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November 26, 2019

Celebrated Canadian performer in music, TV, film, and dance, Bif Naked, is the recipient of the 2019 OFL Cultural Award. A tireless advocate and humanitarian, Bif was orphaned in India, emancipated by punk rock, and empowered by surviving breast cancer, kidney failure, heart surgery, divorce, and has survived as a woman in the entertainment industry for twenty-five years.

As she accepted the award, Bif reflectively expressed that “{her} heart flooded with tremendous honour and humility: it was my greatest privilege to receive the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Cultural Award.”

Bif has transcended any and all obstacles placed in her path to become one of the world’s most unique, recognizable and beloved icons. In 2016, Her memoirs, titled, “I, Bificus” were published by Harper Collins and Bif turned her literary work into a three-hour stage show called “Bif Naked Songs and Stories.” The show toured three times across Canada, selling out in every city. After her performances, Bif spent hours signing her books for the audiences. Bif continues to perform and readings from her memoir, which is a Canadian best-seller.

When asked about her famous optimism, Bif shares that she believes in everyone’s ability to move forward, taking care of each other, and getting stronger together.

Since 1995, the OFL Cultural Award has been presented to an artist who has made a unique and important contribution to the culture of the trade union movement or who, through their work, has advanced the concerns of working people and social justice.

Bif sat on the City of Vancouver’s Women’s Advisory Committee, volunteering weekly with vulnerable people who ask for her, and writing a blog for the Huffington Post. Her work as a public speaker has taken her to conferences centred around a wide variety of topics, including women’s empowerment, wellness, social justice, anti-poverty activism, and navigating cancer.

Before relocating to Toronto, Bif was involved in Raise the Rates, a British Columbia coalition of anti-poverty and housing advocates. In solidarity with vulnerable populations, she participated in the annual Welfare Food Challenge to raise awareness about the unacceptable, small amounts of assistance that welfare recipients receive by eating only what could be bought on a social assistance budget. Bif said, “it was socio-politically important” to her, and continues to fight injustice by using her voice.

Bif is currently writing a book to empower patients and their families on navigating cancer care in the Canadian health care system. She also has a book of poetry and cartoons coming out in 2020, and a much anticipated studio album on the way.

COPE 343

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