The Writers’ Union of Canada (2015)
|The Writers’ Union of Canada (2015)|
|Title:||Devaluing Creators, Endangering Creativity. Doing More and Making Less: Writers’ Incomes Today|
|Author(s):||The Writers’ Union of Canada|
|Citation:||The Writers’ Union of Canada (2015) Devaluing Creators, Endangering Creativity. Doing More and Making Less: Writers’ Incomes Today. Available: https://www.writersunion.ca/sites/all/files/DevaluingCreatorsEndangeringCreativity_0.pdf#overlay-context=news/canadian-writers-working-harder-while-earning-less (last accessed: 29 May 2019)|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Burgess and De Rosa (2017)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data were obtained from a survey of 947 authors belonging to The Writers’ Union of Canada.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“Following up on the 1998 survey of writers’ incomes conducted by The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) and Quill and Quire, along with recent surveys of authors’ earnings in the UK and US, The Writers’ Union of Canada undertook an income survey of its members and other writers in the spring of 2015. The survey was circulated to Union members and other writers through their organizations and social media. The conclusions are discouraging: • Today’s writer does more to earn less. Taking inflation into account, writers are making 27% less than they were making in 1998 from their writing, while 45% of writers say they must do more to earn a living now.
• The work of writers fuels an almost 2 billion dollar industry, and yet more than 80% earn an income from their writing that is below the poverty line.
• Women, who represent the majority in the industry, earn 55% of the income male writers do.
These results represent a cultural emergency for Canadians. If we want a strong and diverse publishing and cultural industry, it is essential that creators are reasonably and fairly compensated.”
Main Results of the Study
Since 1998, authors’ wages have decreased by 27% to give an average income of $12,879 and median income of less than $5,000, resulting in 81% of respondents earning wages below the poverty line. Overall, women earn 55% of that earned by male counterparts, increasing to 49% for female authors who write as their primary occupation.
Royalties from publishers remain the main source of writing revenue for authors (46%), followed by corporate, financial and governmental writing (14%), and revenue from self-publications (8%). However, 45% of authors still report doing more to earn a living today than in 2011.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The report concludes that authors’ current wages are unsustainable, and may result in abandonment of the profession. As such, the report stresses the need to ensure fair compensation for author’s works, ensured through fair contractual agreements, and with adequately funded support from support facilities.