Policies  Anti-Harassment

Policy current as of February 2023


The Edmonton Poetry Festival Society (EPFS) 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 Society (EPFS) recognizes poetry addresses difficult and evocative issues. We ask our audience and workshop participants to practice self-care in their actions and behaviours. 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.


Active Listener: A member of EPFS trained in responding to harassment, and receiving disclosures who will be present at every event and workshop to ensure the values of safety and inclusion are upheld.

Consent: A freely given, ongoing, active, and clear-minded agreement to engage in the activity in question. Agreement or a “yes” that is obtained through pressure, coercion, force, or threats, or by taking advantage of intoxication, impairment, or incapacity is not freely given consent. Silence or ambiguity do not constitute consent.

Additionally, there is no consent when: 

Disclosure: A verbal or written report by any person to a member of the Edmonton Poetry Festival that they have experienced abuse, harassment, or misconduct. EPFS may initiate an investigation and resolution process and will honour any requests for anonymity by the person making the report.

Complaint:  A written report or statement by any person to a member of EPFS under the Edmonton Poetry Festival Safer Spaces process for the purpose of initiating an investigation and resolution process. 

Harassment: EPFS defines Harassment as any misconduct whether it is verbal, physical or sexual in nature that is likely to cause offence, fear or humiliation to any person. It is conduct or comment, either one time or repeating, that:

Harassment includes conduct or comments, or the creation of a negative psychological and/or emotional environment that humiliates, excludes, or isolates an individual or group by focusing on their race, colour, place of origin, gender, age, marital status, religious beliefs, citizenship, mental and physical abilities, sexual orientation, or any other prohibited grounds within the Alberta Human Rights Act. 

Harassment also includes bullying, which is a form of aggression that may include physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. It can include persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power, and/or unfair sanctions which make the individual feel threatened, humiliated, and/or vulnerable. 

Sexual Violence: Any sexual act or act of a sexual nature, or act targeting sexuality, whether physical or psychological, committed without consent. This includes, but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, distribution of intimate images, inducing intoxication, impairment or incapacity for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity, and other analogous conduct. 

It is the responsibility of the person/people pursuing an activity to ensure consent from the other, and to recognize that consent can be withdrawn at any time. 

Sexual Assault: Any form of sexual contact without consent. This can include unwanted or forced kissing, fondling, grabbing, touching, vaginal or anal penetration, or oral sexual contact.

Solicitation: Any comment, behaviour, or act that can be perceived as soliciting sexual favours, or placing sexual conditions onto any person’s involvement in an activity, event, promotion, or employment (paid or unpaid) opportunity.

Retaliation: Taking, attempting to take, or threatening to take any adverse action or retribution of any kind against anyone involved in a report of harassment, abuse, or misconduct process. This includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, pressuring, harassment made in person, electronically, or through third parties.


EPFS will ensure that no staff member, poet, instructor, volunteer or participant is subject to harassment at their place of employment or during EPFS festivals, symposiums, or workshops. This will include partnered events. EPFS commits to providing trigger warnings at events and workshops. EPFS does not permit hate speech or misogynistic speech at the festival. EPFS will ensure an active listener is present at every event and workshop to ensure the values of safety and inclusion are upheld.

Procedure for Disclosures or Complaints

EPFS commits to a full review process for all claims brought to EPFS attention. This review will be done by a separate “Review Committee” made up of the Board President (or Vice President), Artistic Producer and Operations Manager. This review committee will have independent authority separate from the Board of Directors. The members of the Review Committee can be adjusted in the case of a conflict of interest due to the claim being reviewed.

Resolution and Corrective Action

Where harassment has been substantiated, EPFS will take appropriate corrective action to resolve the complaint.

Where harassment has not been substantiated, no action will be taken against anyone who has made a complaint in good faith. 

See our EPFS Safer Spaces Program for detailed processes.


EPFS will not disclose the identity of the complainant or the circumstances of the complaint, except where such disclosure is required by law. EPFS will not discuss any matters of a complaint or resolution publicly; either in person or online. EPFS will not take part in any discussions on social media.

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.

Communication and Implementation of the Policy

EPFS will ensure all board members, employees, instructors, contract staff, volunteers, poets, and program participants are provided with the Anti-Harassment Policy, as well as multiple ways to report a disclosure or complaint.

The ways a person can report a disclosure or complaint are detailed in our Safer Spaces Program, and on our website.

Review Committee:
Board President: Paul Pearson
Vice President: Kim Mannix
Executive Director: Steve Piort
Operations Manager: meagan prus

Links and Resources

Policy Review Tracking

Date Created: April 2022
Date Edited: Dec 12, 2022
Date Reviewed: Feb 20, 2023

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