News / Canada

Kathleen Wynne unveils 3-year plan to curb sexual assault

Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced sweeping measures to curb sexual assault and violence including a new law forcing colleges and universities to step up efforts to tackle the issue.

Wynne said Friday that a new $41-million, three-year initiative would help to deal with the problem.

“Many women in the province do not feel safe . . . and I have a problem with that,” the premier said at the Toronto YWCA headquarters on Elm St.

She unveiled a 36-page action plan, entitled “It’s Never Okay,” ‎to stop sexual violence and harassment and a new advertising blitz to raise awareness. ‎

Wynne’s move came after award-winning Star investigations into the allegations of sexual assault against former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi and an examination of how universities and colleges ‎handled complaints of sexual violence.

Earlier this week, the Toronto Star received the 2015 Canadian Hillman Prize in Journalism for its coverage of sexual assault and harassment in Canada from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.

Ghomeshi faces seven charges of sexual assault and one charge of overcoming resistance by choking based on allegations that span from 2002 and 2008.

The allegations by six women span from 2002 to 2008.

Ghomeshi’s lawyer, Marie Henein, has said the former broadcaster will plead not guilty to all charges.

A Torstar probe of sexual assault last fall found only nine of the country’s 78 universities had a special policy to deal with the crimes and clear supports for victims, the vast majority of which are young women.

Ontario’s 24 public community colleges have since implemented a uniform policy that provides a path for victims of sexual violence and clearly outlines a school’s responsibility.

The province’s universities have since created a multi-pronged plan to curb sexual violence and are undergoing a province-wide policy review with several already in the midst of drafting policies on sexual assault.

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