DOC Code of Conduct

Preamble: DOC affirms our collective commitment to centering equity within all our work and recognizes that equity work necessarily involves the shifting of power and resources which generates challenges, resistance, and conflict. In anticipation of these challenges, this Code of Equitable Conduct sets out to establish the principles that will guide DOC National and Chapter Board Members’, as well as standing and ad hoc committees’ conduct, responsibilities, and respectful engagement with one another, and other members of the organization.

Definitions of Key Equity Terms

Anti-Oppression: an action-oriented framework that recognizes that oppression and power imbalances exist in society and aims to eradicate oppression by examining and challenging power dynamics while supporting and empowering those who experience oppression (The Anti-Violence Project; Ontario Public Service Anti-Racism Policy). For DOC, this includes advocating for anti-oppressive practices and just distribution of resources for all documentary creators, with care and attention given to documentary creators most impacted by systems of oppression.

Decolonization is the “repatriation of Indigenous land and life.” It involves a dismantling of settler colonial structures and relationships. In a settler colonial context, decolonization is inherently unsettling, and not reducible to civil rights and social justice. Decolonization “is accountable to Indigenous sovereignty and futurity,” that is, to Indigenous self-determination and self-governance. For non-Indigenous people, supporting decolonization “can require us to locate ourselves within the context of colonization in complicated ways, often as simultaneously oppressed and complicit.” Decolonization involves a shifting of power away from colonial dominance and towards the political, economic, educational, cultural, and psychic independence of Indigenous peoples. For DOC, decolonization involves accounting for the historic and contemporary role of documentary in colonial projects, and an appreciation of the role of story-telling in supporting Indigenous sovereignty. (Racial Equity Toolkit; Tuck and Yang, 2012; Walia 2012)

Diversity: refers to the presence of a wide range of human qualities and characteristics. Diversity can be a descriptor and/or an aspiration. Diversity as a descriptor can be applied to a group of people or an organization but should not be used to describe an individual. Diversity as an aspiration refers to desires and efforts to increase the representation and visibility of difference. For the DOC, a commitment to diversity is informed by a commitment to equity, decolonization and anti-oppression, and thus requires structural change and a decentering of whiteness and colonial narratives.

Equity: is both a “principle and process that promotes fair conditions for all persons to fully participate in society. It recognizes that while all people have the right to be treated equally, not all experience equal access to resources, opportunities or benefits.” As a principle, we recognize that the “practice of ensuring fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people” will involve “consideration of individual and group diversities.” As a practice, we commit ourselves to creating different pathways of access to DOC in order to promote “economic, political, and social fairness” (Canada Council for the Arts; The 519 Glossary).

Inclusion: is an “approach that aims to reach out to and include all people, honouring the diversity and uniqueness, talent, beliefs, backgrounds, capabilities and ways of living of individuals and groups” (the 519 Glossary). For DOC, the inclusion of diverse storytellers must extend beyond tokenism – defined by Jesse Wente (2021) as “representation without agency” – and instead consider how a commitment to inclusion can shift both the gaze and the focus of storytelling.

Intersectionality: recognizes that the major axes of social divisions (such as race, class, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, and age) “operate not as discrete and mutually exclusive entities, but build on each other and work together.” Applying intersectionality in the process of storytelling involves consideration of how multiple identities intersect to create distinct experiences, and consideration of how the social construction and reproduction of multiple categories of difference are connected to broader systems of power and privilege (Hill Collins and Bilge, 2016; Ajele and McGill, 2020).

Racial Justice: is a vision and transformation of society to eliminate racial hierarchies and advance collective liberation, where Black, Indigenous, and all racialized people, have the dignity, resources, power, and self-determination to fully thrive and create (race forward, n.d.).

