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OPSEU rakes in national communications awards

OPSEU’s star shone brightly at the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM) awards ceremony, taking first place in nine categories – far more than any other union in Canada. The ceremony is the highlight of CALM’s annual conference, which took place in Quebec City from May 19 to 21.

Four OPSEU locals were honoured in six “volunteer” categories:

  • Local 110 (faculty at Fanshawe College, London): best website design
  • Local 415 (faculty at Algonquin College, Ottawa): Rosemarie Bahr Award for excellence in layout and design
  • Local 415: best use of social media
  • Local 558: (faculty at Centennial College, Toronto): the Freeperson Award for best cartoon, illustration or infographic
  • Local 558: the Morden Lazarus Prize for best editorial, column or opinion piece that thoughtfully argues labour’s position on an issue (which may be viewed on Local 558's website)
  • Local 558: best website content


Local 558's winning entry for the Freeperson Award for best cartoon, illustration or infographic

Design judge and former CALM president Chris Lawson said Local 415’s site Local Lines “reminds us of the power of local newsletters and the role they play in building community and uniting working people. Using a strong grid, consistent typography and a combination of photography and illustration, this newsletter communicates clearly and effectively.”

Of Local 558’s site, Lawson said: “[The] news content is well crafted, locally relevant but with a passion for broader issues. And the site’s editors give it an accessible, attractive treatment. Well done. Well, it’s never done, is it? But you make it look easier than it is.”

Speaking of Local 110’s site design, he noted: “They’ve built a site that manages to balance the needs of uninvolved members with those who use their collective agreement as a pillow at night. The use of colour, the generous white space, the relative sparseness of its visual elements do well to hide the fact that there’s a lot going on here, allowing the visitor to attend to their tasks without getting distracted or succumbing to some sort of neurological incident.”

In reference to Local 558’s Freeperson Award, English writing judge Daniel Tseghay, a labour reporter with RankandFile.ca, observed: “The process of privatization of our public institutions is one that evolves in phases. These subtle changes that erode both the conditions and security of working people as well as public trust more broadly reveal themselves in ways that can feel palatable to the public. This infographic works to make this process transparent and highlight both the intentionality and impact of privatization.”

OPSEU was also recognized in three “staff” categories:

  • best poster (a people’s choice selection)
  • best web design
  • best web content

Chris Lawson said OPSEU’s website lets readers “find the information they need, all the while keeping the caps lock key off, ensuring good spelling and writing clearly for public consumption.”


OPSEU's staff's winning entry for the CALM award for best poster

Speaking of its design, Lawson said the site “lets you get down to business. Its information architecture and structure help you get on with the work you need to do, whether it’s check for news, get to your collective agreement or contact your rep.”

The CALM conference helps spread the word

Over 100 delegates representing labour organizations from across Canada took part in the three‑day conference designed to explore best practices in labour media. It featured the association’s annual general meeting, 17 brilliant workshops, motivational guest speakers and three caucuses for large, small and francophone unions.

The annual bilingual event is a chance for members of Canada’s unions to meet, share ideas and experiences, and strategize. Participants drew particular inspiration from the victories address, an annual panel that celebrates labour successes. This year, three speakers discussed remarkable achievements at Casino Rama and Canada Post, and progress in the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign.

This year’s CALM conference helped put the lie to the corporate right’s narrative that labour is splintered, irrelevant and ineffectual. On the contrary, the gathering demonstrated that Canada’s working left has never been more united, robust or necessary.

OPSEU proudly salutes this year’s winners, and all unions and locals that submitted entries. Let’s help ensure that CALM 2017 receives more delegates and more award nominations than ever before.