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ACTRA Toronto Discrimination & Harassment Policy
ACTRA Toronto Discrimination & Harassment Policy
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, employers, landlords, vocational associations and service providers are required to ensure that they are providing inclusive and non-discriminatory environments. Harassment and discrimination are a violation of the law and organizations that fail to take adequate steps to prevent and address harassment and discrimination may be held liable.
In all its work and documentation, ACTRA works within a philosophy that reflects the spirit of the Human Rights Code: ACTRA has articles in its collective agreements to deal with harassment and discrimination on the part of engagers or on set; the ACTRA By-Laws clearly express an expectation of respect for staff on the part of members with penalties imposed for abuse and harassment; anti- harassment and discrimination workshops have been conducted with staff; ACTRA Toronto has an ombudsperson whose responsibility it is to advocate and mediate on behalf of members who have a problem with the union.
Notwithstanding the above, it is important that members have a clear understanding of ACTRA’s commitment to human rights. Similarly, members must have access to a clearly defined process to address complaints they may have within the union with respect to harassment or discrimination.
The following policy will enable ACTRA to better fulfil its human rights obligations. It makes a clear statement in support of human rights for all its members, provides definitions of harassment and discrimination and outlines a complaint and resolution mechanism for any member who feels they have suffered as a result of discrimination or harassment.
Our Respect on Set Workshop provides essential on-set anti-harassment training!
ACTRA Toronto Human Rights Statement
ACTRA Toronto is committed to:
- Providing an environment for members that is free from harassment and discrimination based on the grounds prohibited by the Human Rights Code at all ACTRA Toronto sponsored activities;
- • Fostering the goodwill and trust necessary to protect the rights of all individuals within the organization;
- • Neither tolerating nor condoning behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of individuals; and
- • Promoting mutual respect, understanding and co-operation as the basis of interaction among all members.
This policy covers all members of ACTRA Toronto. Each person covered by the policy is responsible for maintaining an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.
Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination
Consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.
What is Harassment?
Harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
ACTRA Toronto considers this to include intentional or unintentional comments or conduct that are offensive and demean an individual, cause personal humiliation, and/or threaten the personal well- being of an individual.
What is Sexual Assault?
The Criminal Code of Canada describes sexual assault as any assault of a sexual nature.
An assault is defined in Section 265 as the intentional application of force, either directly or indirectly, onto another person, without their consent. It is also the attempt or threat to intentionally apply force to another person without their consent. Assault is also defined as accosting, begging, or impeding another person while openly wearing or carrying either a real, or an imitation of, a weapon. This definition of assault applies to sexual assault.
(Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 265)
What is Consent?
Section 273.1 subsection 1 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as, “…the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.”
As per the criminal code, there is NO consent present if:
- the application, threat, or fear of force is used
- fraud and/or the use of authority is used
- someone consents on the behalf of the complainant
- the complainant is unconscious
- the complainant is unable to consent
- the complainant expresses through words or behaviour that they do not consent
- the complainant expresses through words or behaviour that they do not consent to continuing to engage
(Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 273)
Reporting Sexual Assault Timeline – The Limitations Act
In Ontario, the Basic Limitation Period is an Act that defines when most legal claims must be initiated. Section 16(1), paragraph (h) of this Act includes instances where there is no limitation period on when a legal claim can be pursued. Sexual assault is included as one of the crimes that has no limitation on when a complainant can take legal action. See Section 16 (1) paragraph (h) listed below:
“There is not limitation period in respect of… a proceeding based on a sexual assault.”
In other words, historical sexual assault claims can be pursued at any time.
(Limitations Act, SC 2002. c. 24.)
Reporting Sexual Assault to Police
If you are not immediate danger, you can report sexual assault by calling your local police station. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
- If you do not want to make a report yourself, you may be able to report the assault through a trusted third party.
- Reporting sexual assault can add information to police records, which may help police flag and identify repeat offenders.
- All people who have experienced assault deserve support. Even if a report is not made, services are still available to survivors. See our members resources page for some of those supports.
What happens once I make a police report?
If you choose to report sexual assault to police, you will be asked to:
- share what happened (who, what, when, where, etc.)
- provide a statement that may be audio or video recorded
- The recording can take place in the detachment, or in some cases, in a mutually agreed upon safe location
- It is ok for a survivor to not remember everything. Stress and trauma can impede memory
- clarify details through interview questions
- offer the names of any suspects, witnesses, and bystanders
- provide any physical evidence, such as photos of injuries and clothing. The more information and evidence available, the more support police will have when investigating
- keep in touch with the investigator/detachment and share information that might help the investigation as / if it comes up
- survivors can choose to stop participating in the investigation at any time, even if you have already provided a statement
(Information for Sexual Assault Survivors, 2021)
Survivors can also be connected with Victims Services after reporting a crime. Victims Services offer multiple supports such as guiding the survivor and the family through recovery, preparing victims acting as witnesses for court proceedings, and more.
