THEATRE PROJECTS MANITOBA
Safe Workspace Policy Statement
A safe(r) space is a supportive, non-threatening environment that encourages open-mindedness, respect, a willingness to learn from others, as well as physical and mental safety. The term “safe(r)” espouses an intersectional approach to the term “safe,” acknowledging that what is “safe” shifts depending on a person’s various attitudes, identities and opinions. It is a space that is critical of the power structures affecting our everyday lives, and where power dynamics, backgrounds, and the effects of our behavior on others are prioritized.
To Whom Does This Apply?
TPM is committed to providing all staff, artists, technicians, contract personnel, cohort participants, community partners, volunteers, and all who work or learn at TPM safe(r) workspaces. Workspace discrimination, violence, harassment, bullying and other unwelcome behavior are not tolerated. We will take whatever steps are reasonable in the circumstances to protect those in TPM’s workspaces. Everyone is expected to uphold this policy and to work together to create and maintain safe(r) workspaces.
What Is A Workspace?
A workspace, whether physical or virtual, can include but is not limited to an office, stage, dressing room, recording studio, classroom, venue/club, jam session, workshop, residency, rehearsal space, private residence/home studio, hotel room, gallery, social media platform, and locations where communication involves professional matters.
What Creates Unsafe Spaces?
Some factors that create unsafe spaces include violence, harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, lack of consent, and unconscious bias. In addition to this policy, Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health Act, Human Rights Code, and/or the Criminal Code of Canada may apply in respect to some of this conduct.
What Is Violence?
The exercise of force by one person against another that causes or could cause harm or injury.
Examples include but are not limited to:
• The exercise of (or attempts to exercise) physical force that could cause physical injury; and
• Statements or behaviours that could reasonably be interpreted as threats to exercise physical force that could cause physical injury
Examples of violence include:
• Verbally threatening attacks
• Leaving threatening notes at, or sending threatening emails to, a workspace
• Shaking a ﬁst in someone’s face
• Wielding a weapon
• Hitting or trying to hit someone
• Throwing an object at someone
• Sexual violence against someone
What Is Harassment?
Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a person that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
Examples include but are not limited to:
• Making remarks, jokes or innuendos that demean, ridicule, intimidate, or offend
• Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in print or electronic form
• Bullying, which may include verbal aggression or insults, calling someone derogatory names, harmful hazing or initiation practices, vandalizing personal belongings, or spreading malicious rumours
• Repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or emails
• Sexual harassment
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a person because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a beneﬁt or advancement to the subject, and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.
This may include:
• Rough or vulgar humour or language related to sexuality, sexual orientation or gender
• Displaying or circulating pornography, sexual images, or offensive sexual jokes in print or electronic form
• Leering or inappropriate staring
• Invading personal space
• Unnecessary physical contact, including inappropriate touching
• Demanding hugs, dates, or sexual favours
• Making gender-related comments about someone’s physical characteristics, mannerisms, or conformity to sex-role stereotypes
• Verbally abusing, threatening or taunting someone based on gender or sexual orientation
• Threatening to penalize or otherwise punish a worker if they refuse a sexual advance
What Is Discrimination?
Discrimination is an action or a decision that treats a person or a group differently for reasons such as race, age, or ability. These reasons, also called grounds, are protected under the Manitoba Human Rights Code and include: race, ancestry, national origin, colour, religion, creed, ethnic origin, citizenship, sex, (including sex-determined characteristics or circumstances, such as pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital or family status, source of income, political belief, physical or mental disability, or social disadvantage.
Examples of discrimination include but are not limited to:
• An employer assigns its employees weekend shifts without recognizing that some employees observe the Sabbath and cannot work on those days. This may be a case of discrimination based on the grounds of religion.
• An employer’s physical ﬁtness requirements are based on the capabilities of an average 25-year-old, instead of being based on the actual requirements of the job. This may be a case of discrimination based on the grounds of age.
• A female employee with an excellent performance record announces that she is pregnant. Immediately, her employer begins to identify performance issues that lead to her dismissal. This may be a case of discrimination based on the grounds of sex.
What Is Consent?
Consent is an important part of a safe(r) workspace, as what is acceptable behaviour for one person may not be for another. Consent is a clear and unambiguous agreement to engage in a particular activity. It is expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions. Consent is reciprocal and free of force. Consent is ongoing and can be amended by any party at any time. It should not be assumed based on past experiences alone.
What Impacts Consent?
• Force, which can be physical, psychological or emotional. Examples include but are not limited to: grabbing, touching, manipulation, stalking, exposing
• oneself, holding someone down, using weapons, verbal threats, peer pressure, blackmail, guilt, or coercion.
• Power dynamics, which exist in relationships between employer/employee, instructor/participant, leader/collaborator, director or producer/artist, promoter/artist, manager/artist, artist/audience, etc.
• Abuse of power, which occurs when offenders use their position to control, manipulate or take advantage of someone. Prestige, elder status, institutional clout, or ﬁnancial power does not grant anyone permission to be abusive.
All members of the TPM community must consider consent in how they are interacting with others in their workspaces.
What Is Unconscious Bias?
TPM is a creative environment in which we strive to continuously grow our understanding and our practices with integrity. A key part of creative and organizational integrity is understanding our biases, and, in particular, uncovering our unconscious biases. Unconscious biases are learned and deeply ingrained stereotypes about people based on traits such as but not limited to gender, social class, height and weight, race, educational level, physical or cognitive ability, sexuality, accent, social status, and job title. These biases inﬂuence behavior and affect decision making. Biases may be held by an individual, group, or institution and may have negative or positive consequences. Biases can also be unlearned.
When we are learning about ourselves, we may make mistakes, offend, and/or create conﬂict. Members of the TPM community assume the best intentions in other members and endeavour to exercise patience and generosity when others are learning. Members adhere to the practice of “speaking in draft,” remain open to learning when unconscious bias is uncovered, allow themselves to be vulnerable, and make space to be corrected and to listen to the outcomes of their behaviour or decisions.
Members of each of TPM’s programs or projects will collectively create a Community Agreement which outlines the conﬂict resolution processes that will be present and enacted within that program. Each Community Agreement will include measures and procedures to help us all create safe(r) spaces, to address accessibility and safety needs, including means of summoning immediate assistance, and ways to resolve conﬂict, report incidents, or raise concerns.
What Happens When The Workspace Becomes Unsafe?
Sometimes the Community Agreement will not be enough to resolve the issue. In these cases, anyone to whom this policy applies may reach out to those board member(s) who are speciﬁcally designated in their program’s Community Agreement. These board member(s) are responsible for responding to and investigating any incidents and complaints. They will respond to all matters that are brought to their attention in a fair and timely manner, respecting the privacy of all concerned as much as possible.
If these procedures do not resolve the issue, the TPM Board of Directors has the discretion to hire a professional HR company to investigate the matter and make a full report to the staff and Board, if the Board, in its discretion, considers it appropriate.
Should you feel you are unsafe, please consult the most current Community Agreement for your program which will include the most current version of this policy.
This is a living document. The Board will review it each year. In addition, each program will review this policy in each program year and bring to the attention of the Board any changes it believes are warranted. The Board may modify or adapt this policy as it sees fit.
Date Implemented: June 27, 2022
We acknowledge that sources of information we drew on to create this policy include: Generator, Service Ontario, WorkSafeBC, and SaferSpacesNYC.wordpress.com.