Happy birthday to Story Board

Eight years ago today, CMG Freelance and the Canadian Writers Group launched a blog with the intention of sharing information and building a sense of community among Canadian freelancers.

Since then, we’ve published nearly 1300 posts that serve as a resource for independent creators across Canada.

Story Board’s first post was a list of tips for negotiating with a client, which included advice on contracts and copyright. Eight years later, we’re still covering these kinds of topics with in-depth posts, public campaigns and informational webinars.

We have also commissioned a wide range of freelancers to write and comment on all aspects of freelance life and continue to encourage idea submissions.

Freelance branch anniversary

This year is also an important one for our freelance union itself: it’s the twentieth anniversary of the creation of the freelance branch of the Canadian Media Guild.

Errol Salamon, a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota, says the freelance branch was created during the first few months of 1998. Salamon, who is currently researching a book about media labour, says that according to the first freelance branch newsletter in May 1998, the branch was launched to provide freelancers who contribute their works and talents to CBC/Radio Canada with contractual protection and access to insurance and retirement benefits. A CMG bylaw amendment formalized the Freelance Branch in March 1999.

This inclusion of self-employed workers into a labour agreement is an anomaly in Canadian labour law, and is an exceptional case for a labour union. Since its creation, branch executives and CMG staff have consistently worked to improve conditions — including rates and intellectual property ownership — for freelancers at CBC/Radio Canada.

Although the branch only represented CBC freelancers for the first decade and a half of its existence, CMG Freelance has since expanded to offer independent membership to freelancers who work in all types of media, creative, knowledge, IT and communications fields. You can find out more about membership in the union right here.

We’re taking a moment today to celebrate how far we’ve come… and we hope you’ll join us as we build momentum and continue to advocate for the rights of independent workers in Canada. We’re stronger together.

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