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This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.

Approving Authority: Board of Governors

Original Approval Date: February 12, 1991

Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: June 22, 2017

Office of Accountability: Office of the President

Administrative Responsibility: Office of Dispute Resolution


1.01 Wilfrid Laurier University (“Laurier”) is devoted to learning, research, scholarship, creativity, in a student-centred environment. The university is committed to fostering a study and workplace culture that is supportive of professional and personal development and free from discrimination and harassment. 

1.02 Each member of the campus community is responsible for helping to create an environment that promotes mutual respect and understanding for the dignity and rights of others. It is in this environment that work and learning can best be accomplished and the purpose for this policy. 


Several of the following definitions are taken from legislation governing the subject matter of this policy. The legislation supersedes this policy; to the extent the relevant legislation is amended, the definitions below will be read as likewise amended until such time as the policy is updated.

2.01 Direct Discrimination

Direct Discrimination describes an act, behaviour or practice of treating a person unequally on the basis of a Prohibited Ground.

2.02 Prohibited Grounds

The Prohibited Grounds are the protected categories listed under the Human Rights Code (Ontario) ("OHRC"), which, as of the effective date of this policy, are: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences*, marital status, family status, and disability.

*The Prohibited ground identified as record of offenses is limited only to discrimination of employment.

2.03 Systemic Discrimination

Systemic Discrimination, referred to as “constructive discrimination” in the Human Rights Code, is most commonly known as systemic discrimination because it is discrimination inherent in, or the result of, the organization’s informal or formal policies, practices or procedures.

Systemic Discrimination occurs when a requirement, qualification, or factor results in the exclusion, restriction or preference of a group identified by a prohibited ground.

2.04 Workplace Harassment

As defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) workplace harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in the workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or workplace sexual harassment.

Workplace harassment often involves repeated words or actions, or a pattern of behaviours, against a worker or group of workers in the workplace that are unwelcome.

Harassment does not include:

i) interpersonal conflict or disagreement;

ii) reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the workplace.

2.05 Workplace Sexual Harassment

As defined by the OHSA, workplace sexual harassment is engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably known to be unwelcome, or making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.

Workplace sexual harassment may also include unwanted attention or remarks of a sexually oriented nature or unwelcome remarks based on gender which are not of a sexual nature, but which are demeaning or degrading.

Workplace sexual solicitation or sexual advance includes an implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement.

Every member of the Laurier community has a right to be free from reprisal or threat of reprisal for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance, where the reprisal is made, or threatened by, a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement.

When an individual has power over another, decision-making can be impacted and mutual consent may be called into question should a complaint of harassment and/or discrimination arise either during or after a relationship has ended.

2.06 Workplace Harassment

Workplace Harassment is engaging in course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. The conduct need not be based on the Prohibited Grounds.

2.07 Poisoned Environment

Where harassing or discriminatory behaviours are severe and/or pervasive and cause unreasonable interference with a person’s study or work environment, a poisoned environment may be created. A poisoned work or learning environment is one that is intimidating, hostile and/or offensive. A poisoned environment can arise from even a single incident. It may be created by the comments or actions of any person, regardless of his or her status. The comments or conduct do not have to be directed at a particular individual.

A person need not be the target of the behaviours to feel the effects of certain harassing or discriminatory behaviours at their place of work or study.


3.01 This policy will apply to all members of the university community in their interactions with other members of the university community. This includes all faculty, staff and students, student groups (Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Student Association, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union), as well as volunteers and contractors retained by the university. The university will address workplace harassment from any source including members of the public.

3.02 Contracts may be subject to cancellation should a breach of this policy occur.

3.03 Behaviour which involves interactions of members of the Laurier community will be considered and addressed whether or not it occurs during normal working/school hours or on campus (e.g. work or academic related travel, research in the field, academic placements).


4.01 Every member of the Laurier community has a right to equal treatment to and freedom from discrimination and harassment based on the Prohibited Grounds with respect to employment and the receipt of education and related services and facilities.

4.02 This policy also addresses the requirements of the ("OHSA") as it relates to workplace harassment and workplace sexual harassment.

4.03 All persons involved in allegations of discrimination and/or harassment are to be treated fairly and impartially and maintain the rights, privileges and protections afforded to them under legislation, University policies and applicable collective agreements. Every person has the right to seek remedy through the Ontario Human Rights Commission or Tribunal, or through the assistance of the police. University proceedings may be suspended pending the outcome of those interventions. This policy does not limit or supersede collective agreements, the ("OHRC") or the ("OHSA"), as it relates to Workplace Harassment.

4.04 The University will take appropriate steps to fairly investigate and respond to allegations of discrimination and/or harassment in accordance with the procedures relating to this Policy.

4.05 This policy does not impact bona fide special programs designed and implemented to relieve hardship or economic disadvantage or to assist disadvantaged persons or groups in achieving equal opportunity.

Relevant Legislation

  • Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O 1990, Chapter O.1

Related Polices, Procedures and Documents


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