Safe Bars Project

What is The Safe Bars Project (#SafeBarsON) all about?

After successfully campaigning in support of Bill 132 the amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act,  we are focusing our efforts on The Safe Bars Project. The Safe Bars Project is one of our initiatives to create systemic change by putting education and leadership tools in the hands of the community itself.

The Dandelion Initiative (formerly known as Sexual Assault Action Coalition)  founded the project after months of community consultation and collaboration, unifying stories and perspectives from survivors and allies in the Bar and Service industry.

This project aims to hold establishments accountable to uphold Bill 132 and create safe spaces for both patrons and staff. The project will provide education and training to ensure establishments succeed. It has two key phases:

First, the project team will create an education manual rooted in anti-harassment and anti-violence policies and procedures, this will be based on recent research and collaborative expertise from multi-sectoral members.

Second, we will create and implement a training program to complement the manual, to be delivered in person to all staff, including management and owners. After training is successfully completed, there will be a policy created for the establishment by our policy team, and all staff and management will sign off agreeing to zero tolerance and upholding training protocols. The establishment will then receive a Dandelion Sticker to display, which will indicate to potential patrons it is a Safe Space.  The establishment will also be listed on our SAFE SPACES LIST online for the public to review.

The goal of this project is to change the culture of sexual assault and harassment in the bar and service industry, and celebrate those establishments that work towards creating safe spaces for all people.

With most bar and restaurant jobs we find low wages, precarious hours, inequitable power dynamics, often a lack of training, and a lack of policy to protect workers and patrons. This project will not only empower staff through education and training, but they will be equipped to combat bystander syndrome to prevent potential dangerous situations for patrons. With this education and training we will work to improve this section of society for all people, and hold one another accountable to treat everyone with dignity and human decency. We have a chance to create a culture that is free of sexual violence and harassment, we hope this project helps lend to the creation of that culture.

How to get my bar/restaurant involved?

If you or your establishment is interested in participating in the Dandelion Project Training and Education please email us: [email protected]

We will begin training once we have been approved for an operating grant (Summer/Fall 2017)

Current Bars interested in participating in our training and education session:

Civil Liberties

The Greater Good

The Dakota Tavern





Dock Ellis

Red Light

Parts and Labor


The End

The Four Seven

Bar Fancy

Locals Only

The Drake Hotel

Horseshoe Tavern

Lees Palace

The Gladstone Hotel

And many more.

Once bars and restaurants complete our training and receive the education module, a Dandelion Sticker will be presented to the establishments to place in their window. This tells patrons it is a safe space, with practices and protocols to ensure an environment free of sexual assault and violence. 

You will see a list of all the “SAFE BARS ON” online on our public registry- coming in the Fall.

What does the training look like for the bars/staff participating?

Training will take place at a designated date and time determined by the owner/manager and the Dandelion Initiative.


Facilitators from the Dandelion Initiative, including Founder Viktoria Belle, will come to the location for a three hour training session.

You will receive the following for free:

–  In person training for you and your staff

–  Sample policy and direction on creating establishment policy, informed by Bill 132 (which is now law, all establishments must have anti violence and anti harassment policies)

– A certificate of completion

– A Dandelion Sticker for your window

– Info and listing on our “Safe Bars TO” public registry

– Monthly support calls from the Dandelion Initiative

– Access to all our partner and organization resources

Access to our education resource “The Safe Bars Project” will be available only through purchase, to help cover our printing costs. This module is a community collaboration that has different perspectives, information and education around anti-violence and anti-harassment policies, practices, protocols and initiatives.

Training outline and Education resource will be available August 2017

This initiative is created by survivors of sexual assault, front line workers, experts and academics to ensure that survivor perspectives and initiatives are prioritized.


Success so far
15622182_10101738301093686_7373023994325419738_nWith the support and collaboration of Councillor Mike Layton and the City of Toronto, we were able to ensure the temporary closure of College Street Bar.

We were contacted by many concerned allies and survivors about the multiple, alleged, gang, sexual assault charges that the owner and manager of College Street Bar were charged with. Enzo De Jesus Carrasco, 31, and Gavin MacMillan, 41, were each charged with forcible confinement and sexual assault in mid-December 2016.

The men were subsequently released on bail.

Starting off with a small petition and community demonstration we were able to get over 2500 signatures in a few days, along with so many stories and voices from survivors and service industry folk:

“Everyone has the right to live free of sexual violence”

“I’m signing because men who use their businesses as hunting grounds for venerable women don’t deserve to operate freely in my community.”

“I am signing because I think an owner to any store that does this to a customer is disgusting, and would least expect it from a owner and employee.. why should they have the right to let this slide , possibly happen again?.. time to follow through with consequences..”

“I know her. They will get theirs #ibelieveher”

“These two individuals have created an environment that fosters sexual harassment, wage theft and does not abide by our labour laws or the laws of the land. There are many counts on which this business should be severely penalized or shut down.”

Holding establishments accountable to ensure that we have #SafeBarsON is the main goal of this project and all our efforts.


Fundraising and Tools

Thank you to everyone who has collaborated and contributed to raising funds for the Safe Bars Project and The Dandelion Initiative.

We are in the process of applying for grants from the Province and our community partners to continue this important work.

Our #SafeBarsON posters are available through our online store.



Submission Call Out:

If you or your organization is interested in contributing to our education resource book “The Safe Bars Project” please email us and review our submission call page.

Thank you all for your continued support.