time, and provide adequate resources and support so that they can have the best possible experience. post-secondary experiences are as safe and friendly as they are supposed to be,” she added.

Wong-Tam concludes that she hopes Consent Awareness Week will pass as soon as possible with unanimous consent.

Look says that “gender-based violence has long been a concern for generations of students, and large-scale change has taken too long.”

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Minister for Women, Gender Equality announces $30 million in federal funding for crisis hotlines across Canada – August 10, 2022

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