Statement on Changes to Operational Policies to Ensure Respectful Workplaces in the Cultural Sector

April 25, 2018

In January, following a wave of allegations of sexual harassment in the cultural sector and beyond, we committed to reviewing our operational policies to ensure that there are adequate provisions to allow us to fairly and effectively address situations involving artists or organizations receiving Canada Council funding. That work is complete. 

Now, when accepting a Canada Council grant, recipients must commit to providing safe working conditions and fostering a workplace free from discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. Failure to respect this commitment could result in the Council initiating a process to review and potentially reverse a grant decision where there are serious concerns about the recipient or the funded activities. Recipients must also agree to promptly inform the Council of any legal proceedings that pose a financial or reputational risk. Lastly, our “concerned status” mechanism, which is applied to recipients experiencing organizational instability, now includes the necessity of providing a working environment free from discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct.

We are currently reviewing our own human resources policies to update and reinforce all provisions regarding a healthy workplace for Canada Council staff, including their interactions with peers and members of the arts community. We will also seek ways to enable capacity building across the arts sector to deal with this important issue. In this regard, we are pleased to support, alongside the Department of Canadian Heritage, an initiative by the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC), to develop tools, resources and training for arts organizations and artists to build safe and respectful workplaces. Please read today’s announcement.

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