1. Definitions
    1. In these policies,
      1. “Artist Alley” refers to the designated location for the sale of personal artwork;
      2. “Cosplay” refers to the special event known as Cosplay;
      3. “O.P.E” refers to the Otafest Policy Enforcement department;
      4. “Otafest” refers to the Otafest Festival, it’s staff, volunteers, and representatives;
      5. “Patron” refers to any person attending the Otafest Festival with valid proof of admission;
      6. “Exhibitor Hall” refers to the designated location for the sale of merchandise. Some events call this room the Merchant Hall, the Vendors’ Hall, or the Dealers’ room;
      7. “Viewing room” refers the designated viewing areas for video programming;
      8. “Wristband” refers to the proof of admission used by Otafest.
  2. General Policies
    1. The following activities are not permitted during Otafest:
      1. Engaging in any activity prohibited by law;
      2. Any act which could result in substantial risk or harm to people or property;
      3. Engaging in disruptive and unsafe behavior that disturbs other patrons, staff, or the public;
      4. Sexual misconduct, such as indecent exposure, offensive touching, or sexual harassment;
      5. Physical or verbal harassment of the public or staff;
      6. Loitering.
    2. All patrons must abide by all TELUS Convention Centre procedures, policies, and bylaws, as well as all local, provincial, and federal laws and bylaws.
    3. Seating for events or in viewing rooms is first-come, first-served. Due to fire regulations, sitting in aisles and seating beyond the room’s capacity are not allowed, and Otafest is bound by law to strictly enforce this.
    4. Alcohol is only permitted in designated areas within the Otafest festival space. No outside alcohol is permitted.
    5. Disruptive behaviours caused by intoxicating substances may lead to removal from the festival areas or revocation of wristbands. Patrons displaying outward signs of intoxication may be asked to leave festival areas until such time that they are no longer intoxicated.
    6. Food and drinks are normally permitted during events and inside viewing rooms, but please clean up after yourself. Please use available garbage bins to dispose of waste. Patrons will be informed if food or drinks are prohibited.
    7. Talking out of turn during events or in viewing rooms is disruptive to other patrons. Please save your comments for outside the event or viewing room.
    8. With respect to some Otafest events, such as Cosplay, Otafest Festival Policies may be temporarily overridden for participants of that event. The only persons that may authorize this override are:
      1. Chairman;
      2. O.P.E Head;
      3. Assistant O.P.E Head;
      4. Emergency Management Officer;
      5. Cosplay Director or delegate.
  3. Wristbands and Admission
    1. Wristbands must be worn and be visible at all times. Individuals without wristbands will not be granted access to the Festival.
    2. Any patron who has their wristband revoked will not receive reimbursement or refund of any part of their admission.
    3. A fee will be charged for replacing a lost wristband. Replacement badges must be authorized by the Registration department.
    4. Please return any wristbands found to Otafest staff immediately.
    5. Admission is non-refundable.
    6. By purchasing admission, the patron agrees to follow all policies herein.
  4. Attire and Costumes
    1. All patrons are required to dress in accordance with public decency laws while at Otafest.
    2. All patrons are required to wear footwear. Socks or bare feet are not acceptable.
    3. Otafest reserves the right to deem any attire or costume unacceptable and request the wearer to either change or make modifications as necessary.
      1. Garments containing sexually explicit imagery, pornographic content, or that depict implied sexual acts are not permitted to be worn or displayed.
    4. Patrons should be aware that they may be asked to remove all or part of any costume that is bulky, difficult to maneuver, or otherwise presents a possible safety issues for the wearer or other patrons.
  5. Harassment and Assault
    1. Otafest has a zero tolerance policy for any type of harassment and/or assault towards staff, volunteers, patrons and/or the public at large.
      1. Harassment is defined as any intentional behavior that alarms or threatens another person. This includes but is not limited to, any unwanted physical contact, following someone without reason, or threatening to harm someone.
    2. Sexual misconduct is unacceptable at Otafest, and will result in the revocation of the patron’s wristband and involvement of local police.
    3. In the event of a harassment incident, follow Otafest’s Harassment Complaint Procedure.
  6. Liability
    1. Although we strive for the safest possible environment, Otafest and its affiliates are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury while attending Otafest.
    2. Patrons are responsible for their individual actions and any repercussion that may result.
    3. Civil or medical emergencies are to be handled directly by the proper authorities.
  7. Merchandise and Theft
    1. All merchandise from Otafest itself, the Exhibitor Hall, or Artist Alley, must be paid for.
    2. Any patron caught shoplifting will be handed over to the proper authorities, have their wristband revoked, and refused service into all future Otafest events. There will be no exceptions.
