CWF Profile

Founded: 1931
Incorporated: 1945
Registered Charity:  119220135  RR0001


The Canadian Writers' Foundation is the only registered charity that provides continued financial assistance to approved senior Canadian writers in times of extreme financial distress. Pierre Berton—who served on the Foundation’s board for more than thirty years—considered it “essential to the literary well-being of Canada.”

Many Canadian writers die poor. Canada cannot afford to abandon any writer who gives to our cultural heritage a gift that will last forever. Milton Acorn, Roger Brien, Alfred Desrochers, Mavis Gallant, Mollie Gillen, Norman Levine, Dorothy Livesay,  E.J. Pratt—these are only a few of the distinguished men and women who have been forced to turn to the Foundation for help. Why? Because literary and artistic success don’t necessarily lead to economic success. Fame, unfortunately, doesn’t pay bills.

Although many government and other programmes help writers during their working lives, when they can no longer work, the social safety net of the Old Age Pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement often is not enough to raise them above the poverty line. Here is where the Foundation steps in. And its modest grants are often all that separate humiliation from dignity, misery from decency.

"Until the time comes when we can be assured that Canadian authors, who have made a substantial contribution to the cultural heritage of Canada, are not in danger of living out their final years in abject poverty, there will be a need for the Canadian Writers’ Foundation. And while there is that need, the Foundation seeks the financial support of Canadians so it may continue to help senior Canadian writers in financial distress," Marianne Scott, President of the Foundation.

The Foundation’s Directors are all volunteers and many are writers themselves. If you would like to make a donation—and/or know of a Canadian writer who might need the support of the Foundation, please contact us. Tax receipts are issued for all donations bequests and memorial tributes.

Current Directors:

Current Advisors to the Board:     

Executive Secretary:

Current President:   

Marianne Scott  2008 to present

Past Presidents:

Gilles Frappier     1998-2008
C. Herbert Little 1978-1998
John E. Robbins 1976-1978
Donald W. Thomson 1973-1976
Claude B. Aubry 1971-1973
George Buxton 1966-1968
Auguste Morisset 1966-1968
Arthur Bourinot   1964-1966
Edna Dorman 1963-1964
James A. Gibson  1961-1963
Guy Sylvestre 1959-1961
Charles P. Stacey 1958-1959
Albert W. Trueman 1955-1958
Gustave Lanctot 1948-1955
Pelham Edgar 1943-1948
Robert Falconer 1931-1943

The reprinted pamphlet, The Foundation & the Man, written by Walter Dawson (aka Don W. Thomson, former president of The Canadian Writers' Foundation) is the history of The Canadian Writers' Foundation covering the years from 1931 through 1959. Copies are available from Penumbra Press for $13.60 which includes applicable taxes and shipping charges. To order your copy, please send a cheque payable to Penumbra Press or call them to pay by MasterCard or Visa. (Contact information available on their website at Penumbra Press.)


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