Industry orgs adopt Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct

Born out of the November roundtable meetings, the Code sets out to ensure safety and respect are the norm in work and work-related environments.
Pen from Creative Commons

A group of 24 creative-sector organizations have adopted the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct to help prevent and respond to harassment in work and work-related environments.

The announcement follows a November roundtable meeting in which industry orgs committed to creating an industry-wide code of conduct that set forth concrete definitions of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, guidelines for enforcing that behaviour and consequences for violating those rules. Out of the meeting, a trio of working groups were established with a view to creating policies in three areas: codes of conduct, safer reporting mechanisms, and anti-harassment training. The working groups for the latter two are still working on their documents.

As set out in the Code of Conduct, the signatories agree to: enact policies and procedures that maintain zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence; designate people in the workplace to receive complaints of harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence; provide a timely process for the investigation and resolution of complaints; implement proportional consequences for violations; and encourage instructors, teachers, coaches and those providing training in the industry to adhere to this Code and share its principles with their students.

“The Code represents a commitment by engaged stakeholders to shift the culture, to prevent and respond to harassment including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence and to ensure every workplace is one where safety, respect and professionalism are the norm,” read a statement accompanying document, released March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day.

Signatories include ACTRA, CMPA, CBC, TIFF, Women in View, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, William F. White, WGC, NABET 700-M Unifor, DGC, Tribro Studios, Canada Media Union. Other organizations will join once they have reviewed the document, according to a release.

In addition, the Code asks signatories to: ensure everyone in the workplace is aware of anti-harassment, discrimination and violence policies and procedures; to set and respect personal boundaries and engage in consent-based interactions; when work requires physical contact or scenes of nudity, intimacy or violence, adhere to applicable respectful workplace policies and collective agreement obligations; provide safe places where work may be performed for example, by not requiring individuals to attend meetings alone or in spaces such as private hotel rooms, etc.; and encourage instructors, teachers, coaches and those providing training in the industry to adhere to this Code and share its principles with their students.

The principles set forth in the Code are applicable to all work-related environments, including industry events, award ceremonies, casting meetings, company parties or events, production studios, sets and festivals, as well as performance venues, offices and rehearsals.

ACTRA National president David Sparrow told Playback Daily that while the Code of Conduct is an important step in ensuring a more respectful and inclusive domestic industry, it is not a finished document. “It’s not a perfect document, it’s not a finished document. It’s a living document and it’s going to respond regularly to whatever best practice in the industry is,” he said.

Sparrow also reiterated the strong desire from all parties involved to continue the progress that has been made since the initial, Nov. 23 meeting. “We are committed to ensuring that the work we’re doing here is not simply a publicity stunt. We’re trying to create tools that will be effective in the future and will see us raise the bar and the professionalism within our industry, and begin to treat all workers with the safety and respect that they deserve.”

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