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Calgary conference to create safer venues

The Safer Venues Con will offer workshops around racism, sexism and assault

SASS wants to ensure a night of brews is safe and respectful at any venue in the city.


SASS wants to ensure a night of brews is safe and respectful at any venue in the city.

SASS isn’t throwing around any sass when it comes to creating safer nightlife venues in Calgary.

The organization is serious about creating respectful spaces where Calgarians feel secure going out. To that end, the organization (which stands for Society for the Advocacy of Safer Spaces) just announced a special Safer Venue Conference to take place in January.

It’s aimed at providing workshops, information and networking for Calgary nightlife venues who are interested in make their spaces safer and more welcoming.

“One of the big questions I consistently get asked whenever I’m talking to big venues is, ‘how do I make a safe spaces policy?’” said SASS co-founder Veronica Lawrence. “For us, there’s no easy answer to that – every venue has to come in with what their values are and what matters to them."

“But, we wanted to give them the opportunity to learn as much as possible about the principles that SASS is trying to tout in the community.”

SASS’s mandate includes combating racism, oppression, sexism, sexual assault and supporting LGBTQ2+ communities.

“These all continue to be issues, and when you add alcohol, when you add a lot of people, these kinds of things become much larger issues,” Lawrence explained.

The Safer Venue Con will focus on three main workshops.

First, in partnership with the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, there will be a workshop focused on racial discrimination, and what venue owners can do to combat it at the door, inside and in the community.

Then there will be a session on creating a culture of respect for gender and sexual diversity, for patrons and for staff, hosted by Calgary Sexual Health.

Finally, there will be a workshop on successful bystander intervention, called Building a Safer Scene. This will look at how to recognize when sexual harassment or assault is happening, and how to safely intervene. The workshop will also cover the best way to respond if someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted.

The workshop takes place Jan. 15 and spaces are limited – visit for more information.

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