Harm Reduction Policies

Convergence Sexual Harassment and Assault, Safer Space, and Harm Reduction Policies

The organizers of Powershift: Young and Rising have zero-tolerance for any form of harassment or assault, including sexual harassment or assault. We actively oppose all forms of discrimination and oppression. We are committed to committed to being inclusive and accessible to all, and actively seek to build a nurturing space.

Therefore, we ask that participants at Powershift: Young and Rising be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think about whether it might be oppressive to others. Powershift: Young and Rising is not a space for violence, racism, ageism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, sizeism, sleaziness, or touching another person without consent. Acting in a way that perpetuates oppression, including through language, is not acceptable.



As of January 29th 2019, our Harm Reduction Squad consists of:

Other resources:

  • University of Ottawa Security/Emergency Line: 613-562-5411
  • University of Ottawa Health Services and walk-in clinic
  • Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour support line: 613-562-2333
  • Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa 24-hour support line: 613-234-2266
  • Additional resources


We expect participants to follow these rules at all event venues and event-related social activities. Our anti-harassment policy, as well as Canadian law, requires that participants follow these rules outside event activities too.

Sexual harassment shall be defined as:

  • Unwanted attention of a sexual nature; or
  • Implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request; or
  • Implied or expressed threat of reprisal, actual reprisal or the denial of opportunity for the refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request; or
  • Sexually oriented remarks or behaviour that may reasonably be perceived to create a negative environment (Source: People’s Potato Constitution)
  • Harassment, including sexual harassment, does not require intent for it to be considered harassment. Inappropriate conduct or language meant as a joke or even a compliment can lead or contribute to harassment, including sexual harassment.

Please be mindful of the following when interacting at Powershift:

  • Respect everyone’s physical and emotional boundaries. Ask first before touching, and listen and change your behaviour if someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable.
  • Respect the pronouns and names of everyone. Do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, survivor status, dis/abilities, economic status, background, health, etc.
  • Check in before discussing topics that might be triggering (e.g. sexual abuse, sexual experiences, physical violence, lateral violence, intergenerational trauma, and/or encounters with the police). Be aware that there are many other discussion topics that can be triggering to people – such as racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of systemic violence. It’s not always possible to know what is triggering for someone, so if possible – especially in one-on-one discussions – try to ask.
  • Be responsible for your own actions. Be aware that your actions have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be.
  • Respect people’s opinions, beliefs, experiences and differing points of view.
  • Powershift: Young and Rising is a social learning space, where persons should not be personally attacked, but one’s behaviour may be critiqued. Be open to understanding the role your behaviour has in other people’s experiences of oppression.
  • Be mindful of the presence of children and helper animals. Try not to leave anything around that could endanger them or other adults.
  • If you experience inappropriate or oppressive behaviour from another participant, or you simply need a quiet place to decompress or someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any member of the Harm Reduction Squad.


Do not assume that other participants consent to being in photos. Ask before taking photos of other camp participants.

Please note that Powershift’s media team will be documenting the event. Participants have the option to flag that they would prefer not to be filmed or photographed; if this is your preference please approach the registration desk or any member of the Powershift team and they will be happy to accommodate.

Sexual Assault & Consent

The organizers of Powershift: Young and Rising recognize that organizing and activist spaces are not necessarily spaces liberated from sexual assault and gender-based violence. Sexual assault and gender-based violence breaks our movements and our communities. We reject the silence surrounding these issues and commit to creating spaces that acknowledge this reality as well as fighting structures and individuals that sustain rape culture within our society. We also believe in the importance of establishing support and inclusion mechanisms for individuals who have experienced sexual assault as a way of trying to break through the isolation and alienation that sexual assault creates.

Some working definitions:

Consent: is actively and voluntarily expressed agreement, not just the absence of “no.” Doing personal work to consistently seek consent and respect the times when it is not given helps to combat rape culture, and informed consent, sexual and otherwise, is necessary in the building of strong, healthy, and anti-authoritarian communities. The following does not qualify as consent: silence, passivity, and coerced acquiescence. Body movements, non language-based responses such as moans or laughter, or the appearance of physical arousal do not necessarily constitute consent. Further, someone who is intoxicated, is not legally able to give INFORMED consent. Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity, regardless of the parties’ relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity. Consistently asking for consent and listening to your sexual partner at every step in every sexual encounter, regardless of length, history, or specific situation, is the only way to prevent sexual assault from happening. Consent includes asking, listening and respecting. It does not include coercion, expectation, or assumptions.

Sexual assault: is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault happens, and it happens in activist and radical communities as much as anywhere else. Sexual assault can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, but is often perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the survivor and community. Sexual assault is a tool of domination, of taking power and can rob someone of their self-respect, self worth, autonomy and sense of safety.  Sexual assault is rooted in broader systems of oppression such as patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, transphobia, ageism, homophobia, ableism, and colonialism – and is not separable from them in how and why it is perpetrated, experienced and dealt with. We acknowledge that women of colour and Indigenous women, trans people, disabled women, non-status women, psych survivors, women using substances, and poor women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence and this is the product of the racist, colonialist, ableist, ageist, capitalist, misogynist system within which our society exists.

Rape Culture: is the culture in which sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence are condoned, excused, ignored, and even encouraged. Rape culture is part of a broader culture of violence, wherein people are socialized to inhabit different positions in hierarchical relationships, to commodify their fellow human beings and to relate to each other through violence and coercion. In North America, we live in a culture of rape.

If you experience harassment, abuse, sexual assault, or any other kind of consent violation while attending Powershift: Young and Rising,

If a perpetrator’s past or current sexual violence is interfering with your participation in Powershift: Young and Rising,

If for any other reason you need support to deal with sexualized, gender-based, or race-based violence…

Please contact a member of the harm reduction squad.

We can offer:

  • Support, caring and listening,
  • Community agency referral
  • Advocacy on your behalf, including the removal of perpetrators of violence
  • Resources for further support and or action

Harm Reduction

Powershift: Young and Rising aims to be a substance-free environment. Alcohol will not be sold on site.

We will attempt to implement harm reduction practices where appropriate. If you or another camp participant require assistance related to intoxication do not hesitate to contact the harm reduction squad.


Powershift: Young and Rising organizers aim to avoid any police involvement in our event. This is in acknowledgement of the fact that the police serve as an apparatus of state and colonial violence. When conflicts arise in the space, we strive to de-escalate the situation or to solve them via discussion and mediation techniques. Inappropriate or abusive behaviour is not tolerated in the space, and people responsible for such behaviours will be asked to leave.

While we try to avoid any police involvement at Powershift: Young and Rising, any participant has the discretion and personal choice to phone the police or emergency services (911) when the situation warrants.


Volunteers of the harm reduction squad are also available to assist you in navigating questions you may have on allyship. Should you have questions about racism, privilege, oppression,  and/or allyship, please approach us to  avoid burdening other BIPOC participants with added  emotional labour. Allyship is a process of learning and unlearning, in which we recognize that many emotions can surface as you confront systemic and socialized world views and behaviours. Our harms reduction squad would be happy to hold space for you as you navigate this journey.

To start learning about Indigenous allyship, refer to resources such as the Indigenous Ally Toolkit.


The above policy was sourced and adapted from the following sources:

AVEQ Sexual Assault, Safer Space & Harm Reduction Policies (link), based on QPIRG Concordia Sexual Assault & Safer Spaces policy, Toronto Anarchist Bookfair Safer Spaces and Sexual Assault and Consent policies

Geek Feminism Conference Anti-Harassment Policy (link)

UNFCCC Code of conduct for conferences, meetings and events (link)