New legislation proposes TMU official name change, help institutions address sexual misconduct

31 October 2022 / by Daniel Centeno

Ryerson’s official name change to Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and new legislation to help institutions better address sexual misconduct were introduced in the Ontario House of Commons this week. 

“All students deserve to learn in a safe and supportive learning environment,” writes Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop. “From day one, we have been clear: this government has zero-tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, or any other forms of violence or misconduct. That’s why we are taking action to better protect students from sexual violence and misconduct on and off-campus.” 

The new legislation is called Bill 26: the Strengthening Post-secondary institutions and students act. If passed, the hope is to further protect students by providing measures for post-secondary institutions to address faculty and staff sexual misconduct on campus. 

This will amend the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005

The amendments would include: 

  • Strengthen the tools available to institutions to address instances of faculty or staff sexual misconduct against students 
  • Prevent the use of non-disclosure agreements to address instances where an employee leaves an institution to be employed at another institution and their prior wrongdoing remains a secret
  • Require institutions to have employee sexual misconduct policies in place that provide rules for behaviour between faculty, staff and students as well as disciplinary measures for faculty and staff who break these rules.

For the TMU name, the legislation is also hoping to make the new name official, especially for legal documents and student diplomas. 

Ryerson University was changed to Toronto Metropolitan University on April 26, however students graduating in June and October convocations received diplomas with the name Ryerson University. Alumni are expected to have the choice to keep their current degree or request new diplomas with TMU instead. 

Minister Dunlop said the proposed official name change will ensure that “Ontario has a postsecondary system that embraces diversity, inclusivity and promotes success for all learners, including Indigenous learners.”

Minister Dunlop and her office were contacted to comment on the legislation. CJRU is awaiting a response. 

In April, Toronto Metropolitan University released a series of promotional videos to unveil the new school name. 

The name was chosen by community input, and according to vice-provost and co-chair of the Standing Strong Task Force Jennifer Simpson, the new name would not be influenced by a person again. 

The 22 recommendations of the Standing Strong Task Force were accepted by the university in 2021, which include changing the name of the university and its sports teams and mascots. 

The TMU Bold, with a falcon mascot, was unveiled in October. Egerton Ryerson, the school’s former namesake, was a formative figure in the creation of Canada’s Residential School system. 

More details to come. 

Listen to CJRU’s coverage of the new legislation: