ACTRA Toronto is committed to safe, harassment-free workplaces

Find out about our policies on our Discrimination & Harassment Policy page.
Scroll down or use the  Quick Links below to learn more about ACTRA Toronto’s evolving workplan to prevent Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence.


On this page

 REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT – If you see something, say something!
 Statement from ACTRA on the safety of women in the entertainment and media industry
 Joint Industry Media Statement Addressing the Issue of Harassment – November 23, 2017
 ACTRA Toronto President Theresa Tova – A message to members about sexual harassment
 ACTRA Toronto Council Statement on Preventing and Dealing with Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence (November 7, 2017)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 1 (November 15, 2017)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 2 (December 1, 2017)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 3 (March 9, 2018) New Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct to Prevent and Respond to Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 4 (June 15, 2018)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 5 (November 6, 2018)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 6 (December 19, 2018)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 7 (June 17, 2019)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 8 (September 20, 2019)
 Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 9 (March 6, 2020)

Related Pages

 Discrimination & Harassment Policy
 Sexual Harassment Resources



To Report Harassment:


  • HAVEN HELPLINE (Harassment and Violence Emergency Network) :



Need counselling or other health services, including crisis support?

  • The Members and Family Assistance Program (MFAP Support) is available to members who have Bronze, Silver or Gold level benefits through AFBS. Call 1-844-880-9142.
  • Identify yourself as having access to the MFAP through AFBS. You will need to provide your ACTRA membership number and date of birth.



Statement from ACTRA on the safety of women in the entertainment and media industry

The disturbing allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein are an important reminder of the work we all need to do to make workspaces safe for all performers. We know sexual discrimination and sexual harassment are very real issues in the industry and in society as a whole. We also know, sadly, how prevalent and difficult predatory behaviour is to report. As industry leaders, we all have a role to play in ending the culture of silence. It’s incumbent upon all of us to combat it and create a safe space for victims to speak out without fear of retribution or harassment. ACTRA works hard to ensure safe and respectful working environments for our members and industry partners, but we know there’s much more to do. We take reports of harassment and bullying very seriously. We are going to work with our industry partners to build on what we are already doing. This will require an industry-wide effort to address a systemic problem that has existed and often been ignored for way too long. We all have to and will do better.

ACTRA National President David Sparrow
ACTRA National Vice-President Alvin Sanders
ACTRA Toronto President Theresa Tova



Joint Industry Media Statement Addressing the Issue of Harassment – November 23, 2017

As representatives of the Canadian creative industry, we gathered together today to collaborate on an industry-wide response to sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and violence. We agree to zero tolerance for such behaviour. We recognize that increasing gender equality and diversity across our industry is an important part of the solution. The first steps we are committed to include:

  • Enacting an industry-wide code of conduct, clearly defining expectations of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, enforcement and consequences.
  • Creating more effective reporting mechanisms and supports, which ensure all individuals can report allegations without fear of judgement or retribution.
  • Ensuring more effective enforcement of existing industry policies.
  • Launching a multi-level education and training program, including an industry-wide awareness campaign designed to establish and strengthen a culture of safe workplaces.

This moment presents us all with an opportunity to focus a spotlight on the prevention of sexual harassment. We are committed to working in partnership to build solutions and will continue to provide updates as they become available.
Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA)
Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (The Academy)
The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA)
Canadian Actors Equity Association (Equity)
Canadian Media Guild (CMG)
Casting Directors Society of Canada (CDC)
Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)
Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC)
Entertainment Industry Coalition (EIC)
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)
Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA)
NABET 700-M Unifor
Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada (TAMAC)
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Writers Guild of Canada (WGC)
Women in View



ACTRA Toronto President Theresa Tova – A message to members about sexual harassment




ACTRA Toronto Council Statement on Preventing and Dealing with Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence (November 7, 2017)


Preventing and Dealing with Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence

In recent weeks, members have courageously come forward about their experiences of sexual harassment. We are heartbroken and enraged by these stories. ACTRA Toronto recognizes and acknowledges our responsibility to protect our members. We regret that our members did not always feel safe in coming forward. We regret that when some people took the very difficult step of coming forward, they may have been discouraged and disappointed by the response. We are deeply sorry. We are committed to moving forward with conviction, passion and urgency. We are committed to doing better.

