Heritage Minister Melanie Joly addresses the media after two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds in Toronto on January 17, 2018. A group of Canadian entertainment organizations has drafted a new collective code of conduct in response to sexual misconduct allegations flooding the industry. The groups say the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct is intended “to help prevent and respond to harassment including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Canada’s entertainment industry drafts collective code of conduct

A group of Canadian entertainment organizations has drafted a new collective code of conduct in response to sexual misconduct allegations flooding the industry

Canadian entertainment organizations have responded to the recent flood of sexual misconduct allegations with a new collective code of conduct that is a “living document” with room for updating.

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of Canada, the Writers Guild of Canada, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees are among some 25 groups that have signed on to the code, which was unveiled Thursday.

“There are obviously codes that exist within various organizations and unions and guilds, but this one is the only one in the world currently where the entire industry has stepped up and agreed to the same language,” ACTRA National president David Sparrow, who has been leading a working group for the code, said in a phone interview.

“That’s something that’s not happening south of the border currently and is happening here, so I think it speaks of the strong desire of the Canadian industry to address these issues.”

The Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct says it’s intended “to help prevent and respond to harassment including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.”

Related: Harvey Weinstein ‘Casting Couch’ statue debuts pre-Oscars

Through various stipulations, it stresses “zero tolerance, proportional consequences, consent-based interactions and no retaliation,” and calls on signatories to “encourage good-faith reporting and timely investigations.”

The code better defines what is the workplace and what’s considered a work-related activity, such as awards ceremonies, casting meetings and industry events. It also identifies gender equality and diversity as paths to changing behaviour.

“Harassment in the workplace is a serious problem that too many women have faced in our cultural sector and in our society,” Simon Ross, a spokesman for Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, said Thursday in a statement.

“Our artists and creative industries have proven their leadership on this issue: they have acknowledged the problem and took swift action to address it. The code of conduct presented today sets a precedent and will make a real difference to ensuring a safe work environment for all.”

Sparrow said there is no legislation that would make the code mandatory, but unions and guilds have the option to work it into their collective agreements.

Those who fail to meet the specifics or the goals of the code, or transgress it, will be held accountable by the rest of the industry.

That could be “through either … naming and shaming or through just the idea of moral suasion: ‘Hey Jimmy, you signed onto this code and now you’re transgressing them and we’re not going to be able to work with you anymore,’” Sparrow said.

Related: Oscars org adopts code of conduct after Weinstein expulsion

Other steps outlined in the code include:

— 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.

— Encourage instructors, teachers, coaches and those providing training in the industry to adhere to this code and share its principles with their students.

A working group has been creating the code since Nov. 23, when the organizations also committed to creating safer reporting measures and industry-wide education and training.

“The hope is that this code will be printed up and laminated and hanging in every craft service truck and in every audition room and every union office and workplace that we can possibly get it into so that everyone within the industry sees their responsibility hanging right there on the wall and reference it,” Sparrow said.

“It’s why we went with a code that’s got bullet points and a fair amount of neutral space — so that people can read it while they make a peanut butter sandwich in the craft truck and know that they have to change their behaviour.”

About 30 different representatives of the music industry met last week in Toronto to talk about creating their own code of conduct.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Wedding plans derailed following City of Port Alberni’s train announcement

Five wedding parties are scrambling to find alternate transportation arrangements to McLean… Continue reading

Kids help Alberni Aquarium build rockfish luminary for next exhibit

Swimming For Change takes over in time for spring break

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read