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It's Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment Progress Report 2015-2016

Archived Backgrounder

It's Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment Progress Report 2015-2016

Ministry of the Status of Women

The Action Plan is leading the way to an Ontario where everyone lives in safety, free from the threat, fear or experience of sexual violence and harassment. It includes 13 key commitments:

  1. Introduce legislation to strengthen provisions related to sexual violence and harassment in the workplace, on campus, in housing, and through the civil claim process.
  • Introduced the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2015 which, if passed, would make workplaces, campuses, and communities safer and provide more support for survivors of sexual violence by removing the limitation period for all civil proceedings based on sexual assault; eliminating the limitation period for survivors of sexual and domestic violence to make a compensation application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board; and shortening the time it takes to end a tenancy agreement for people experiencing sexual or domestic violence, to make it easier for survivors to flee abuse.
  1. Launch a public education and awareness campaign across Ontario to challenge attitudes, promote immediate change in rape culture behaviour, and encourage a longer-term generational shift to end deep-rooted attitudes and behaviours.
  • Released the award-winning #WhoWillYouHelp campaign which received more than 85 million views worldwide, raised awareness and shifted attitudes. 
  1. Develop tools and identify best practices to support a compassionate and sensitive response from law enforcement authorities to encourage more survivors to report sexual assaults.
  • Invested in evidence-based research that examines issues surrounding sexual violence reporting to help improve police response.  Hosted a community of practice conference to improve supports for survivors. 
  1. Increase supports and develop an enhanced prosecution model to improve the experience of survivors navigating the criminal justice system.
  • Provided training for over 600 Crown attorneys on improving sexual assault survivors' experiences in the justice system. 
  1. Update the Health and Physical Education curriculum to help students from grades 1-12 gain a deeper understanding of a host of important issues, including healthy relationships and consent.
  • Implemented the updated Health and Physical Education curriculum in all publicly-funded schools. 
  1. Introduce legislation to require colleges and universities to work with students to adopt campus-wide sexual violence and harassment policies that include training, prevention, complaint procedures and response protocols.
  • Introduced the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2015 which, if passed, would require all publicly-assisted colleges, universities and private career colleges to have a stand-alone sexual violence policy that is reviewed every three years with student involvement.
  1. Strengthen supports provided by hospital-based Sexual and Domestic Violence Treatment Centres (SDVTCs) to maintain 24/7 access to excellent, appropriate and timely care.
  • Invested an additional $1.1 million in annual funding over three years for hospital-based SDVTCs to strengthen counselling and outreach services to patients.  
  1. Develop up-to-date training for front-line workers in the health, community services, education and justice sectors to better support survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and develop training for workers in the hospitality sector to empower them to know how to help when they encounter high-risk situations.
  • Initiated training development through a call for proposals for organizations to develop and implement up-to-date training for front-line professionals. Successful applicants will be announced this spring. 
  1. Stabilize and increase funding for community-based sexual assault centres.
  • Stabilized and increased the annual investment by $1.75 million for Ontario's 42 community-based sexual assault centres for services like crisis help-lines, counselling and referrals.  
  1. Create a pilot program to provide free independent legal advice to sexual assault survivors whose cases are proceeding toward a criminal trial.
  • Finalizing a pilot program to give survivors of sexual assault free legal advice anytime after the incident occurred, including those whose cases are proceeding to trial. 


  1. Establish a permanent roundtable to make Ontario a leader within Canada on issues of violence against women.
  • Established Ontario's Permanent Roundtable on Violence Against Women OWD.
  1. Enhance workplace laws to strengthen enforcement under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including establishing a Code of Practice to help employers develop stronger sexual harassment policies.
  • Introduced the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2015 which, if passed, would require specific new employer duties to protect workers from workplace harassment, including a duty to ensure that incidents and complaints are appropriately investigated, and enhance requirements regarding workplace harassment programs. 


  1. Launch a creative engagement fund that supports Ontario artists to develop projects that provoke conversation and dialogue on issues of consent, rape culture and gender inequality.
  • Launched a $2.25 million Creative Engagement Fund to support artistic projects that draw awareness to issues of sexual violence and harassment.

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