Harassment in the cultural community : Ottawa reviews its funding policies

Photo: Christopher Katsarov The canadian Press
Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller, Patricia Fagan and Kristin Booth have accused Mr. Schultz of sexual misconduct.

Ottawa — The federal government has decided to review its policies in relation to the financing of cultural organizations to ensure that those who benefit from subsidies are the promotion of work environments safe.


This announcement comes in the wake of the resignation of the founder and artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre, which has been accused of sexual misconduct by four actresses.


Albert Schultz has denied the allegations, which were revealed in lawsuits filed against him earlier this week.


The department of canadian Heritage has not made explicit reference to Mr. Schultz in his statement on the importance of work environments that are safe, but said that “recent events” had prompted it to reiterate its zero tolerance policy against harassment in the workplace.


He added that it had launched a review of its funding policies to ensure that ” recipient organizations promote work environments that are healthy and free from harassment “.


The Ministry noted that these organizations were already required to comply with the code of ethics for the public sector.


“Given current concerns about harassment in the cultural sector and in other sectors of the company, we reiterate that all the activities of the department of canadian Heritage are governed by the respect for human dignity and the value of each person “, wrote the government in its press release.


“We join with artists, actors and creators of the cultural sector to claim that the harassment is not tolerated. All Canadians must be able to work in a safe environment and report cases of harassment without running any risk. “


The members of the performing arts in Canada have argued that the allegations against Albert Schultz and Soulpepper have served as a warning signal to the industry, causing many theatre companies to review their own protocols in the field of safety at work.


The efforts to address sexual harassment in the middle of the theatre were already underway since a long time when Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller, Patricia Fagan and Kristin Booth have accused Mr. Schultz of sexual misconduct.


In their declaration they criticize the artistic director of the have tripotées, to be naked in front of her, to be pressed against them and to have had other inappropriate behaviour.


Albert Schultz, who resigned Thursday, said that he would defend “vigorously” against the allegations, which have not been proven in court.


Several theatre companies have said to participate in an initiative to provide resources to actors and actresses suffering from anxiety due to the harassment at work.