Canadian Association of Stand-Up, Sketch & Improv Comedians (CASC) is committed to promoting a safe, harassment-free, and discrimination-free environment that is conducive of respect, dignity, and professionalism for comedians of all disciplines.

It is imperative that all comedians feel safe and free from the threat of harassment or discrimination when working in comedy environments and interacting with other comedy professionals.

Some of the definitions within this Policy are based on the Canadian Human Rights Code. It is CASC’s belief that protecting such rights will foster goodwill and trust within the comedy community. Mutual respect, understanding, and co-operation will help ensure behaviour that undermines a safe, harassment-free, and discrimination-free work environment is neither tolerated, nor condoned.

Policy Objectives

  • Providing an environment for members that is free from harassment and discrimination based on the Human Rights Code at all CASC partnered activities.

  • Fostering the goodwill and trust necessary to protect the rights of performers and producers across all comedy disciplines.

  • Neither tolerating nor condoning behavior that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of individuals.

  • Promoting mutual respect, understanding, and co-operation as the basis of interaction among all members.

GUIDELINES

This Policy is intended to apply to behaviour experienced by individual comedians, or groups of comedians in the following environments:

– In work environments when they are preparing to perform, as well as during and after their performances, (e.g. Comedy Club, one-nighter venue, private function, theatre, festival, etc…)

– In work environments when they are not themselves performing, but attending a comedy performance, festival, event, or industry function, etc…

– In non-work environments in which they are expected to be, required to be, or cannot reasonably expect to avoid being in attendance in order to satisfy their work obligations. (e.g. school, training facility, hotel or condo provided by booker, vehicle in transit to engagements, etc…)

The Canadian Human Rights Code prohibits harassment or discrimination based on the following grounds and any combination of these grounds:

  • Age

  • Creed (Religion)

  • Gender identity

  • Gender expression

  • Family status

  • Marital status

  • Disability

  • Race

  • Ancestry

  • Place of origin

  • Ethnicity

  • Citizenship

  • Colour

  • Record of offences

  • Association or relationship with a person identified by one of the above grounds

The guidelines of this policy refer to the above criteria in identifying the following behaviour as not being safe, harassment-free, and/or discrimination-free*:

Unsafe

Behaviour that results in any individual, or group of individuals being or feeling unsafe physically or psychologically in the environments defined above. This can include unsafe actions against their person, any attempt at unsafe actions, or their perceived threat of such unsafe actions.

Discrimination

Behaviour that imposes extra burdens on an individual, or denies them certain benefits, whether it is intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are obviously discriminatory, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that discriminate in subtle ways.

Harassment

Referring to comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome, based on a ground of discrimination identified by this policy. Harassment can occur based on any of the grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Code, outlined above.

Examples of harassment include:

  •  Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to any of the above HRC grounds listed above. Posting or circulating offensive pictures, graffiti or materials, whether in print form or via e-mail  or other electronic means  

  •  Singling out a person for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because they are a member  of a Code-protected group.
  • Comments ridiculing a person because of characteristics that are related to a Code-protected  group. 

*A person who does not explicitly object to the behaviours identified above, or appears to be going along with them, is not necessarily implying that they consider the behaviours to be acceptable.

If a person does not explicitly object to harassing behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the behaviour is okay. The behaviour could still be considered harassment under the Code.

Sexual and gender-based harassment:

  • Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or mannerisms
  • Paternalism based on gender which a person feels undermines their self respect or position of responsibility
  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Suggestive or offensive remarks or innuendos about a member of a specific gender
  • Propositions of physical intimacy
  • Gender-related verbal abuse, threats, or taunting
  • Leering or inappropriate staring
  • Bragging about sexual prowess, questions or discussions about sexual activities • Offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature about a performer, producer, or audience member
  • Rough and vulgar humour or language related to gender
  • Display of sexually offensive pictures, graffiti, or other materials, including through electronic means
  • Demands for dates or sexual favours

Sexual Solicitation

This policy prohibits sexual solicitation or advances by any person who is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the recipient of the solicitation or advance. This includes producers, venue owners, sponsors, as well as performers where one person is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the other. Reprisals for rejecting such advances or solicitations are also prohibited.

Poisoned Environment

A poisoned environment is created by comments or conduct (including comments or conduct that are condoned or allowed to continue when brought to the attention of management) that create a discriminatory environment. The comments or conduct need not be directed at a specific person, and may be from any person, regardless of position or status. A single comment or action, if sufficiently serious, may create a poisoned environment.

Roles and Responsibilities

Producers and hosts have the additional responsibility to act immediately on observations or allegations of harassment or discrimination. Producers and hosts are responsible for creating and maintaining a harassment and discrimination-free show and environment, and should address potential problems before they become serious.

Reporting and/or Resolution Process

All incidents of discrimination and harassment on-set during or in direct association with an ACTRA production, project or employee, please see the links below for the process and steps to take.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

ACTRA National

HAVEN Helpline and LifeWorks

A national, bilingual critical incident reporting line available 24/7 to members and permittees.

https://www.actra.ca/haven/
1-855-201-7823

The above excludes UBCP/ACTRA members, who have separate resources:

UBCP/ACTRA members

https://www.ubcpactra.ca/performer-resources/sexual-harassment/

ACTRA Toronto:

https://www.actratoronto.com/harassment/

For the Toronto Workshop, the Conflict Resolution Process, and Policy Steps and Timelines, are identified in the above link.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of assault, you can contact the HAVEN helpline for mental health counselling and support and/or to report an incident: 1-855-201-7823

You can also reach out to ACTRA Toronto’s Special Advisor:
mbower@actratoronto.com
416-928-2278

Clubs/Theatres

Complaints about incidents involving theatre/venue staff, employees, management, sub-contractors, or members of the public in attendance who are not consultants working as ACTRA members or permittees under the Symposium’s production agreement, will follow any guidelines provided by each respective venue, or communicate directly with the venue management team.

Harassment and Violence Emergency Network

HAVEN Helpline is a counseling and support service. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. A national, bilingual critical incident reporting line available to members of ACTRA and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC).

Call HAVEN Helpline 24/7, toll-free at 1-855-201-7823

Haven Hotline

Complaints

Where possible, an individual who feels they have been harassed or unfairly discriminated against should inform the offending party that their behaviour is unwelcome and should stop. In situations where the complainant is unwilling or unable to confront the individual directly, the complainant is encouraged to seek the assistance of a colleague.

An individual may make a complaint under this policy even if they have not confronted the other party prior to making the complaint. However CASC is not the police neither are we investigators. We can have these complaints on file for if and when they are needed for other situations such as court.

For complaints about incidents that cannot be resolved through any of the ACTRA or other resources identified above, the person wishing to make a complaint can do so verbally or in writing to the acting CASC Membership Officer.

EMAIL

Complaints received directly by CASC will be taken to the Board for investigation and all possible efforts will be made to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible.

People who prefer to be anonymous can use HAVEN Helpline, 1-855-201-7823

Confidentiality

To protect the interests of all parties, confidentiality will be maintained throughout the complaint process except where disclosure is necessary for a fair investigation and resolution process. Confidentiality requirements will be reviewed with the parties and any witnesses interviewed in the investigation of a complaint.