As a responsible institution of higher education, it is the goal of the University of Toronto to do everything possible to create an environment where students, faculty and staff can feel safe to learn, work and live.
Working in partnership with the community, the University Police are dedicated to creating a safe and secure environment. They provide programs on personal safety, protection of property, conflict resolution, maintenance of public order, community service and referral, emergency response assistance, crime prevention and detection, enforcement of the criminal code and selected provincial and municipal statutes and University policies.
Fire Prevention on the St. George campus delivers a comprehensive, dynamic fire and life safety program that provides a safe environment for students, faculty and staff, while demonstrating accountability, transparency, and due diligence to all stakeholders.
Community Safety Office
The Community Safety Office works in partnership with other university resources to ensure safety on campus. The Community Safety Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the ongoing education and outreach initiatives directed at improving safety and security on campus. Programs include:
- Support information and referral to victims of violence, harassment and threats
- Training sessions on dealing with difficult behaviour, criminal harassment, non-violent crisis intervention, personal safety on campus and more
- Campus safety audits and improvements to physical environments
- Co-ordination of self-defence workshops.
Environmental Health and Safety
Given the diversity of the activities that take place within the various settings of the University, and the types of materials and equipment that may be used, students and staff may be potentially exposed to a wide range of hazards at any given time. The University has established a comprehensive health and safety system that consists of policies, programs, guidelines and procedures. As outlined in its Health and Safety Policy, the University is strongly committed to providing a safe work and study environment for its students, staff and visitors. The Environmental Health and Safety Office provides extensive resources and training on these issues.
The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)
The EHS serves as a resource to the University community to assist employees, students, and visitors in meeting their obligations towards health and safety. Professional staff can provide information on a wide range of workplace health and safety issues and can assess a variety of hazards in diverse settings and make recommendations to reduce or eliminate associated risks.
Programs and Campaigns
Students who feel uncomfortable walking alone between University buildings, parking lots and transit stops near campus, should contact the university police to organize a Walksafer escort. The service is free.
- U of T St. George WalkSmart: Call 416-978-SAFE.
- U of T Mississauga WalkSafer: Call 905-607-SAFE (7233).
- U of T Scarborough has a similar program called UTSC Patrol (formerly WALKsafer). Call 416-287-7022.
Self Defence Programs
Attackers often avoid people who look secure, confident and strong. Students should plan to take a protective skills or self defence course where they can learn how to assert themselves in ways that will intimidate a would-be attacker. Workshops in women’s self-defence, including basic Wendo, Urban Defensive Tactics (for men and women) and Rape Aggression Defence, are offered on campus throughout the year.
The ‘Ask First’ Campaign
Building on the long-standing No Means No Canadian Federation of Students anti-date rape campaign, the Ask First campaign was initiated in response to a specifically identified need to raise awareness of sexual assault and date rape for orientation students, as well as to bring up the issue for all students at the University of Toronto. Originally conceived by a group of administrative staff who deal with sexual assault issues, the actual campaign was designed by a group of student leaders and student services staff.
Counselling and Guides
Health care professionals with specialized trauma-informed training meet with students who have experienced physical assault, sexual violence and/or sexual harassment to understand their needs and offer appropriate care and/or referrals. A list of campus and community safety resources are available at on the U of T Safety website.
The Sexual Harassment Office handles complaints of harassment based on sex or sexual orientation at the University of Toronto. Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual attention or unwanted emphasis on your sex or sexual orientation. It includes any unwelcome pressure for sexual favours, any comments, gestures or other conduct which places an offensive focus on the sex or sexual orientation of another person, and any gender-based conduct that is directed at you and that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment for you.
Online Harassment: ‘Enough’
Unsolicited electronic communication that is unwanted, persistent, repeated, abusive, obscene or otherwise unwelcome may be actionable under U of T policy. The Enough web site offers a extensive resources, frequently-asked-questions and university policies to offer guidance to U of T community members on their rights and possible courses of action when dealing with online harassment.
Safety Abroad Program
The Safety Abroad Program offers advice and assistance to members of the University community travelling outside of Canada on University sponsored activities.Â The Go Global Guide provides online information for international travel as well as information on travel aptitude, budgeting, passports, visas and other documents, packing, emergency contacts, culture shock, issues of diversity and re-entry.
The Student Housing Service is available to assist students who are experiencing a temporary housing crisis.