ÉTS intensifies its efforts to prevent harassment on its campus
Reiterates its commitment to providing support for victimsTuesday, October 15, 2019
After studying the proposal for remedial measures issued by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) pursuant to the complaint filed by a student, Kimberley Marin Rousseau, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) and the Association des étudiants (AÉÉTS – Student association) have made a joint commitment to address this issue. The complaint that Ms. Marin Rousseau filed with the CDPDJ arose from an event that occurred in 2015 during an orientation activity organized by AÉÉTS, during which she was the victim of harassment. Ms. Marin Rousseau will receive a total of $34,500, as recommended by the CDPDJ.
François Gagnon, ÉTS Director General, stated: “On behalf of ÉTS, I would like to extend my most sincere apologies to Ms. Marin Rousseau. This regrettable incident has uncovered some gaps that existed within our organization in terms of processing complaints related to harassment.
Things have changed at ÉTS since 2015, and they will continue to change. We can’t pretend that there is not still work to be done. However, the incident involving Ms. Marin Rousseau led to a necessary wake-up call that resulted in ÉTS reviewing its approach and implementing a structured and confidential process for receiving and managing complaints, including the creation of the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment Office (PRHO), among other initiatives. Providing guidance and support for victims is one of our main priorities.
Sexual violence and harassment constitute unacceptable behaviour. Since the creation of the PRHO, we have intensified our harassment prevention and resolution efforts. We receive about a hundred reports each year. The vast majority of cases involve incivility and improper behaviour, and are resolved through education and sensitivity training or through mediation, if the victim so desires. Approximately a dozen complaints per year involve situations of sexual violence or psychological harassment. All complaints are now subjected to an external investigation. If the complaint is founded, we take the appropriate action through remedial measures and/or sanctions determined by jurisprudence. For example, sanctions may include suspension with or without pay, prohibiting contact with victims or even termination of an employee or expulsion of a student.
I personally believe that harassment is inacceptable, and I am certain that the entire ÉTS community agrees. Furthermore, I am relying on the support of all members of the community to make this a campus that is free from sexual violence and all forms of harassment”, Mr. Gagnon concluded.
Intensified efforts at ÉTS: 2016 to today
A number of the actions undertaken by ÉTS since 2016 are in line with the remedial measures recommended by the CDPDJ in its proposal for resolution:
• Creation of a Prevention and Resolution of Harassment Office (PRHO);
• Adoption of the Policy for a Respectful and Harassment-Free Work, Study and Living Environment and formation of the Advisory Committee for the Prevention of Psychological Harassment and Sexual Violence, which comprises representatives of the ÉTS community;
• Adoption of the Policy to Prevent and Combat Violence of a Sexual Nature, which includes a protocol for processing complaints;
• Adoption of the Regulation on Close Personal Relationships in the Context of Authority and the Regulation on the Code of Conduct, which are designed to maintain a healthy and safe living and study environment;
• Launch of training programs for the managers and staff of the Prevention and Security Office;
• Making specialized resources available to the student community through Student Services and the PRHO;
• Integration of prevention and awareness-raising tips during orientation activities for new students at the beginning of each session;
• Deployment of education and prevention campaigns on campus, including lunch conferences and video clips.
Our priorities for 2019-2022: Awareness-raising, prevention and training
An online training program related to sexual violence has been developed jointly by Université du Québec member institutions. Deployment of the program at ÉTS began with senior executives and managers, and will be extended to the entire community (students, professors and employees) over the coming days.
Other initiatives include conferences, workshops and themed activities, along with mentoring for new female students. ÉTS is also committed to the vision adopted by Engineers Canada of increasing the proportion of women in engineering to 30% by 2030, and to developing the Objectif Féminin pluriel (Objective: increase female representation) promotional campaign that was launched in March 2019.
For more information:
Prevention and Resolution of Harassment Office