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

Friday, December 08, 2006

don't sign

December 8, 2006


The Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and the Canadian Freelance Union (CEP Local 2040) are very concerned about the terms of a new freelance contribution contract for writers at The London Free Press, a Sun Media paper in London, Ontario.

London freelancers report being presented with unexpectedly negative contract terms, despite a positive, long-term business relationship with the paper. The contract comes with a signing deadline of December 11th, and continued work with the paper appears to be contingent on signing.

“We feel this contract, and the manner in which it was presented, compromises the basic rights of Canadian writers under the Copyright Act, and is just bad-faith business negotiation,” says PWAC President, and London freelancer Suzanne Boles. “The contract we’ve seen demands irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide rights to a freelancer’s work, with no extra remuneration for these extra uses.”

PWAC recommends that local writers do not sign this new contract. “It makes terrible business sense for writers to work under these conditions,” says Executive Director, John Degen. “The agreement makes a show of granting writers continued ownership of the copyright for their work, and then systematically strips away every one of those rights, including moral rights, while offering nothing more in compensation. It is against the very spirit of copyright and cultural production in this country.“

PWAC and the CFU strongly suggest Sun Media and The London Free Press withdraw the new contract, and begin negotiations for a better deal with freelancers. Most of the freelance writers and columnists in question have a long-time, positive working relationship with The London Free Press and want to continue their professional association with the newspaper. Their work is respected in the community, and their departure would be a loss for London and area readers.

PWAC and the CFU have been contacted by a number of London freelancers, and there is consensus against signing the contract. We call upon Sun Media to act in good faith and negotiate a new agreement.

PWAC, established in 1976, is the national organization representing 600 professional freelance writers and journalists in Canada.

More information:

Suzanne Boles, PWAC President
(519) 680-1658

John Degen, Executive Director
(416) 504-1645


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