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From the Professional Writers Association of Canada
PWAC - the 'P' becomes Professional
Gordon Graham - PWAC President
In 1976, a group of freelance writers started meeting to share information and stories about writing for Canada's magazines and newspapers. From those meetings grew the Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), an organization with 22 chapters that serve over 560 freelance writers across Canada.
At the 2005 PWAC Annual General Meeting, held in Hamilton, Ontario, PWAC members made organizational history by voting overwhelmingly in favour of changing the association's name to the Professional Writers Association of Canada. The new '"P" in PWAC' more accurately reflects the reality and diversity of the work that PWAC members do today, while still respecting the organization's 30-year history.
At the same meeting members also voted to update PWAC's membership application criteria and to make some reforms to streamline the association's constitution. As a result the membership criteria for professional members were updated and simplified. A new category for student membership was passed and the on-hold option was eliminated, so that former members in good standing can rejoin without re-qualifying. These changes will help PWAC create what numerous people call a 'bigger tent' that welcomes more members. PWAC is currently awaiting final approval of the new membership criteria before the details can be actively promoted.
In keeping with our new name, PWAC is now leading the discussion surrounding the business of writing in Canada. We consult regularly will all levels of government, we reach out into the publishing industry through regular participation in industry events such as the Creating Canada symposium in Ottawa last February, and the annual Magazines University conference every spring. We continue to represent the interests of freelance writers through our participation with Access Copyright, the Canadian copyright licensing agency. Our daily blog, (http://www.pwac.ca/blog.htm) informs members and the general public alike on happenings and issues of key importance to Canadian culture and Canadian writers.
Looking beyond the association itself PWAC is currently undertaking a wide-ranging survey of professional writers in Canada, with the generous financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canada Magazine Fund. The aim of the survey is to collect data from the PWAC membership and the larger Canadian writing community on the business of writing in Canada, how it has changed in recent years and where it is heading in the future. PWAC will produce a full report on the survey results, to be published and released in time for our 30th Anniversary National Conference in May 2006.
Our 30th anniversary celebrations will be held in conjunction with our National Conference, in Ottawa. Anyone interested in the future of the writing business in Canada should attend. Details of the conference, including registration can be found on our website at: