VANS Code of Conduct Policy



This Code of Conduct is a broad-reaching policy aimed at addressing the expectation of behavior placed upon all representatives of Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) as well as users and stakeholders participating in any and all VANS events. This Code of Conduct can be leaned upon in instances of oppression, discrimination and harassment and should be changed when deemed necessary by the Board of Directors to reflect definitions of inclusion which expand over time. VANS recognizes that policies of this nature must be reviewed on a regular basis and coincide with ongoing dialogue and education.

  1. SCOPE

The Code of Conduct applies to two overall groups of individuals: “Representatives” of VANS, which includes all employees, short and long-term contractors, exhibiting/participating artists, board members and short and long-term volunteers and “Stakeholders” of VANS, which includes members, audience and event attendees and organizational partners. Involvement with VANS in any of the above capacities implicates agreement to this Code of Conduct. VANS acknowledges that representatives of the Society are responsible for adhering to this Code of Conduct within the community, within their professional lives and at all on and off-site VANS events.  Use of VANS’ facilities and participation in all public VANS events is a privilege. VANS will not tolerate any instance of discrimination or violent acts.

Acts by representatives and stakeholders which make others feel unwelcome, exploited or uncomfortable within a framework of oppression or harassment can be communicated to the Staff or Board of Directors – complaints will be taken seriously, addressed promptly, and treated with care to the best of our abilities. Staff is available as the first line of communication via the office phone or email, and, if possible, a resolution can be made directly and informally through communication with the person engaging in the unwelcome behaviour.


Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) seeks to provide a safe, healthy and rewarding work environment for its employees and stakeholders. VANS has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of workplace harassment or assault. Representatives and stakeholders who have been accused of harassing another individual may be subject to disciplinary action as per the powers of the Board of Directors. This includes anyone who interferes with the resolution of a harassment complaint or retaliates against an individual for filing a harassment complaint. Employees who violate this policy may be subject to a wide range of disciplinary measures, including dismissal for cause.


Source: the Canadian Human Rights Commission

  • Personal harassment: offending or humiliating someone physically or verbally; threatening or intimidating someone; or making unwelcome jokes or comments about someone’s race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or pardoned conviction.

Source: the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act

  • Sexual Harassment:

(i)    vexatious sexual conduct or a course of comment that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome,

(ii)    a sexual solicitation or advance made to an individual by another individual where the other individual is in a position to confer a benefit on, or deny a benefit to, the individual to whom the solicitation or advance is made, where the individual who makes the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome, or

(iii) a reprisal or threat of reprisal against an individual for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance.

Examples of sexual harassment that will not be tolerated include:

  • sexist jokes causing embarrassment or offense, told or carried out after the joker has been advised that they are embarrassing or offensive, or that are by their nature clearly embarrassing or offensive;
  • leering;
  • the display of sexually explicit material;
  • sexually degrading words used to describe a person;
  • sexually suggestive or obscene comments;
  • unwelcome inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life;
  • unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, propositions;
  • requests for sexual favours;
  • unwanted touching.

Stakeholders and representatives of the Society shall respect and maintain the confidentiality of information gained while working with VANS, including but not limited to, all computer software and files, VANS business documents and printouts, and all personal, donor and supporter records. Stakeholders and representatives will also respect and maintain the confidentiality of individual personal information about persons involved with VANS as well as confidential information pertaining to the Society itself and any collaborator and partner organizations.


Strict observance of the Code is fundamental to VANS’ activity, reputation and mandate. Adherence to the Code of Conduct is agreed upon implicitly by involvement with the Society. The Board of Directors has approved this Code of Conduct and shall administer it, including enacting any necessary disciplinary action in accordance to the Society Bylaws.

VANS recognizes that not all people(s) have (or have had) equal access or understandings to the structure of its policies and procedures. VANS upholds the responsibility to make clear these documents to those who may require or request further explanation or clarification. Poor judgement will first result in constructive feedback from Staff or the Board of Directors (whichever is more appropriate). If an ongoing problem is identified, more severe consequences will follow such as removal or restriction from participating in VANS events and using VANS facilities, revocation of membership, and, in the cases of representatives of VANS, dismissal from the individual’s position.

Approved on March 29, 2018
Date of Review: March 28, 2019


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