Human Rights Policy

This Policy is intended to ensure that every member of The Insurance Institute of Canada community experiences a respectful working and learning environment free of discrimination and harassment.  IIC is committed to complying with all applicable human rights legislation and recognizes the inherent dignity and worth of every person, providing for equal rights and opportunities in its academic, employment or business dealings.

This Policy applies to all members of the IIC community.  This includes employees, students, members, volunteers, and staff.  IIC employees will not condone or ignore activities which violate the human rights of students, members, volunteers and staff.   Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated in any circumstances.  IIC managerial staff will ensure that any complaints will be attended to expeditiously and effectively.  IIC will take appropriate actions and apply appropriate remedies if discrimination or harassment is found. 

This Policy assumes that an independent procedure is necessary to ensure uniformity and fairness in dealing with complaints, whether they are made by students, members, volunteers or staff.  It is intended to prevent discrimination and harassment by educating IIC students, members, volunteers and staff as to what constitutes prohibited behaviour.

IIC recognizes that academic excellence can only be achieved when all students, members, volunteers and staff are free to work, teach and learn in an environment free of discrimination and harassment.

Definitions

Discrimination occurs when a person makes a distinction, whether intentional or not, based on a characteristic, or a perceived characteristic, that has the effect of imposing burdens, obligations or disadvantages on an individual or class of individuals not imposed upon others, or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits and advantages available to other individuals or classes of individuals in society.  This includes any discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, record of provincial offences or pardoned deferral offenses (applicable in employment only) and disability.

Harassment means one or a series of vexatious comments or behaviours related to one or more prohibited grounds under applicable provincial human rights legislation that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome, offensive, embarrassing or humiliating.  This includes any harassment on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, record of provincial offences or pardoned deferral offenses (applicable in employment only) and disability.   Examples of harassment include, unwelcome or insulting jokes, remarks, innuendos, gestures, or taunting based on grounds prohibited by applicable human rights legislation.

Sexual harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct related to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or of a sexual nature, which is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker, including:  (i) sexual solicitations, advances, remarks, suggestive comments and gestures; (ii) the inappropriate display of sexually suggestive pictures, posters, objects or graffiti; (iii) physical contact of a sexual nature; (iv) sexual conduct that interferes with an individual’s dignity or privacy such as voyeurism, and exhibitionism.

Human Rights Officer

IIC has appointed a Human Rights Officer responsible for addressing issues of human rights.  The primary duty of the Human Rights Officer is to administer the procedure for complaints of discrimination and harassment under this Policy.  The Human Rights Officer is not an advocate or advisor to a complainant or respondent.

The Human Rights Officer is also responsible for promoting awareness among the IIC community of the effects of discrimination and harassment, of providing educational programs to all segments of the community, including supervisory personnel, of providing support for individuals and groups who are the targets of discrimination and harassment, and of ensuring member of the IIC community involved in the complaints procedure are provided with appropriate training.

The Human Rights Officer will also be tasked with monitoring human rights issues and trends that are relevant to the observation and enforcement of these principles.  The Human Rights Officer will draw any emerging decisions or trending principles to the attention of IIC management, so that this Policy can be updated as required.
Should the need arise, the Human Rights Officer may, either generally, or within the context of a specific complaint, seek legal assistance on the meaning and operation of the Complaint Procedure and his or her role and obligations under it.  

Complaint Resolution Procedure

If an IIC student or member believes that he or she may have been subject or witness to an act of discrimination or harassment, a complaint may be brought under this Procedure, whether the conduct occurs on or off IIC property, and whether it occurs during or outside of working hours.

Any reprisal, or expressed or implied threat of reprisal, for making and pursuing a complaint under this Procedure is itself considered a breach of this Policy.

This Procedure is without prejudice to the entitlement of the IIC to temporarily suspend any instructor, student, or member of staff, (where it is decided that the ongoing security of any student, member, volunteer or staff requires such action).  Such temporary measures will not penalize the complainant for making a complaint.

Complaints made to the Human Rights Officer will be acted upon expeditiously.  The complainant will be advised of the procedures and dispute resolution options that are available to him or her, and advised of any progress or developments in his or her case.

Informal Complaint

If an individual feels that he or she is experiencing unwanted behaviour which would fall within this Policy, the individual should make an effort, if reasonable in the circumstances, to tell or write to the person who is the source of the unwanted behaviour, that such behaviour is unwelcome.

Any member of the IIC community may seek informal assistance or guidance from the Human Rights Officer with respect to this Policy.  All such consultations will be confidential unless otherwise provided by law.

With the consent of the complainant, the Human Rights Officer may take any steps deemed appropriate in order to reach a resolution with the respondent, including engaging in facilitation/negotiation or alternative dispute resolution.

Formal Complaint

A complainant should initiate a complaint as soon as is reasonable, and in any event, must initiate the complaint resolution procedure no later than six (6) months from the date of the incident.

If an individual wishes to make a formal complaint, it shall be initiated by filing with the Human Rights Officer a report of the written details of the alleged discrimination or harassment including dates, times, places, names of individuals involved, nature and details of the incident, copies of all relevant or supporting documentation, as well as an indication of any specific remedy being sought.  The complaint will be shared with the respondent.

The respondent will have an opportunity to respond to the complainant’s formal complaint.  This response should set forth all the facts relied upon and identify all persons who in the knowledge of the respondent may support or verify these facts. The response should be accompanied by copies of all relevant documentation in the possession or control of the respondent.

If a complaint is not considered to involve an allegation of discrimination or harassment covered by this procedure, the Human Rights Officer will inform the complainant in writing.

At any time during the Formal Complaint process and with the consent of the parties, the Human Rights Officer may take any steps deemed appropriate in order to reach a resolution, including engaging in facilitation/negotiation or alternative dispute resolution.

Investigation

IIC will designate an individual or panel (the “Designate”) to investigate the formal complaint.  The Designate must not be in any conflict of interest or hold any bias which would prevent the Designate from conducting an objective investigation.

The Designate will review the statements of the complainant and respondent.  The Designate may request further statements, documentation or information from the complainant, the respondent or potential witnesses.  The Designate may also request to interview any student, member, volunteer or staff believed to have information which is relevant to the complaint.   The Designate may also consult with relevant resource persons, consultants or legal advisors. 

Investigations should be completed within thirty (30) working days, subject to extenuating circumstances.  The Designate may extend the timeframe for completing the investigation if it is deemed reasonably necessary.

Disposition

Once all the evidence is gathered, the Designate will decide whether there has been an act of discrimination and/or harassment and shall inform the parties, the Human Rights Officer, and the President of IIC in writing.  The Designate will produce a written report of its reasons and findings.

Where there is a finding of discrimination and/or harassment as defined under this Policy, IIC will decide on the appropriate sanction or remedial action.  IIC may also implement internal measures to prevent incidents or reoccurrences of certain types of harassing or discriminatory behaviour.  IIC will consider any recommendations made by the Designate regarding appropriate sanctions, remedial actions or internal measures.

If a complaint is determined to be trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, IIC may impose corrective measures or sanctions against the complainant.

Every individual has the right to seek assistance from their Provincial or Territorial Human Rights agency, whether or not the procedure outlined in this Policy leads to resolution of incidents of discrimination or harassment. For more information, visit the Canadian Human Rights Commission website.

 

Contact Information

Human Rights Officer
The Insurance Institute Company of Canada
18 King Street, East, 6th Floor,
Toronto, Ontario
M5C 1C4

Email: rights@insuranceinstitute.ca 
Fax: (416) 362-1674
Toll free: 1-866-362-8585
Telephone: (416) 362-8586