The Professional Writers Association of Canada (formerly the Periodical Writers Association of Canada) represents professional freelance writers working in Canada's magazine, newspaper, corporate writing, government writing and book publishing industries. For more information about PWAC, including how to join, please visit To find a Canadian writer, please visit

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Survey Talk

D.B. Scott over at the Canadian Magazines blog has dug a bit deeper into the Professional Writers Survey report. Scott is one of the Canadian industry's most respected consultants, and his blog is daily reading among publishers and editors.

For the full posting, check out this link:

And here is the highlight:

"Realistic rates for freelancers is a significant issue and one of the biggest challenges facing this industry. As one senior editor said: we hold down rates, because we can. Publishers can do it because there has always been a steady supply of young hopefuls willing to work for peanuts. But if the payment erosion continues in the direction demonstrated by the PWAC research, even those young writers will likely have second thoughts.

An across the board 20% increase in freelance rates, right now, would cost the industry about a 1% increase in its total costs. And the average would still be something less than $1 a word."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

PWAC in the news

The London Free Press has run a brief piece on the recent PWAC elections (Londoners in both the President and Vice-President positions), as well as the survey report. Here is a brief excerpt:


Just think of London as the national headquarters for professional writers.

London writer Suzanne Boles has been acclaimed national president of the Professional Writers Association of Canada for this year...

Read the full article at the following link:

London Free Press

Friday, May 19, 2006

Freelance Survey

The Canadian Professional Writers Survey report is now available for download as a PDF. Every PWAC member will receive the report in its printed version, but if you want a head start on your reading please feel free to check it out electronically.

The report was distributed widely during our National Conference & AGM in Ottawa last weekend, and it has already begun to make waves out there in the broader community. Check out mentions of the report on the Canadian Magazines blog and on copyright warrior Russell McOrmond's blog as well.

Here is the full report as a PDF (this is a direct download, and it's a large file, so don't click unless you have time):

Canadian Professional Writers Survey

and the summary results of the questionnaire:

Summary Results

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

PWAC Takes Ottawa

PWAC celebrated 30 years with a fantastic National Conference & AGM 2006 in Canada’s capital between May 11th and May 14th. The Conference saw the release of PWAC’s Professional Writers Survey Report, which was brought to Parliament Hill by a squad of PWAC members during our Lobby Day (May 11).

The PWAC Executive met privately to discuss the findings of our survey with the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn (photo above). As well, PWAC was privileged to welcome the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, as our special guest for the PWAC 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Canadian War Museum. In her address, Ms. Oda commented directly on the report’s recommendations, and pledged to consult with PWAC going forward.

With the release of the survey report, and our successful meetings in Ottawa, PWAC has renewed our dedication to representing freelance writers nationally and in every region of the country.

In the photo above (right to left): PWAC Treasurer Sandy Crawley, President Gordon Graham and Vice President Suzanne Boles meet with the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ottawa Update

PWAC in Federal Spotlight at National Conference & AGM 2006

PWAC is very pleased to welcome the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, as our special guest to our 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner, Saturday May 13th at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Our keynote speaker for the night is Ken Alexander, Publisher of The Walrus.

Tickets for this dinner are still available. PWAC members who have registered for the full conference receive a ticket as part of their package. Everyone and anyone else, please go to this link to purchase your ticket.

The PWAC National Executive will also be meeting with the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour, for discussions of PWAC issues prior to our Thursday cocktail reception.

Other highlight events:

PWAC's cocktail reception, featuring keynote speaker Paul Wells (Maclean's magazine), at the Ottawa Delta Hotel, Thursday May 11th between 6 and 9 p.m. $10 for those not registered for the full conference (includes one drink ticket).

PWAC Awards Banquet, Friday May 12th, 6:00pm to 7:00pm cocktails, 7:00pm to 10:00pm dinner and awards. Location: National Press Club. Keynote address by Dorothea Helms, PWAC member and winner of last year's Barbara Novak award.

Creator Copyright, or Creator Copyleft: A Brave New World, featuring guest speaker professor Michael Geist. Saturday May 13th, 9:30 am to 11:45 am, Ottawa Delta Hotel (room to be announced), $20 (non PWAC-members)

Full Public PD workshops - Saturday afternoon, $40

As well, please come visit the trade fair - Saturday 11am to 2pm at the Delta.

If you are a professional writer in Canada, can you afford to miss these hugely important conference events?

Busy PWACers

The April Membership Achievement Bulletin is being sent to PWAC members today. Readers of this blog get a preview:

Adrian Blake is pleased to announce that he now writes a weekly column about motorcycling called Twistgrip for The Toronto Sun's Autonet section. Adrian also writes monthly for a bestselling American custom motorcycle magazine, and he designed a popular tour for Edelweiss Bike Travel (Austria), the world's leading motorcycle tour company.

The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting has awarded a fellowship to Alison Kathryn Dyer, a freelance reporter from Newfoundland, Canada, to attend the 8th Annual Workshop for Journalists, June 11-16, 2006, focusing on marine and environmental science at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. This six-day immersion program gives reporters an opportunity to learn about the basic science underlying the news in their communities and to improve the accuracy and clarity of their science-based reporting. The workshop includes basic research in the field and lab with scientists and graduate students; and lectures that examine the intersection of science, policy, and politics. Eleven journalists, primarily from the U.S., will attend the 2006 workshop.

For the full picture of what PWACers were up to in April, see the entire bulletin here.

Encouraging Budget

The following press release is the response of the Canadian Arts Coalition, of which PWAC is a founding member, to yesterday's federal budget. PWAC has long advocated increased and stable funding for the cultural sector. We are encouraged by the news in this budget, and look forward to ongoing discussion with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Bev Oda, who will be our guest at PWAC's 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner (Saturday, May 13 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa):

Canadian Arts Coalition welcomes new public investment
in the arts as a first step

May 2, 2006 ― (Toronto, Ontario) ― The Canadian Arts Coalition welcomes the federal government’s commitment to increase public investment in the arts through the Canada Council for the Arts – a move that was articulated in the federal budget released earlier today.

“The Canadian Arts Coalition is encouraged by the government’s decision to increase public investment in Canadian artists and arts organizations,” says Bob McPhee of Calgary Opera, one of the many organizations supporting the Coalition. “This is an encouraging first step and demonstrates the government’s commitment to address the urgent need for arts funding.

Going forward, the Coalition says it plans to keep on working with Minister Oda and her colleagues to fully address the need for longer term, sustainable investment in the arts and to urge the government to make this a priority for the fall agenda.

“The Canadian Arts Coalition has had a positive first meeting with Minister Oda and we are encouraged by her commitment to ensuring that the arts are eventually properly supported,” adds McPhee. “We are confident that when we meet with Minister Oda and her colleagues again we will address these issues in a productive manner.”

The Canadian Arts Coalition represents a broad group of arts organizations which recognize the economic and social benefits of supporting the arts.

“Talented people like to live and work in dynamic communities that have cultural infrastructures because the quality of life in these communities is unequivocally better,” adds McPhee. “There is tremendous value in supporting the arts. It’s critical to the quality of Canadian community life and our cultural competitiveness as a country.”

The Canadian Arts Coalition is the largest group of artists, arts executives and business leaders ever assembled from across the country who are united in the view that greater public investment in the arts through the Canada Council for the Arts is essential to Canada’s future. Arts and cultural organizations include opera, orchestras, visual arts, theatre, magazines, museums, writers and dance, among others.


For more information on the budget, please go to the federal budget website.