Upcoming Events

October 16, 2019 to October 18, 2019

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

2019 CACUSS Law & Policy Institute


Intended for senior-level (director and up) student affairs professionals, this institute covers a wide range of legal and policy issues that we encounter on a regular basis. The three-day institute will cover the legal environment in higher education in Canada, applicable human rights law, and laws and conduct policies with respect to students and student groups.

Each day will begin with an presentation from subject matter experts, covering key aspects of the subject area, with a question and answer session.

Participants will then work in small groups on an array of relevant cases, identifying who the key stakeholders will be in each situation, how they would be involved, and what steps should be taken. Participants will also discuss preventive measures to help reduce the likelihood of similar cases, and share best practices in terms of how to manage them. Each small group will then debrief from their notes, and the larger group can add any feedback or points to the case.

The day will finish with an opportunity to identify practical implementation strategies and what approaches or ideas participants can take back to their campuses. The Institute will conclude with the development of personal action plans for each participant.

In addition, CACUSS would like to retain the group notes from the case study discussions, with the intent of compiling and publishing them – the collective ideas and expertise of this group of professionals is expected to be very valuable. Participants will have the option of being listed as contributors to this publication.

Draft Schedule
Note: schedule is subject to change

Day 1: Legal Environment for Student Affairs

8:00 – 9:00am

Registration, welcome, light breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 am

Getting started

Introductions and co-constructed participation guidelines

Entire group and small groups

9:30 – 10:45am

The legal environment of higher education in Canada

- Types and sources of law

- Overview of the legal system and issues affecting HE

- Importance of the law to SA pros

- How law relates to policy

Expert presentation, Q&A



11:00am– 12:30pm

Working within the legal environment

- Techniques for navigating legal conversations

- Reading and understanding legal materials

- Finding legal information and case law

- Working with general or outside counsel

- Managing complex cases with multiple stakeholders

Small group discussions



1:30 – 3:00pm

Case Studies 1 – navigating legal issues

Cases include:

- Privacy breach

- Athletics negligence

- Student expulsion

- Sexual violence

- Wrongful death

Small group discussion – identify issues, stakeholders, next steps, prevention and best practices

3:00 pm


3:15 – 4:30 pm

Practical implementation

Discussion on integrating law, prevention, policy, jurisdiction (e.g. off campus, online), and institutional/student needs

Facilitated discussion

4:30 pm

Wrap up for the day; reflection; goals for tomorrow


Optional networking event

Day 2: Human rights, equity and the law


Welcome back; reflections from yesterday; setting up the day

9:15 – 10:45am

Human rights law, policy, and best practices

- Human rights law, policies, inclusive approaches

- Support for marginalized students

- Navigating competing rights

- Indigeneity and reconciliation

- Managing complex situations

Expert presentation,  Q&A

10:45 am


11 am – 1 pm

Case Studies 2

Institutional/ student group human rights issues

- Free speech escalated protest

- Competing rights (e.g. Muslim Student Association has women-only event)

- Racism in student association election

- Systemic inaccessibility complaint against institution

- Complaint that admissions are discriminatory

Small group discussion – identify issues, stakeholders, next steps, prevention and best practices

1 -2 pm


2:00 – 4:00pm

Case Studies 3

Individual student human rights issues


- Racism encountered by Indigenous student in class

- Physical accessibility & experiential learning

- Criminal record checks for academic placement

- Faculty sexual harassment

- Involuntary withdrawal for mental health reasons

Small group discussion – identify issues, stakeholders, next steps, prevention and best practices

4:00 pm


4:15 – 5:00pm

Practical implementation

Discussion on policy development, legal issues, navigating complex rights-based cases

Facilitated discussion


Wrap up for the day; reflection; goals for tomorrow

Day 3: Conduct approaches, law and policy, next steps


Welcome back; reflections from yesterday; setting up the day

9:15 – 10:30am

Student individual and  group issues, law and policy,  approaches

- Prevention practices

- Privilege and social capital

- Legal and policy framework

- Alternative practices; restorative vs judicial

Expert presentation, Q&A

10:30 – 10:45am


10:45am – 12:00pm

Case Studies 4 – Individual students

- Social media bullying

- Mental illness & classroom disruption

- Expulsion appeal after vandalism in residence

- International student criminal activity

- Academic integrity

Small group discussion – identify issues, stakeholders, next steps, prevention and best practices

12:00 – 1:00pm


1:00 – 2:15pm

Case Studies 5 – Student groups

- Student association electoral misconduct

- Misuse of student funds

- Hazing

- Student association bans a student club/group

- Student newspaper defamation

Small group discussion – identify issues, stakeholders, next steps, prevention and best practices

2:15 pm


2:30 – 4:00pm

Putting it into action

- Personal learning/action plans

- Next steps

- Reflections

- Resources

- Wrap up

Facilitated discussion

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Wrap up


Lead Facilitator: Nona Robinson

Nona Robinson is the Associate Vice President at Trent University. Prior to that, she was the Dean of Students at University College at the University of Toronto. As an undergraduate, she was the president of the Guelph Central Student Association. She has a masters and PhD in Higher Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, with her research focusing on elected student leaders for her MA and on the values of student affairs practitioners for her PhD. She has presented on a wide range of student issues at the annual Canadian Association of College and University Student Services annual conferences, as well as written for their national magazine, and has authored a chapter on student leadership in the book Achieving Student Success: Effective Student Services in Canadian Higher Education (2010).

Nona will be joined by a number of subject matter experts on each day of the institute, including:

Daniel J. Michaluk, Hicks Morley
Mark Solomon, Associate Dean, Student Services and Indigenous Education, Seneca College
David McMurray, Vice President, Student Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

Registration information

Early Bird Registration for the 2019 Law & Policy Institute is now open! Register before September 13, 2019 for early bird savings!

Early Bird Registration: August 1 - September 13, 2019

Member: $999 + HST
Non-Member: $1149 + HST

Regular Registration: September 14 - October 4, 2019

Member: $1049 + HST
Non-member: $1199 + HST

Registration is inclusive of all institute materials, three full days of facitated content, and meals (breakfast, lunch, and nutrition breaks each day).

Travel and Accommodation

The 2019 CACUSS Law & Policy Institute is taking place at the Lucie and Thornton Blackburn Conference Centre at George Brown College, located at 80 Cooperage St., Toronto, Ontario.

We have secured a preferred rate at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 123 Queen St. W., of $259/night plus tax.

Please contact the hotel directly at 1 (888) 627-7175 on or before Tuesday, September 24, 2019 to make your reservations. In order to receive the preferred rate, please identify yourself as part of the Canadian Association of College & University Student Service (CACUSS) group staying at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, located at 123 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5H 2M9.

You can also book online using this link.

Cancellation Policy: Event cancellations must be received in writing (via email to megan@cacuss.ca) no later than Friday, September 20, 2019. No refunds will be issued if the request is received after Friday, September 20, 2019. Cancellations received prior to Friday, September 20, 2019 will receive a refund minus a $75 administration fee. Your event registration can be transferred to another delegate. Transfer requests must be received in writing (via e-mail to megan@cacuss.ca). Transfers are subject to a $20 administration fee.

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