Sarah Toussaint-Léveillé is an author, musician and director. In April 2022, she won an essay competition organized by Nouveau Projet. She was then assured that she would be paid when her text was published in September, five months later. When the time came, no trace of the check. In October, she relaunched the magazine. A few days later, he was told that an additional six months could be expected due to “liquidity problems”. So far, eight months later, still nothing.
“My little finger told me that I was not the only one going through this situation,” Sarah Toussaint-Léveillé told us over the phone Wednesday.
With that in mind, she decided to vent her exasperation on Instagram earlier this week. New Project was then quick to respond to her in the comments: “Hello Sarah. As we told you yesterday, we are very sorry, our payment times are longer than usual at the moment. But you will be paid well, as soon as we are returned to you in the pile. »
This stack is dozens and dozens of people who claim to have experienced a similar situation.
Among them, we note the artist and former member of Québec solidaire Catherine Dorion. Although she retired from public life last year, the ex-politician wanted to share her experience on her Instagram account, posting a copy of an email she sent to New Project in April 2022: “[…] I have decided that I will no longer collaborate with Nouveau Projet until I have received the promised fee for an article published more than two years ago. I insisted several times by email to accounting and mentioned it to Nicolas many months ago. »
Nicolas is Nicolas Langelier, editor-in-chief of Nouveau Projet. He launched the magazine in 2012. La Presse failed to reach him, who last Friday won the award for best editor in Canada at the Canadian Magazine Awards.
“I have no hope of seeing the color of this money,” a freelance photographer who preferred to remain anonymous told us. About a year ago, she was invited by Jean-François Proulx, artistic director of Nouveau Projet, to participate in the visual of an article. He was then promised a fee of $700. After sending her photos and invoice, she was advised that the payment term was six months.
Today, a year later, her bill has still not been paid, and she has no idea when it will be. Again, Nouveau Projet attributed the delay to a “serious liquidity problem”.
Similar situation for illustrator Martin Bureau, who illustrated an article in 2017. He had to send several reminders to finally get his $500 bill paid, months later. He hopes that the many testimonials circulating will serve to change things. “The industry needs to adopt better practices,” he said in an interview.
Illustrators Julien Castanié and Paul Bordeleau as well as writer and screenwriter William S. Messier also showed their support for Sarah Toussaint-Léveillé on Instagram. They too have struggled to receive their pay.
Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after the publication of Sarah Toussaint-Léveillé’s testimony, New Project commented on the situation on its Instagram account. In particular, the publication cited printing costs, which are said to have “more than doubled in ten years”. “But we are paying too slowly, it’s true,” New Project admitted. This is our greatest regret, and we apologize to those who certainly suffer from it. »
These excuses do not move Sarah Toussaint-Léveillé. “It’s a breach of trust,” she said in an interview.
The Union of Quebec Writers and Writers (UNEQ) also reacted to this case through a press release. According to the group, late payments are “a recurring problem” in the publishing industry. These delays can be due to several factors, “sometimes legitimate, sometimes questionable”.
UNEQ promises to examine the New Project case, after being questioned on Wednesday by one of its members.