Screen Nova Scotia adopts code of conduct to prevent harassment

'We do take it seriously, and we do acknowledge change has to be made,' says vice-chair

Film crews in December in preparation for a shoot in Manitoba. Screen Nova Scotia has adopted a code of conduct that will apply on sets, at casting sessions and industry events. (CBC)

Screen Nova Scotia has adopted a new, nationally developed code of conduct to prevent and deal with sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination in the entertainment industry. 

The organization is the first provincial film commission to adopt the guidelines that are meant to apply to everything from casting meetings to festivals, production studios and industry events.  

The code sets out a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, including "unwanted sexual attention, inappropriate jokes or texts, threats and other unwelcome conduct." 

Karen Wentzell, vice-chair of Screen Nova Scotia, said the code creates industry-wide standards for every shoot and union and goes beyond raising awareness.

"[It] also lets producers and crew and cast know that we do take it seriously, and we do acknowledge change has to be made," she said.

A Women in Film and Television event during the Toronto International Film Festival celebrates the contributions women have made to the field of entertainment. The Atlantic chapter of the non-profit ran a workshop on healthier workplaces earlier this year. (Natalie Nanowski/CBC)

The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), in partnership with two dozen industry organizations including the Writers Guild of Canada, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Directors Guild of Canada, released the Canadian Creative Industries Code of Conduct earlier this month after forming a working group in the fall.

The CBC and the Canadian Media Guild, the union that represents many CBC journalists, also signed it.

In a nod to the dozens of stories in the #metoo movement that allege wrongdoing in hotels and at industry events, the code asks its signatories to provide safe spaces to work so that people don't have to go to meetings in private hotel rooms.

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. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

It also calls for organizations to take steps to ensure the working conditions, such as scenes involving nudity or violence, are safe, respectful and follow collective agreements.

Wentzell said nationally and locally, groups are working to put the code into practice.

"We're rebuilding our industry here in Nova Scotia and we feel this sends a really important message to not only the people and the crew and the producers and directors here, but also to producers who come from away," she told CBC's Maritime Noon.

Outlining how complaints are handled

One of the recommendations is to designate someone to receive and respond to complaints, and to protect people who bring concerns forward from reprisal. Many organizations already have processes for handling complaints, but Wentzell said it is a "logical step" to have someone independent to help.

"Sometimes I think there is opportunity for them to fall through the cracks," she said.

"People probably don't realize this, but movie and television sets are, in some ways, set up very much like the military. We have a real chain of command. Every department, there's a head of a department.… Sometimes there may be a conflict of interest."

Wentzell said the code will build on work being done across the industry to educate and train people about respect in the workplace.

Pris de: http://www.cbc.ca

Elizabeth McMillan · CBC News · Posted: Mar 27

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