Canadian Industry to Establish Code of Conduct Amid Hollywood Sexual Harassment Scandals

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The move follows complaints that Canada's guilds and unions did not protect performers against sexual harassment on and off set.

The Canadian film and TV industry is jointly taking steps to introduce a code of conduct to end sexual harassment on and away from movie and TV sets.

Following a daylong meeting in Toronto by industry unions, guilds and associations, Canadian industry reps in a statement said they will "collaborate on an industry-wide response to sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence."

"We agree to zero tolerance for such behavior. We recognize that increasing gender equality and diversity across our industry is an important part of the solution," the statement added. The proposed cross-industry code of conduct will also define "expectations of appropriate and inappropriate behavior, enforcement and consequences."

The industry discussions north of the border follow similar moves by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to draw up its own code of conduct for its members in the wake of allegations accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and many others of sexual harassment, abuse and rape.

The Canadian industry also proposed Thursday "more effective reporting mechanisms and supports" so talent can report allegations, and "more effective enforcement of existing industry policies." Introducing a code of conduct follows criticism from Canadian actress Mia Kirshner (The L Word) that SAG and ACTRA, Canada's actors union, 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.

"As a proud Canadian, I would like to see my union, ACTRA, create the gold standard for how complaints of sexual harassment and abuse are handled in the workplace," Kirshner said in a recent Globe and Mail newspaper column. Representatives of ACTRA, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Director’s Guild of Canada, the Casting Directors Society of Canada and the Canadian Media Producers Association, representing indie producers, were part of the daylong discussions on addressing sexual harassment in the Canadian industry.