Harassment and discrimination on campus

OCAD U has a Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy (RWLEP).  It says that harassment and discrimination violate an individual’s human rights and run contrary to the University’s fundamental values.  OCAD U will act promptly to address this conduct and will ensure that individuals are able to express concerns and register complaints without fear of reprisal.

Who does the RWLEP Protect?

The RWLEP projects all OCAD U Students, employees, volunteers, visitors, and contractors at OCAD U.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination happens when a person experiences negative treatment or impact, intentional or not, based on prohibited grounds.  These prohibited grounds are listed in the Human Rights Code and include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, ancestry, creed, citizenship, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital and family status, place of origin, and gender identity and expression.

Discrimination can be direct and obvious or subtle and hidden, but harmful just the same.  It can also happen on a bigger systemic level such as organizational rules or policies that look neutral but end up excluding certain groups of people.  It can also lead to a poisoned environment (when comments or actions make you feel unwelcome or uncomfortable where you work or go to school).

What is harassment?

Harassment means engaging in a course of comment or conduct that insults, demeans, harms or threatens a person in some way based on prohibited grounds.  Harassment may consist of a single incident of a serious nature or a series of incidents.

If I am experiencing any of this, what are my options?

Contact ODESI

At any time, you can contact the Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives (ODESI) to confidentially ask a question, raise a concern or seek assistance on how to address an issue. Meetings can also be arranged off-campus if you prefer.

Raise the concern

If it is feasible, you can speak to the individual(s) involved on your own

Get assistance

Employees – you can consult with any OCAD U supervisor that you feel comfortable working with to resolve the matter.  You can also contact your union (OCADFA or OPSEU) at any time for guidance and assistance.

Students – you can consult with any faculty, staff member or the Student Advocate at the Student Union. Meeting with the Student Advocate is a safe place to talk through and seek support in resolving problems.


Where appropriate, ODESI can help you access a mediator.  A mediator helps the parties clarify issues, understand each other’s perspective and move towards a mutual agreement.

File a formal complaint

You can contact ODESI to file a formal complaint.  This may involve a review by an external fact-finder and result in remedies to address the concern.


Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives

Amanda Hotrum, Director
416.977.6000 Ext.4860

OCAD Student Union

Khadija Farow, Manager of Advocacy Services
416.977.6000 Ext.276

Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 576

Brian Joe, OPESU President
416.977.6000 ext.240

Ontario College of Art & Design Faculty Association

Connie Reid, OCADFA Executive Assistant
416.977.6000 Ext.336

At any time, you can also seek legal advice or exercise your legal rights by contacting the following:

Toronto Police Services

TTY: 416.467.0493

Human Rights Legal Support Centre

416.597.4900 or 1.866.625.5179
TTY: 1.866.612.8627 or 416.597.4903

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

416.326.1312 or 1.866.598.0322
TTY: 1.866.607.1240 or 416.326.2027

Helpful Contacts

Shamina Chherawala

Programs, Outreach &
Human Rights Advisor

Telephone: 416-977-6000, Ext 3840


Sustainability Coordinator

Telephone: 416-977-6000, Ext 4862

Office location

The Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability initiatives is
located 230 Richmond St. W., Level 6

Mailing address

Office of Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives
OCAD University
100 McCaul St.
Toronto, ON M5T 1W1

OCAD U is committed to providing accessible information to our community. If you require information published by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Sustainability Initiatives (ODESI) in an alternate format, please forward your request to accessibility@ocadu.ca and let us know what format is preferable. (Alternate formats include: large print, sign language interpretation, braille, e-text, closed-captioning, standard text, voice, digital audio, video, etc.)