Core Equity-Based Principles:

The DOC’s commitment to equity is guided by, and assessed in relation to, the following principles:

  1. Intentional and Action-oriented: Equity is about committing to ongoing actions to address power imbalances. DOC acknowledges that systemic inequities exist and commits to actively confronting the unequal power dynamic between groups, the structures that sustain it, and working towards material change.
  2. Accountability: Equity requires an openness to receive feedback on the impact of our actions, and a commitment to take responsibility for our own behaviour, words, and learning as well as centering principles of relational accountability.
  3. Ongoing Assessment: Centering equity entails taking steps to measure, assess, and understand the structures and actions that support or impede DOC members from equity-seeking and sovereignty-seeking groups from full participation in DOC spaces.
  4. Impact-focused: Equity includes a commitment to create programs, policies and services that support those groups that are most adversely impacted by systems of interlocking oppression, including colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, and heteronormativity.
  5. Structurally-integrated: Centering equity involves embedding equity considerations and reviews into all aspects of the organization.
  6. Respectful Engagement: Equitable engagement requires a commitment to using respectful language and engaging in ongoing dialogue with fellow DOC National and Chapter Board Members and the broader DOC membership in a manner that welcomes and respects a diversity of knowledge, cultures, abilities, and experiences.

Responsibilities of DOC National Board Members:

In support of our Core Equity-Based Principles, DOC National Board Members will:

  1. Respectfully engage with fellow DOC National and Chapter Board Members and DOC members by showing care and consideration for one another in all gatherings, spaces, and communications;
  2. Engage in at least one education and/or community-building initiative per year that strengthens the Board member’s understanding and awareness of equity in relation to documentary film-making and storytelling;
  3. Ensure that the Core Equity-Based Principles are embedded within, and upheld by their DOC Chapter, through the implementation of regional equity commitments in alignment with this Code;
  4. Support strategic planning that considers, and measures the active engagement of, equity-seeking and sovereignty-seeking groups;
  5. Prioritize the voices of the people most adversely impacted by inequitable power structures and allow these voices to guide DOC’s approaches to addressing these inequitable power structures;
  6. Demonstrate self-awareness in equity-based discussions through recognizing both who is/is not in the room and what is/is not being discussed;
  7. Receive individual and collective feedback on equitable conduct concerns without defensiveness or reprisal;
  8. Treat the contributions of all DOC members with care, recognizing that voicing equity concerns, whether large inequities and microaggressions, is risky and tiring;
  9. Respect and support care procedures for conversations, forums, and events where interlocking oppressions, such as colonialism and racism, are discussed and explored; and
  10. Take concerns seriously and address them in accordance with the processes set out in DOC’s Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination (AHAD) Policy and Program and/or DOC by-laws.

All National and Chapter Board Members are asked to review and affirm their commitment to the Code of Conduct in writing prior to the first Board meeting following the Annual General Meeting:

  • If through the course of this review, Board Members identify areas of the Code with which they disagree/suggest revision, they are to seek to have their disagreements/revisions placed on the agenda for the next scheduled Board meeting. At the meeting, the Board may collectively decide (based on a majority of votes as set out in the by-laws) to either:
    • revise the Code on Board member feedback; or
    • uphold the existing Code.
  • Board Members who are unwilling or unable to affirm their commitment to DOC’s Code of Conduct (following the Board’s collective consideration of proposed revisions) will be asked to resign from their Board position.

Failure to uphold the equity-based principles set out in this Code could be a basis for asking a Board Member to resign from their Board position. In such instances, due process includes:

  1. Consideration of whether the concern could, if substantiated, constitute a violation of the Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination (AHAD) policy;
  2. Making the Board Member in question aware of the nature of the concern;
  3. Providing the Board Member with an opportunity to respond to the concern, and if necessary, take responsibility and accountability for their conduct;
  4. Consideration of, and if necessary efforts to repair, any harm that may have been caused by the Board Member’s conduct; and
  5. Consideration whether the Board Member’s conduct impacts their ability to serve on the Board.

Additional Processes

All National and Chapter Board Members are expected to comply with DOC’s Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination (AHAD) Policy and Program. Allegations or concerns that could, if substantiated, constitute a violation of the AHAD policy are to be dealt with in accordance with the procedures set out in the AHAD policy.

Conflict resolution that does not relate to the Core Equity-Based Values is to be addressed in accordance with the dispute resolution mechanism set out in the bylaws (section 9).