Hal-Con Policies

General Policies

Alcohol & Drugs
This is an all-ages family event; no outside alcohol or any illegal recreational drugs will be permitted on site. If you are suspected of drinking to excess or appear to be intoxicated by means of any substance, you will be asked to leave the convention without refund.

Badges/Wristbands
Must be displayed at all times, these are non-transferrable, not replaceable, and no refunds will be issued if lost.

Costumes
Costumes deemed to be offensive may result in expulsion from the convention for any reason deemed sufficient by staff. This includes but is not limited to; Nudity, vulgarity, excessively gruesome or violent imagery and promotion of intolerant ideology. Depending on the severity of the offense we are prepared to not only expel the offending attendee from this event but also all Hal-Con related events for the foreseeable future. If you have questions about the content of your costume or about this policy please contact info@hal-con.com.

Where can I go to smoke/vape?

Nova Scotia’s Smoke-free Places Act states that smoking and vaping is illegal indoors. The Halifax Convention Centre is a smoke-free environment.

HRM introduce a city-wide smoking ban bylaw which started Oct. 15, 2018. The city has a full ban on smoking, vaping, etc. The closest designated smoking area is just outside the front door of the Argyle street main entrance. There are additional locations on Argle street near Sackville St. and by Grand Parade Square.

Accessibility Policy

Getting Around the Convention

Elevators are open for all to use, but priority will be reserved for those with mobility, accessibility issues, or those with strollers. If you have any problem with accessing elevators, please alert any Hal-Con volunteer and it will be escalated to the senior team.

Service Animals & Pets

Only official service animals are permitted. Pets or comfort animals, however, aren’t. With allergies, children, and for sympathy to animals in crowds – it’s not the best idea. Please make sure your service animal (ex. Guide Dog) is wearing their uniform.  We recognize the value of therapy animals, but they won’t be permitted on site.

Personal Attendants for Medical or Special Needs

Hal-Con recognizes some individuals have a need for somebody with them (e.g. sign language interpreter) during the convention. Please contact us if you have any questions about bringing somebody with you during the event. We strongly suggest contacting us in advance to make arrangements to prevent excessive delays at registration. (info@hal-con.com)

Respectful Community Policy

Hal-Con Sci-Fi Fantasy Association (Hal-Con) values equality, opportunity, and freedom of self-expression safe from ridicule or judgment. We provide opportunities to learn, to create friendships, and to celebrate in a positive, welcoming environment free from harassment, sexism, or bullying of any kind, in our online communities and at all our events. Acts of discrimination, harassment, and violence will not be tolerated and all reports of these behaviours will be taken seriously.   

Purpose 

Primary objective for all associated with Hal-Con to ensure a safe community environment: 

  • Promotes positive and respectful environments  
  • Provide information to create a shared understanding
  • Provide clear expectations of what Hal-Con defines as safe community environment 
  • to prevent discrimination, harassment and violence on the grounds protected under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, RSNS 1989, c 214.

The Scope 

This policy applies to all Hal-Con staff, volunteers, guests, presenters, contractors, community members, and event attendees.  The conduct prohibited by this policy includes, but is not limited to:

  • Discrimination of any means (gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion)
  • Violence 
  • Harassment of any means (verbal/nonverbal, written and/or digital including electronic and social media communications)
  • Sexual Harassment of an means (Verbal/nonverbal, written and/or digital including electronic and social media communications) 

Definitions

  • Community spaces/environments are defined as, but not limited to:
    • All Hal-con hosted events held throughout the year (including annual convention)
    • All events Hal-Con is in attendance (including parade entries, charity events, etc)
    • All events sponsored by Hal-Con 
    • All online community space/environments controlled or managed by Hal-Con. 
  • Harassment is defined as the following: 
    • Offensive verbal comments [related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, etc]
    • Deliberate intimidation
    • Stalking/following
    • Harassing photography or recording
    • Sustained disruption of talks or other events
    • Inappropriate physical contact
    • Unwelcome sexual attention 
    • Sexual images in public spaces
    • Abusive behaviour 
  • Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome, sexually oriented conduct, comments, gestures or actions that create an environment which is offensive, hostile, threatening or demeaning. It includes, but is not limited to, any one of the following: 
    • Sexual slurs 
    • Graphic comments about sexual activity 
    • Sexually suggestive gestures 
    • Derogatory remarks 
    • Taunting
    • Non consensual touching
    • Demand of sexual favors from a supervisor 
    • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests and propositions

Reporting of Incidents and Complaints

Hal-Con recognizes that individuals who experience or observe acts of discrimination, violence or harassment may be reluctant to report. 

Hal-Con prohibits retaliation by anyone against another individual who makes a complaint in good faith or acts as a witness.  Anyone who displays retaliation behaviour may be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal/removal. All Hal-Con staff and volunteers who witness discrimination, violence or harassment are asked to document the incident and report it to the Board of Directors.   

