Update 4


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of the Union to initiate or pursue a complaint in the absence of an individual complaint or where a complaint has been withdrawn;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 24/7 by calling the HAVEN Helpline at 1-855-201-7823 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.