Nine rec­om­men­da­tions pro­posed by #AfterMeToo

Casa Loma na­tive Mia Kir­sh­ner ar­gues guilds and unions need real pol­icy change

Midtown Post - - News - by Sa­man­tha Peksa

The #AfterMeToo move­ment has gained sig­nif­i­cant trac­tion in Toronto, and is still pick­ing up speed. The in­di­vid­u­als be­hind the ini­tia­tive re­leased a re­port on March 9 out­lin­ing nine rec­om­men­da­tions to wipe out sex­ual as­sault and abuse within the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. Days later, stars took to the red car­pet for the Cana­dian Screen Awards (CSA) sport­ing pins to show sol­i­dar­ity for the cause.

Mia Kir­sh­ner, who hails from the Casa Loma area and has acted in TV shows such as The L Word and De­fi­ance, spear­headed the cam­paign along with co-founders Ais­ling Chin-Yee and Freya Ravens­ber­gen.

“The re­port pro­poses es­sen­tial re­forms to cul­ture, pro­ce­dure and pol­icy that the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try needs to adopt in or­der to keep workplaces safe,” Kir­sh­ner said.

The rec­om­men­da­tions came about as a re­sult of a sym­po­sium that heard from vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault, labour lawyers and other in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als on how to end sex­ual vi­o­lence in the in­dus­try. The re­port high­lights the need for a na­tional body to over­see in­ves­ti­ga­tions, a data­base that not only tracks black­list­ing of vic­tims in the in­dus­try but keeps a record of all al­le­ga­tions that are brought for­ward and a safety fund for sur­vivors to cover the cost of le­gal and men­tal health coun­selling.

Kir­sh­ner said it also out­lines “clear mean­ing­ful reper­cus­sions” for sex­ual per­pe­tra­tors. “An apol­ogy let­ter doesn’t quite cut it,” she added.

Emma Phillips, a hu­man rights and labour lawyer in Toronto, pro­vided le­gal coun­sel on the #AfterMeToo re­port. Phillips has also con­sulted on in­de­pen­dent sys­temic ha­rass­ment re­views of both the mil­i­tary and RCMP.

Phillips pointed out two main ben­e­fits to in­tro­duc­ing a na­tional body to over­see al­le­ga­tions: it would be free of any con­flict of in­ter­est and could co-or­di­nate be­tween dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers and across le­gal ju­ris­dic­tions.

“It re­quires real po­lit­i­cal will from all the stake­hold­ers. Cer­tainly it is an am­bi­tious pro­posal, but if it’s ever go­ing to be achiev­able, it’s go­ing to be at this par­tic­u­lar mo­ment,” Phillips said. “If we want to have sys­temic change, then we need to in­sti­tute some real mech­a­nisms of ac­count­abil­ity.”

Kir­sh­ner said the next step will be to take the rec­om­men­da­tions to the guilds and unions and ask them to make some changes to their poli­cies.

“We have a meet­ing at the end of April, and we’re be­gin­ning to meet with the guilds and unions now. I hope they are re­cep­tive to this,” she said.

Un­til then, Kir­sh­ner said the sup­port #AfterMeToo has re­ceived — Mar­garet At­wood and the cast of Schitt’s Creek were just some of the stars who chose to wear pins at the CSA — has been en­cour­ag­ing.

“Lead­ers in the in­dus­try wear­ing our pin and speak­ing about the move­ment shows the need for a change,” she said.

The full re­port can be viewed on­line at www.aftermetoo.com.

L–R: Kir­sh­ner, Chin-Yee & Ravens­ber­gen wore #AfterMeToo pins at the CSA

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