  8. Photography and Video Recording
    1. Photography/Video Recording is restricted in the screening theatres and may also be restricted in other specific events. Patrons will be informed if photography or video recording is prohibited.
    2. No photographer, videographer or journalist shall make use of any implement that rests wholly or partially upon a supporting device that is anchored to, tethered to or in any other way deriving strength or stability from any source other than the photographer, videographer or journalist’s person (i.e. Tripod) without express written permission from authorized Otafest staff.
    3. No photographer, videographer or journalist shall make use of any implement that exceeds 24 inches in its largest dimension (i.e. large reflectors or light boxes) without express written permission from authorized Otafest staff. Body mounted stabilizers and harnesses are exempted from this policy.
    4. Photography, videography and verbal interviewing is prohibited within 1m of any venue entrance or emergency exit (marked by overhead signs), elevator door, escalator entrance/exit or bathroom entrance/exit. The aforementioned activities shall also be prohibited on or from any staircase, stairwell or landing within a staircase or stairwell.
    5. Additional areas of congestion may be designated as “No stopping/No photography” zones without prior notice by posting visible material including, but not limited to floor markings and or wall mounted signs.
    6. Photography of original artwork in Artist Alley is not allowed without express permission of the artist.
    7. Photography, videography and verbal interviewing is prohibited within the Exhibitor Hall (Exhibition Hall C, D, E) except in designated areas or with written permission from authorized Otafest staff.
    8. Usage of the venue’s power outlets is prohibited.
    9. Obtain permission from the subject(s) before taking pictures of guests, other patrons, or the general public.
    10. By entering the venue, all persons consent to being video recorded by Otafest staff/volunteers.
  9. Signage
    1. Wearing any signs that offer products or services, for solicitation, financial gain, physical act, or otherwise, is prohibited at Otafest.
    2. Signs with inappropriate content will be removed without warning, and may result in the patrons’ expulsion from the Otafest event.
  10. Weapons and Props
    1. Otafest has the following definitions:
      1. A “weapon” is defined to be any item that: is designed to cause injury or death, or anything a person actually uses or intends to use to cause injury or death. Also includes any item which is designed, used, or intended for use to threaten or intimidate.
      2. A “prop” is defined as any item used by an attendee to enhance their costume.
      3. A “prop resembling a realistic weapon” is defined as any prop that can be mistaken for a weapon by a casual observer at any distance.
      4. A “prop resembling a non-realistic weapon” is defined as a prop meant to resemble a weapon, but that would not be mistaken for a dangerous item by a casual observer at any distance. This would include props that resemble fantasy weapons, futuristic weapons or stylized weapons.
      5. A “general prop” is defined as any other prop that is not meant to resemble a weapon.
    2. Any prop designed to be visually or functionally indistinguishable from items classified as “illegal” or “restricted” under City, Provincial, or Federal mandate, is categorically barred from any Otafest event. Any props that may be mistaken to be a public danger by a reasonable person at a distance are categorically barred from any Otafest event.
    3. All props that are brought to Otafest MUST BE INSPECTED by O.P.E immediately upon arrival and registration at the festival. Failure to adhere to this regulation may result in your prop being confiscated, or revocation of your convention pass.
      1. The O.P.E Staff will have the final say on whether a prop will be allowed at the venue.
      2. General props will be marked in a highly visible way such that staff and patrons can tell from a distance that the prop is allowed for general use at the festival.
      3. Props that resemble a realistic weapon or is otherwise inappropriate MUST be removed from the venue.
      4. All props may be subjected to continued assessment throughout the event by the O.P.E or Event Staff
    4. Prohibited items
      1. Projectile Weaponry
        1. Absolutely no projectile weaponry will be allowed at any Otafest event at any time, this includes but is not limited to: Airsoft, BB, Paintball, Nerf, or any similar guns, thrown weaponry such as shuriken and throwing darts. There shall be no throwing of any kind of prop at any time.
        2. All other firearms/projectile weapons are required to have orange safety tips at all times on the venue grounds.
      2. Metal Bladed Weaponry
        1. Absolutely no metal blade weaponry is allowed regardless of sharpness or hardness of the blade. This includes swords, knives, axes, pole arms, or any other prop composed of metal.
      3. Practice Swords
        1. Bokken, kendo, and other wooden practice swords shall be deemed as bladed weapons under this policy
    5. Generally Acceptable Materials
      The following is a list of generally acceptable materials for the construction of homemade props. All items will still be assessed on a case by case basis by O.P.E staff.

