Respectful Workplaces in the Arts (RWA), including resources for artists and organizations to deal with harassment. http://respectfulartsworkplaces.ca/.
One of the main objectives of RWA was to create a national Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts. http://respectfulartsworkplaces.ca/code-of-conduct Other cultural industries (notably music and film and television) have developed and released their own codes of conduct. The notion of simply adapting those codes was considered – and rejected, in favour of a code developed by and for the performing arts reflecting the realities of live performance.
Canadian Code of Conduct for the Performing Arts
We pledge to create safer, more inclusive, respectful workplaces where artists can thrive, free from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.
Harassment can take many forms including unwanted sexual attention, inappropriate jokes or texts, threats,and other unwelcome verbal, written, visual, or physical communication or conduct.
We believe that every artist, cultural worker, volunteer and employee should expect the following:
• A work environment that encourages the creative process, provides transparent communication and promotes mutual respect from everyone involved
• A workplace free from harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence in all forms
• When harassment, discrimination or violence takes place, empowerment to speak out, report abuses in good faith, expect thorough, timely investigations and appropriate measures and/or consequences
• Expect those they work with to recognize the personal and physical boundaries of others
• Never to have to be alone with individuals who make them uncomfortable or who threaten their safety
• Never be forced to conduct work in non-professional environments in which they may feel uncomfortable or at personal risk, such as but not limited to private hotel rooms, vehicles or homes.
• Rehearsals and performances involving culturally-specific content will be conducted with advance consultation, care, sensitivity, and respect
• Rehearsals and performances involving sensitive material – including intimacy, nudity, violence, or sexual content – will be conducted with the utmost care, advance consent and respect
• If required to engage in any form of physical contact—such as but not limited to dancers, actors, and choreographers –ensure that the contact is consensual and expect to be able to speak out against any touch to which they do not consent
In support of these values and expectations, we commit to:
• Enact policies and procedures that maintain zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence
• Ensure that Code of Conduct, policies, and procedures are reviewed at least annually and attached to all contracts and letters of agreement
• Convene artists, cultural workers, volunteers, and employees before each season or project to discuss the Code of Conduct, shared values and expectations, and provide information on policies and reporting mechanisms
• Provide artists, cultural workers, volunteers, and employees with definitions of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and violence
• Make available or provide training resources for artists, cultural workers, volunteers and employees so that all stakeholders learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable workplace behavior, know how to report inappropriate conduct, and discover how to cultivate a healthy workplace culture
• Post Code of Conduct and all anti-harassment policies and procedures prominently in all workplaces
• Ensure that the Code of Conduct, and all anti-harassment policies and procedures apply to all individuals who conduct work on the company’s behalf, including artists, cultural workers, guest artists, directors, choreographers, conductors, staff members, board members, contractors, interns, suppliers, and volunteers
• Ensure that these policies apply in any environment where company or project work is being conducted, including auditions, rehearsals, meetings, job interviews, company functions, fundraising events, off-site performances and tours, and work-related conferences and training sessions
• Provide a system for reporting and investigating acts of wrongdoing, including,
»» Identifying and/or establishing reporting mechanisms to disclose abusive behavior, including designating individuals to receive and process these complaints when possible
»» Providing and prominently posting information on additional reporting resources (third-party tip lines, union partners, community agencies and local authorities)
»» Ensuring that allegations of inappropriate behavior are investigated and resolved in a thorough and timely manner and that the parties involved will benefit from the principles of natural justice, by learning of the allegations against them and having the opportunity to respond to them
»» Protecting whistleblowers so they are shielded from any repercussions for reporting violations in good faith
»» Ensuring that parameters are in place to protect, whenever possible, confidentiality and the privacy of information during an investigation. The name of the complainant, circumstances of the complaint, investigation reports, complaints, witness statements and other documents or information will be kept strictly confidential, except when disclosure is necessary as part of the investigation
»» Enacting consequences for violations that are commensurate with the acts committed, including additional training, controls, suspension, or termination
»» Offering further training and/or counseling to artists, cultural workers, volunteers and employees after a violation occurs in the workplace
»» When a complaint is made that involves illegal conduct, applicable authorities must be notified in accordance with local, provincial and federal laws, including human rights legislation and health/safety legislation.
Artists tell the stories of our time through courageous acts of creativity that require vulnerability, honesty, sacrifice, and talent. It is our shared responsibility to create safe spaces for artists to create within, and by signing on to this pledge, we commit to this work on behalf of all Canadian performing artists.
For more information or to see a full list of signatures to the code of conduct, visit www.respectfulartsworkplaces.ca.