(Victim Services, 2021)
Privacy when reporting sexual assault
A complainant can pursue a “publication ban”. A publication ban prohibits any information that could identify a complainant or witness involved in a criminal case from being shared with the public (no published documents, broadcasts, etc.). A publication ban does not apply to those involved in the administration of justice and who therefore must know the details of a case.A publication ban does not protect the identity of the accused. A publication bans also mean the complainant or survivor also cannot identify themselves to the public.
(Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 486.4)
Support from your Union
If you or someone you know is a survivor of assault, you can contact the HAVEN Helpline for mental health counselling and support and/or to report an incident:
You can also reach out to ACTRA Toronto’s Executive Director at:
ACTRA Toronto Discrimination & Harassment Policy Guiding Principles
The policy will apply to matters between ACTRA members in the workplace and at all ACTRA Toronto-sponsored activities.
To protect the interests of all parties, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the complaint process except where disclosure is necessary for a fair investigation and resolution process. Confidentiality requirements will be reviewed with the parties and any witnesses interviewed in the investigation of a complaint.
A person who makes a complaint or participates as a witness in the procedures under this policy will not be penalized or experience reprisal for doing so.
A complaint under this policy shall be made, investigated and resolved as expeditiously as possible. Every effort should be made to work within the timelines suggested however should circumstances make this impossible, timelines may be extended.
Conflict Resolution Process
Where possible, an individual who feels they have been harassed or unfairly discriminated against should inform the other party that their behaviour is unwelcome and should stop. In situations where the complainant is unwilling or unable to confront the individual directly, the complainant is encouraged to seek the assistance of a colleague. An individual may make a complaint under this policy even if they have not confronted the other party prior to making the complaint.
If the complaint is not resolved, or the allegedly discriminatory or harassing conduct continues, the complainant should make a written complaint to the ACTRA Toronto Business Representative assigned to the project. The complaint should identify the specific incident(s) of alleged harassment or discrimination and the prohibited ground(s) on which the alleged harassment or discrimination is based.
The individual receiving the complaint will then inform the Ombudsperson of the complaint who will contact the complainant within 14 days to officially receive the complaint on the prescribed form. The Ombudsperson will ensure the complaint is officially received as soon as possible after the complainant has made their first approach to ACTRA Toronto.
Should the Ombudsperson have a conflict of interest with respect to the complaint or be unavailable for any reason, the president of ACTRA Toronto should be informed of the complaint. The president will then appoint a person to act in place of the Ombudsperson. In such a case, all references to the Ombudsperson in this policy should be read as a reference to the individual appointed by the president.
The Ombudsperson will interview the complainant, the respondent(s) and any relevant witnesses to ascertain the facts of the dispute. The Ombudsperson will endeavour to ensure these interviews take place within 21 days of the complaint being officially filed.
3. Voluntary Informal Mediation
Upon completion of the interview process, where appropriate, the Ombudsperson will convene an informal meeting to provide an opportunity for both sides to resolve the situation in an informal manner. To facilitate this process, the Ombudsperson may seek the assistance of staff and/or legal counsel as they deem necessary.
Any informal mediation should take place within 35 days of the official filing of the complaint.
4. Mandatory Conflict Resolution
In the event that Informal Mediation is not appropriate or is not successful, the Ombudsperson will refer the complaint to the Chair of the ACTRA Toronto Discipline Committee within 35 days of the official filing of the complaint.
The Chair will convene a Committee comprised of the Chair plus two other members of ACTRA Toronto Council who are not named as respondents to the complaint. The Ombudsperson will also serve on the Committee with voice but no vote.
The Committee will review the information collected by the Ombudsperson and may interview each of the parties as well as any witnesses.
Within three months of the date on which the complaint was referred by the Ombudsperson, the Committee will make a determination and order any corrective action it deems necessary.
Either the complainant or respondent may appeal the Committee’s determination in writing to the President of ACTRA Toronto within 14 days of receiving the Committee’s determination. The appeal must set out the grounds of the appeal and the requested relief. Upon reviewing the grounds of the appeal, the President may deny the appeal outright or convene an Appeal Committee to hear the appeal. The Appeal Committee will be composed of three members of ACTRA Toronto Council who did not serve on the initial Committee and who are not named as respondents to the complaint.
The Appeal Committee will either uphold the original determination or make a revised determination. The decision of the President or the Appeal Committee is final.
Policy Steps and Timelines
Complaint shall be made as expeditiously as possible after the alleged incident.
Official written complaint to be filed within 14 days of initial verbal or written complaint.
Within 21 days of official complaint being filed
4. Voluntary Informal Mediation
Within 35 days of official complaint being filed
5. Mandatory Conflict Resolution
Chair receives complaint within 35 days of official complaint being filed. Committee makes a determination within three months of receiving official complaint from Ombudsperson.
Must be made within 14 days of receipt of Committee’s determination.
NOTE: Timelines may be extended in certain circumstances.