      1. Cardboard
      2. Foam
      3. Wood
      4. PVC and Plastic High Density Foam
    6. Forbidden Materials
      The following is a list of forbidden materials for the construction of homemade props. There are certain exceptions that may be made on a case by case basis.

      1. Metal
      2. Glass or Ceramics
      3. Plastics or Composite Materials that has been fashioned to, or that can hold an edge or sharp point.
  11. Autographs
    1. Autographs are offered on a first come, first served basis. Otafest does not guarantee autographs from a particular guest.
    2. Autograph lines will open one (1) hour before the scheduled autograph session start time, unless otherwise specified.
    3. Otafest reserves the right to close an autograph line at any time, or re-open a line in cases where the line moves at a faster pace than expected.
    4. Each Otafest guest provides, at minimum, 1 free autograph per person in line. Guests may restrict which items this rule applies to, though in most cases any appropriate personal item may be signed. Guests set their own pricing for additional autographs, merchandise, posters, prints, etc.
    5. Guests reserve the right to restrict what they will or will not sign. Autographs on unlicensed or inappropriate materials may be declined.
    6. A maximum of two (2) items per person may be autographed per line, unless otherwise stated.
    7. Patrons shall not exhibit rude and/or inappropriate behaviour. Patrons exhibiting rude and/or inappropriate behaviour may be removed from the line and may be subject to the Violation of Otafest Policies section below.
    8. Otafest may use an autograph ticketing system for guests who are expected to draw a large crowd. In this case, Otafest will communicate the use of a ticket system and specific details at the earliest time possible.
    9. Guests reserve the right to accept or deny any gift.
    10. Guest-specific changes may apply and will be communicated through one or more official means including Otafest’s website, program guide, social media, and/or signage at the event.
    11. Angel Pass holders receive front-of-line access to all autograph sessions unless otherwise specified (e.g. ticket system implemented). Front-of-line access applies only to the Angel Pass holder – they may not be accompanied by a friend or family member unless an exception has been made as part of Otafest’s accessibility policies.
  12. Violation of Otafest Policies
    1. Otafest reserves the right to enforce punishment against any patron who violates these policies. Such punishment can include, but is not limited to:
      1. Asking a patron to leave a particular event, viewing room, or the venue;
      2. Revoking a patron’s wristband without refund;
      3. Banning a patron from future Otafest events.

Last updated January 21, 2020

Harassment Complaint Procedure

At Otafest, we want to ensure that you have a positive and inclusive experience, and this is why we take harassment very seriously.  We are committed to our community, and that is the reason for this guide to how we handle harassment concerns.

If you have a harassment concern, the first step is to report it.  You can speak with any of our staff members or volunteers to begin the process.

The staff member or volunteer will contact the Chair.  After an interview, you may be asked to provide a written statement. These statements remain confidential, however in the event of criminal proceedings, they may be subject to subpoena.

If others are with you during the time of the incident, they may also be asked to provide statements.  This helps with the investigation.

After filling out statements and providing other information that may assist in the investigation such as screenshots or photographs, you will be provided with a file number for follow up.

The Chair will conduct an investigation, which may involve review of video surveillance and further interviewing of witnesses to determine the best course of action to mitigate the concern.

Upon completion of the investigation, the Chair will present the findings to a panel consisting of three senior staff members as well as recommendations for enforcement actions.  The panel and Chair will jointly decide on what actions are deemed appropriate.

If you have further questions about your file, you can contact the Chair with the contact information provided with the file number.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Otafest’s Chairperson.