Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is eligible to be a member?

Anyone who does freelance work -- either full time, or part time -- is eligible to be a member of the Canadian Freelance Union. The Union focus is on freelancers in communications: videographers, photographers, writers, journalists, translators, interpreters, web developers, etc.

Will you require me to change my rates?

As freelancers, we believe that you know your business needs best. While we enthusiastically support raising the minimum wage, and the living standards for all freelancers, we do not require you to change your pricing model as a member.

What does the health care cover?

Our provider offers multiple coverage tiers depending on your needs and your budget. All tiers cover emergency health and travel, including vision. The higher tiers may not cover pre-existing conditions, however if you’re transferring from a group health plan, or wish for a lower tier of coverage, your coverage is guaranteed.

I found a blogger using my photos without my credit and want to do something about that.

First, you need to decide what you want: payment, credit, removal, or penalties for the person stealing your images.

Take screenshots and save PDFs of the website where your images are being used. Save them along with the date for future reference.

Canadian law is very clear that you own the copyright to your images, BUT it does depend where you have shared them (i.e., some image hosts require you to blanket release your copyright to them to post your images there.)

So next steps will be determined by:

  1. what you want
  2. what evidence/sharing protocol you have through external services or listed on your own website.

Some resources:

If the blogger is in the U.S., you could explore the DMCA:

Ways this might work in Canada:

What does the CFU offer to members?

  • Social and professional connections
  • Access to benefits (medical & dental benefits, home & commercial insurance)
  • Grievance support and contract advice
  • An online member directory
  • Avenues for finding work (including with other unions)
  • Educational opportunities
  • Access to the CFU press card and the IFJ press card (if eligible)
  • A political voice on freelancer issues

How will you spend my dues?

Most of the money from dues goes towards the salary of our coordinator, as well as website fees. We also maintain some membership affiliations with other labour groups in Canada, and have a small budget for regional events.

Our executive is a volunteer board.

Why should I join the Canadian Freelance Union?

  • People join CFU to:
    • Join a movement to protect the rights of freelancers
    • Help organize freelancers
    • Get work with unions
    • For health and dental benefits
    • To connect with other freelancers
  • Most of our members are young, but we represent all age groups, income levels, and education levels.
  • Our members work in many trades connected with communications (broadcasting, editing, graphic design, IT, illustration, journalism, photography, social media, translation, writing, web design and development, and video production).
  • Sign up is voluntary, so many of our members understand the importance of unions and want to build the union movement.

What does the CFU advocate for?

Our members and board have numerous causes dear to them about inequality and workers rights, however we’ve listed some of our interests and desires below.

Taxation inequities

    • Provide income averaging for freelance workers, such as those who work on a short-term contractual basis and self-employed individuals
    • Clarify and simplify the process of filing income taxes for those who work on a short-term contractual basis and self-employed individuals

Government policy changes

    • Bring back quality jobs to support young families and allow people to save for retirement
    • Introduce a national childcare policy to support young families
    • Update provincial employment standards acts to recognize workers doing precarious work
    • Remove barriers to union organizing and achieving collective bargaining rights
    • Set sector-wide minimum standards
    • Prevent the misclassification of employees as independent contractors

Employment insurance

    • Provide broader access to employment insurance benefits for workers
    • Reduce the waiting period that must be served before benefits may be paid
    • Reduce the hours of employment required to qualify for benefits
    • Raising the level of benefits
    • Extending the maximum benefit period
    • Improve the benefits for workers in cyclical or intermittent employment sectors

Pension security

    • Increase benefits paid out by the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan
    • Restore the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits to 65 years of age;
    • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement
    • Improve the availability of affordable retirement savings vehicles that provide minimum guaranteed benefits; and
    • Protect workplace pensions more effectively under federal bankruptcy legislation.


    • Supporting a universal pharmacare plan
    • Address the lack of benefits, including health, vision, dental and drug insurance, for workers who do not have access to such benefits

Human Rights

    • A need for a basic living wage across all of Canada, taking into account provincial and territorial variances in cost of living such as food and electricity
    • Protections for those working with disabilities, or children with disabilities, including fair wages, appropriate benefits, and adequate support systems
    • An intersectional understanding of inequality, and the systemic barriers towards equality for minority populations