Human Rights and Equity Office

Human Rights and Equity Office
Human Rights and Equity Office


Human Rights Legislation Group

The Human Rights Legislation Group is composed of unit heads from all academic and non-academic groups on campus or their designates.

The group is co-chaired by Stephanie Simpson (AVP Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion) and Melissa Seal (Queen's Legal Counsel). The purpose of the group is to provide units with the information they need to understand the constantly evolving landscape of human rights related legislation in order to prevent breaches of human rights.

Some of the pieces of legislation discussed include: the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and its standards, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Employment Equity Legislation.

The group holds periodic meetings to exchange information that will help units understand these changes, how they will affect the workplace and the skills required to meet our legal obligations. Interested individuals should email for information on attending the meetings or for access to resources.

Access each of the meeting minutes listed:

Speak On It Series

Through the knowledges, experiences and stories of a series of invited speakers, “Speak On It” will provide a space for staff, students and faculty – particularly those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and racialized– to come together to learn from each other, discuss the urgent questions and discover the necessary strategies for transformation of higher education and more broadly society.   

“Speak on It” aims to not only further build the community of scholars, students and staff who experience marginalization at Queen’s, but also to offer participants the opportunity to share space with a range of everyday intellectuals who will offer insights on the various ways in which they are navigating unique barriers and challenges related to racism, white supremacy and interlocking forms of oppression inside and outside the academy. 

"Speak on It" will be offered as a series of lunch hour sessions at least 4 times per academic year.

  • February 2021: Black mental health with Kattawe Henry
  • April 2021: Navigating Racialization in Childhood with Roots and Wings. Register here:

21 Days of Inspiration for March 21

Every March, we will focus our attention on March 21: The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by highlighting 21 pieces meant to inspire and strengthen communities in the struggle against racism and other forms of oppression.

National Day of Remembrance

On December 6, 1989, 14 women, individuals at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, were killed in a gender-based act of violence.

They were:

  • Geneviève Bergeron
  • Hélène Colgan
  • Nathalie Croteau
  • Barbara Daigneault
  • Anne-Marie Edward
  • Maud Haviernick
  • Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz
  • Maryse Laganière
  • Maryse Leclair
  • Anne-Marie Lemay
  • Sonia Pelletier
  • Michèle Richard
  • Annie St-Arneault
  • Annie Turcotte

In 1991, the Parliament of Canada declared December 6th to be the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The day now represents a time to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also a day for communities and individuals to speak out against all forms of violence against women and its impact on victims and their families and friends.

In Ontario, candlelight vigils, memorial services, and other events are held throughout the province.

Each year the Queen's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science holds a commemoration. Please see the Queen's event calendar for details: Queen's Event Calendar

Online Harassment and Cyberbullying at Queen's

Have you experienced online harassment?

Online harassment (sometimes experienced as “cyberbullying”) is a pattern of unwanted behaviour involving electronic technology that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome.

Online harassment typically results in the creation of an intimidating, demeaning and/or hostile working, living or learning environment. It can involve communication tools such as:

  • Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube)
  • Online discussion forums
  • Anonymous posting forums
  • Websites and blogs
  • Text, photo, video, and audio messaging
  • Email
  • Online games

Online harassment uses language or images that humiliate, threaten, or violate the privacy of the targeted person(s). It may include, but is not limited to:

  • Aggressive personal attacks
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic put-downs or threats
  • Stalking
  • Rumour spreading
  • Sharing of personal information/photos without consent
  • Shaming/ostracism
  • Impersonation

Are you a student experiencing online harassment? Here are some steps you can take:


What do I do if I am being harassed online?

  1. Immediately contact Campus Security and Emergency Services at (613) 533-6111.
  2. Save detailed records of each incident. Write down as much information as possible including date, time, location witnesses etc.
  3. Take screenshots that include date and time stamps.
  4. Minimize contact with the harasser. Take steps to block calls, and texts, adjust your privacy settings and avoid further communication.
  5. Speak to an on campus support who can offer further advice: Human Rights and Equity Office, IT Services, Ombudsperson, Campus Security or Student Wellness Services.
Please note: there may be certain cases where the you should explore options in the Kingston community such as, Kingston Police who can be contacted at (613) 549-4660. 

For further information on reporting unwanted images on social media sites including - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram check out

Positive Space Program

The Positive Space Program brings visibility and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities at Queen's. It was developed and is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Office, the Ontario Public Interest Research Group and the Education on Queer Issues Project.

Members of the Queen's community who want to get involved in this program can attend a Positive Space session to familiarize themselves with queer issues, local resources and discrimination and harassment policies. They can then sign up to be members of the Program and receive a sticker that they can use to designate their work, living or study space as "Positive Space" i.e. respectful and supportive of sexual and gender diversity.

To find out more information about the Positive Space Program, or to register for a Positive Space information session, please visit the Positive Space website.

Understanding Each Other: Perceptions of Accent and Authority Among Classroom Instructors At Queen's University

The Human Rights office in collaboration with the Public Service Alliance of Canada Local 901 (PSAC 901) and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS), presents here the results of research aimed at determining if and how educator's accents affect teaching experiences at Queen's.

The research was conducted through an online survey, Understanding Each Other: Perceptions of Accent and Authority Among Classroom Instructors At Queen's University included questions about whether you believe accents affect instructor authority, whether you believe you have an accent (i.e. a manner of speaking that is significantly different from the local manner of speaking), whether you have experienced positive or negative reactions to your accent, whether you feel your authority in the classroom or teaching evaluations have been affected by your accent, etc. As part of the survey we also invited participants to submit anecdotal experiences on teaching with or without accents at Queen's. The survey was completely anonymous and was open to all educators at Queen's University (i.e. educators with or without an accent).

Included below are the findings from a research project on accent and authority among classroom instructors at Queen’s University. The research project began in 2009 and concluded in 2015. Included in this research project was anyone who had teaching responsibilities in an academic department at Queen’s University.

Download the Full report (PDF 872 KB)

Woman Recreated Mosaic Project
The Woman Recreated Mosaic Project was a year-long project that celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Queen's Human Rights Office. Artists from Queen's and across the world came together to create two mosaic paintings based on an original work by Leo Yerxa. Each mosaic consists of 72 individual paintings.