ACTRA Toronto will not tolerate sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying or violence. ACTRA’s Constitution, By-laws, and Policies deal with harassment by and between members. ACTRA’s collective agreements deal with harassment on set. Councillors, staff, Advocates and Committee Chairs take anti-harassment training. New ACTRA members must attend a Respect on Set course.

ACTRA Toronto has retained the services of Victoria Shen, a Special Advisor on Human Rights and Sexual Harassment ( A review of ACTRA’s programs and policies, together with member feedback through safe space discussions, has identified gaps in areas such as incidents: in casting and auditions, between members, between members of different unions, at industry events, in rehearsals, in fittings, with acting coaches, as well as in the workplace.

ACTRA Toronto commits to the following steps as part of an evolving plan of action:

  • ACTRA Toronto will continue to hold safe space sessions for members to bring forward experiences of sexual harassment in the industry. We will look to engage the services of an outside counsellor to attend these sessions with experience in rape crisis, sexual assault and harassment.
  • ACTRA Toronto will meet with other Ontario audio-visual unions and guilds to discuss joint training, and shared access to third party investigators and mediators for complaints.
  • ACTRA Toronto, through the National industry roundtable, will propose an industry-wide Code of Conduct and enforcement mechanisms. NEW! [See the   Joint Industry Statement Addressing the Issue of Harassment – November 23, 2017

ACTRA Toronto further proposes:

  • Research on the use of criminal checks (as a condition of membership or employment)
  • Development of a national tracking database of offenders (as our members work in different provinces)
  • Protection for witnesses and complainants against reprisal
  • Extending anti-harassment training to OSLOs and committee spearheads
  • Developing a strategy to deal with repeat offenders
  • Updating Respect on Set training and making it mandatory for all members
  • Education, training and outreach to acting schools
  • A code of conduct for independent coaches

ACTRA Toronto will identify areas for improvement in collective agreements and production guidelines to prevent and deal with harassment: in the audition and casting process, in scenes involving intimacy and violence, in workplace investigations, and in the resolution of complaints.

ACTRA Toronto will work with Agents to help them educate young clients to prepare and protect themselves for: scenes requiring nudity, intimacy or violence; and, defining and asserting their boundaries. Performers must NEVER attend a meeting alone. Violations of nudity riders MUST be reported to the Union.

ACTRA Toronto will review the composition and responsibilities of the Discipline Committee and strengthen its procedures by:

  • Expediting timelines e.g. 48 hours
  • Respecting complainant confidentiality
  • Providing the Discipline Committee with access to independent investigators/mediators
  • Looking into expanding penalties to include: suspending membership while a complaint is being investigated and remedied, and amending the Constitution to disallow offenders from running for and being appointed to positions of leadership. Current discipline penalties include: fines, suspension or expulsion from the membership.
  • Researching restorative justice remedies, including restitution, rehabilitation, training and education
  • Making the work of the Discipline Committee more transparent by making it reportable to Council and to a National tracking system

ACTRA Toronto will develop and make available a list of outside resources, services and workshops for members including:

  • Independent legal advice
  • Sexual harassment prevention for young women and men
  • Online videos and resources
  • Self-defense training
  • Partnerships with outside resources e.g. Rape Crisis Centre; Barbra Schlifer Clinic etc.
  • Review of counselling and health care services available to members



Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 1 (November 15, 2017)

ACTRA Toronto Council is committed to addressing the issue of sexual harassment in our industry. Here is an update on our work to date.

Safe Space Groups

ACTRA Toronto President Theresa Tova held four “safe space” groups. Tova and Special Advisor Victoria Shen have continued to receive calls each day from members coming forward with stories of past harassment. In many cases, these are stories members are telling for the first time. They are relieved to be heard and supported while they decide whether to proceed with an official complaint or not. We support them, whatever they decide. We have invited them to stay involved as much or as little as they wish.

Ad hoc advisory committee on sexual harassment

ACTRA Toronto Council, responding to a recommendation from participants in the “safe space groups,” established an ad hoc advisory committee on Sexual Harassment comprised of members who have lived this truth. The committee will provide guidance, advice and input to Council’s action plan.

Harvard Man Investigation

In response to news about the film Harvard Man, shot in Toronto in the year 2000 and directed by James Toback, we are in the process of doing a full investigation of the Harvard Man file which has been recalled from off-site storage. We expect to report on the results of that investigation as soon as next week (November 20 – 24). The former ACTRA Steward (“Business Representative” in current parlance) assigned to Harvard Man has said publicly that the union received a complaint of harassment from a female performer on that film. The Steward/Bus. Rep. moved quickly to protect the woman by ensuring that an ACTRA Toronto representative or the producer was on set (in studio and on location) with the performer at all times.

