Sexual violence prevention services to be mandatory essential fees

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By Sherina Harris

Sexual violence prevention services will be mandatory ancillary fees under the Ontario government’s new framework, the communications director of the minister of training, colleges and universities told The Eye.

“Fees that support programs and services that promote on-campus safety, including the prevention of sexual violence, are an allowable compulsory ancillary fee under the Student Choice Initiative,” Stephanie Rea said.

She said these programs and services might include—but aren’t limited to—walk safe programs.

In January, the ministry announced their intent to create a system where students can opt out of certain ancillary fees called the Student Choice Initiative. Universities are still waiting for those guidelines. On March 4, Rea told The Eye the guidelines would be shared with universities “very soon.”

In a document first reported by The Varsity also obtained by The Eyeopener, essential fees are outlined as those involving athletics and recreation, career services, student buildings, health and counselling, academic support, student ID cards, transcriptions and convocation, financial aid offices, walk safe programs, student transit passes and health and dental plans.

It was previously unclear whether sexual violence prevention services would be included under safety or health and counselling in the framework.

Some sexual violence services at Ryerson are offered through the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), including the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Line (SASSL).

It’s unclear if students unions will be considered an essential service by the government. If they’re not, it’s unclear how SASSL and other equity service centres at Ryerson would be impacted.

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