Friday, 30 September 2011

Important message from PWAC ... for all members/writers in Canada ...

External Affairs – Help make copyright law work for writers

The federal government tabled the copyright reform bill, C-11, yesterday in the House of Commons. It has exactly the same wording as the draft that died on the order paper with the spring election. Those of you who have been following this saga will know that, while we agree with the stated objectives of the proposed law, there are problems for writers, especially in the area of exceptions under Fair Dealing. The thorniest one for PWAC and at least six of our sister organizations is the exception for education in this section of the bill. Because it adds the word…”education”…without clarifying what this means. A majority of provincial ministries of education have been seeking this addition for a number of years because if they get it they can drive a truck through it. And they’ll be driving right through your intellectual property, without asking. Because! this gives the omnipresent bean counters in the bureaucracies around education an opportunity to escape their responsibility to compensate Canadian writers when their works are copied for use in the post-secondary education sector. The costs they are evading, that they have paid for in an orderly fashion for decades through our collective rights administration represent less than 1 % of their total budgets. Yet the original expression of ideas as contained in copyright works is (or ought to be) the very basis of education.

So we are reaching out to PWAC members to take the time to make a request to the government through your members of parliament to be open to the idea of accepting amendments to bill C-11 to make it stronger and to help build the digital economy through the industry and entrepreneurial spirit of thousands of small Canadian businesspeople, that is Freelance writers.

If you can steal the time from making a living the most effective way to help make this happen is through a letter to your MP in your own words. The points you need to make are:

  • The exception for education under Fair Dealing as it is will lead to years of costly litigation
  • The addition of the internationally respected Berne three-step test to the bill will help to avoid confusion and diminish the likelihood of court case
  • The responsibility to make a law that compensates writers fairly should not be left to the courts
It should be easy to find the e-mail address of your MP. Please cc. us at when you reach out to them that way. If you have time to put pen to paper, that’s even better. You still don’t need a stamp to write your member in Ottawa.

Sandy Crawley
Executive Director
Professional Writers Association of Canada

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Upcoming events and PWAC Board meeting updates ...

Thank you for visiting the PWAC Prairies and the North Blog site!
In mid September the Board met in Toronto for a weekend of hard work and renewed enthusiasm for the future of PWAC. An all membership information post has been sent by President, Craig Silverman but to further his message we have some exciting regional news including that the new will launch soon.
Word on the Street is taking place across the country this coming Sunday, Sept 25, 2011 with celebrations in our region in Lethbridge and Saskatoon. I am pleased to mention that we will have a PWAC table at the Lethbridge event. The discussions will take place over the winter with the national WOTS group and PWAC and perhaps we can have a high profile in all cities next year. PWAC was one of the original founding groups of this national event happening since 1990 across the country.

I hope you have all renewed your membership! A Student membership can be awarded in each chapter and some of the chapters have this process underway, Saskatchewan has confirmed back, and the Prairie & North chapter will award their area as part of Lethbridge Word on the Street. If the other chapters can confirm back their choices I will then welcome the students by chapter here on this blog space.
At the Board meetings, as Craig mentioned in his note to members a Regional committee has been struck to address the direction of support for more regional happenings. If anyone is interested in being a part of this committee or has any suggestions or questions please contact me directly
Mark your calendars for the national conference at MagNet & the PWAC AGM coming up June 5-8, 2012 at the Courtyard Marriott (475 Yonge Street) in Toronto.
(Chapters - please send any additions on to me or post here in the comments)

Praires & the North Chapter LETHBRIDGE hosting the PWAC info table at The Word On The Street, Sunday, September 25, 2011, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. – if any members/chapters  close to Lethbridge wish to come sit the table for the day with Michelle Greysen and help promote PWAC, sell your books, etc. please do! Contact

Calgary - Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, October 20, at the Calgary Public Library-Central branch (616 Macleod Trail SE). It will be held in Meeting Room 1 in the basement. Our chapter meeting will be held from 6:15 - 6:45 pm. Our featured guest speaker, Brian Brennan (, will speak from 7:00 - 7:45 pm, with Q & A to follow. – info contact Calgary Chapter President Andrea Tombrowski

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Welcome PWAC Members from the Prairies & North ...

Thank you for visiting our new BLOG space!
I welcome all PWAC members in the Prairies & North to send me links to your websites and blogs to be included here on our members' lists on the right hand column.
Please also send me any and all updates and information in your area with invites to all your events and happenings - or any exciting writing news. If your Chapter has a web site please link it here and please link this site back to yours. The more information we can share the more opportunities we bring to our region. I welcome all comments, announcements, publishing links, and guest bloggers to contact me and share with all the members in our part of the country.

As your PWAC Board Director for Prairies and North, I look forward to growing our membership, bringing us all together more often whether here or in person around our vast region.

Please keep in touch!

Michelle Greysen
PWAC Regional Director Prairies and North