CALM Awards

2014 Awards Winners

Check out the winning entries for best labour communications in 2013.

See photos of all the winners receiving their prizes, and others from the Awards Gala Night [credit for photographs should be given to Stacy Lee].

This year’s judges:

Print Judge

Valerie Zink is an editor, writer and lifelong organizer for social justice campaigns including decolonization, immigrant and refugee rights, and Palestine solidarity. She has been active in independent media for many years, and edited Briarpatch Magazine from 2010-2014. She currently works as freelance editor, facilitator, and graphic designer based in Regina.

Audio Visual Judge

Jonathan Culp a Canadian underground filmmaker, whose work includes found-footage collage, Super 8 and activist documentary as well as narrative projects. Working independently out of Toronto, Culp has produced or co-produced over forty short films and videos since 1995. Long active in the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT), in 1997 Culp helped found the Toronto Video Activist Collective (TVAC) Along with Siue Moffat, he also initiated the Satan Macnuggit Video Road Show, which has screened eclectic programs of underground video in alternative venues across Canada.

Online Judge

Brian Sharpe has been assisting the non-profit sector with their web presence for more than 15 years. He is a member of Anarres Worker’s Co-operative and other tech collectives such as He is the primary tech co-ordinator for, where he stays current on emerging online media trends and has the opportunity to work with online content from many of CALM’s membership.

Graphics Judge

Natalia Saavedra is a designer who has made a name for herself in the Toronto Arts community through her work in design education for social change. She works with anti-oppressive and anti-authoritarian community-based organizations in Toronto, in the hopes of creating a sustainable and long-lasting relationship between her politics and her passion as a graphic designer. She is the funder and creative director of the Radical Design School, a grassroots community response to graphic media needs in the city of Toronto and beyond.


1. Ed Finn

Winner (Staff):

BCTF, Central American teachers tackle “machismo”, by Nancy Knickerbocker

Read the article.

Nancy Knickerbocker’s “Central American teachers tackle ‘machismo’” reflects a commitment to the radical potential of teachers in society and of unions in social justice struggles that extend beyond their membership. Her story brings attention to a meaningful example of international solidarity based on assisting – but also learning from – international partners, and is articulated in clear, crisp language that effectively informs and engages readers.

Winner (Volunteer):

OPSEU, Finnish lessons, Mike Boisvert

Read the article. (pg 6-7)

Mike Boisvert’s “Finnish lessons” makes excellent use of the book review form to open a conversation about Canada’s education system and the lessons to be drawn from alternative pedagogies abroad. It is persuasively argued and successfully piques the reader’s interest in the book that is the subject of Boisvert’s review, and more importantly, the larger questions he raises.


Winner (Staff)

UFCW Canada local 1000a

Check out the photo.

This strong photograph shows us a portrait of the face of labour. The image give us context from the factory in the background to the strong and diverse faces of worker solidarity.

Honourable mention (Staff):

“Idle no more” by Public Service Alliance of Canada

Volunteer Produced winner:

OPSEU Local 415

Check-out the photo.

“A teaching classroom was condemned by Health and Safety. – the employers response was to designate part of the parking lot as a “classroom” for the carpentry students.” Well-angled and a good use of space, this images captures the realities and measures students and staff must take within our education systems.

3. Freeperson Award

Staff Produced winner:

Alberta Federation of Labour

A good and effective combination of illustrations and typography. The message is strong, simple and easy to read.

Check it out.

Volunteer Produced winner:

Sarah Mangle

Check them out.

A beautiful set of illustrations, showing us the value and importance of postal workers. The postcard format is a clever and well thought out way to outreach to people while showing a great appreciation to those who deliver them.

4. Morden Lazarus



“By not inflation proofing, health care gets sick,” by Elisabeth Ballermann

Elisabeth Ballermann’s punchy opinion piece on Alberta’s health-care budget uses evidence-based analysis and argument to cogently critique the underfunding of the province’s health care system. Her conversational tone and careful delivery of facts effectively present the case for a more sustainable funding model for health care services.

