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BC actors' union revamping sexual harassment policies

(iStock Photo)

BC actors could soon have new tools to help protect them against sexual harassment

New code of conduct being developed to help protect local actors amid sexual harassment reports

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC’s union of actors is beefing up protections for young workers against sexual harassment.

The Union of BC Performers (UBCP), an autonomous branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), has assembled a task force to create a code of conduct and inform actors of the services available to them if they witness or experience harassment.

“The code of conduct that the task force is driving forward is really to protect new performers arriving into the business with stars in their eyes,” said Sue Brouse with the UBCP. “It’s a code of conduct that our members would voluntarily sign off on.”

UBCP, which has around 6,000 members, already has harassment bylaws, but Brouse admits enforcement can be difficult. In addition, current rules only apply to the work site.

“How do we protect workers when it’s not specifically connected to a work site is a problem that we’ve yet to solve and that we’re working on,” she added. “What we’re talking about when we’re developing this voluntary code of conduct is something that could potentially reach beyond a film set.”

Currently, UBCP cases of sexual harassment can be met with membership suspension or expulsion and restorative justice consequences.

On Friday, ACTRA announced it is expediting its discipline processes for sexual harassment and assault complaints, while last week it announced it was joining other Canadian acting organizations to create an industry-wide response.

In light of the #MeToo campaign, UBCP/ACTRA is offering free counseling services to anyone who feels they have been sexually harassed.

UBCP/ACTRA is offering confidential, free professional counselling to its members if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

Women can contact the Battered Women Support Services by clicking here or calling 604.652.1010.

Men can contact the BC Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse via email or by calling 604.682.6482.