Photo by Nasuna Stuart-Ulin.
ELAN’s Communication Coordinator, Sufia Duez, is returning to us after being away for eight months of maternity leave. This is a milestone moment for ELAN. As for all fledgling arts organizations, staff turnover at ELAN was disturbingly high in the early years due to the short-term nature of salary subsidies for students and interns, and generally low salaries which meant that better offers were abundant and employees would leave as soon as they acquired enough experience for better paying positions. Thanks to recently acquired operating funding from the Canada Council, CALQ and the Montreal Arts Council (in addition to the Department of Canadian Heritage), ELAN can finally offer salaries and conditions that create stability. This is good for ELAN, its members, and our staff.
I sympathise with Sufia’s mixed feelings about returning to work because my son and his wife had a baby at the same time as Sufia last spring. It is difficult for a new parent to be apart from their infant who is becoming more alert, active and interesting every day. Happily, Canada has better parental support than many countries, and the arts community strives to be progressive in the working conditions we offer. ELAN will never pay salaries competitive with the corporate world, but we can be generous with flexibility, and responsive to family needs.