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