When the Newspaper Guild signed its first contract in Canada, on Apr. 12, 1949, the Toronto Star became the first Toronto daily to pay its editorial workers time-and-a-half for overtime.

By Eric Mark Do, Reporter

The Newspaper Guild signed its first contract in Canada, with the Toronto Star, on April 12, 1949. The precedent-setting contract gave reporters and photographers with five years of experience $80 a week, while other staff members received $45. The union, then known as (The Toronto) Newspaper Guild Local 87, scored another important provision in the contract. As the Star put it at the time, it was the “first newspaper in Canada to establish the five-day, 40-hour week for editorial employees…it now becomes the first and only Toronto daily newspaper to pay its editorial workers time-and-a-half in cash for overtime.” The guild went on to represent employees at other Ontario newspapers. In 1978, The Toronto Newspaper Guild became the Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild (SONG), as it is still known today. 


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.