ACTRA Toronto Staff Training

Last week, ACTRA Toronto staff attended an updated sexual harassment training session.

Member Education Programs

Our education programs are being reviewed. Meetings are underway with course instructors and OSLOs to go over the content about sexual harassment and how members can bring forward complaints.

Partnerships with community experts

ACTRA Toronto is reaching out to community partners to provide counselling, legal advice and crisis support.

Ontario Union & Guild Roundtable

On November 15th, a group of Ontario unions and guilds met to discuss how the different unions and guilds can co-operate to end harassment on set.

Harassment Reporting and Investigation Protocol

Investigations of harassment complaints and our discipline process are both being expedited. Our protocol for reporting incidents of harassment has been revised and can be found on our Discrimination & Harassment Policy Page.


Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 2 (December 1, 2017)

ACTRA Toronto is continuing its work on the issue of sexual harassment in our industry. Here is an update.


The After Hours Emergency Reporting service has been renamed to ensure that members wishing to report harassment always know where to call.The protocol used by the service that handles the call intake and forwarding has been updated accordingly. the new number is at the bottom of every page of the ACTRA Toronto website, in our  Contacts page and, of course, on all of the pages that deal with discrimination and harassment.


ACTRA Toronto’s Special Advisor on Harassment, Victoria Shen, has compiled a list of resources for members dealing with sexual harassment and/or abuse. The list is posted on our new  Sexual Harassment Resources page.

WORK WITH INDUSTRY PARTNERS: Code of Conduct, Safe Reporting Protocol & Training Opportunities

Further to the November 23rd Industry Roundtable held on November 23rd, work is underway on developing:

  • an industry-wide code of conduct
  • a mechanism for safe and supported reporting of harassment incidents and
  • opportunities for improved training.



Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 3 – (March 9, 2018) New Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct to Prevent and Respond to Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence

The Canadian Creative Industries released a Code of Conduct to Prevent and Respond to Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence on International Women’s Day.

The Code represents a commitment by industry leaders and stakeholders to shift the culture, to prevent and respond to harassment including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence. There are currently twenty-four (24) signatories which include ACTRA, DGC, WGC, NABET 700-M Unifor, Canada Media Union, CMPA, CBC, TIFF, Women in View, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and William F. White, with more organizations expected to sign on.

ACTRA Toronto continues to make harassment a priority.

  • ACTRA Toronto has produced a handy, wallet-sized card to empower members to recognize, report and help- prevent harassment.
  • The ACTRA Toronto Winter Members Conference held on February 21-23, 2018 included a special plenary session, The Law of Sexual Harassment. Three (3) lawyers provided information from the perspectives of human rights, labour law, civil litigation, defamation, and criminal proceedings.
  • At the ACTRA Awards in Toronto, the importance of the ongoing work to prevent harassment was a key message from President Theresa Tova.
  • The updated Respect on Set training is now mandatory for new ACTRA Toronto members.
  • ACTRA Toronto continues to work with industry stakeholders on new protocols for training, reporting and investigations.

Other Organizations

DGC has released its Respectful Workplace Audit following a national Listening Tour of its members.

SAG- AFTRA has released a Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment based on their Four Pillars of Change Initiative.

The National Theatre School has released a Policy to Prevent Harassment and Promote a Safe Environment, with an infographic on handling complaints.

#AfterMeToo has released its Report and recommendations. In partnership with the Canadian Women’s Foundation, they are raising funds for sexual violence support services across Canada.



Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 4 – (June 15, 2018)

On June 10th, the Canadian Creative Industries launched the website Following the release (on International Women’s Day) of the Code of Conduct to Prevent and Respond to Harassment, Discrimination, Bullying and Violence, over 30 organizations signed on to the Code, bringing to 60 the number of industry signatories committed to the Code of Conduct.

What is the Code? It is a declaration by partners in the creative industries to work together to stop and prevent harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence. It commits organizations to develop policies, protocols and training to help make sure that everyone who works in the creative sector understands their rights and the responsibility we all share in building respectful work environments.

