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Supportive Leaves Policy – Student Companion Guide


The Supportive Leaves Policy (the “Policy“) came into effect on March 1, 2023. It replaced the University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy that was approved by Governing Council in June of 2018. The Policy is intended to provide a compassionate and non-punitive option for students who are exhibiting serious and concerning behaviour that threatens other’s safety, or results in negative and material impacts on the learning environment of others.

The Policy was established in response to a recommendation from the University of Toronto Ombudsperson’s annual report to Governing Council which called upon the University to establish a compassionate and supportive means to remove a student from the University in situations where existing non-academic discipline policies are not appropriate due to serious mental health concerns, or other extenuating factors. In the very rare circumstances in which it is applicable, the Policy is designed to give the University an additional tool to support students who are experiencing significant difficulty. The Policy allows the University to protect a student’s academic record and standing until they are able to safely return to pursue their studies. The Policy is also designed and implemented to offer the utmost discretion; only individuals that need to know for operational purposes, or those involved as members of the student’s specific Student Support Team, are aware that the student is on a Leave under the Policy.

The Policy is only used in extreme circumstances and as a last option when all other support and attempts to mitigate or resolve the concerning behaviour have been exhausted. The threshold to place a student on a Supportive Leave is extremely high and the decision to proceed under the Policy can only be made by the Vice-Provost, Students.

This is the first published version of the Supportive Leaves Policy Student Companion Guide, and we anticipate that it will be an iterative document, responding to community feedback and future reviews of the Policy.

Purpose of the Guide

The purpose of this Guide is to help students, and those who work with students, understand and navigate the University of Toronto’s Supportive Leaves Policy (“the Policy”). The Guide is intended to be a companion to the Policy to provide simple explanations and detailed information about how the Policy is applied and what to expect when on a Supportive Leave.

The information in this Guide is provided for general guidance only. The Guide does not amend or replace the Policy.

How to Navigate the Guide

The Guide is organized in six sections outlining various supports, resources, and processes and stages under the Policy and information is presented in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) format. If you are a student who is on a Supportive Leave under the Policy, a list of the most commonly asked questions is available in Section 1. More detailed information is available in the additional sections of the guide.