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Award guidelines

Who is eligible for nomination?

The award is for an editor's outstanding contribution to a work published in Canada in English or French during the 2022 calendar year. Nominations are open to all editors—both freelance and in-house. Members and non-members of Editors Canada may be nominated.


When are the deadlines?

The nominations period for the 2023 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence is now closed.

Editors Canada will begin accepting nominations for the 2024 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence in fall 2023.


Who can nominate?

Anyone involved in the work can nominate, such as the publisher, editor, author or designer. Self-nominations are encouraged.


Which types of editorial projects can be submitted?

The Tom Fairley Award is not a career achievement award—it is for a single project that required the editor to use a broad range of editorial skills. Any type of written project, including an author's self-published work, is eligible: for example, a book, magazine or journal, government or corporate report, software documentation or web material.

For magazines, journals and reports, a single project could be a series of articles, a special edition or a report that garnered a lot of public and media attention. For web material, a single project could be a major overhaul of a website.

Note: Nominees are limited to one submission per year.


What to include in your submission

Please note that all submissions must be electronic (submitted by email, Dropbox, etc.). Nominations consist of two parts: 1) a nomination form and 2) supporting documents.

Part 1: Nomination form

The nominations period for the 2023 Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence is now closed.

Part 2: Supporting documents

If you submitted your nomination form for the 2023 Tom Fairley Award by the deadline (January 20, 2023), please prepare a package of electronic material (Word files, PDFs, screen shots, etc.) supporting the nomination.* Select only those documents that exemplify each stage of editing and that best illustrate the editor's contribution. This material may accompany the nomination form or be sent separately, but it must be received at the Editors Canada office by the deadline for supporting documents.

*Please be sure you have written permission from the author or publisher (and, where appropriate, the translator or copy editor) to share these materials with the award judges.

  • nominee's CV
  • a brief biography of the nominee (100 words)
  • the first edited version of the text using Track Changes (and any later versions that included a substantial number of edits, or a summary of the work done at each stage of subsequent passes)
  • if appropriate, a summary of the author's responses to queries
  • a mention of the number of passes the file went through
  • the style sheet(s): attach both the original style sheet and any handover notes that were sent to the copy editor and the updated style sheet from the copy editor
  • the final pre-design file
  • the final published version of the text in electronic form, such as a PDF or URLs
  • a statement outlining the tasks performed and any special challenges (up to 1,000 words)
  • 2 letters of support from people closely involved in the project (such as the author or publisher): these should focus on the changes made in the work and the nominee's contributions to those changes, rather than emphasizing the nominee's other attributes (such as a long career or community work)
  • the administration fee of $100 (paid online)

Who are the judges?

The award coordinator chooses three judges based upon the types of entries received. Past judges have included previous Tom Fairley Award winners, publishers, senior in-house editors and senior freelance editors. Judges may or may not be Editors Canada members.


What are the judges looking for?

The judges are looking for evidence of a range of editorial skills being used in the project. A straight copy edit, for example, will not demonstrate a sufficient range of skills, so is not suitable for submission. General evaluation criteria, in no particular order, are as follows:

  • Documentary verification. Are the nominator's claims substantiated by the publication and supporting documents?
  • Value. Did the editor improve the text? How? To what extent? Was the editor able to pinpoint both strengths and weaknesses?
  • Size of project. Was the project very large or done over a long period of time?
  • Complexity of project. Did the job require many skills? For example, were there secondary sources to consider (such as visuals, archival and research material, databases)? Were multiple deadlines or individuals involved?
  • Evolution of the project: How much (if at all) did the work evolve from the original text as the editor uncovered problems or issues to be resolved?
  • Accuracy of work. Did the editor catch serious weaknesses and avoid missing or even creating such problems?
  • Special problems solved. Were there any special problems with the project? Did the editor help to overcome them?
  • Communication skills. Is there evidence of unusual editorial patience, tact, firmness, persistence or level-headedness in a crisis?
  • Ingenuity of work. Did the task elicit a unique or creative response from the editor that went beyond the call of duty?
  • Respect. Did the editor demonstrate respect for others throughout the process?

Note: Not every project will fulfill all of these criteria but every project will be judged fully on its individual merits.

For more information, contact

Support the Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence

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We also welcome donations by cheque. Please make your donation payable to "Editors' Association of Canada" with "Tom Fairley Award" written on the memo line.

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Editors Canada
Tom Fairley Award
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