It’s time for government to act on a growing abuse of workers

Why Canada should follow others and take on fake ‘independent contractors’

An op-ed by Lise Lareau, Canadian Media Guild and Chris Roberts, Canadian Labour Congress

As Ottawa considers revisions to federal labour standards, it’s time for a reckoning: thousands of workers in this country are wrongly and deliberately misclassified as ‘independent contractors’ and they’re being ripped off. And so is the federal government. Tax coffers are likely out millions of dollars because of the sham.

The scheme is not new. But it’s growing – and now pervasive in such wide-ranging industries as construction, IT, academia, media and the new so-called ‘gig’ economy. What is new is that other Western countries, governments and regulators are cracking down.

Just last month, the California Supreme Court tightened up the definition of independent contractor dramatically, and the Irish government proposed a ‘Protection of Employment Bill’ aimed at what they call ‘bogus self-employment’. This year, Ontario placed the onus on employers to prove a worker is not an employee and put 175 new inspectors in place to monitor workplaces. So some change is on the horizon, but more is needed.

Employers have many reasons for pretending that their workers are independent contractors. It’s cheaper and easier. There are fewer obligations, next to no basic standards to meet – and there’s been little oversight by government to ensure correct classification.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on July 17, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 10-16

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #36 — Sharon J. Riley: Sharon J. Riley got her start in journalism as an intern at Harper’s magazine. Researching and fact checking for the publication gave her a foundation in journalism from which to start writing her own feature stories…

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on July 15, 2018 at 9:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #36 — Sharon J. Riley

In this regular feature, Story Board asks Canadian writers to share a few details about their work habits and their strategies for navigating the ups and downs of freelance life.


Sharon J. Riley got her start in journalism as an intern at Harper’s magazine. Researching and fact checking for the publication gave her a foundation in journalism from which to start writing her own feature stories.

Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Walrus, Maisonneuve, The Tyee, and Harper’s itself, among others.

Her recent Walrus feature Rise of the Robots included interviews with two dozen truck drivers from across North America about the development of autonomous trucking technology and what it might mean for their jobs.

Sharon took the time to speak with Story Board recently about the pains of pitching, the importance of finding a freelance community, and the self-imposed challenges that come from being a freelancer without home wifi.

A lot of your projects are big and ambitious. How do you keep yourself motivated when you’re trying to get a new feature underway?
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on July 12, 2018 at 10:40 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer July 4-9

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • Factual TV workers summer social in Toronto July 19: If you work in factual TV in the Toronto area you’re invited to a social night hosted by the Canadian Media Guild. Come and catch up with colleagues and friends, meet some new ones, and find out what’s happening in the industry…
  • The Born Freelancer Attends a CBC Info Session Hosted by Field and Post: Two hundred or so independent writers and producers are attending an information session with an impressive panel of seven CBC executives flown in from Toronto. We are there to learn directly what CBC’s top executives are thinking when it comes to developing and pitching new content for its numerous video platforms…

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on July 9, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Factual TV workers summer social in Toronto July 19

If you work in factual TV in the Toronto area you’re invited to a social night hosted by the Canadian Media Guild.

This event is scheduled for Thursday, July 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Bier Markt King West (600 King St W). The social night is open to all and free to attend but please RSVP on this Eventbrite page. Drinks and snacks will be served.

Come and catch up with colleagues and friends, meet some new ones, and find out what’s happening in the industry. The CMG will also have free copies of our Guide to Working in Canadian Factual TV available.

Posted on July 6, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

The Born Freelancer attends a CBC info session hosted by Field and Post

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

bornfreel2

The scene: A downtown Vancouver conference centre during a rainy Friday afternoon early last month. Two hundred or so independent writers and producers are attending an information session with an impressive panel of seven CBC executives flown in from Toronto, hosted by Vancouver’s Field and Post with the participation of The Development Collective.

We are there to learn directly what CBC’s top executives are thinking when it comes to developing and pitching new content for its numerous video platforms.

While not focused on freelancing opportunities per se (being more about looking at creating opportunities for content creators and producers to partner with CBC in developing new programming) there is still much for this freelance writer to hear about and to take in.

While waiting to fill up, the room buzzes with friendly industry chatter. There is a real sense of community. And according to Field and Post’s Robert Hardy, that’s exactly Field and Post’s purpose.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on July 4, 2018 at 4:32 pm by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: , , , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 26-July 3

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on July 3, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

CMG Freelance members gain access to National NewsMedia Council support

As part of a new agreement between the two organizations, CMG Freelance members are now able to access the National NewsMedia Council’s pre-publication support and ethics advice.

The council is offering consulting and support via phone or email to freelance journalists who need ethical advice on sensitive stories.

The council was established in 2015 as a voluntary, self-regulatory ethics body for English-language news media in Canada. It was established to promote ethical practices within the media and handle complaints against its member publications.

With the ongoing layoffs and downsizing of media outlets, the council saw a need to reach out to the growing number of independent journalists in the industry.

“This is new territory. A lot of organizations are in an institutional mindset where you have a newsroom and staff all in one place. But the future is going to look a bit different,” said Brent Jolly, the council’s community manager and director of communications. “We see where the labour market is going and we think it would be valuable for individual members to have this kind of support.”

John Fraser, executive chair of the council, said he saw a need to promote ethics as journalism moves out of the traditional newsroom setting.

“A lot of people are willing to call themselves journalists but are not willing to adhere to journalistic standards,” he said.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on June 28, 2018 at 9:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

Take the Writers’ Union of Canada’s 2018 income survey

Canada’s national organization of professionally published book authors is conducting a survey of authors’ incomes. It’s designed to try and help the union understand how current industry conditions are impacting writers’ incomes.

Responses to the survey are anonymous. There are questions about employment status and earnings during the 2017 calendar year.

If you’ve had a fiction or non-fiction book published, you can take the Writers’ Union of Canada’s 2018 income survey right here.

 

Posted on June 26, 2018 at 10:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

Off the Wire: News for the Canadian media freelancer June 19-25

Once a week, we gather stories about the media business, journalism, writing, communications, and freelancing—with a Canadian focus—and share them in Off the Wire. Who needs a water cooler?

MediaFreeLogo.2 SB

From Canada:

From The U.S. and beyond:

Recently on Story Board:

  • I sat through a defamation trial. Here’s what I learned: Like many journalists, I live in fear of being sued. I pray that being accurate and fair and unmalicious will be enough. Just in case it isn’t, I make sure never to indemnify any publication I write for. Still, what I learned from observing a defamation trial in Toronto this spring shook me up a little. Here’s what you should know…

Spot a story you think we should include in next week’s Off the Wire? Email the link to editor@thestoryboard.ca or tweet us at @storyboard_ca.

Posted on June 25, 2018 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,