ACTRA By-law No. 7 Revised

The ACTRA Toronto ad hoc Committee on Preventing Sexual Harassment and a committee reviewing the ACTRA Constitution and By-laws, identified a number of areas in the By-laws to be reviewed and revised to provide a clear process for dealing with complaints of harassment. Following consultations across the country and with our legal counsel, on June 3rd, 2018, the ACTRA National Council adopted a revised By-law No 7 that includes the following:

  • Definitions of discrimination, harassment. sexual harassment, and work-related environments that “can include but are not limited to: auditions or casting meetings, job interviews, industry events, festivals, awards, company functions, production studios and sets (whether local or remote), offices and rehearsal, training and performance venues.”
  • Explicit in Members Responsibilities the requirement for members in all work and work-related environments to uphold workplaces, industry and union environments free from discrimination and harassment.
  • New and separate process to address complaints of discrimination, harassment and/or sexual harassment that provide for the following:
    • Clear steps to initiate a complaint and as assessment of whether the complaint meets the threshold of harassment or discrimination as defined in the By-law
    • Ability of the Union to initiate or pursue a complaint in the absence of an individual complaint or where a complaint has been withdrawn;
    • Mediation: parties to a complaint may request voluntary mediation at any point;
    • Investigation: the Charging Official may assign an internal or independent external investigator to provide an analysis of the complaint, response and any supporting material. The investigator will provide a final report to the Charging Official which will include a determination of whether the complaint is or is not substantiated and any recommendation for penalty or penalties; and
    • Notification to the Complainant and Respondent of the Charging Official’s decision and the Appeal process.
  • Clear steps in the Appeal process and the role of the Branch Discipline Committee.
  • Available penalties including proportional consequences for the violation of Member Responsibilities.
  • Provision for a Charging Official to recommend to the Branch restriction on the privileges of membership in situations of serious complaints of discrimination, harassment and/or sexual harassment where it is believed there is significant risk or harm to the Complainant or any other member.
  • Reporting of Discipline Orders to the ACTRA Toronto Council through in camera sessions.

Creative Industries Working Group on Training and Education

Representatives from across the country have been working to gather available training and education resources to recommend and share. At ACTRA Toronto, we have revised our Respect on Set workshop and made mandatory the completion of this workshop as well as an on-line or in-person Apprentice course as a requirement of membership.

Creative Industries Working Group on Reporting Mechanisms

Organizations heard that one of the main barriers to people bringing forward complaints of harassment is that they do not know how to report. The Working Group on Reporting Mechanisms is taking a close look at a number of “apps” and services that would make the reporting of complaints easy, confidential and safe and provide for quick response and support.

The increased awareness and on-set training is helping people to come forward. ACTRA Toronto Business Representatives are trained in the handling of complaints. Our Special Advisor, Victoria Shen reports monthly to the ACTRA Toronto Council providing an overview of the complaints received and initiatives underway. A reminder that ACTRA Toronto members can Report Sexual Harrassment by Email, telephone or by completing an Online Harassment Report Form. A list of resources is also available on the ACTRA Toronto Sexual Harassment Resources page.

ACTRA Toronto Women Stunt Performers Committee

On June 5th, the ACTRA Toronto Council approved a recommendation to set up a committee for women stunt performers. This committee will be looking specifically at how we can better prevent and deal with issues of harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence in the stunt community. A survey of the stunt community in 2017 found that an alarming majority of stunt performers had experienced or witnessed incidents of bullying and harassment. In addition to providing opportunities for women stunt performers to meet and support each other, the Committee will be promoting the new orientation course for stunt performers, awareness of the newly revised By-law No. 7 and Appendix F, the Stunt Coordinator Code of Conduct.

Have your say on the IPA

In the fall, we will be negotiating the renewal of the Independent Production Agreement (IPA). Working with the ad hoc Committee on Preventing Sexual Harassment, we will be looking at how we can improve the harassment prevention provisions and complaint resolution process in the IPA. Watch for a bargaining survey and opportunities to let us know what you would like to see considered in this next round of negotiations on the IPA.

In appreciation…

While there is more to do, we greatly appreciate the efforts of women and men on the ACTRA Toronto committees and those who have attended safe-space focus groups in helping guide us through the recent revisions of the By-laws, the updating of our education materials and the ongoing advice and feedback as we work together with our industry partners to stop harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.


Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update 5 – Year to Date Report – November 6, 2018

As we pass the one-year anniversary of that watershed Weinstein story, it is a time to take stock of our anti-harassment work at ACTRA Toronto to date.

