Canadian writers working harder while earning less

Jun 01, 2015

I've held some really hard jobs in my lifetime. Being a writer certainly tops the list and pays the worst. According to a report recently released by the Writers’ Union of Canada, writers in Canada share in the reality of working harder while earning less year by year. The six-page report is called Devaluing Creators, Endangering Creativity and is a powerful, if discouraging read. Key findings include:

  • Writers in Canada are making 27% less than they were making in 1998
  • More than 80% earn an income from their writing that is below the poverty line
  • Women earn 55% of the income that male writers do

In the face of these grim stats, I can’t help but feel a swell of appreciation for my fellow writers, many of whom continue to produce stellar books with barely a nickel to show for it. But this downward trend can’t last. The report stresses that if writers continue to be compensated at such low rates, they will have no choice but to increasingly abandon the sector. It’s hard to imagine a Canada without Canadian literature and the homegrown content we need to understand who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re headed.

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