For those who have experienced or witnessed discrimination, violence or harassment in a Hal-Con community space should: 

  • If comfortable, communicate disapproval in clear terms to the person(s) engaging in the unwelcome behavior, and request that the behaviour ends. 
    • Not a mandatory first step and no person should feel pressured to confront another person if they are not comfortable doing so.
  • If the complainant is not comfortable with addressing the alleged harasser directly, they should bring the issue to a Hal-Con committee or board member to report the incident. 
  • If the informal attempts to address and resolve the issue are not appropriate (issues involving violence or sexual harassment) or are proving to be ineffective, a formal complaint should be filed with a Hal-Con committee or board member. 
  • Threats or violence of a serious nature, such as sexual or physical assault should be reported to the police immediately, then to a Hal-Con committee or board member.    

Investigation of Incidents and Complaints

Hal-Con Board will formally investigate all alleged incidents that have been reported under the Respectful Community Policy.  Hal-Con will supply all parties concerned with its response as a result of such complaint and subsequent investigation.

A violation of this policy would result in any of the following, but not limited to, as deemed by the Board of Directors:

  • Removal from the community environment
  • Temporary ban from the community environment
  • Lifelong ban from the community environment
  • Removal from a ticketed event with no refund

Confidentiality 

All reports, incidents and decisions that fall under the Respectful Community Policy are considered confidential. Any breach of this confidentiality will be treated as a serious matter. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any board member, committee member or volunteer who violates this policy.

Washrooms Policy (Gender Neutral washrooms)

Hal-Con and the venue management want to offer all our attendees a comfortable experience at the convention. All participants at the event are encouraged to use the washroom to which they identify.

There are gender neutral washrooms, as well as gender-specific washrooms, on each level of the facility. Once the maps for the current year are published, you will find those noted on our venue page.

Breastfeeding Policy

Breastfeeding is permitted, without question or hesitation. Should any person breastfeeding wish for privacy, a little nook has been set up in the family room on the Ballroom Level of the HCC for your convenience.

Interacting with Guests

During Panels: We request that you line up at the microphone stands to ask questions. Please keep it to one question as lineups can be long and we want to get to as many questions as possible. If we feel your question is inappropriate, we reserve the right to cut the mic and move on to the next person in line. It is important to remember that not everyone will be able to ask questions, depending on the length of the lineup.

It is also important to note some guests may request no photography or video during their panels. We will post warnings on those events so there’s no confusion. However, if you are found to be in violation of that “No Cameras or Video” rule during that panel, you will be removed from the panel and possibly Hal-Con itself.

During Auto/Photo sessions: Please don’t bring them gifts, especially large items or anything containing food (due to allergies or sensitivities, etc). Many guests travel to Halifax with only a small suitcase and can’t bring items back home with them. Small tokens may be accepted, but we cannot guarantee anything on behalf of individual guests.

Registration Policy

Upon arrival at Hal-Con, you will first be required to pass through registration inside the Argyle St entrance to the Halifax Convention Centre. This may necessitate lining up if during peak times and having any purses/backpacks/bags checked by security, and prop weapons checked by staff. You will need to show proof of the name on the ticket you are picking up, matching your own ID. Then you’ll be issued a wristband or badge and granted entry to the convention.

Re-Entry

Once you have your wristband or badge, you may use the re-entry option through the Argyle St. Entrance to the Halifax Convention Centre. You will be expected to show your wristband or badge upon re-entry, so please make them available.

Ticket Returns/Refunds/Exchanges Policy

All Hal-Con ticket sales are final and no refunds are available.

Guest appearances are subject to change or cancellation due to professional obligations. Unless otherwise noted, all guests will be in attendance for all days. Please check the Hal-Con website for the most current listing prior to the convention. Refunds will not be issued in the event of a guest cancellation.

There will be no refunds on lost/stolen tickets or wristbands or if you are removed from the convention by staff or security.

Hal-Con ticket holders are welcome, at their own discretion, to transfer or resell their tickets to other would-be convention attendees. We encourage you to use official Hal-Con social media platforms on Facebook for exact-cost exchanges, no markups will be permitted when advertising on our forums. A form for transfers will be listed on our website, by which we will accept official requests for transfers. Questions? Email tickets@hal-con.com for assistance.

Photography & Video Policy

Photography

We ask all attendees to follow “Wheaton’s Law.” Be considerate and respectful of your environment, and of the other attendees. If you are photographing/filming costumes—ensure you get permission from that individual before taking their image. It is inappropriate to take high or low angle shots, place your hands on a person or request sexual poses without prior consent.

No photography is permitted in the Autograph/Photograph area unless taking a selfie with a guest after paying the fee.

