The Edmonton Poetry Festival Society is committed to ensuring that all readers, participants, attendees and staff at any reading, lecture, workshop, symposium or other event are able to listen to, study, discuss, or create poetry in an environment that is safe and free from discrimination and harassment, either verbal or physical. The Edmonton Poetry Festival (EPF) recognizes poetry addresses difficult and evocative issues. We ask our audience and workshop participants to practice self-care in their actions and behaviors. If you need, please approach us to work towards a safe space. We are a community and your physical and emotional safety is important to us.
2. Definition of Harassment
EPF defines Harassment as any misconduct whether it is verbal, physical or sexual in nature that is likely to cause offense, fear or humiliation to any person.
EPF will ensure that no staff member, poet, instructor, volunteer or participant is subject to harassment at their place of employment or during EPF festivals, symposium, or workshops. This will include partnered events. EPF commits to providing trigger warnings at events and workshops. EPF does not permit hate speech or misogynistic speech at the festival. EPF will ensure an active listener is present at every event and workshop to ensure the values of safety and inclusion are upheld. EPF commits to a full review process led by a committee made up of the Governance Committee Chair, President (or Vice President) where appropriate, the Festival Producer and a non-biased festival member. The review committee will have independent authority separate from the Board of Directors.
4. Procedure for Dealing with Harassment Concerns
All complaints will be taken seriously. The rights of all concerned will be respected. Individuals are encouraged to use the following steps to address incidents of alleged harassment.
- An individual who believes that he or she has been subject to harassment should report the alleged harassment to the Festival Producer, the President, or the Active Listener.
- In the case of obvious ongoing aggressive behavior, the offender may be asked to leave immediately by the Active Listener.
- Once a designated person receives a complaint, that person shall immediately bring the complaint to the attention of the Festival Producer and/or President
- The President will notify the alleged harasser of the complaint; provide the alleged harasser with information concerning the circumstances of the complaint; and undertake a confidential investigation.
- Following the conclusion of the investigation, the President will inform the complainant and the alleged harasser of the results of the investigation.
- Following any immediate response, the review committee commits to completing the review process within 3-weeks of the incident. In some cases, a sunset clause will be included in the response.
- In cases of a sunset clause the review committee will review the resolution and determine if further action need be considered for the following year. Both the complainant and alleged harasser will be offered the opportunity to speak in confidence to the review committee.
5. Resolution and Corrective Action
Where harassment has been substantiated, EPF will take appropriate corrective action to resolve the complaint, which may include asking the alleged harasser to leave at their own expense if their presence is disruptive to a harassment-free environment. Where harassment has not been substantiated, no action will be taken against anyone who has made a complaint in good faith.
EPF will not disclose the identity of the complainant or the circumstances of the complaint, except where such disclosure is required by law. EPF will not discuss any matters of a complaint or resolution publicly; either in person or on social media. EPF will not engage in social media discussions.
7. External Complaints
Nothing in this policy prevents or discourages an individual from referring a harassment complaint to Occupational Health and Safety, the Human Rights Commission or Law Enforcement. An individual retains the rights to exercise any other legal avenues.
8. Communication and Implementation of the Policy
EPF will ensure all board members, employees, instructors, contract staff, volunteers, poets, and program participants are provided with the Anti-Harassment Policy including contact information for those designated to receive complaints.