Over the last year, the University has undertaken a review of the Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy, Sexual Assault Policy, and combined Procedures. The U of M has mandated the review of these policies every three years. This review process is compliant with new legislation from the Government of Manitoba.
From May 2018 to November 2018, all members of the University community, including current and graduating students, staff, and faculty were encouraged to share their ideas and input through an online confidential feedback mechanism. Following this, throughout October and November 2018, further consultation was conducted with a wide range of stakeholder groups from all areas of the U of M community. Now that the consultation process has concluded, we want to share what we heard.
Key themes from the consultation sessions and online feedback mechanism can be found in the RWLE and SA Policies & Procedure Consultations Report (PDF).
As of February 2019, the policy review is ongoing and more updates will be provided over the months to come. For more information on the policy review or to provide additional feedback, please contact one of the RWLE & SA Policy Advisory Committee co-chairs, Susan Gottheil at Susan.Gottheil@umanitoba.ca or Jackie Gruber at Jackie.Gruber@umanitoba.ca.For answers to questions raised repeatedly throughout the consultation process, please see the FAQ’s listed below.
Both of these policies, as well as the Respectful Work and Learning Environment and Sexual Assault Procedure, are available online on our governing documents page.
The full, formal title of this act, which is often referred to as Bill 15 is: The Sexual Violence Awareness And Prevention Act (Advanced Education Administration Act And Private Vocational Institutions Act Amended)
The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and regulations passed pursuant to the Workplace Safety and Health Act restrict the University’s ability to share personal information it has collected about faculty, staff or students or decisions it has made about how to handle complaints. These laws are intended to protect the integrity of the investigation, and to encourage complainants and witnesses to come forward, and respondents to cooperate with the investigation process.
These reports contain vast amounts of very personal and sensitive personal information. Personal information is protected under FIPPA and is defined as: recorded information about an identifiable individual and includes information about a person's employment and work history, a person's opinions, educational information, etc. Public institutions, including universities, are obligated to protect personal information.
Although the University does not publicly disclose the findings of an investigation, it is important to note that both complainants and respondents receive copies of investigation reports.
Where there is more than one complainant, each complainant will only receive those parts of the report that touch on the information they provided. Provincial legislation prohibits the release of information concerning the remedial measures or sanctions imposed on a respondent to a complainant unless a person needs to have the information as would be the case, for example, if the respondent is ordered to avoid contact with the complainant.
Filing deadlines are imposed on most complaint-based processes in order to ensure that information about an incident is collected while memories are fresh. One-year deadlines are quite common in complaint based processes. For example, complaints under The Manitoba Human Rights Code must be filed within a year. The University’s current policy provides that individuals can still file a formal complaint even if it is past the one-year timeline, at which point it is up to the assessor of the formal complaint to determine if an extension would be fair. An appeal is available should they disagree with the assessor's decision. Additionally, informal options available under the procedure have no timeline.
One can also access external processes such as reporting to the police, filing a civil claim or making a complaint to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.