The Diocese is committed to making sure clergy and those responsible for liturgical, pastoral, educational or recreational activities maintain the highest ethical standards of mutual respect, responsibility and caring, as well as modeling wholeness and healthy sexuality in all their relationships with those for whom they have responsibility.
The Diocese has addressed this commitment in the following ways:
- Sexual Misconduct Policy (also available split into the policy and the procedures)
- Appointment of a Canon Pastor who is responsible for handling complaints and investigations.
- Responsible Ministry: Screening in Faith policy and program
Sexual Misconduct Policy Training must be completed for all those serving in medium and high-risk ministry. This can be accomplished using one of the following methods;
The policy applies to every bishop, priest, deacon or lay person under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Toronto. Adherence to the policy is mandatory. All clergy employed staff members and volunteers of the Diocese, its parishes and agencies are expected to be familiar with the policy, consent to it and abide by it.
Exploitation of trust through sexual activity, touching for sexual purposes, or the suggestion or depiction of any such activity, will not be tolerated and must be reported to the diocesan Canon Pastor, Susan Haig, at her confidential phone number, 416-807-2494.
What is sexual misconduct?
Vexatious comments or conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, as unwelcome. It’s behaviour that has the effect of undermining, coercing, intimidating, humiliating or demeaning someone on the basis of sex. It may have the effect of creating a workplace or ministry that is hostile or offensive. It can occur in or outside the office or church building and is not limited to work- or ministry-related activity.
Taking advantage of the vulnerability of an adult where there is a fiduciary or pastoral relationship. It includes any form of sexual contact or invitation to sexual contact with an adult by a professional, a member of the clergy or anyone in a position of power, whether or not there is consent.
Includes sexual offences as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada and sexual abuse of children as defined in the Ontario Child and Family Services Act.
What should I do if I think I have been subjected to or suspect sexual harassment or exploitation?
If you suspect sexual misconduct or believe you’ve been sexually harassed or exploited, you can make a complaint to the Canon Pastor (the diocesan official responsible for the sexual misconduct policy). The Canon Pastor is also available to answer questions and help determine whether sexual misconduct has occurred.
Suspected child abuse must be reported to a Children’s Aid Society. There is a special obligation on clergy and professionals to report child abuse.
In all cases, support persons are offered to each of the parties involved. The final decision on complaints is made by the Diocesan Bishop. The Diocesan Response Team can help guide parishes affected by a complaint of sexual misconduct.
Who do I call for help or information?
If you have questions about the diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy, you can contact the Canon Pastor, Susan Haig, at 416-807-2494.
If the concern is about child abuse, call the Children’s Aid Society:
- Ontario Association of Children’s Aid’s Societies: 416-987-7725
- Durham Region: 905-433-1551
- Halton: 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
- Kawartha-Haliburton: 705-743-9751 or 1-800-661-2843
- Muskoka: 705-645-4426 or 1-800-680-4426 (Huntsville 705-789-8866)
- Northumberland: 905-372-1821 or 1-800-263-7902
- Simcoe Region: 705-726-6587 or 1-800-461-4236
- Peel Region: 905-363-6131 or 1-888-700-0996
- Toronto: 416-924-4646
- York Region: 905-895-2318 or 1-800-718-3850
If the matter concerns a possible offence under the Criminal Code, call the police.