President’s Message – November 2017

Update on the industry-wide effort to combat sexual harassment and assault in the media industry

Dear Members,

Disturbing allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein and many others in the media sector have been dominating the news cycle and social media platforms over the past two months. They have highlighted the need for real change in our industry – and our society as a whole.

Your union has been meeting with members across the country, listening to and learning from their experiences, reviewing our practices and identifying options for change. We recognize sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, and violence have been a reality in our industry. This must change. It is incumbent on all of us to combat it, to create a safe space for victims to speak out without fear of retaliation or harassment and to ensure there are real consequences for perpetrators.

We are committed to ensuring our workplace is safe and respectful for our members and industry partners, and we know there’s much more to do. As part of that effort, we convened a meeting of seventeen stakeholder organizations from across the creative industries to discuss positive steps that will affect real and lasting change.

It became clear that every organization has been confronting similar challenges, meeting with members and working to find solutions. Our industry is galvanized and ready to do what it takes to ensure zero tolerance for sexual harassment, assault and abuse.

Following the November 23 round table, we, as an industry, released a joint statement (which can be read in full here) announcing the first steps we are committed to executing. They include:

Enacting an industry-wide code of conduct, clearly defining expectations of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, enforcement and consequences.
Creating more effective reporting mechanisms and supports, which ensure all individuals can report allegations without fear of judgement or retribution.

Ensuring more effective enforcement of existing industry policies.
Launching a multi-level education and training program, including an industry-wide awareness campaign designed to establish and strengthen a culture of safe workplaces.

We realize there is still much work to do, and we’re committed to doing it. We are already working on these goals, but getting the process right and ensuring it is effective is just as important as doing it quickly. This is just the first of many updates to come to you about our joint steps as an industry to end sexual harassment, assault and abuse in our workplace.

In solidarity,

David Sparrow