Guardians of the Lexicons: Editors Canada conference comes to town

When you think of an editor, what do you picture? Someone holding a red pen, hovering over a manuscript, ready to remove offending commas, misplaced apostrophes, and jargon?

Okay, some of us still do that stuff by hand, but the truth is, editors do more than correct grammar and spelling. And these days, we generally use a computer to do our work. We don’t exist to shatter the dreams of writers (promise!). We do all sorts of editing on all kinds of written and other media. Copy editing (that’s the spelling and grammar stuff), stylistic editing, structural editing, and proofreading are all part of the job of an editor. Some of us edit fiction, while others work on scientific or medical publications. Some work on video scripting, web content, or educational texts. We may be freelancers or work in-house for an organization or publisher. But no matter what kind of work we do, we remain caretakers, supporters, and thoughtful observers of language.

Once a year, we get together with a whole bunch of other editors and communicators from across the country at the Editors Canada national conference. Editors Canada is our national professional association, with about 1,300 members based in cities and communities all over Canada. It offers professional development seminars and online training as well as the annual conference, promotes and maintains editing standards through its certification program and reference publications such as Editing Canadian English, and offers many networking and collaboration opportunities for editors.

So what happens when you bring together a whole bunch of editors from across the country? Some learning, some networking, a little celebrating, and a ton of fun.

The conference opens and closes with keynote speakers: this year, the show kicks off with Métis writer and editor Cherie Dimaline, who’s written several novels and short-story collections and was the first Writer-in-Residence of Aboriginal Literature for the Toronto Public Library. Closing keynote speaker John McIntyre is the veteran night news editor of the Baltimore Sun and writes a blog called You Don’t Say.

In between, one-hour sessions and panel discussions will examine editing and professional practices, language and culture, freelancing, self-publishing, and more, in English, French, and bilingual sessions. On Saturday night, an awards banquet honours outstanding volunteers and also includes the annual Oops! Awards, a hilarious celebration of the year’s most outrageous bloopers, typos, and unintentional double-entendres.

If this sounds like your idea of a great weekend, you’re in luck: the conference is open to non-members and the editorially curious, as well as members. If you do editing work (or even editing-adjacent work, like writing, indexing, translation, or graphic design) why not come along for the ride and see where it takes you? Find out more at

We are the bold, the italic, and the underlined — the Guardians of the Lexicons. Join us!

The conference takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Gatineau, June 9–11. Registration is open until May 29, 11:59 PDT.