Ontario universities taking action

Ontario universities taking action

August 11, 2016


The Ontario Universities Taking Action Against Sexual Violence Conference (OUTA), held at Queen’s University on Aug. 10-11, brought together more than 200 delegates from across Canada and the United States to share strategies and experiences on the prevention of sexual violence.

Among those joining the discussion on the second day of the student-organized event was the Hon. Tracy MacCharles, Ontario’s Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.

During her opening remarks, Minister MacCharles said that continuing to have frank discussions is a key element to raising awareness about and preventing sexual violence on campus and elsewhere.

In her role, Minister MacCharles says she has had a number of high-level meetings to address the issue across the province but added that hosting events such as the OUTA conference is vital.

“I think it is more important to have community-based conferences like this so that the expertise and resources on the ground can come together at a great institution like Queen’s to talk frankly about where the challenges are,” she says. “This is a serious issue that has been around for an unbelievably long time and it’s not going to be solved overnight. It’s going to take time.”

Earlier, Minister MacCharles was introduced at the conference by Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). In his first speech since officially arriving at Queen’s earlier this month, Dr. Bacon spoke about the importance of promoting a safe and respectful campus that is free from sexual violence and harassment.

“I can’t think of a more important topic to kick off his new role,” Minister MacCharles says.

The two-day conference was aimed at addressing the task of preventing sexual violence on university campuses by fostering connections between advocates, researchers, students, university administrators, policymakers, and campus and community service providers from across North America.

“Promoting a safe and respectful campus that is free from sexual violence and harassment is a priority at Queen’s,” says Dr. Bacon. “This is why, among other measures, we have recently appointed a full-time sexual violence prevention and response coordinator. We are fully committed to this issue and hold strongly that effective prevention is a key component of addressing sexual violence on campuses and elsewhere. I want to thank the students involved in organizing this timely conference for their work and commitment.”

To learn more about the OUTA, visit the conference website.