New Anti-Harassment Initiatives in the Arts

Apr. 26, 2018

The Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage today announced $550,000 to be directed towards a wide range of undertakings to prevent harassment in the arts. The Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) will play a lead role, coordinating this far-reaching series of anti-harassment initiatives in the live performing arts, visual arts and crafts, and literary arts.

Under the rubric "Respectful Workplaces in the Arts", these initiatives will include holding consultations with equity-seeking communities across the country, developing training and information webinars, delivering discipline-specific workshops, compiling best practices on Board policies and processes and codes of conduct, conducting research on reporting mechanisms, and a broad communications campaign targeted at Canadian audiences and arts supporters.

"Recent events in the cultural sector across Canada have highlighted more than ever that a specific program of resources and training for professional artists, managers and cultural workers to promote safe and respectful workplaces is vital." (Sara Meurling, PACT)  For the past few months, anglophone arts groups, with a strong push from the Canadian Arts Coalition, have joined their colleagues in the screen-based industries, and their Quebec counterparts, to combat harassment in the sector. A Coordinating Committee of leaders from national arts service organizations in the live performing arts, visual arts and crafts, and literary arts, along with representatives from official language minority and equity-seeking communities will join CHRC in overseeing the 2-year project.

Susan Annis, Executive Director of CHRC, sees the commitment of both government and artists/ arts organizations reflected in government funding and anti-harassment actions already underway across the country, as strong and definitive statements that harassment has no place in Canada's cultural offerings.  She affirmed: "Respectful Workplaces in the Arts will ensure that artists and arts organizations across Canada have the tools, resources and training to prevent harassment of any kind, and build respectful workplaces as the norm in the cultural sector."