Violence Prevention and Protection Policy

Policy Number: CS-1402-2012
Policy Title: Violence Prevention and Protection
Policy Owner: Chief Human Resources Officer & Director, Security Services
Effective Date: February 1, 2012
Last Revised: March 28, 2024

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Policy Revision Date
  8. Attachments
  9. Specific Links

1. Purpose

Mohawk College is committed to maintaining a safe learning and working environment free from violence and threats of violence.  

This policy sets out the reporting and complaint process as well as the framework to enhance the safety and security of the College Community, respond to situations involving serious threats and acts of violence on College premises and at College-related events and minimize the probability of recurrence of dangerous situations and behaviours.

2. Application and Scope

This policy applies to all members of the College Community, contractors and suppliers who experience, witness or are made aware of an act of violence, or threats of violence. This policy also applies to external organizations that lease College space, operate on College property or who are directly connected to any College initiatives. 

This policy applies to all activities that occur while on College owned or leased property or while at other location(s) where an employee may be located as a result of their employment, or while an employee is engaging in College business activities or at College-related events.

3. Definitions

“Accountable/Brave spaces” are environments where people can openly discuss difficult challenges and issues in a mutually respectful manner, without fear of attack, exclusion, or discrimination.  Examples are when employees are able to make recommendations which challenge the status quo or employees can report incidents that have directly affected them, without judgment or criticism.  Instead, they are able to engage in healthy dialogues about next steps.  The goal is developing and maintaining accountable spaces where people are responsible for their own intentions, impact, words, and actions. Accountability also requires people to proactively agree on actions in the moment as opposed to reactively after a situation has occurred.  The responsibility is for all to be equitable and inclusive in their behaviours and be committed to understanding diverse lived experiences.

“College Community” refers to all students, employees, volunteers and visitors on Mohawk Campuses, learning sites and/or carrying out Mohawk College activities

“Domestic Violence” may also be referred to intimate partner violence, intimate partner abuse, spousal abuse and gender-based violence. Although domestic violence can be experienced by any gender, the leading cause of injury in Canada among women is domestic violence.  Domestic violence tactics and actions inflict subtle and obvious harm and are used by people in intimate relationships to maintain power and control over another person. Domestic violence may be committed by partners, ex-partners, relatives and/or family friends. 

“Employee” is a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation, including: 

  • A secondary school student who performs work or supplies services for no monetary compensation under a work experience program authorized by the school board that operates the school in which the student is enrolled.
  • A person who performs work or supplies services for no monetary compensation under a program approved by a college of applied arts and technology, university, private career college or other post- secondary institution.
  • Such other persons as may be prescribed who perform work or supply services to an employer for no monetary compensation.

“Intimidation” is a statement or behaviour that is reasonable for an individual to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the person that could cause physical injury.

“Positive space” is a place that is open and welcoming to people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities, including people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+. 

“Safe space” is both a physical and ideological space. It is a space where members are free to take risks and take part in discussions about difficult topics. It is also used to describe marginalized groups who seek respect, safety, trust, and inclusion with like-minded and experienced individuals. 

“Safety Plan” is documented process designed to help mitigate risk of an act or acts of violence towards an individual. 

“Serious Threat” is a statement or action that can be reasonably interpreted as an intention to inflict pain, injury or damage even in the absence of any threat to immediate bodily harm

“Supervisor (Manager)” is a person who has charge over a workplace or authority over an employee as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“Temporary Direction” refers to an order by the Director of Security Services directing a person to leave and remain off campus, off College property and away from College-related events for a period of time. This direction is limited for the duration of the investigation and is not punitive in nature.

“Threat” is a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone.

“Violence Risk Assessment Team (VRAT)” is a cross functional team of trained professionals from different departments, including but not limited to, Security Services, Student Rights and Responsibilities and Human Resources who assess, investigate and provide management strategies in response to potential concerns or threats of violence to the College community. 

“Weapon” is anything (or resembling anything) used, designed to be used or intended for use in causing injury or death to any persons.  A weapon may also be anything used for the purpose of threatening, intimidating, causing fear, or physical damage.

“Workplace Violence” according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act workplace violence is: 

  • The exercise of physical force in the workplace by a person against an employee that causes or could cause physical injury to the Worker 
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker in the workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker;
  • A statement or behaviour that is reasonable for an employee to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace that causes physical injury.

4. Principles

  • The College is committed to preventing violence and creating a safe space for anyone in our College Community 
  • The College is expected to be a safe and positive space where members of the College community feel safe to work, learn and express themselves in an environment free from violence and harm. 
  • All reported incidents of violence will be investigated to the best of the College’s ability and in a manner that ensures due process.
  • The College recognizes workplace violence as an occupational hazard and is committed to providing an environment free from violence.
  • Violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If you see something, say something.

4.1 Education and Training

  • The College is responsible for posting a copy of this policy and communicating to all employees, students, visitors and contractors that violence is prohibited at Mohawk College. Such communication will include ongoing, proactive education/prevention campaigns and delivery of training for employees in violence prevention measures.
  • All College employees will be oriented to this policy and trained in the response and reporting procedures outlined above. 

4.2 Domestic Violence

In situations where the College (as the employer) becomes aware that a domestic violence situation exists that would likely expose an employee to physical injury while in the workplace, the College will take reasonable precautions to protect the employee, including, the development of a safety plan with Security Services. Please refer to the Sexual Assault and Sexualized Violence Policy for additional information.   

