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.