Friday, October 5, 2018
Update on progress in creating respectful workplaces
Over the past year, ACTRA has been and remains dedicated to preventing and reducing harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence within our union and the broader Canadian creative industry. While progress has been made over the last 12 months, there is still more work to be done.
The first step was to convene a group of creative industry stakeholders to collaborate on an industry-wide response to sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence. After this meeting in November 2017, the group released a joint statement committing to zero tolerance for harassment in all its forms and established working groups to develop an industry Code of Conduct, explore safer reporting measures, and review opportunities for industry-wide education and training.
A series of industry stakeholder meetings continued over the winter months and, on March 8, 2018, the Canadian Creative Industries released their Code of Conduct (www.readthecode.ca), which lists useful steps to better identify, address and prevent harassment.
Since becoming signatory in March, our union has remained dedicated to executing these steps to better serve our members. These include identifying and implementing policies and procedures for members to report experiences of harassment as well as creating a process to quickly address reports.
In spring 2018, ACTRA contracted a Respectful Workplaces Advisor who, along with ACTRA’s legal counsel, have guided us through a review of our union’s policies and procedures. They have advised us on making the necessary changes to ensure our union has appropriate guidelines and measures in place to assist and protect members who have experienced harassment or assault.
In June 2018, ACTRA’s National Council unanimously passed amendments to our Constitution and By-Laws to better protect our membership. Specifically, By-Law #17 was amended to set clearer guidelines to ensure respect on set as well as consequences for members who engage in harassing behaviour.
Additional changes to this By-Law include:
- Clearly laying out members’ responsibilities to uphold workplace, industry and union environments free from harassment and discrimination;
- Creating a separate and expedited process for complaints of harassment and discrimination;
- Giving the union the ability to initiate or pursue a complaint even if there has been no formal complaint; and
- Creating a separate and expedited process for complaints of harassment and discrimination including proportional consequences and reporting of discipline decisions.
Our branches have also undertaken various initiatives within their own memberships to create respectful workplaces, including holding safe space membership meetings, town halls, and education and training sessions as well as providing access to other resources. If you are interested in learning more about other initiatives available to members, please contact your branch.
Your union remains committed to continuing a dialogue and working with our industry partners on this shared responsibility to address these issues. We will provide further updates on any future ACTRA initiatives as they become available.