Training, Education and Resources

Since November 2017, we have organized 14 additional hours of training for staff and Council to improve services to members, including the handling of harassment complaints.

In January 2018, the Respect on Set training was updated to include information on reporting complaints, how to access support services, definitions of discrimination and harassment, and bystander training. The training is now mandatory for new members. Since the update, we have trained 4 additional member-instructors and over 250 people have completed the workshop.

To better protect the interest of members on set, we have trained additional On-set Liaison Officers (OSLOs), increasing the number from 19 to 26.

ACTRA has developed additional resources to members which include:

  • 24 HR Emergency and Sexual Harassment Hotline
  • anti-harassment wallet size cards
  • online harassment complaint form (allows for anonymous reporting)
  • information online – what to expect when you report to ACTRA; harassment resources (crisis support lines and where to access free independent legal advice)
  • nudity fact sheet
  • tip sheets for Council, Committee and Caucus Chairs and staff about the process for reporting and investigating complaints
  • regular updates on our anti-harassment initiatives through our website, newsletters, magazines and e-blasts

Changes at ACTRA Toronto

ACTRA Toronto Council immediately adopted the anti-harassment workplan in November 2017. Over the past year, it has implemented a number of additional measures to combat harassment. These include, for example, amending the Equality Statement to recognize membership or work category as a basis for discrimination; creating the position of the Background Advocate; implementing the reading of the Land Acknowledgement before meetings and events; and endorsing the creation of the Women’s Stunt Committee.

The Discipline Process set out under By-Law No.7 was revised. The changes came about after extensive consultations with the Ad Hoc Committee on Preventing Sexual Harassment and the Constitution and By-Laws Review Committee, followed by consultations nationally and work by our external counsel. The changes include definitions for discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment, and a specific process for addressing these types of complaints. To increase transparency and uniformity, there are now expanded provisions outlining the penalties and the factors to consider when imposing proportional consequences. (More information about the changes can be found in the latest edition of Performer magazine.)

Member Reporting

Over the last year, we have seen a significant increase in member reporting. To illustrate, complaints of harassment arising on productions under the film and television agreement (IPA) included allegations of sexual harassment (eg. sexual assault, unwanted touching, solicitation, failure to comply with nudity provisions under the IPA, inappropriate communications); harassment (eg. disrespectful behavior); and discriminatory comments. Complaints of harassment arising under the commercial agreement (NCA) involved incidents during the audition process. We have also resolved complaints of harassment between members arising under our Discipline Process (By-Law #7). The complaints included mostly inappropriate communications, interpersonal conflicts between members, and overall, a lack of professionalism.

Overall, members are much more aware of their rights. Members are better supported by their peers when they are making the decision to come forward. Witnesses are more cooperative in investigations. When we bring complaints to organizations, they are much more responsive and understand the seriousness of the allegations. Despite these improvements, challenges remain. Many employers lack the experience in handling complaints, even large, established and well-resourced employers. We also find that confidentiality around the investigation and results which are legally required, can mean that complainants and witnesses are left feeling unsatisfied by the limited information released to them.

Changing the culture

ACTRA has been a driving force in getting the anti-harassment message out to the media, and in the industry. Since October 2017, ACTRA Toronto has had 41 media mentions on sexual harassment. ACTRA Toronto and President Theresa Tova are frequently sought after to speak on harassment and diversity by the media and at industry events

Ongoing attention on harassment is an important part of changing the culture. By speaking out, ACTRA is helping to shift the culture of silence to a culture of reporting. Members have reported feeling more empowered to come forward when they see our leaders speaking out on the issue. Ongoing public and media attention also helps to leverage change from industry stakeholders who would otherwise be reluctant to change.

We have accomplished a lot in a year but there is still much work to be done. Change is tough, but we are continuing to do what we can, when we can. Thank you to everyone who has listened and learned, lent a hand, raised their voice, stood up for themselves and others. Let’s keep this going.




Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update – December 2018

Improved Protections in the New IPA

The new Independent Production Agreement coming into effect on January 1, 2019 includes improved protections for performers in the areas of discrimination and harassment. Some highlights from the new agreement include the following:

  • Protection from discrimination, including background performers, on the additional grounds of ancestry, citizenship, gender expression, ethnic origin, place of origin, marital and family status.
  • Gender inclusive language recognizing all genders.
  • Recognition that performers not identifying as male or female can request accommodation on dressing facilities.
  • The Union will only notify the employer of a harassment complaint when authorized by the performer.
  • No performer will be required to provide a nude photo on a first audition.
  • In a call back audition requiring nudity or semi-nudity, the audition will be closed and only the necessary number of persons up to a maximum of 5 people from production can attend. Additionally, the performer can request a representative from ACTRA or a personal representative to be present.
  • No auditions or meetings shall be conducted in hotel rooms or residences where a performer is alone with a representative from production.
  • A joint bulletin to be released recognizing the importance of consent-based interactions when work required bodily contact.