4.3 Persons with a History of Violence

In situations where an individual may encounter a person with a history of violent behavior in the workplace or on college owned or leased property, the college will take every reasonable precaution to protect the individual. 

4.4 Hazard Risk Assessment

  • The College will ensure violence risk assessments are conducted to evaluate the risks of violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work required or the conditions under which the work is to be performed. These assessments are completed based on the role.  
  • Supervisors, in conjunction with Health Safety and Wellness, are responsible for conducting violence risk assessments for their departments and implementing controls for those risks. The assessments will be conducted on a regular basis or sooner is the risk of violence increases. These assessments may be completed 
  • In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the College will inform the Joint Health and Safety Committee of the results of any workplace violence assessment though the JHSC meetings. For more information about the JHSC, please contact the Director, Health, Safety and Wellness.         

5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by the Senior Leadership Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Chief Human Resources Officer and Director, Security Services will be responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy.

6. Rules

6.1 Confidentiality

  • It is understood that the information provided and/or alleged during the reporting may be of a sensitive nature, with implications for the individual’s reputation, rights to privacy and confidentiality.
  • The College is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals and the confidentiality of information and will balance the need to ensure the safety and security of students and employees against requirements for maintaining confidentiality of information.
  • Information will only be shared with necessary College officials and services to prevent harm.
  • The College will only disclose personal information reasonably necessary to protect the individual.

6.2 Violent Incidents/Threats of Violence and Non-Urgent Threats

Incidents involving statement or behaviours which do not present an immediate risk of physical harm, but make the individual feel threatened or otherwise concerned for their safety must be immediately reported. Examples of such unwanted activity include, threatening comment, note, email, voicemail, gesture or a behaviour such as stalking.

Reporting avenues include: Immediate Supervisor, Human Resources, Faculty Member, Student Rights and Responsibilities Office, or Security Services

6.3 Domestic Violence

Individuals in personal relationships involving domestic violence are encouraged to report their concerns to their immediate Supervisor or Security Services in order to provide awareness and allow the College to enhance their safety.

The College will take precautions reasonable in the circumstances to protect the employee and/or student, through the development of an individual safety plan with Security Services.

6.4 Persons with a History of Violence

An employee must immediately inform their Supervisor if there is the potential for encountering on college property a person known to him/her as an individual with a history of violence and if the risk of violence is likely to expose the employee to physical injury. The Supervisor must assume responsibility for informing Security Services.

6.5 Threatening Behaviour

Anyone who becomes aware of a person exhibiting behaviour that may lead to violence must immediately contact Security Services. Examples of such behaviour include inappropriate discussions or communication via email, websites or in essays, fascinations with death or weapons or anti-social behaviour.

6.6 Weapons

All employees, students and visitors are required to immediately report to Security Services any possession of a weapon on college property or during a college-approved activity.

6.7 Concerns

All individuals are encouraged to report persons of concern to Security Services. If you See Something, Say Something.

6.8 Record Retention

Records will be kept in accordance with the records and retention policy.

7. Policy Revision Date

7.1 Revision Date

March 2025

7.2 Responsibility

The Chief Human Resources Officer and the Director of Security Services will be responsible for monitoring the effectiveness and reviewing this policy on an annual basis or more frequently as necessary.

9. Attachments

10. Specific Links

Appendix A - Procedure for Reporting

  1. In the Event of an incident of violence

Employees are required to report incidents of violence to their supervisor and the supervisor will contact security to seek help in assessing/responding to the situation. If warranted, call 911 if the situation requires immediate medical and/or law enforcement personnel. If the incident involves your supervisor, contact security immediately.   Document the observed behavior in question and complete an incident report. If necessary, secure your own safety and the safety of others.

2. Investigation

The College is committed to handling all incidents of violence and threats of violence. Security Services will respond and investigate all reported incidents of violence and threats of violence, always keeping the safety of the College Community as its first priority. The Investigation will be undertaken promptly, be objective and thorough. Security Services may activate the Violence Risk Assessment Team in the event of an incident of violence. A Temporary Direction may be issued if it is determined that the continued presence of an individual could constitute risk of danger or the potential for additional violence to the college community or that the continued presence of the individual could be perceived to interfere in an investigation.

  • The College may initiate or continue an investigation in the absence of an employee or student request to do so.
  • Violations of this policy will hold members of the College community accountable by imposing discipline and other sanctions, up to and including expulsion and termination. In doing so, the College will act in accordance with established Collective Agreements, Terms and Condition of Employment, Codes of Conduct and College policies.

3. Protection from Reprisals, Retaliation or Threats

  • Mohawk College will not tolerate retaliation against individuals making good faith reports as referenced in the Violence Prevention and Protection Policy.
  • In the event that an individual is shown to have initiated proceedings under this policy and procedures in the college will take the necessary action
  • Interference with the conduct of an investigation or retaliation against a complainant or witness, whether the complaint was substantiated or unsubstantiated, will not be tolerated.
  • Where the complainant is an employee under the supervisor of the respondent, the recipient of complaints may where it is feasible to do so and at the complainant’s request, reassign either the complainant or the respondent to different duties, pending the resolution of the complaint.

Individuals who become involved in or witness an incident involving violence or the threat of violence are required to:

  1. Ensure their own safety
  2. Do what is safely possible to ensure a victim’s safety
  3. Contact Security Services immediately or call 911 if necessary
  4. Make a formal statement to Security Services