CWA Canada cancels annual meeting, closes head office as virus spreads


CWA Canada has cancelled its annual national meeting in response to the global coronavirus pandemic and closed its head office in Ottawa for at least two weeks.

Martin O’Hanlon, president of the media union that has Locals at news outlets across the country, including the CBC and Postmedia newspapers, said the “pace of developments involving COVID-19 has been staggering.”

“Given the volatility and seriousness of the outbreak, and based on the advice of experts, it’s clear that we have no choice but to cancel the National Representative Council (NRC) meeting” set for April 24-25 in Toronto.

O’Hanlon said the union would instead hold a one-hour teleconference with Local leaders to deal with “only the absolutely necessary” business: approve the budget, elect a new executive, make constitutional amendments and set the location for next year’s NRC.

Staff who normally work in the Ottawa office or in that of the Canadian Media Guild in Toronto, which has also been closed, will work from home until further notice.

In terms of dealing with the pandemic, CWA Canada will be making a donation and supporting an initiative by the Canadian Labour Congress to take the lead on helping food banks nationally.

O’Hanlon had earlier announced that the Arnold Amber Memorial Lecture featuring Jane McAlevey, planned for Ryerson University on March 19, will be postponed until the autumn.

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