“We owe it to the courageous individuals who’ve exposed the truth about harassment and misconduct in our industry to have their backs,” said DGC president Tim Southam.
Notably, the joint press release issued by the two unions doesn’t identify sexual harassment as the problem they seek to address, referring to it obliquely instead.
“Over the past 18 months, it has become clear a cultural shift within our industry is needed to prevent and reduce harassment,” said ACTRA national president David Sparrow. “ACTRA has remained dedicated in our commitment to address this issue.”
That cultural shift came about after a wave of sexual harassment claims surfaced in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal that broke on October 5, 2017.
Later that same month, Theresa Tova, president of ACTRA’s Toronto branch, became the industry’s first union leader to acknowledge that she had been sexually assaulted. “As your president, and as a woman who’s been sexually attacked four times myself, I promise you, I am fiercely committed to fighting this on every front,” she told her members.
Beginning On Saturday, the two unions jointly will launch their HAVEN (Harassment and Violence Emergency Network) helpline, a bilingual critical-incident reporting line available to ACTRA and DGC members across Canada.
The HAVEN helpline will offer 24/7 support from Morneau Shepell, the leading provider of assistance programs in Canada. “The helpline will be available for ACTRA and DGC members to report any harassment incident related to the workplace and set, and will provide additional resources, such as confidential counselling services, and total well-being support,” the unions said. “DGC and ACTRA members can access these services by phone, web chat and online through Morneau Shepell’s LifeWorks app. For calls regarding harassment or violence, the caller will always have the option to speak with a counsellor. The HAVEN Helpline and associated counselling services are part of the commitment by ACTRA and the DGC to a trauma-informed approach to responding to harassment in the workplace.”
Added Sparrow, “We hope the launch of the HAVEN helpline will ensure our members have access to available support resources 24/7 if they experience or witness an incident of harassment in the workplace.”
Neither ACTRA nor the DGC returned calls for comment.