Part 1

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Let’s create a harassment-free workplace

We will ultimately create a harassment-free workplace by not tolerating any forms of abuse and by promoting a culture of respect and communication.

How can we create this environment? By understanding what harassment is and its impact on our work environment.

In this first part, you will learn to:

  • Define the impact of harassment

  • Understand the specific characteristics of the cultural sector’s work environment

Let’s lay a common foundation to finally prevent harassment in our sector.

This section takes about 15 minutes.

In Quebec, on June 1, 2004, psychological harassment provisions officially came into effect at the Commission des normes de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).

Under this law in Quebec, psychological harassment includes sexual and discriminatory harassment.

In 2017, a wave of accusations brought forward by the #MeToo and #MoiAussi movement put the spotlight on harassment in the cultural sector.

These movements arose in the United States when sexual assault victims in the film industry spoke out on social networks. Echoes were soon heard throughout the world, particularly in Quebec.

#MeToo and #MoiAussi movements have created a shockwave, leading our governments, various professional associations and workplaces to take steps to end harassment.

Since January 1, 2019, under the Act respecting labour standards, all employers and organizations in Quebec must implement a psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy.

What’s happening in the cultural sector today?

In 2021, we cannot ignore the major impacts and changes that the pandemic had on the cultural sector and its functioning. In this context, we’ve changed our work methods and we’re using teleworking and videoconferencing on a daily basis in our dealings. New challenges are emerging in our workplaces and impacts can be expected in terms of harassment.

We invite you to listen to this podcast testimony.

Harassment has a significant psychological impact on victims. That’s why it’s essential to lay a common foundation for prevention in order to create a harassment-free sector.

“But our sector is different!

The working environment in the cultural sector is indeed different. Examples include:

Changing workplaces

and short-term contracts

Physical contact

Non-standard working hours,
tours and social events

Can harassment be prevented without altering the cultural sector?


So where do we start?

First, let’s define some terms.


The use of the term employer in this training course refers to any person in a company or in a position of authority who remunerates a person for whom the employer provides a job to be performed, provides instructions regarding the working conditions, oversees this work, penalizes inadequate work performance, etc. The employer may be a corporation or an individual such as a producer or project manager who has self-employed workers under their authority.


The term worker used in this training course may refer to any:

  • employee (worker and immediate superior)
  • contractual or self-employed worker
  • trainee or student (paid or unpaid)
  • volunteer
  • board member

Workplace or work environment

Any virtual or real place where a person works. The legal definition of the workplace or work environment is broader in the cultural sector than only the physical place (theater, gallery, film set, etc.) where a person goes to work. It may include the place where a person goes to work, an activity organized in the course of work and, under certain circumstances, a social activity depending on when the activity takes place and who participates in it. The work environment also includes teleworking, when we are required to communicate by videoconference or telephone with colleagues.



Continue to part 2