WGC Diversity & Inclusion
Our Diversity Committee
Created to develop and implement initiatives supporting diverse screenwriter members, the WGC Diversity Committee first convened in 2017.
The Diversity Committee’s objectives are to help promote the voices of Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, LGBTQ2S, and People Living with Disabilities within the Guild, to increase members’ understanding of the challenges faced by diverse screenwriters, and to address issues of diversity-based discrimination in conjunction with the Guild and Council.
Jiro C. Okada
Join the Guild: Diversity Incentive
The WGC offers an incentive to any Canadian resident writer with at least two writing contracts signed within the past two years with a Canadian producer and who self-identifies under any of the following categories: Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, LGBTQ2S and people living with disabilities. The Guild will waive the initiation fee of $350 for any writer meeting these requirements.
As part of this offer, the Guild is also waiving the initiation fee for any Canadian resident writer who self-identifies under one of the above diversity categories and who qualifies for membership with a contract signed within the previous two years under any WGC collective agreement.
Our definition of diversity corresponds with industry standards and makes it easier for you to identify and be found by producers looking for writers in our Member Directory. The WGC defines the following people as diverse: Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, LGBTQ2S, and people living with disabilities. When self-identifying as diverse in our Member Directory, after choosing one of the categories listed above, a WGC member can also use secondary descriptive terms or an "other" option to further personalize your profile.
How to Self-Identify as Diverse
WGC Internal Database
In order to participate in diversity initiatives members need to self-identify with the Guild as diverse. To do so, please contact WGC Manager of Diversity, Strategy & Research, Omolara Isiolaotan. The Guild will change your information in our internal database once you self-identify. This information is private and will not be shared by the Guild without your consent. We use the data in our internal database for statistical purposes and to ensure that diverse members are included in events.
You may also want to consider self-identifying in our Member Directory. It is a tool for members to market their skills to producers. Production companies register and are approved by WGC staff to access the directory. Our diversity definitions meet industry standards and make it easier for you to identify and be found by producers using the directory. (You must be logged into wgc.ca to access the Member Directory.)
**Self-identification in either/both databases is voluntary.
Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
The WGC has several diversity & inclusion initiatives including Script of the Month, mixers and volunteer opportunities.
Script of the Month
The ongoing Script of the Month program gives WGC members with diverse backgrounds the chance to have their scripts read by industry leaders with real decision-making power. Diverse WGC members can download the program guidelines to find out more about your eligibility. A list of the Script of the Month participants to date is available here.
Mixers are opportunities for diverse members to get together and have one-on-one meetings with producers, showrunners and broadcasters. Past attendees include showrunners Joseph Kay (showrunner Transplant), Morwyn Brebner (Coroner) and Kurt Smeaton (Children Ruin Everything), and executives from Bell Media, CBC and eOne.
From mentoring via our diversity programs, to welcoming new members into the Guild, there are many opportunities for interested WGC members to get involved in and help with our diversity and inclusion initiatives. Please contact WGC Manager of Diversity, Strategy & Research, Omolara Isiolaotan, to find more about current volunteering opportunities.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report
The WGC and its Diversity Committee published the Guild's first EDI report in April 2021, covering membership and contract data from 2016-2019. A second report that included data from 2020 was published in October 2021.
The report will be published annually moving forward.
The WGC sponsors events promoting diversity and inclusion as often as possible. Over the past three years, the WGC has sponsored events presented by BIPOC TV & FIlm, Reel Asian International Film Festival, Reelworld Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Youth Media Alliance, among others.
Most recently, we sponsored the Black Women Film! Screenwriters Retreat in February (right), led by WGC members Gillian Muller and Motion, for established and mid-career Black women-identified filmmakers, artists and content creators seeking a community of support to take their projects and creative endeavours to the next level.
Diversity Committee: Hiring Do's & Don'ts
The WGC diversity committee has created a list of “Diversity Hiring Do’s and Don’ts” as part of its ongoing efforts to promote the voices of Indigenous people, people of colour, LGBTQ2S, and people with disabilities within the Guild, as well as to increase members’ understanding of the challenges faced by diverse screenwriters and to address issues of diversity-base discrimination in conjunction with the Guild and its council.
Adam Barken, showrunner of Killjoys, notes that when reading the do’s and don’ts some may react with a mix of of “Hey cool, I’ve done that” and “Oh crap… I’ve done that,” pointing out that we’re in a transition period in both our culture and industry. “It’s been too long in coming,” says Barken. “And it’s probably going to take more time than any of us would like to get there. Change is hard. And we’re going to screw up sometimes."
Take that as a given and keep trying to do better. In the meantime, let’s also be grateful to have the WGC Diversity Committee, which built this list to help point out some basic do’s and don’ts on the way to a richer, more inclusive world.
So, you’re working in a room that includes Indigenous, POC, LGBTQ2S, or people with disabilities and it’s never happened before. Don’t panic! Here are a few tips to make things less awkward. (Notwithstanding, of course, that most writers are just inherently awkward).
Download the committee's witty Do's & Don'ts of Hiring