The Complaint Process

When You Contact the Office

  • you can seek confidential advice
  • you can make an appointment
  • you can bring a support person to any meetings
  • you can get information about the complaint process

Contact with the office is confidential, and the Officer is non-partisan. The complaint process is also confidential, and if you want to make a formal complaint you must maintain confidentiality. This requirement covers everyone involved.

The complainant decides whether to go forward with a complaint, not the Officer.

If a formal complaint is made about your conduct, you are entitled to a copy of the complaint; you are entitled to bring a support person to any meetings with the Officer; and you are entitled to make a full response to the complaint.

Making a Formal Complaint

Formal complaints under the Sexual Harassment Policy are made through the Sexual Harassment Officer, and they must be made within 6 months of the events, or in exceptional circumstances 12 months.

You make your complaint in writing, and sign it. The Officer contacts the person whose conduct you are complaining about, the respondent, and gives her/him a copy of the complaint.

The Policy lays out three stages for resolving complaints:

Stage 1: Each person discusses the matter with the Sexual Harassment Officer. They may also meet, in the Office, to discuss the matter with each other and the Officer. They may agree on a resolution at this stage.  If not:

Stage 2: A mediator is appointed to assist in further discussion and in formulating agreements. If there is no resolution at thisstage, the complainant may request a Formal Hearing. The complaint is referred to the Vice-President, who may then refer it to the University Hearing Board.

Stage 3: The complaint is heard by the University Hearing Board, composed of student, staff and faculty members. The Board hears evidence, rules on the complaint, and, where appropriate, imposes sanctions. The decision of this Board may be appealed to the Appeals Board, whose decision is final.

Complainants may opt for a mediation-only procedure if they prefer a more informal approach.


The Policy prohibits any retaliation against people who use its procedures or who are witnesses. Retaliation can form the basis of a further complaint and can attract additional sanctions.

Other Proceedings

You may decide to pursue a complaint under the Human Rights Code or other legal action. The Office can provide information about alternative procedures. You cannot use the University Policy and another procedure at the same time.

A complete copy of the Sexual Harassment Policy is available on the University of Toronto Governing Council website. The office is open during business hours and at other times by arrangement. The Officer visits UTSC and UTM on a regular basis and by appointment.

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