Read the article.

5. Cliff Scotton


UFCW Canada

Song compilation: 100 years of solidarity

UFCW’s 100 Years of Solidarity draws on the rich tradition of music as a battle cry for the working class. This compilation of songs honours this legacy and gives it contemporary form, speaking to important and timely issues of migration, displacement, imperialism, and austerity. That 100 Years of Solidarity is available for all to download for free gives it the potential to be an important tool for reaching out to un-organized workers, especially youth; to strengthen working-class identity; and to inspire a much-needed militance in today’s labour movement.

Listen to the compilation.

6. Fighting Oppression


BCTF, Project of heart

BCTF’s Project of Heart speaks to the singular importance of reckoning with the legacy of Canada’s residential school system and its role in the ongoing colonial project. It is a bold and necessary intervention to rectify the historic omission of the residential school system from Canadian curricula, and the misrepresentation and exclusion of Indigenous peoples more broadly. This project is rooted in an expansive understanding of the role of unions in social justice and an authentic, long-term commitment to grassroots decolonization.

Visit the project’s website.

7. Best Campaign


United Nurses of Alberta, ‘Wear White Wednesday’

The United Nurses of Alberta’s “Wear White Wednesday” campaign uses clear, compelling messaging to educate the public about the consequences of eliminating nursing positions – both for health care professionals and patients. By calling on nurses to visibly support the campaign by wearing white, combined with a multi-media communications strategy inviting patients to talk to nurses about the campaign, the UNA opened opportunities for face-to-face conversations and meaningful outreach to those whose support is crucial to successfully combatting planned staffing changes by Alberta Health Services.

8. Katie FitzRandolph

Winner (Staff):

HEU, The Guardian

HEU’s Guardian stands out first and foremost for the caliber of writing in its pages and a clean, cohesive design. Well organized and well edited, it brings together a wide variety of content ranging from practical tips of immediate relevance to members to longer journalistic articles. The Guardian manages to be both self-reflective and outward looking, and the topics covered demonstrate an attention to community engagement and a commitment to advancing the interests of workers as a whole, locally and internationally.

Check out their issues.

Winner (Volunteer):

CUPW, Pacific Perspectives

CUPW’s Pacific Perspectives combines a distinctive editorial character and quality content with sharp and varied design. More than just a newsletter, it brings together information, reportbacks, and analysis with broader strategic insights to arm members as they take on the significant challenges currently faced by postal workers. The publications’ fighting spirit, balanced with an upbeat, friendly tone, make it an inviting and refreshing read.

Check out their issues.

9. Excellence in Print Layout

Staff Produced winner:

Professional Employees Association

Simple, consistent and well designed. A good combination of images, infographics, copy and design elements. an excellent use of colours and photography that reflect enhance the PEA brand.

Check it out.

Volunteer Produced winner:

CUPW Pacific Region

Playful and creative use of typography, photography and illustrations. The inside content is clear, colourful and bold.

Check out their issues.

11. Best short video, made for TV broadcast or online distribution


Veterans Campaign – PSACIn labour media, short videos are most frequently outreach tools to raise awareness on current campaigns, but the ones that do best at this combine clear narrative structures with all the available storytelling tools of video as a medium. The winner in this category shows strong production values, but its virtues are in its clear presentation of parallel story lines orally, accompanied by well-integrated musical scoring and an effective use of subject cutaways, a simple stylistic device that keeps our attention and sympathies with the real-life ‘characters’. They use these devices to make a strong and focused case against the closure of Veterans Affairs offices across Canada. Congratulations to director Nelson Tam of Toronto’s Pomo Boho Media and to the Public Service Alliance of Canada for their ‘Veterans Campaign’ video.

Watch the video.

