The Canadian Freelance Union (CFU) is encouraged to see many options that would improve working conditions for freelance workers and independent contractors included in the interim report of the Changing Workplaces Review.
"The report widely acknowledges that today's Employment Standards Acts and Labour Relations Act leave many workers behind, including freelancers and independent contractors,” said Canadian Freelance Union Vice-President, Ethan Clarke. "We hope that the Government of Ontario will seize the opportunity to make real improvements for a growing portion of workers who rely on contract work as their livelihood."
The Canadian Freelance Union is a community chapter of Unifor, representing freelance workers in the media sector nationwide. As part of the consultation process, Unifor made a comprehensive submission outlining measures that would address specific work-related problems faced by freelancers and independent contractors, including:
- sector-wide minimum standards
- changes to the misclassification of employees as independent contractors
- the ability for freelance workers and independent contractors to organize and have a collective voice.
Proposals made by Unifor to allow freelancers and independent contractors to organize and negotiate minimum standards with contractors and employers have been included in the interim report as options.
“As freelancers and independent contractors our members routinely encounter many of the issues that the Ontario Changing Workplaces Review was created to address, including precarious work, outdated employment standards, lack of access to benefits and barriers to joining a union and achieving collective bargaining rights,” said Clarke.
“As a national organization, we are pressing for these changes in jurisdictions across the country. Time and again studies from around the world have shown that the entire province benefits greatly by making sure its most precarious workers are not left behind.
"The Canadian Freelance Union will continue to work to represent members in the process to modernize Ontario's labour law, and to make sure that precarious workers aren't left behind.”
In advance of their final report, the Special Advisers to the Ontario government have called for further consultations. CFU looks forward to further participation to ensure that the voices of freelances and independent contractors are heard and included.
The Canadian Freelance Union (CFU) is a community chapter of Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union. Membership in the CFU is open to freelance workers in the media sector. We represent some of the best freelance communicators in the country as well as those just getting started in their careers.
For more information please visit www.canadianfreelanceunion.ca.
For more information contact:
Nora Loreto, Canadian Freelance Union at 581-983- 4397
Full-time jobs are disappearing. Freelance work and wages are diminishing. Perhaps it’s time for media workers to put forward solutions to a sector in crisis.Read more
In this fast-paced podcast, Nora Loreto (author, union activist, and CFU director) talks about what place organized labour might have in today's media. Do media unions protect journalists at the expense of journalism? Do they make it impossible for struggling news orgs to survive? Do they protect older workers at the expense of the younger generation? Canadaland, Episode #117, Jan. 17, 2016
(Leslie) Dyson also envisions the “community chapter” model “being really effective for other people who don’t have any protection, maybe even Uber drivers,” since it combines the organizational strength of a big union like UNIFOR with the familiarity of chapter officials with specific conditions in their own industry. Reprinted with permission, CCPA Monitor, Jan/Feb 2016
Bylaw motions for consideration at next general meeting in 2016
The union representing journalists and photographers at the Chronicle Herald (the Halifax Typographical Union) and Herald management have reached an impasse in labour negotiations. Herald management recently filed a notice that gives them the option to lock out its unionized newsroom staff and it has recently come to light that the Herald is soliciting freelancers and journalism students to act as replacement labour. The HTU has asked freelancers not to accept work from the Herald during a lockout.
The Canadian Freelance Union supports the media workers of the Halifax Typographical Union who are locked in a labour dispute.
The CFU is asking all freelancers and its own members not to accept assignments from the Chronicle Herald in Halifax or submit any content to the newspaper until the workers are back at work with a contract that both sides support.Read more
Nora Loreto, Secretary and Québec Director of the CFU was interviewed by Amanda Lang in August, 2015. She talked about the CFU organizing drive and why freelance workers need to organize.
The Sidney Hillman Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Canadian Hillman Prize honouring excellence in journalism in the public interest. The Hillman Prize seeks out top investigative reporting that draws attention to social or economic injustice and hopefully leads to corrective measures. We strive to recognize discernment of a significant news story, resourcefulness and courage in reporting, skill in relating the story and the impact of the coverage.Read more