Council Connect - October 2021
October is upon us and the leaves are beginning to fall. Time to grab a comfy sweater, get cosy and hear about what your Council has been up to these past few months!
First up: Council elections are happening next month! Nominations are still open until the 15th of October. If you know someone who you believe would do a good job of representing our membership, please nominate them! If you believe you're that person, please consider running as a candidate. Find out more about the nomination process or about candidates already nominated.
Also: Voting for the elections will happen November 9 to 25 inclusive. Watch your inboxes for more info on how to vote. And….make sure to vote! Equity members have a historically high participation rate compared to many other arts associations/unions. Let’s keep that going!
Equity’s National Annual General Meeting will be held on October 18th. Come and hear the news about the reopening of our workspaces after the long hiatus, info about Association finances and Equity’s continued advocacy efforts and support of members across the country. Afterwards, join our informal Zoom Afterparty for a chat and connect with Councillors and other members. Register here.
Equity’s recent Bystander Intervention Education sessions have been extremely well attended. Almost 400 members have taken this popular training to date. The 90-minute program, led by Equity members Jenna Rodgers and Stafford Perry, aim to help Equity members improve knowledge and skills to help maintain safe and equitable workspaces for everyone. There will be more to come. Watch for emails in the new year.

Other online Zoom sessions held this past year include Stage Manager Focus, Let's Talk Council, Insurance Explained, Safer Workspaces, and Mental Health Awareness. These gatherings have been a great way to connect with members, offer resources and information, and build community capacity.  If you missed a member meeting, search this page for the video recording and any applicable presentation materials. More of these member meetings to come in future days.
Another highlight this year was the completion and distribution of the new Canadian Theatre Agreement, which includes bold new language to address issues around inclusion, representation, identity, and anti-oppression in the workplace. These clauses are intended to empower our members in new ways and ensure that consultation and respect are a key component of every artist’s engagement. Council and staff will be eagerly watching to see how these new terms improve the working lives of our members. To learn more, please check out Article 10 of the CTA.
The HAVEN Helpline was launched a year ago to help support our Not in OUR Space! commitments to make Equity workplaces safe and respectful for all. HAVEN (Harassment, Anti-Racism and Violence Emergency Network) is a 24/7 bilingual, confidential national reporting and support service to report incidents of abuse of power, bullying, discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment, reprisal or violence that occur while working under Equity’s agreements and policies. This past year HAVEN fielded dozens of calls from Equity members who were able to speak with a trained intake operator and have access to emergency counselling, should they need it. If you need help, please call the HAVEN Helpline at 1-855-201-7823.
The companion service to HAVEN is LifeWorks, a self-directed confidential platform with articles, podcasts, videos, online toolkits, audio recordings and interactive programs to enrich members’ life, health, mental wellness, family, work and money. Over 400 members have accessed this service and we recommend that you check it if you have not done so already. As a member in good standing, you should have already received details of how to access LifeWorks, but get in touch with Equity if you no longer have this information.
As previously mentioned, Council’s three-year term will end in just a few short months. While tackling the challenges of the pandemic has occupied much of our focus, we have also moved ahead with many other projects, and we are busy trying to finish up all the work we have undertaken in order to pass on as clean a slate as possible to the incoming Council. This work includes:
  • Adjustments to the disciplinary system outlined in the Equity Bylaws
  • Creating new and clearer pathways to membership
  • Welcoming Intimacy Directors within Equity’s jurisdiction
  • Working with staff on updating Equity’s Respectful Workspace Policy
  • Increasing outreach and contact with the membership
  • Updating to gender-neutral language throughout all Equity’s policies, agreements and contracts, in collaboration with Equity staff
It has been a busy year! It’s been said before, but the challenges faced by our members as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been extraordinary and unparalleled.
As a Council, we have watched our friends, colleagues, and fellow members struggle to adapt and survive through this long period of closure. Slowly, our community is opening up again, and we cannot wait to see you all in full bloom after the long winter.
In solidarity,
Council President
2nd Vice President