Due Justice For All Project

On October 29, ACTRA Toronto staff and members participated in a consultation for the Due Justice for All Project (DJA) – an initiative to develop an alternative to the criminal justice system for survivors of gender-based violence. The project is funded by Status of Women Canada, and administered jointly by METRAC, WomenatthecentrE and Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). We had a lively discussion about some of the current challenges in the criminal justice system and what changes would improve the experience for survivors of gender-based violence. On November 27, we provided written submissions based on the consultation meeting and discussions.

If you are an ACTRA member and interested in participating in the project, WomenatthecentrE is looking for you. Information about one-on-one interviews and focus groups can be found here.

Discipline Committee Meeting Training

The discipline process set out under By-Law No. 7 was revised in 2018 specifically to improve ACTRA’s ability to respond to harassment complaints. On October 24, we held a full day training for discipline committee members. Some staff and executive members were also in attendance.

The morning portion included remarks by the Chair of the discipline committee, Chris Owens, and an orientation on the revised discipline process led by Director Member Services, Nicole Valentin and Special Advisor, Victoria Shen. The afternoon portion was led by Pamela Chapman, a lawyer and legal educator. She was a member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario from 2009 to 2012, a Vice-Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board from 1993 to 2002, and worked as a labour arbitrator and mediator for more than 20 years.

The afternoon training included the following: regulatory decision-making; principles of fairness and impartiality; key components of procedural fairness; dealing with discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and violence; hearing and assessing evidence; assessing credibility; structured decision making and giving reasons.

Speaking Up and Speaking Out

On December 10, we participated in “Women of Colour in the Entertainment Industry discuss Sexual Harassment”. The morning event was organized by Reelworld Film Festival and hosted by Tonya Williams, winner of the Sandi Ross Award this year. The event engaged diverse women from across the film and television industry in a candid, powerful and lively exchange, about sexual harassment from an intersectional perspective.

On December 6, Theresa Tova, ACTRA Toronto President and Victoria Shen, Special Advisor spoke at the United Steelworkers National Staff Meeting. The audience included executive members, business representatives, and representatives from their legal and training departments. ACTRA continues to be recognized in the labour movement as a leader and innovator in harassment prevention.

Harassment Prevention continues

The Ministry of Labour has reported the top health and safety violation in 2017 is workplace violence and harassment. The top ten violations in Ontario are listed below:

  1. Workplace violence and harassment (11,662 violations)
  2. Fall protection (9,658)
  3. Lack of personal protective equipment (8,318)
  4. Improper access and egress (6,472)
  5. Health and safety representative and JHSC (6,239)
  6. Administrative (6,007)
  7. Basic OHS awareness training (5,232)
  8. Improper use/maintenance of ladders/scaffolding (4,846)
  9. Lack of machine/equipment guarding (4,276)
  10. Housekeeping/work surfaces (4,269)

It has also been our experience at ACTRA that more people are coming forward and speaking out. We have accomplished a lot in the last year but there is still much to do. Here are some highlights from our Operating Plan for 2019 on harassment prevention:

  • Enhance and improve reporting mechanisms and supports
  • Work with producers, agents and casting directors to review and improve protections for performers when performances require nudity, semi-nudity, intimacy or violence
  • Develop and update content on harassment prevention for workplace training sessions and courses
  • Continue to collaborate with other unions and guilds to prevent and deal with harassment
  • Work with creative industry partners to develop resources for performance and production programs, including training on boundaries and consent
  • Develop and distribute materials on consent-based interactions
  • Continue to work towards gender equality and diversity




Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update – June 17, 2019

HAVEN Helpline

We are thrilled to announce the launch of HAVEN Helpline on June 1, 2019. HAVEN (Harassment and Violence Emergency Network) is a joint initiative of ACTRA and the Directors Guild of Canada. HAVEN is a national 24/7 bilingual incident report line with integrated access to counselling and other support services. The helpline is operated by Morneau Shepell, the leading provider of assistance programs in Canada. Members can access assistance by phone or chat, speak with a counsellor immediately or book an appointment and have their incidents reports sent to the applicable union. HAVEN is also available through an app powered by Lifeworks, which has a range of well-being resources and perks. HAVEN is made possible through the financial support of AFBS and Telefilm Canada.

