QUEEN’S PARK — Laura Mae Lindo, NDP Colleges and Universities critic, and Jill Andrew, NDP Women’s Issues critic, along with Terence Kernaghan, NDP LGBTQ critic, released the following statement in response to the Ford government’s announcement about sexual violence policies at colleges and universities in Ontario:
“Students in Ontario have been left incredibly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence on campus — and we know women, queer, trans, non-binary and gender diverse, Indigenous and other racialized people are at a heightened risk. Worse still, survivors have not been provided with the supports and investments they need to heal - not from the Conservative government nor from the Liberals before them.
The changes announced by the Ford government do little to support survivors, many of whom who have been fighting back against rape culture on campus. Tinkering with regulatory language does nothing to ensure those holding student disclosures understand the impact of their questions or can assess why some questions are irrelevant. Nor does it give students survivor-centred options for reporting sexual and gender-based violence. Not only is the government late to recognize that irrelevant questions about sexual history are problematic in investigations into sexual and gender-based violence on campus, but the government is asking institutions to create their own individual policies without giving them any resources or real guidance.
Ontario needs to establish minimum standards so we don’t wind up with a patchwork of different policies, risking policies that fail to prevent sexual and gender-based violence on campuses or support survivors — and in some cases could even hurt survivors. Province-wide, trauma-informed standards must be developed in broad consultation with experts, frontline workers, students and survivors.”