"Consent" is a clear, enthusiastic, and voluntary “yes” in response to being asked to engage in any form of touching or sexual activity with another person. Consent is required every time and cannot be given if the person is affected by drugs or alcohol. Saying yes to one activity does not mean yes to all activities. Consent cannot be expressed by the words or actions of anyone other than the person participating in the sexual activity, and can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity. Consent does not exist when a person is incapable of consenting to the activity or persuaded to engage in sexual activity by an individual abusing a position of trust, power or authority.

Sexual Violence

“Sexual violence” refers to any unwanted sexual acts and/or acts that are committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation. Sexualized violence is about power, control, domination and/or humiliation rather than about sexual activity. Acts of sexualized violence may be physical or psychological in nature, and may be committed by individuals acting alone or in groups. Such acts commonly target a person’s sexuality, gender identity, gender expression or are directed at individuals who do not conform to traditional male or female gender stereotypes.

Sexual Assault

“Sexual assault” is a criminal offence. The Criminal Code of Canada defines sexual assault as “any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the [survivor] and includes a range of behaviours from any unwanted touching to penetration. It involves the use of force, threats, or control that makes a person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, or is carried out in circumstances to which the person has not freely agreed, consented, or is incapable of consenting”

Sexual Harassment

“Sexual Harassment” is a form of sexualized violence prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Code. This term is used to describe behaviour or comments of a sexual nature or related to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression that either is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome. Sexual harassment includes making unwelcome sexual solicitations, attentions, or advances; the implied or expressed promise of benefits or advancement in return for sexual favours; threats of reprisals for rejecting unwelcome solicitations or advances; engaging in comment or conduct that creates a hostile or poisoned environment to persons of a specific sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and incidents that occur through electronic means.


“Stalking” is a form of criminal harassment prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada.  It involves behaviours that occur on more than one occasion which collectively instill fear in the person or threaten the person’s safety or mental health, or that of their family and/or friends.  These behaviours include, but are not limited to non-consensual communications (face to face, phone, electronic such as email, social media); making threatening or obscene gestures; surveillance and pursuit; cyberstalking; sending unsolicited gifts.

Indecent Exposure

“Indecent Exposure” the exposure of the private or intimate parts of the body in a lewd or sexual manner, in a public place when the perpetrator may be readily observed. Indecent exposure includes exhibitionism.

Sexual Exploitation

“Sexual Exploitation” is taking advantage of another person through non-consensual or abusive sexual control. This may include the digital or electronic broadcasting, distributing, recording and or photographing of people involved in sexual acts without their consent.


“Voyeurism” is the concealed observation of a person without their consent and in circumstances where they could reasonably expect privacy. Voyeurism may include direct observation, an observation by mechanical or electronic means, or visual recordings.


“Survivor” is the term used in this policy to refer to an individual who has experienced sexualized violence. Using the word survivor instead of “complainant” or “victim” shifts the focus from the act of sexualized violence to the life of the individual after the incident. The person who has experienced these circumstances has the right to determine how they wish to be identified.


“Respondent(s)” is the term used in Mohawk College's Sexual Assault and Sexualized Violence Policy to describe any person(s) alleged to have committed an act of sexualized violence.

Interim Measures

“Interim Measures” are restrictions placed on an individual’s rights and privileges in order to ensure the safety of the College Community and provide time for the College to determine its response and conduct an investigation. Examples of such measures include restricting access to certain parts of campus and/or attending class. The College may impose interim measures immediately, prior to a full investigation.

Procedural Fairness 

“Procedural Fairness” is achieved by informing respondents of all allegations and evidence against them, and by giving them reasonable notice of the time, place and nature of the meeting where they can respond to the allegations. It also involves providing survivors and respondents with information about the College’s investigation and decision-making processes and ensuring that outcomes are determined by an impartial decision maker.

Risk Assessment

“Risk Assessment” is the procedure initiated to ensure the safety of the survivor and the College Community when Security Services is notified of an act of sexualized violence. Security Services will keep the identity of the survivor confidential during the processes of assessing risk and consulting with relevant stakeholders to determine the College’s response.

Intersecting Identities/Intersectionality

“Intersecting Identities/Intersectionality” are terms used to describe ways of thinking about the complexities of and relationships between the many aspects of people’s identities (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual identity, disability/ability, age); these identities do not exist in isolation. The concept of intersectionality recognizes that each aspect of identity is related to a person’s social power and affects their vulnerability to oppression and experience of sexualized violence.


“Accommodation” is the provision of individualized support or alternative means of fulfilling academic or employment responsibilities for survivors. The arrangement of accommodations recognizes the experience of survivors and how that may affect participation in academics or workplace duties. For students, accommodation does not remove the essential requirements of a course or a program, nor does it fundamentally alter standards for assigning grades, or requirements that students independently demonstrate their knowledge of course material. Accommodations for survivors who are employees may include reduced workload, leave of absence, or other provisions available through the College’s applicable employee benefits package. All accommodations will respect confidentiality and will be facilitated without providing details to instructors or supervisors. 

Gender-Based Violence

"Gender-Based Violence" is a term used to recognize the myriad of ways in which violence is experienced by students and employees on campus, acknowledging that it moves beyond sexual violence to include other forms of gendered violence (Courage to Act, 2019).