Dear Premier Doug Ford, Hon. Minister Jill Dunlop, and Hon. Minister Stephen Lecce,
I am writing to you as an Ontario voter.
Recent events in Ontario have led to a heightened awareness of the urgency to address sexual violence and consent. These events include allegations against members of a hockey team for committing group sexual assault, high-profile sexual assault cases in the media and student walkouts in response to sexual assaults on post-secondary campuses.
A national survey by the Canadian Women’s Foundation found only 28 percent of Canadians fully understand the meaning of consent. Understanding consent requires awareness, action and accountability.
Consent Awareness Week invites Ontarians to have thoughtful, affirming, intersectional and age-appropriate conversations about consent. The week is an opportunity to reflect, champion and celebrate consent as a cornerstone for all types of relationships, not just intimate ones. The week is also an opportunity to explore valuable life skills related to consent, including how to respond to rejection, articulate boundaries, respect bodily autonomy and actively listen to others.
By supporting the Consent Awareness Week Act, Ontario could be the first province to proclaim that Consent Awareness Week will be held during the third week of September in each year. The week was chosen to recognize and raise awareness of, the increase in sexual violence across post-secondary campuses during the first six weeks of a new academic year. The week will function as an annual reminder that Ontarians have the right to be respected and safe where they live, work, study and play.
Ontario has the opportunity to be a leader in making the places where we live, work, and learn safer for everybody. I hope that you will work with MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam to ensure that Consent Awareness Week passes as soon as possible with unanimous consent.