Call to photographers

August 24, 2016

Workers' rights and the struggle for social justice 

Attention all photographers!

The CLC invites photographers to participate in a historic exhibition on workers’ rights, social justice, and equity. 

The year 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada and coincides with the ongoing 60th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The CLC takes the lead in celebrating the achievements of the Canadian labour movement not only in terms of workers’ rights but also in the struggle for equality and social justice. Workers have historically taken the lead role in fighting for social justice issues, which have had an impact far beyond the workplace and into every part of the daily lives of Canadians. Therefore, the exhibition will be both a celebration of victories and an opportunity to take stock of the continuing struggles for social justice. Where have we succeeded as a social movement? 

The exhibition will be inaugurated at the CLC’s Constitutional Convention in May 2017 and then travel across the country in a pre-planned program that will include the 12 provincial and territorial federations of labour conventions. 


The concept of the exhibition will be a series of panels illustrated with photographs and brief texts (for background and context).  Everything will be bilingual, with each panel being dedicated to a specific social issue or a labour milestone in history, such as the eight-hour work-day, the right to strike, and continuing struggles such as racism, precarious work and First Nations social poverty.  It will be as inclusive as possible, both in terms of the photographers and the range of issues that will be presented. The goal is to take stock of the workers’ victories and continuing struggles in the context of social justice in Canada.

Submission requirements

Up to 20 images by each photographer may be submitted in the form of a photo essay or as individual pictures.

The deadline for the submission of pictures is September 15, 2016.

Submissions are to be in a TIF format or a high resolution JPEG format, 300 dpi. It must be accompanied by a brief text (one paragraph) that encapsulates the issues documented in the pictures. 

Submit your work to both: 

John Maclennan, Coordinator— 
Vince Pietropaolo, Curator—

You may also contact either John or Vince for further information.

Please note that this is not a competition with prizes awarded, but a curated exhibition about the social justice landscape in Canada. All photographers are welcome to participate. In particular, photographers who are socially engaged, including union photographers, photographers from diverse equity groups, Aboriginal photographers, and freelance workers will be encouraged to participate and submit work that corresponds to the exhibition’s mandate. 

Fees will be paid for the right to use the images in the exhibition. 
Photographers who are salaried as professional photographers or who use photography as part of their salaried employment are also welcome to participate, but they would not be paid any exhibition fees. They will however be properly credited for their work. These include photographers working within the labour movement, newspapers, news outlets in general, and other organizations.

After the inaugural exhibition at the CLC Constitutional Convention in May 2017, the exhibition will travel throughout the country to provincial and territorial labour conventions, to local union halls, community centres, libraries, theatres, and other public venues such as the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre.

Suggested issues that may be explored by photographers

40 Hour Work Week
Maternity Leave
Paid Parental Leave
Occupy Movement
Police Actions, Accountability, and Racism 
LGBT Rights
Women’s Rights
Violence against Women
December 6 Movement
Protest Marches
Labour Day Parades
International Women’s Day 
Days of Action Movement
Immigrant Workers
Precarious Work
First Nations (murdered and missing women, racism, housing, poverty)
Idle No More
Temporary Foreign Workers
Safety in the Workplace
Environmental Issues
Minimum Wage / Living Wage
National Child Care Program
The Right to Die With Dignity
Dying for a Living: The High Rate of Fatalities on the Job
Climate Change
Equity Issues
Internationalism Solidarity