12. Best narrative video, or video series documentaryWinner

Prairies Video Project – PSACNarrative and series video both give the filmmaker more leeway to add complexity and detail to the storyline, and this is where clear structures are crucial – because videos of people talking can get overwhelming. The winning series in this category- which was ongoing at the time of submission – has been doing several things well. It features compelling interview subjects and lets them speak for themselves, but the filmmakers are very much in command of the narrative, and find creative but focused ways to shape the storylines. From overviews to personal storytelling to rhetorical intercutting, the series takes a diverse format, but the style and form feel focused and coherent from episode to episode. The simple stylistic signature of fading in the subjects in power poses is fun and effective. And so the Public Service Alliance of Canada takes it again, this time in consort with Shaun Roemich and PSAC Prairies Region, for their “Prairies Video Project.”

Watch the video project.

14. Best Hard Copy for Promotional Materials

Staff Produced winner:

Sarah Mangle

This winner shows us the importance of creative ways for images to travel. The well-thought output for the images (postcard form) is a clever way to promote and outreach to the masses about the importance of postal workers. These images will not remain static but will be circulated and seen by many people in transit.

15. Stroke of Genius


AFL, Money talks, thanks for listening

Money talks, thanks for listening is slick, smart, and original. Drawing on the language of the 1% that was given popular purchase by the Occupy movement, it makes effective use of satire to expose Conservative policies and incite resistance.

Check out their parody press release.


Staff Produced winner:

Hospital Employees Union

**trigger warning***

 The message for this poster is very direct and bold. It uses a good combination of design elements such as photography, clear typography, limited colours and clear grid structure. The poster overall show us the harsh realities and violence women face everyday.

See the poster.

17. Best website content

Staff Produced


Check-out their site

UFCW takes the prize for its great use of different media. While there was quality content throughout all the entrants, it’s clear that UFCW has intentionally worked to create content that is easily digestible and share-able in the “Buzzfeed” world of today. Popular infographics, colourful posters, photos and videos are dispersed throughout the site and compiled in the Media & News area. It’s By the Numbers section gets to the point, and stands out as the type of content that people like to share. Also impressive is its breadth of content on many different political and social justice issues such as migrant rights, world pride & first nations issues. Good work!



Check-out their site

All the entrants did a good job of covering the basics of a union local website. In the end we looked for a piece of content that stood out. The award here goes to OPSEU 558 for its plain language FAQ. This section of the site has an extensive list of relevant questions a member might be interested in. They all give straightforward answers while referencing the section of the collective agreement if appropriate.

18. Best Website

Staff Produced


Check-out their site

While many great sites were submitted, PSAC edged out the competition with consistent high marks across most judging criteria. Simplicity and clarity were the defining attributes for this site. It felt very easy and quick to find relevant information. Page loads were fast on both mobile and desktop views. Content seemed geared towards the user experience, staying brief and focused while maintaining quality of information. There was a good balance between clear paths to member services and the highlighting of interesting activities of the union such as the We Are All Affected campaign pages. Overall, a solid technical foundation and refreshing to use.


UNIFOR Local 222

Check-out their site

This Unifor local had a clear site design making it easy to access and discover content. It was apparent that they went above and beyond the stock design of the CMS software, and added many additional elements without making the site look “junky”. They did a good job pulling in content from other services like twitter and RSS feeds. In the end, this local takes the prize for doing the best job of making a traditionally content-heavy type of website appear lively and easy to read.

19. Best Use of social Media

Staff Produced


CUPE takes the prize here for being the most well-rounded. Their Facebook and Twitter pages are both very popular, and contain a great mix of content that is both “fun & shareable” and relevant to the organization. CUPE comes across in this medium as active, current, interactive, and of a quality caliber. Use of twitter during its fall convention actively engaged participants and the public. It continues to engage the wider community while remaining relevant to its members. Overall, CUPE stands out as having best integrated its social media into its organization’s work.

Check out their twitter account.


Unifor 4451While not having the largest number of “followers, likes, or members”, Unifor 4451 gets this award for best use of its Facebook page. The content posted to this page is all relevant to the local. Notices for local events are posted, news is shared that seems directly relevant to members, and there is almost always a well written comment to personalize the content that is shared. This page makes a user feel like it reflects the good work being done on the ground.

Check out their facebook page.