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, December 13, 2006

CFU release

The Canadian Freelance Union has sent out the following release, in support of PWAC's call for freelance writers to NOT sign Sun Media's (a Quebecor company) latest contract:

Freelance writers say 'no' to Quebecor's rights-grabbing contract

OTTAWA, Dec. 13

Canadian Freelance Union (CFU) is deeply concerned about recent actions of Quebecor Media over its treatment of independent freelance writers.

Small independent writers are being forced to sign away virtually all rights to their work without reasonable compensation or even recognition of the value they bring to the newspaper. This is unfair and unacceptable, says CFU President Michael OReilly.

"Quebecor is one of Canada's largest media giants. It has revenue of over $6.3 billion worldwide, yet it wants to squeeze even more from some of Canada's lowest paid workers," says OReilly. "This is the most one-sided contract I have seen. It takes everything and leaves the writers with nothing but the legal liability should someone decide to sue. We are advising freelancers not to sign."

The CFU is a Local of the 150,000-member Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, which represents about 25,000 media workers across Canada.

CEP Vice-President, Media, Peter Murdoch says "this attack on freelancers is a direct result of staff cuts to newsrooms. In the rush to the bottom line, media corporations are eroding the wages of freelancers and jeopardizing the standards of the craft at the same time"

"CFU has the full weight of CEP and fellow media unions in calling on Quebecor to come to the negotiating table to discuss a fair deal," he says.

Last week Quebecor, through its Sun Media subsidiary, issued a 'take it or leave it' contract to its freelance writers. It demands that writers give the newspaper complete control over their works for no additional payment. It also demands exclusive use of the articles, "and any substantially similar content," for up to 60 days after publication.

"We are more than happy to work with our publisher colleagues to license whatever rights they would like. All we ask is to be treated fairly," adds OReilly.

For further information:

Michael OReilly, President, Canadian Freelance Union,
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 2040,
(807) 251-6536,

Link to release:

CFU Release


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