|Sub-Category:||SOCIAL - ABUSED WOMEN & CHILDREN/PORNOGRAPHY|
BACKGROUND: In the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code), sexual harassment is “engaging in a course of
vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.” The Code
protects both men and women from sexual harassment, but women are more affected than men.
International human rights conventions and Canadian legal decisions have recognized sexual
harassment as an abuse of power that can reinforce a woman's historic lower status compared to men.
Sexual harassment can happen in all social and economic classes, ethnic groups, jobs and places in
the community. Most sexual harassment, and its more severe form as sexual violence, are perpetrated
by someone known to the victim, making reporting and other actions problematic.
Over the years many actions have been taken by governments, advocacy groups, volunteers,
association and media to raise awareness, state consequences, and point to societal harm, we have a
long way to go to eliminate such behaviours. Sexual harassment is the slippery slope of behaviour
which can open the door to more violent behaviours such as sexual abuse and violence.
The time has come to reenergize the campaign against sexual harassment – raising awareness,
educating each other, enforcing legislation, developing and applying appropriate policies, creating and
maintaining safe environment for reporting incidences, and monitoring degree of success of such public
Three in 10 Canadians say they have been on the receiving end of unwelcome sexual
advances, requests for sexual favours, or sexually charged talk while on the job or at an office function
— but the vast majority prefer to deal with it on their own rather than report it to an employer, says a
new Angus Reid poll.
Fourteen per cent of those harassed also told the Angus Reid Institute that the experience was
much more intense than mere innuendo or talk: it ranged from sexual touching to more serious
unwanted sexual contact over their working lives.
Affirmative consent, also known as the "Yes means Yes" bill, is now the law in California. The
U.S. state made history in 2014 when it passed the new law, aimed at preventing sexual assault on
campuses. It mandates all colleges and universities in California to have policies requiring students to
have "affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement" from their sexual partners. Canadian campuses
have seen a series of disturbing incidents in recent years. Students and universities across Canada
took note of California's "Yes means Yes" bill with great interest.
1. Ontario Human Rights Code: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/learning/human-rights-101/ontario-human-rights-code
2. Ontario Human Rights Commission: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en
4. Three-in-ten Canadians say they’ve been sexually harassed at work, but very few have reported this to their
RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario and, in particular, the Premier of Ontario to continue the multi-pronged approach recently undertaken to promote the understanding and prevention of sexual violence and harassment, and work with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and the media; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards to undertake a policy campaign to educate police on sexual violence and harassment laws and ensure they are upheld; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to implement and enforce clear policies against sexual violence and harassment on university and college campuses throughout Ontario, working in conjunction with local police and campus security; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Ontario Association of Colleges and Universities to undertake an awareness campaign on avoiding sexual violence and harassment, and “Yes Means Yes” or a similar program as a guide to consent; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Ontario Human Rights Commission undertake a public awareness campaign on avoiding sexual violence and harassment, and “Yes Means Yes” or a similar program as a guide to consent.
©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com
Article ID: 4375