Informal Resolution

If you have a concern about sexual harassment or sexual assault, you are encouraged to consult with the Sexual Harassment Office to discuss your options. Office staff can answer your questions and provide advice, guidance and support to help you make informed decisions.

You may choose to try to informally resolve a matter, with the assistance of the Office. An informal resolution is not a prerequisite to a formal resolution request. Informal resolution is a mutually agreed upon resolution. It requires consent of both parties, and a respondent may refuse to participate in the informal resolution pathway. In this case, the Office will notify the complainant of same and discuss other procedural options of resolution.

Informal resolution may include any of the choices below and is not limited to these:

  • Approaching the person whose behavior gives cause for concern, making it clear why the behaviour is viewed as unacceptable and gives rise to concern.
  • Writing a letter to the subject of the concern. Such a letter may be effective when the individual does not respond to verbal request.
  • Assistance from the Sexual Harassment Office if you are not comfortable speaking with or writing to the other individual. Such an option may be appropriate in the following examples:
    • Situations that involve misunderstandings due to cultural differences;
    • Helping an individual who lacks assertiveness skills to resolve a situation that has the potential to escalate;
    • Clarifying issues that lead to discomfort, particularly when the relationship between the person expressing the concern and the subject of the concern involves a power imbalance;
    • Instances when the subject of a concern appears to be unaware of the impact of their alleged behavior.
  • The provision of sexual harassment awareness training. This option may be recommended when an individual expresses a concern about a workplace or learning environment that may be experienced as uncomfortable, intimidating, hostile or offensive.

The Office may seek the assistance of a third party to facilitate an informal resolution and where appropriate, the subject of the concern would be advised. The Office would make no attempt to determine whether sexual harassment had occurred, nor keep any record of the consultation, other than a non-identifying account for statistical purposes.

The Office would take no action which could adversely affect the academic, employment or professional interests of the subject of discussion as a result of these informal consultations.

The expression of a concern through the informal consultation process is not a pre-requisite to the requesting a formal resolution.

All informal consultations with the Office are confidential. However, in a case where there is the reasonable belief that the health or safety of a member or members of the university community is at risk, confidentiality may not be maintained.

If a resolution is not reached through the informal method, you may instruct the Office to initiate a formal resolution pathway, such as mediation or investigation, to resolve it.

For more information on informal resolution, please contact the Sexual Harassment Office or review the University-wide Procedures for Sexual Harassment Concerns and Complaints.

Forms can be found here, which must be submitted to the Sexual Harassment Office.