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Paul Siren was born in Alppila, Ontario on July 19, 1917. Although forced to abandon his formal studies before the commencement of high school, Siren enjoyed a long and prominent career as a trade union leader and organizer. In 1942 Siren was appointed the International Representative of the United Auto Workers (UAW), a position that he held until 1960. From 1960 – 1964, Siren worked as an independent consultant for stakeholders in labour disputes.
After leaving the automobile manufacturing sector, Siren held several key positions in the creative community trade labour union movement. Posts held by Siren during this period include: General Secretary of ACTRA (1965 – 1985), member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Actors (1967 – 1985), Chairman of the English speaking group of the International Federation of Actors, (1973 – 1985), executive committee member for the International Federation of Artists, Canadian representative at UNESCO during the drafting of that group’s Recommendations on the Status of the Artist (1980), co-chairman of the Canadian Task Force on the Status of the Artist, and President of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Conference of the Arts (1988-90). Siren also served as a member of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) External review Committee from 1985-87.
Siren was the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Association of Cultural Executives (ACE) award in 1990, The Canadian Conference of the Arts’ Diplôme D’Honneur in 1992, and appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987. Siren died in Toronto on May 31, 2009.
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“Siren, Paul C.M.” The Globe & Mail June 9, 2009, Deaths.
Swainson, Gail, “Paul Siren, 91: Unionist a ‘towering figure’ in arts community” The Toronto Star, June 12, 2009.
Lumley, Elizabeth Canadian Who’s Who. University of Toronto Press, 1998.