The fight against sexual violence in institutions of higher education reflects a determination to ensure healthy and respectful study and work environments for all Quebecers. In addition to satisfying a social imperative, it must foster a change of culture in these institutions.
In 2016-2017, the Ministère held consultations with all higher education stakeholders. More than 75 briefs were submitted, and nearly 400 people participated in five days of discussions on how to prevent and counter sexual violence on college and university campuses in Québec.
These consultations helped identify various measures aimed at fighting sexual violence (such as prevention policies, better physical security measures on campuses, and effective complaints management mechanisms).
In August 2017, following these consultations, the Intervention Strategy for Preventing and Countering Sexual Violence in Higher Education was adopted. This strategy is consistent with the Québec government’s 2016-2021 strategy to prevent and counteract sexual violence, and is unique in that it takes into account all students and staff in institutions of higher education. It also makes provisions for the special needs of students with disabilities, members of cultural and Indigenous communities, and sexual and gender minorities.
On December 8, 2017, further progress was made with the passage of the Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions. The Act requires higher education institutions to adopt a policy to prevent and fight sexual violence in order to ensure healthy, safe and respectful study and work environments. Section 18 stipulates that every educational institution must adopt its policy before January 1, 2019 and implement it no later than September 1, 2019.