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Today in the Legislature the government introduced Bill 23: Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, 2016. The introduction of this act fulfills the promise by the Premier to introduce legislation along the lines of my private members Bill M205: Post-Secondary Sexual Violence Policies Act.

I am incredibly fortunate to work with exceptional people who helped with its development. I am indebted to Claire Hume, Stefan Jonsson, Evan Pivnick, Aldous Sperl and Mat Wright for their efforts in this regard. In addition, I am very grateful to Brontë Renwick-Shields, Kenya Rogers, Jean Strong and the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, for their willingness to educate me on the importance of this issue. Finally, and collectively, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the incredibly courageous survivors of sexualized violence who had the courage to speak out.

The government’s willingness to work collaboratively and urgently on this bill speaks volumes to its importance. I am really proud of what we have collectively accomplished.  Thank you.

Below are the text and video of the Bill’s introduction along with a copy of our accompanying media release.

Video of Introduction

Text of Introduction

Hon. A. Wilkinson: I move that the bill be introduced and read a first time today.

Motion approved.

Hon. A. Wilkinson: I am pleased to introduce this bill, Bill 23, the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act.

Currently, our public post-secondary institutions are not required to have a policy to address sexual violence and sexual misconduct on their campuses. Sexual misconduct is widely defined in the bill to include a range of sexual acts that cannot be tolerated or condoned or ignored.

Unfortunately, a number of these incidents do occur at institutions across the country on a regular basis, and our public post-secondary institutions have reported some of these in recent months.

Premier Christy Clark has stated that there’s more that we can do and more that we should do, and this bill addresses that. This proposed legislation builds upon the private member’s Bill M205, introduced earlier in this, and the Ontario legislation on this topic.

This legislation will require all institutions in our public post-secondary sector in British Columbia to establish and implement a sexual misconduct policy that addresses a wide range of sexual assault, sexual harassment, misconduct and other preventable episodes which require a response.

These policies will also be required to set up procedures on how an institution will address these issues and to require reporting of these incidents on a regular basis.

The proposed legislation will come into force one year from royal assent.Institutions will have that year to establish and implement the sexual misconduct policy.

The proposed legislation respects the autonomy and diversity of our post-secondary institutions, including our autonomous universities. The proposed legislation provides significant latitude for institutions to set policies that meet the needs of students, including education and prevention while working to create a safer environment for students to come forward to report sexual misconduct of all types.

Institutions will be required to consult with students on the development of their policy to address sexual misconduct and to conduct surveys in the effectiveness of these policies at the direction of the minister.

Once established, these sexual misconduct policies will need to be reviewed — with student consultation — at least once every three years or more frequently as directed. The legislation will be supported by a framework that has been developed with the institutions and with the anti-violence sector in our communities to provide guidance for a comprehensive approach to dealing with sexual violence and sexual misconduct.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill 23, Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Media Release

Media Statement: April 27, 2016
Weaver Responds to Government’s Post-Secondary Sexual Misconduct Legislation
For immediate release

Victoria B.C. – “The government’s willingness to work collaboratively and urgently on this bill speaks volumes to its importance. I am really proud of what we have collectively accomplished,” said Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, following the tabling of Bill 23, The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policies Act, 2016.

Andrew Weaver tabled the Post-Secondary Sexual Violence Policies Act, 2016 on March 8th with the aim of creating a legal responsibility for every University and College in B.C. to develop and maintain policies that would provide education for students, support for survivors and would work to prevent the occurrences of sexual assault on campuses. On March 16th, during question period, the Premier agreed to pass his bill or develop comparable legislation.

Government adoption of legislation proposed by other parties is very rare, if not
unprecedented. Since 2001, Opposition Members have introduced 202 Private Members’ Bills, but none have passed.

“Our definition of sexual violence has been expanded to include the non-consenting distribution of sexually explicit photos and videos, as well as the threat of sexual misconduct, which are great additions.”

This bill creates a framework within which post-secondary institutions, with input from their student bodies, will develop and maintain sexual assault and data collection policies.

“This legislation is a critical first step in starting a real conversation about how we can best ensure the safety of everyone who attends a post-secondary school in British Columbia.” said Weaver. “Going forward, the involvement of students and university administration will be absolutely essential and I plan to be closely involved with the process..”

Weaver will be available for comment in the Rose Garden at the Legislature today immediately following Question Period, around 2:30pm.

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Media Contact
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382

Andrew Weaver and the UVic Student Society will be co-hosting a Town Hall to discuss sexualized violence on BC Campuses – and what this legislation will mean for schools and students – next week on Wednesday, May 4th. 7 to 9pm, Vertigo Room, University of Victoria Student Union Building, 3800 Finnerty Road

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