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Since early 2018, the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) has been engaged in a national initiative to promote Respectful Workplaces in the Arts (RWA). This initiative began in January 2018, following a roundtable with artist associations, arts service organizations that included TAPA, and major institutions in the performing arts. One of the Working Groups established at that meeting was tasked with creating a national Code of Conduct for the performing arts.

Since then, other cultural industries (notably music and film and television) have developed and already released their own codes of conduct. The notion of simply adopting or adapting those codes was considered – and rejected. The RWA Coordinating Committee and CHRC agreed that live performance must develop its own code that would reflect the specificities of work in the performing arts. A special effort was made to reach out to equity-seeking groups across the country, who are disproportionately affected by harassment, bullying and discrimination.

The resulting Code of Conduct was approved by the RWA Coordinating Committee in April of this year. It embodies a set of values, expectations and engagements for artists and employers in the performing arts. We hope you will review it with your organization and become a signatory.

Note that the Code is not intended to replace existing policies or processes that you may have developed or that are required by legislation. It is not intended to establish a policing or enforcement process. As the Code states clearly: The Code of Conduct is a set of voluntary commitments developed by a coalition of Canadian performing arts stakeholders. Each signatory is solely responsible for upholding its commitments under the Code and its obligations under the law. It is intended to be a living document for all signatories, who should discuss it, adopt it and adapt it to their practices.

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