Canadian Entertainment Industry Releases Code of Conduct Amid Sexual Misconduct Reckoning

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Vancouver

The new workplace guidelines arrive in the wake of Hollywood's #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns.

The Canadian entertainment industry on Thursday unveiled a code of conduct document to tackle sexual misconduct and bullying after harassment allegations caused turmoil in Hollywood and north of the border.

"The code represents a commitment by engaged stakeholders to shift the culture, to prevent and respond to harassment including and to ensure every workplace is one where safety, respect and professionalism are the norm," the cross-industry agreement states.

The code of conduct standards call for "policies and procedures that maintain zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence," while designating workplace representatives to field complaints and investigate and resolve them in a "timely" manner.

At the same time, there are no measures in the Canadian code to track cases of reported sexual misconduct or to publicize industry players about whom allegations have been made or to note how any investigations have been resolved. The cross-industry agreement follows widespread complaints that Canada's professional guilds and unions did not adequately protect performers against sexual harassment in the past.

Canadian actress Mia Kirshner (The L Word) was among the most prominent figures condemning ACTRA, Canada's actors union, saying it did not protect her against an "ordeal" with Harvey Weinstein, and that actors still fear speaking out against sexual predators to avoid putting their careers in jeopardy.

The Canadian code released Thursday does call for protections against "retaliation or reprisals" toward those making complaints. To prevent bullying on set, the code also calls for collective agreements to be respected "when work requires physical contact or scenes of nudity, intimacy or violence." The code also calls for meetings between talent and producers or other industry players to not take place in private hotel rooms.

And there's a call for "instructors, teachers, coaches and those providing training in the industry to adhere to this code and share its principles with their students." Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian industry so far include those made against acting school instructors who allegedly prey upon aspiring actresses.

"Signatories to this code of conduct agree to take all applicable steps to quickly address substantiated complaints of workplace harassment including sexual harassment, discrimination and violence," the code reads.

Those agreeing to the code include the Directors Guild of Canada, the Writers Guild of Canada, the Canadian Media Producers Association, representing indie producers, and ACTRA, the country's actors union.

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