IPA and Beyond

The new Independent Production Agreement (IPA) came into effect on January 1, 2019 and features additional measures to prevent and address harassment. We have been busy implementing the commitments we made in the new agreement. On February 14, 2019, to coincide with Valentine’s Day, ACTRA released the Joint Bulletin on Consent Based Interactions. The bulletin emphasized the need to ensure that all bodily contact with performers is consensual. On February 22, 2019, ACTRA met with the Canadian Media Producer’s Association (CMPA) to discuss additional measures to protect performers when they are engaged in scenes involving nudity, intimacy and simulated sexual activity. Protecting performers engaged in such scenes remains a priority issue and we have begun consultations with our Ad Hoc Sexual Harassment Committee, Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada, Casting Directors Society of Canada, and Intimacy Coordinators to discuss the issues and develop resources and best practices.

Working with Industry Partners

ACTRA is a member of the Section 21 Film and Television Health and Safety Advisory Committee. This is a provincial health and safety body with representatives from producers, labour and government. One of the key functions of the committee is oversight of the Film Safety Guidelines, a series of health and safety guidelines developed specifically to address the needs of the film and television industry. ACTRA played a critical role in developing the new Harassment Guideline which was approved by the committee and submitted to the Ministry of Labour for review and approval in April 2019.

On April 30, 2019, ACTRA hosted a meeting with Ontario unions and guilds. Present were representatives from DGC Ontario, NABET, and IATSE Locals 873, 411 and 667. Almost all the unions and guilds have experienced an increase in reporting on harassment, and everyone committed to continuing to work together.

On April 5, 2019, ACTRA attended the final meeting of the Coordinating Committee for the Respectful Workplaces in the Arts. The project is an initiative of Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) to develop anti-harassment resources for the cultural sector nationally, funded by Heritage Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. ACTRA provided input into the Code of Conduct for Performing Arts, submitted letters of support for additional funding to the project, and offered to assist in developing a helpline.

On May 27-28, 2019, ACTRA attended the Actor Educators Conference, organized by Got Your Back (GYB). This conference brought together acting instructors from across the country and engaged them in unprecedented discussions on issues such harassment, mental health, intersectionality and working conditions. ACTRA contributed by sponsoring the event, providing resources and speakers to the conference.

Training and Education

Some ACTRA staff and members have received training in Mental Health First Aid. We launched a new webpage with Mental Health Support Services on the ACTRA Toronto website to coincide with Bell Let’s Talk day (January 31, 2019).

ACTRA continues to be a frequently sought-after speaker on issues of harassment in the entertainment industry. Special Advisor, Victoria Shen, spoke at the Osgoode Certificate in Entertainment Law (February 25 – March 1, 2019); the Law Society of Ontario – Symposium on Entertainment and Media Law (May 2-3, 2019); NOMFA (Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards) in Sudbury (May 23-25, 2019) and the Actor Educators Conference by GYB (May 27-28, 2019).




Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update – September 20, 2019

With the guidance and support of the ACTRA Toronto Council and Ad hoc Committee on Preventing Sexual Harassment, ACTRA Toronto continues to play a leading role in helping to change the culture in the industry.

HAVEN Helpline

On June 1st, the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) and ACTRA, launched HAVEN Helpline (Harassment and Violence Emergency Network), a national 24/7 bilingual incident report line with integrated access to counselling and other support services. The helpline is operated by Morneau Shepell, the leading provider of assistance programs in Canada. Members can access assistance by phone or chat, speak with a counsellor immediately or book an appointment. Calls are answered by trauma informed professionals and with the members permission, incident reports are forwarded to the union. In the first 3 months of the helpline, members have reached out to us across the country to report incidents of harassment. We are very glad to see that members, who otherwise do not have access to healthcare benefits, have been able to receive counselling services through the helpline.

