PEI

New bill makes sexual violence policies mandatory at P.E.I. post-secondary schools

The P.E.I. government has tabled a bill that will ensure Island post-secondary institutions have appropriate policies in place to address acts of sexual violence.

Schools would be required to report all incidents of sexual violence to the province

The province has tabled a bill compelling post-secondary institutions to develop policies to address acts of sexual violence. (John Robertson/CBC)

The P.E.I. government has tabled a bill that will ensure Island post-secondary institutions have appropriate policies in place to address acts of sexual violence. 

Sonny Gallant, minister of workforce and advanced learning, introduced the bill during Tuesday's sitting of the legislature.

The bill requires that post-secondary institutions develop policies and a process to address sexual violence involving students. 

The schools must also report all incidents of sexual violence to the department.  

Policies reviewed every three years

It also requires that those policies be reviewed every three years, unless otherwise directed by the minister, and that student input be considered. 

Gallant said the legislation would take existing sexual violence policies at UPEI and Holland College a step further. 

"There will be some accountability under the legislation, so I guess it would change in that way," he said. 

The University of Prince Edward Island passed its first policy on sexual violence in October after almost two years of consultation.

It applies to everyone who uses the university, including staff, students and the community.

Holland College has a stand-alone sexual violence policy. 

Developed after public consultation 

Gallant said the provincial legislation was tabled after public consultation with more than 50 stakeholders, including UPEI's student union and the national advocacy group Our Turn.

"It was something that needed to be discussed collaboratively with the interested parties and that had been done over the summer," Gallant said. 

He said new regulations for sexual violence policies will come from collaboration with those stakeholders.

The bill addresses policies to deal with sexual violence involving students, but none including faculty or members of the community on post-secondary campuses.

Gallant said changes to the bill to include staff and community members could be considered in the future.