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From TWUC: Federal Budget Represents a Net Loss for Cultural Workers

18 Apr 2024 3:46 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

April 18, 2024
For immediate release

Federal Budget Represents a Net Loss for Cultural Workers

With the release of Budget 2024, the federal government has again failed to deliver on specific and longstanding promises to repair the market for books and writing in Canada.  
“We are dismayed at having our concerns ignored,” said Danny Ramadan, Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC). “There is a well-understood and ongoing market failure for books and writing in Canada. Our industry has lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of faulty legislation and cultural supports that don’t keep up with the cost of living. This government knows all that, has promised to fix it, and still does nothing with this budget.” 
A long-promised 50% increase to the Public Lending Right did not make it into the billions in new spending in Budget 2024. A small increase to the Canada Book Fund, and new initiatives like the Local Journalism Initiative are welcome, but don’t come anywhere near to reimbursing over $200 million ripped away from the writing and publishing industry by unregulated educational copying. 
Ramadan added, “While we’re praised in the budget for giving ‘the world some of the best books, written by some of the best authors,’ Canada’s cultural workers are somehow expected to do these things in a non-functioning educational market, which has critically reduced income and opportunities for Canada’s authors.” 
At upcoming international meetings with the world’s author organizations, TWUC will once again have to report the Canadian market cannot reliably protect or reward the work of our global colleagues. We remain the outlier with fatally weak copyright law among the world’s developed economies.  
“As it stands, my cultural work for Canada has a greater chance of success outside our borders, in markets where copyright is better protected and supported,” concluded Ramadan. “What kind of message is that to Canadians?” 
A mandated five-year review of the Copyright Act is scheduled for the coming year. Canada will enter that review having failed to deliver on recommended changes from the previous review report in 2019. Canada’s authors, and all cultural workers, deserve much better. 
The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is the national organization of professionally published writers. TWUC was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers. Now over 2,800 members strong, TWUC advocates on behalf of writers’ collective interests, and delivers value to members through advocacy, community, and information. TWUC believes in a thriving, diverse Canadian culture that values and supports writers.

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For additional information:
John Degen, Chief Executive Officer 
The Writers’ Union of Canada 

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