Canadian Authors Association provides writers with a wide variety of programs, services and resources to help them develop their skills in both the craft and the business of writing, enhance their ability to earn a living as a writer, and have access to a Canada-wide network of writers and publishing industry professionals.

We are a membership-based organization for writers in all areas of the profession—aspiring, emerging and professional—in every genre and across all writing-related professions.

As a not-for-profit national arts service organization, much of what we do benefits all writers, whether they are members or are affiliated with us as partners or through other writing groups.

What We Do

  • Advocate for the protection of rights and equitable treatment for writers
  • Help members promote their work through a members’ book catalogue, online directory, advertising opportunities, book fairs, readings and touring support
  • Provide writers with up-to-date information on awards, contests, opportunities, calls for submissions and writing conferences and retreats via monthly national bulletins, branch newsletters, and the website
  • Provide learning opportunities for writers at every stage through webinars, podcasts, and CanWrite!—our national conference
  • Showcase Canada’s incredible literary talent through our literary awards, ezine, website, social media, conference—and whatever other media we have at hand

Our Mission

Canadian Authors Association (CAA) is a national organization with a local presence dedicated to promoting a flourishing community of writers across Canada and to encouraging works of literary and artistic merit. We do this by

  • providing opportunities for professional development
  • promoting the fair and equitable treatment of writers
  • increasing public awareness of Canada’s writing and publishing environment

100 Years of Accomplishments

Founded in 1921 by Stephen Leacock, Pelham Edgar, B.K. Sandwell, John Murray Gibbon (who became its first president), and other prominent writers of the time, to lobby for the protection of authors’ rights, the Canadian Authors Association has continued to pursue this objective to this day. Instrumental in the 1924 copyright legislation, the Association began pressing for a new Copyright Act in the 1980s.

We also continue to participate in the national organizations we helped create to ensure that Canadian writers retain rights to their intellectual property and are paid for the use of their works. These organizations include Access Copyright, the Book and Periodical Council, the Canadian Copyright Institute, and the Public Lending Right Commission. We are also members of the International Authors Forum.

Some 25,000 writers have been active members including, in the early days, Stephen Leacock, Nellie McClung, Bliss Carman, Robert W. Service, Ralph Connor, E.J. Pratt, Mazo de la Roche and Sir Charles G. D. Roberts.

Timeline: Milestones and Achievements

1932
Helped create The Canadian Writers’ Foundation to provide financial assistance to indigent authors and their families. This charitable foundation continues to help eminent Canadian writers who have fallen on hard times.

1936
Founded the Governor General’s Literary Awards. (In 1959 the Awards were turned over to Canada Council and continues to provide recognition to outstanding Canadian authors.)

1940
Published Canadian Author & Bookman, originally founded in 1919 as The Canadian Bookman (Canadian Poetry was incorporated in 1968, and the publication became simply Canadian Author with the Fall 1992 issue. Publication was suspended in 1998.)

1946
Originated the first standard book contract to protect authors’ rights in negotiations with publishers. Also began a campaign to bring a Public Lending Right program to Canadian authors. Other Canadian writing groups joined the campaign, and the PLR program was finally created in 1986.

1957
Successfully lobbied to have Canada join the Universal Copyright Convention. This convention continues to protect writers whose countries are signatories.

1962
Published the first edition of The Canadian Writer’s Guide (The final 13th edition was published in 2002).

1963
Established the Vicky Metcalf Awards for children’s literature (suspended in 2002; currently administered by the Writers’ Trust of Canada).

1964
In keeping with the motto ‘Writers helping writers’, reaffirmed Canadian Authors’ policy of welcoming non-published writers as members.

1968
Established the Allan Sangster Award for meritorious service to the Canadian Authors Association (only members are eligible).

1975
Established the CAA Literary Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Drama (currently suspended while we seek sponsors).

1981
Celebrated Canadian Authors Association’s 60th anniversary with Syllables of Recorded Time: The Story of the Canadian Authors Association 1921–1981) by Lyn Harrington, published 1981.

1997
Established the Lela Common Award for Canadian History and the Jubilee Award for Short Stories (both are currently suspended). Received tax exempt status as a registered national arts service organization (NASO).