A History of Advocacy

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, the International Authors Forum, and the Public Lending Right Commission.

Advocacy Committee

The Advocacy Committee helps ensure that the association and its members are well informed of all the major issues and challenges faced by the writing and publishing sector. It also plays an active role in helping ensure that writers’ works are protected, their rights and needs are adequately represented, and their ability to enjoy satisfying and rewarding careers is enabled.

The committee’s responsibilities include:

  • Representing the Association as necessary at meetings of other bodies and participate in discussions of issues at the national, regional and local levels, including but not limited to Access Copyright, the Book & Periodical Council, the BPC’s Freedom of Expression Committee, the Canadian Copyright Institute, PEN Canada, the Public Lending Right Commission; advocacy subcommittees might include Contract Assistance & Mediation Committee; and the PEN Advocacy Committee.
  • Monitoring and ensuring appropriate response to circumstances, acts of discrimination, or other actions that may threaten or inhibit a writer’s, or a group of writers’, freedom of expression.
  • Reviewing advocacy and issue-related media releases and briefs to government prior to their release.
  • Providing expertise and attention to detail on behalf of the board of directors in relation to policies and high-level procedures pertaining to the rights of authors and protection of their works.

The current committee members are:

  • Jeananne Kirwin (Chair)
  • Matthew Bin
  • James Minns
  • Margaret Hume (ex officio)
  • Anita Purcell (ex officio)

If you’re interested in joining the Advocacy Committee and helping with its important work, contact us!