Video/Audio Recording

Recording may not be permitted at select events. If you record at an event where it is not permitted, you will be removed from the convention and not allowed to re-enter. In most cases, non-flash photography at panels and Q&A’s will be fine, except where specifically noted. Filming should be for personal use only. Any photography, film or audio released (via any medium) for personal gain or profit is not permitted.

Weapon Policies

Hal-Con wants everyone to have a safe convention. We want to encourage people to have fun with their costume designs while keeping the safety of the public and fellow convention members around them in mind.

This weapon policy has been created, in consultation with our host venue and local police officers.

The following items are forbidden from being brought into the convention:

  • Any weapons that may cause a mess (silly string, water guns, water balloons, etc.)
  • Explosives (including firecrackers, caps, and fireworks)
  • Scissors and knitting needles
  • Blow Guns
  • Chemical weapons (including mace and pepper spray)
  • NO live ammunition firearms are permitted. This includes those firearms that have no loaded ammunition or the firing bolt or pin removed. We will contact authorities to remove you and you will be banned for future entry to Hal-Con.
  • Any concealable weapons (knives, brass knuckles, switchblades, etc.) will be seized, and anyone found to be concealing any such items will be asked to leave and reported to the authorities.
  • Any other weapon(s) prohibited by Canadian Law

The following items are permitted, but will be subjected to additional scrutiny:

  • Metal-bladed weapons, regardless of sharpness, they must remain sheathed and peace-bonded at all times, and must be made obvious to convention staff, or else they will be seized.
    • This includes but is not limited to: axes, daggers, hatchets, knives, kunai (must not have guard around the grip), swords, sword canes, etc.
    • If the weapon cannot be peace bonded, it will be refused by security and it will not be allowed into the event.
  • Functional replica firearms (including airsoft guns, BB guns, cap guns, paintball guns, and pellet guns) are permitted only for display during the costume contest and must NOT carry a live charge (CO2, compressed air, any kind of propellant, etc). These should be “uncharged and unloaded.”
  • Prop firearms MUST have an orange tip for security reasons
  • Functional projectile weapons (including crossbows, longbows, slingshots, etc) must be made nonfunctional.
    • Just rendering it inoperable does not make it legal.  It must not be able to function period.
    • Bows and Crossbows must not be strung
    • Crossbows should be full size. If it is designed to be held with one hand it is legally prohibited.
    • Nerf crossbow weapons are OK – but cannot be loaded with foam or other projectiles and fired at the convention
    • Handcrafted prop crossbows are OK if completely non-functional
    • Prop arrows and bolts tipped in foam, cardboard, fabric or other soft materials are permitted to be held as part of a costume. Projectiles tipped with metal, sharpened wood or any other hard material that can take an edge must be secured into a quiver or left at home
  • Blunt weapons (including staffs, sticks and clubs) are permitted. Foolishness with blunt weapons is not permitted.
  • Hard prop weapons (including props made of metal, fibreglass, wood, and glass), is permitted at the discretion of event security.

This weapons policy is subject to change without notice.

Event security and/or Hal-Con will have the final word in the case of prop weapons brought in which are not explicitly covered by this policy.

Any attendee found to be in willful violation of these policies will be asked to leave and authorities will be notified.

Weapons for Costume Contest

If you plan to use a prop weapon for your costume contest entry, these will be stored backstage and given to you for the on-stage portion only.

Weapons purchased from sellers/vendors at Hal-Con:
Any items purchased at the convention, once removed from their packaging, are regarded the same as any prop weapon brought into the convention and must comply with these rules. Weapons purchased at the event will be placed into secure holding until exiting the convention.

Large Costumes and Props

If your costume or props take up a significant amount of space—enough to obstruct hallways or walking areas—or is so cumbersome so as to impede your movement, we recommend you only have it for the costume contest.

Disclaimer
Hal-Con reserves the right to reject any props or costume pieces it deems unsafe to attendees.

Vendors – Copyright / Bootleg materials

We receive more and more feedback from attendees and from vendors about unlicensed merchandise. Hal-Con strives to be a forum where artists can sell their original work and good quality merchandise is available for sale. Vendors are expected to hold all appropriate permissions for any merchandise they have for sale, and Hal-Con will comply with any requests from copyright holders and/or original artists to have offending merchandise removed. If vendors are asked to remove a specific item and do not comply, they will be asked to leave.

Contact information

General Inquiries – info@hal-con.com

Resources

Emergency – Dial 911
Non-Emergency Police Dispatch – 902-490-5020

Mental Health Mobile Crisis Line (HRM) – 902-429-8167 or 1-888-429-8167 (toll free)

Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868

Nova Scotia Human Rights Act https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/human%20rights.pdf 

Halifax Regional Police http://www.halifax.ca/police/

Avalon Sexual Assault Centre http://avaloncentre.ca/quicklinks/getting-help-after-a-sexual-assault/