Protection of Human Rights Policy
All members of the college community are required to comply with this policy.
At the same time, the college recognizes its responsibility to receive and act upon allegations of infringements. The objective of any action taken is to arrive at an early and just settlement of a complaint in a manner which restores the complainant to a working or learning environment free from harassment or discrimination and advances future compliance with the Code and the policy. To this end the college provides the procedures described below for receiving and hearing complaints.
Initiation of Complaints
Complaints under this policy may be initiated by any member of the college community as identified above.
If a complainant using this policy chooses to use an alternate procedure, such as the Ontario Human Rights Code or criminal complaint, the college may decide to either terminate or suspend this procedure.
Right to Withdraw
A complainant has the right to withdraw a complaint at any stage in this process. The college may continue to act on the issue identified in the complaint in order to comply with its legal obligations.
Personal Advocates or Advisors
Any person involved in the complaint process at any stage, may seek assistance, be represented and be accompanied by another person of his/her choice during all proceedings. When a personal advisor attends or represents a party to a complaint, the party must advise a policy official in advance of the advisor taking that role. Employees are often assisted by a union representative, while students often ask a student leader or a peer advocate to assist them.
Confidentiality is required in all procedures under this policy. Maintaining confidentiality benefits everyone involved in the complaint process.
Conestoga College understands that it is difficult to come forward with a complaint of harassment or discrimination. The college recognizes both the complainant’s and respondent’s interest in keeping the matter confidential.
To protect the interests of all parties involved, the college and its officials involved in the complaint process will maintain confidentiality throughout the complaint process to the extent possible under the circumstances (such as an investigation) and except as required by law.
Confidentiality does not mean anonymity. In the instance of a formal complaint, a fundamental principle is that the respondent must be informed of who has made the allegations at the earliest possible point in the process.
At any point in the complaint process, either party may request that formal mediation be instituted to assist the resolution of the complaint. If the other party is agreeable, and if mediation is assessed by the Human Rights Policy Coordinator as a viable step to help resolve the conflict, the college will arrange for an independent mediator to conduct the mediation.
When the college determines that the safety of an individual or the community is at risk, it will act to the best of its ability to address this situation. This may mean, for the purposes of safety, the procedures outlined in this policy, including confidentiality, may be set aside.
All complaints must beinitiated within six months of the incident occurring. In extenuating circumstances a complaint filed beyond the six month limitation may be considered at the sole discretion of the college.
Extending Time Frames
Any of thetime frames for the steps outlined below may beextended upon mutual agreement of the parties and upon application to the Coordinator. The Coordinator may also extend a time frame. In all cases the Coordinator will advise the parties of the reason for and period of the extension.
Confirmation of Resolution
The resolution of all complaints will be noted by the college through written correspondence to the parties. A copy of this correspondence will be retained in confidence by the Coordinator except in the case of a disciplinary decision by the college. In that instance, a copy of the correspondence relating to the decision shall be placed in the respondent’s personnel file. In the case of disciplinary action against a student, the decision shall be placed in the student’s file.
Resolved Complaints (No Decision)
When either a formal or informal complaint is resolved between the parties rather than a final decision being made, the college considers that the matter has neither been withdrawn by the complainant nor has there been a finding against the respondent. This allows the complaint process to be reinstated if there is a reoccurrence of the behaviour as well as prevents the settlement being interpreted as meaning that the respondent has harassed or discriminated.