There is an unprecedented conversation in North America on gender-based violence at post-secondary campuses. Grassroots survivor-led groups, student unions, staff, faculty, individuals, administrators, and organizations have been working for decades to address sexual violence on campus. As a result, there have been some key changes in institutions of higher education to address sexual violence across Canada over the past few years. In 2016 the Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba provincial governments passed legislation mandating all post-secondary institutions (colleges, universities, CEGEP, trade schools) to establish stand-alone sexual violence policies. Since that time, other provinces across the country have followed suit.
To address this urgent issue the Government of Canada made a $5.5 million commitment to develop a Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions over the next five years. The framework will capture promising practices, policy areas and guiding principles in collaboration with community stakeholders from across Canada. It will build on the crucial work already being done on campuses and in communities to address sexual violence.
The team at Possibility Seeds Consulting is working to support the creation of the draft Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions with the Department for Women and Gender Equality and an advisory team of over 30 individuals and organizations across Canada.
Over a five-month period, we are engaging in two key phases. The first phase, titled Listening and Learning will engage in activities that will provide us with the opportunity to consult with key campus and community stakeholders from across the country. The second phase, titled Building Together, will provide us with an opportunity to build from the research and the community engagement sessions in the first phase to create a draft gender-based violence (GBV) policy, and begin to articulate promising practices and prevention plans.
The Listening and Learning phase of this project includes a research component that will allow us to explore and examine existing gender-based violence policies at post-secondary institutions, relevant research and literature. We will synthesize our findings into a report that will outline key best practices, explore gaps in current approaches, examine adherence requirements, and outline next steps. In addition to this, we have developed an action plan and an engagement tool for engaging campus and community partners in the Listening and Learning Sessions. In this phase, we will host a series of Listening and Learning Sessions with a cross-section of Canadian experts on gender-based violence in post-secondary institutions.
The Building Together phase of this project draws on the research and community dialogue gathered in the first phase of this project to establish a national framework to address gender-based violence in post-secondary institutions that includes key materials i.e. GBV policy, prevention plan, and an outline of Year 2 priorities.