We are pleased to announce that the 32nd edition of Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts will take place from April 28 – May 7, 2017. This year’s multidisciplinary program will spotlight material that responds to today’s landscape of precarious work and shared struggles for decent wages and healthy working conditions. Highlights of the Festival will be released soon – stay tuned!


The Mayworks Board is pleased to announce that the nominations for the 2017 Mayworks Labour Arts Awards is now open. The deadline for nominations is Monday, February 6, 2017.

Nominations should include a one-page summary of why your nominee should be considered for the specific award. Attached to the nomination should be any references that will help elucidate your reasons. Nominations should be forwarded to mailed to Mayworks Labour Arts Awards c/o 25 Cecil Street, Toronto, ON or emailed to mayworksawards[at]

The Awards will be presented at the annual Mayworks Labour Arts Awards Gala on Saturday April 1, 2017 at the Steelworkers Hall.

About Maywork Labour Arts Awards
The Mayworks Labour Arts Awards are given by Mayworks to recognize significant contributions to the arts and labour movement in five categories:

  • The Labour Activist Award for Excellence in Contribution to Labour Arts: This award honours labour activists who have made outstanding use of the arts to promote the values of the labour and social justice movements
  • The Artist Award for Excellence in Contribution to Labour and Social Justice Movement: This award recognizes artists who have significantly captured the values of the labour and social justice movements in their art
  • The Labour Organization Awards for Excellence in Contribution to Labour Arts: This award recognizes labour organizations which have made outstanding use of the arts to engage their membership
  • The Labour Creative Maverick Award: This award recognizes an unusual and creative use of the arts to promote labour rights and awareness
  • The Min Sook Lee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Labour Arts: This award recognizes those who have captured the values of the labour and social justice movements in their art or through their activism over many years. This award is named in honour of Min Sook Lee, an activist-artist whose own contributions moved Mayworks Festival toward its current artistic vision to actively seek representation of equity groups as audiences and artists. Lee also helped Mayworks focus on programming that engages new, non-arts audiences, and that challenges Euro-centric notions of art.
Every year, different unions and their locals, businesses servicing unions, and community organizations, place inexpensive ads in the annual Mayworks program guide. Their advertisements reach thousands of labour and community activists, many of whom attend Mayworks events and performances throughout the festival. If you, your union local, or organization is interested in obtaining more information, please consult the Mayworks Ad Rate Sheet 2017 below and/or email the Festival Fundraiser at fundraiser[at]

Mayworks Ad Rate Sheet 2017

Receipt of artwork deadline: Friday, February 3, 2017


1. OCAP Speaking Series: Under the Knife – Healthcare in Ontario | Thursday, January 19, 2017 | 6 – 8 pm, CRC, 40 Oak Street, Toronto | Find this event on Facebook

Start the new year of resistance by joining us for our monthly speaking series focusing on topics central to poor people’s issues and organizing. A new topic is presented every month and all events are open to the public. January’s topic is: Under the Knife: Healthcare in Ontario

  • How did we win universal healthcare?
  • Why is it under attack?
  • How are the changes impacting the poor?

Wendy Forrest is a long-time OCAP activist, a front-line healthcare worker, former community worker and a member of the Ontairo Nurses Association. Jessica Hales is a front-line worker and a member of OCAP and CUPE.

Come for the meal at 6 pm and stay for what promises to be a very informative and engaging session! This is a free event with a meal, childcare, wheelchair access and tokens.

2. Feminist Art Conference 2017: Embodied Resistance | Saturday January 21, 2017 | 10 am – 8 pm | OCAD, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto | Find this event on Facebook

Feminist Art Conference (FAC) is a volunteer-based organization in Toronto that brings together artists, academics, and activists to consider feminist issues through art.
January 21st – Schedule
10:00 to 11:00 – Registration, Made by Feminists Market, and tea and treats
11:00 Welcome and Performances
12:15 to 1:45 – Artist Panel Discussions (6 panel options listed below)

  • Tools, Toys, and Tricks of the Trade: Redefining the Domestic Sphere
  • Bare Bodies: Metaphor, Expression, and Self-Realization
  • Resilient Bodies: Class, Work, and Worth
  • Shared Secrets and Systemic Violence Exposed
  • Stories of Power: Observations of Becoming
  • Cultural Hybrids: Decolonizing and Reconstructing Identities

2:30 to 3:30 – Artists Performances with Talk Backs
3:45 to 4:30 – Community Partner Panels (4 panel options listed below)

  • Queering Feminist Art Class Panel Presented by Feminist Art Gallery / York University
  • Centre for Pluralism in the Arts Ontario – Women of Colour and Equity: Double Trouble
  • Black Futures Now “Organise This!: The Ethics, Politics,and Joys of Organising a Black Conference
  • Liisbeth – Gender, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation

6:30 – 8:00 – Closing Key Note with Q&A and Reception
Sadie Buck Q&A, with Erika Iserhoff
Presented by Native Women in the Arts in partnership with Indigenous Studies
10am – 6pm – Made by Feminists Market, OCAD Lobby

3. Notorious 4-and-4 rule repealed!

Since 2009, migrant worker groups have organized against the 4-and-4 rule, as part of a broader campaign for open work permits and permanent status on landing.

The 4-and-4 rule required migrant workers to leave after four years of cumulative employment and banned them from returning for four years. Over 15 cities organized protest and actions in March 2015 as a lead up to the imposition of the 4-and-4 rule which uprooted tens of thousands of migrant workers, and caused mass deportations. Nearly 4,000 people signed petitions. On December 13, 2016, the notorious 4-and-4 rule was repealed.

More information may be found here.