Best Practices for Scenes involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sexual Activity and Sexual Violence

Following the successful bargaining of improvements to prevent harassment in the Independent Production Agreement (IPA), ACTRA met with the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) to identify and address issues when Performers are engaged in scenes involving nudity, intimacy, simulated sexual activity or sexual violence. Consultations with Performers and industry partners, such as the Talent Agents and Managers Association of Canada (TAMAC), the Casting Directors Society of Canada (CDC), Intimacy Coordinators, and other industry Unions and Guilds, have led to the development of a document on Best Practices for Scenes involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sexual Activity and Sexual Violence. The document will be announced to the membership at the Members Conference on September21, 2019, and posted to our website this fall. We look forward to working with members and industry partners to provide further input and feedback as we continue this important work.

What is an Intimacy Coordinator?

As the ACTRA Toronto Council learned in a moving and informative session with ACTRA member, Lindsay Somers (Intimacy Coordinators Canada), more and more Productions are engaging Intimacy Coordinators. From the early days of contracting through rehearsals and production days on closed sets, “ICs” are trained to help prepare, coach and support Producers, Performers and crew members to ensure interactions are consent-based and that sets are safe and respectful. Intimacy coordination is a new and evolving area. ACTRA will be monitoring and supporting these positive developments.




Sexual Harassment Prevention Workplan Update – March 6, 2020

Best Practices for Scenes involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sex and Sexual Violence

We are thrilled to launch the Best Practices for Scenes involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sex and Sexual Violence for International Women’s Day.

The film and television industry present situations that are unique from other workplaces. Performers are especially vulnerable when they are engaged in explicit content. Developed through consultations with our members and industry partners, we believe these “best practices” will improve protections for performers, highlight problem practices, and foster a culture of consent. The guide includes a series of checklists with steps from pre to post-production, for producers, performers, talent agents, casting directors, intimacy coordinators and production crew. We are grateful to all those who shared their experiences and advice in developing this document. Through efforts like this and the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct, we are working to ensure that workplaces are safe and respectful.

Consultations and Collaborations

We are strongest when we work together. In February, ACTRA hosted an inaugural Zoom meeting with certified Intimacy Coordinators from across Canada. Recent production issues and strategies to improve protections for performers were discussed. ACTRA continues to promote the use of certified intimacy coordinators and encourages productions to engage them on an ACTRA contract. In January, ACTRA met with talent agents from TAMAC to consult on the Best Practices for Scenes involving Nudity, Intimacy, Simulated Sex and Sexual Violence. In December, ACTRA met with the Ontario unions and guilds to discuss harassment related issues and challenges, consult on the Best Practices, and explore options for working together.

Education and Outreach

Fresh off the press is the Spring 2020 edition of Performers Magazine. Watch out for the article on Best Practices and Intimacy Coordinators (page 20).

ACTRA Toronto was well represented at The Osgoode Certificate in Entertainment Law, February 24-28. The course is popular amongst industry professionals including entertainment lawyers, business affairs specialists, agents, producers, union staff and leaders. Alistair Hepburn, Director of Film, Television and Digital Media, in conjunction with a representative from the Writers Guild of Canada, taught a session on Trade Unions. Victoria Shen, Special Advisor, led the session on Workplace Harassment. This is the second year that the course has include a session on harassment.

On January 19, 2020, ACTRA led a training session on workplace harassment for IATSE Local 667, the Local representing camera professionals and unit publicists. In attendance were crew reps from the camera department.

On December 2, 2019, ACTRA organized a panel on harassment for the Canadian Association for Stand-Up Comedians (CASC). Speakers included Victoria Shen, Special Advisor ACTRA Toronto; Mindy Noble, Legal Counsel and Project Coordinator of the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Education and Advice project at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre; and Alexi Wood, founding partner at St. Lawrence Barristers LLP and counsel for the complainants in the civil lawsuits against the Soulpepper Theatre Company and artistic director Albert Schultz.

On November 20, 2019, ACTRA presented at the WSPS Advisory Committee Symposium, on behalf of the Television, Film and Live Performance Advisory Committee. In attendance at the symposium were over 140 guests – a group that included health and safety professionals who are members of the ten advisory committees representing Ontario’s agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors. ACTRA was invited to speak about the HAVEN Helpline and how it services the unique health and safety challenges for those working in the film and television industry.


ACTRA continues bargaining with videogame developer, Ubisoft. Next up are preparations for bargaining on the National Commercial Agreement (NCA). Stronger language on harassment prevention, increasing protections for performers engaged in explicit content, and gender-inclusion are just some of the priorities that ACTRA will be bringing forward. Have your say! Complete the National Commercial Agreement Member Survey.


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