Ontario's sexual violence action plan a historic victory for college and university students

TORONTO, March 6, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's college and university students are celebrating Premier Kathleen Wynne's announcement of the government's Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan, calling it a bold commitment to prevent, mitigate and address sexual violence on campuses and in communities. The action plan reflects students' recommendations including legislative changes, institutional accountability measures, and funding for support services, training and education programs.

 "This is a historic win for generations of students from across the province who have been working tirelessly on this issue for decades," said Anna Goldfinch, Ontario Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The Premier clearly took students' concerns very seriously and we are pleased to see our suggestions reflected in the final action plan."

Earlier this week, students released a set of recommendations to government that included mandatory sexual assault policies developed with student input, a $6 million long-term sexual assault support fund and a post-secondary education sexual assault accountability branch. These recommendations arose from rigorous student consultations, including a student roundtable hosted jointly by the Premier and the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario in January.

Students are hopeful that in the near future, the province will dedicate funds to the post-secondary education sector, along with additional funds to community organizations that desperately need increases to their operating budgets. Currently there are some post-secondary institutions that have support services, while others need to rely on community rape crisis centres and women's and trans centres. Students believe it is important that both areas receive the funding they need.

"We are happy to see that mandatory policies, education and training, and accountability measures were all included in the action plan," said Goldfinch. "However, we will continue to push for an accountability division within the government and more financial support for campuses and community organizations who combat rape culture and sexual violence."

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest and oldest student organization in Ontario, representing more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

Image with caption: "Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke before the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario during a campaign launch aimed at "Taking Action Against Sexual Violence and Harassment" at the YWCA on Elm street in Toronto, ON. (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150306_C4065_PHOTO_EN_12910.jpg

For further information: Anna Goldfinch, National Executive Representative: 647-339-4070 or national@cfsontario.ca


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