Canadian freelancers can now receive funds to attend hazardous environment safety training courses in the U.S. or Britain.

Canadian freelancers can now receive funds to attend hazardous environment safety training courses in the U.S. or Britain.

The recently-debuted Forum Freelance Fund, operated by The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, provides bursaries of up to $2,500, with the aim of covering 70 per cent of course and travel costs. Bursary recipients may choose from courses offered by Andrew Kain Enterprises Limited, Centurion Risk Assessment Services Ltd. and Columbia Journalism School.

The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News, which at a three-year funding commitment is the premier sponsor, Radio-Canada, and Canada News Wire. It is also supported by individual donations. The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma is currently seeking other sponsors and financial supporters so it can extend the program.

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"Responsible employers already send their own staff on these courses when they are likely to be placed in harm's way," said Forum president Cliff Lonsdale in a press release, "but freelancers are mostly left to fend for themselves. With the news industry relying ever more heavily on freelancers in dangerous situations at home and abroad, there's a significant safety gap that needs to be addressed. The Forum Freelance Fund is a step in that direction."

Two training spots will be offered to start with. The first application deadline is October 17. To find out more visit The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma website.