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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)

Related Pages

 Discrimination & Harassment Policy
 Sexual Harassment Resources

 

 

REPORT SEXUAL HARRASSMENT – If you see something, say something!

To report harassment, call ACTRA Toronto, during business hours (9:00 am to 4:45 pm, Monday to Friday)

Telephone: 416-928-2278
Toll-free: 1-877-913-2278

SEXUAL HARASSMENT/AFTER HOURS EMERGENCY REPORTING:

Telephone: 1-855-201-7823 Email: afterhours@actratoronto.com

Need counselling or other health services, including crisis support?

  • Call the Members and Family Assistance Program (MFAP Support) at 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.

 Online Harassment Report Form

 What can you expect when you call us to report sexual harassment?

 
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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

 
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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

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

 

 
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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 (vshen@actratoronto.com). 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

 
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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.
 
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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.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT/AFTER HOURS EMERGENCY REPORTING

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.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT/ABUSE RESOURCE PAGE

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.

 
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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.

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

ReadtheCode.ca

On June 10th, the Canadian Creative Industries launched the website readthecode.ca. 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.
 
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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.

 
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