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CHRC Workshops on Maintaining Respectful Workplaces

Free workshops for the cultural sector

At this year’s PACTcon in Saskatoon, I gave a short overview of an initiative called Respectful Workplaces in the Arts, a national campaign in Canada’s cultural sector. This is a joint program headed by the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) with support from both the Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage. Its purpose is to provide organizations with the resources to train their staff on issues relating to harassment, sexual harassment and bullying.

Since 2018, they have developed a number of resources:

  1. a series of online training videos,
  2.  an industry Code of Conduct,
  3. a paper on Reporting and Investigating Mechanisms,
  4. a new tool on Workplace Harassment in the CHRC’s HR Management Toolkit focusing on policy development,
  5. legislative webcasts,
  6. and quick reference guides specific to each province and territory.

These people have been busy.

The CHRC and Canadian Heritage are now rolling out Phase Two of this project, and it’s a first for any industry in the country: Trained facilitators (12 Anglophone and 6 Francophone) are available to present a three-hour workshop based on the principles of the Respectful Workplaces in the Arts program. The kicker? These are free of charge between September 2019 and March 2020 and I have just learned from Susan Annis, Executive Director of the CHRC, that the CHRC will cover the travel to and from the host city and the accommodation if overnights are required. The only cost to the hosting organization are the meals and in-city travel costs for the trainer. (I’m one of the trainers, and if you book me you can expect to see a bill for chai lattes).

These workshops on Maintaining Respectful Workplaces have been created to explore how to best deal with harassment situations through:

  1. discussions of what IS and IS NOT a respectful workplace;
  2. a review of situations and scenarios to identify how to create and sustain a respectful workplace; and
  3. an in depth consideration of the roles of both employers and artists and cultural workers in establishing and maintaining a respectful workplace.

At the end of August, I presented the workshop to three PACT member companies. In response to the question “Would you recommend the workshop to others?” all 13 attendees wrote that they would recommend it. The content of the presentation itself is customizable to your audience, whether they be staff, senior leadership, volunteers, or board members. It’s an excellent program – I hope that you can take advantage of it over the next six months.

Visit Respectful Workplaces in the Arts for more information, or contact me for more details at or 416-595-6455 / 1-800-263-7228 x1512.

Many thanks and I hope that you’re having a great start to September.

Tabitha Keast, HR Specialist
Professional Association of Canadian Theatres

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