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

Full Gospel Church collapses

Clean-up has already begun and fundraising has started to rebuild Witset church.

Telkwa to replace Community Hall roof

Village to put out tender soon for repair work.

Dike along Telkwa River being repaired

West Horizon Contracting won the bid to do the job for $125,350.

Adopted Norwegian man looking for Smithers family

David Hjerto said he was taken away from his biological parents before he turned two.

Smithers pellet plant ready to build

Pinnacle Renewable Holdings and West Fraser Timber approve construction of plant in Smithers.

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C.-pioneered wood construction on a roll internationally

Washington state considers mandatory engineered wood for public buildings

Cops say gun-toting robbers used fake police lights to pull over victims

Information wanted on North Shuswap robbery, police impersonation, burnt vehicle, motorhome theft.

BCHL Today: Surrey Eagles and Powell River Kings close to advancing

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Plane filled with smoke lands at Nanaimo Airport

WestJet flight came in from Vancouver

VSO to perform ‘Star Wars’ music while 1977 movie plays on big screen

Three shows for the classic at iconic Orpheum Theatre this summer

B.C. emergency alert system being tested Wednesday

Alarm tone and message will play on TV and radio

BC Conservatives pumped by poll results

Surge in popularity has BC party picturing elected representatives in Victoria

Most Read