As the election is less than a month away, most political parties have announced their platforms and commitments. Our hard work in the past 8 months is evident in the commitments made by the Liberal and NDP parties who have promised significant investments in public libraries and school libraries. Congratulations and thank you to all of our members who have advocated alongside FOPL and OLA.
Below, we have summarized the various commitments to public libraries that each party has made. This should help inform your election advocacy as you reach out to your surrounding candidates.
PC Party of Ontario:
The Ontario government released their 2022 Budget on April 28, 2022. No new library commitments are mentioned in this budget, and OLA is working to confirm whether existing provincial funding in support of public libraries is maintained at the previous level. The budget does highlight the previously announced investments in broadband upgrades at libraries:
- “Supporting broadband upgrades at approximately 50 libraries with a provincial investment of $4.85 million through the Connecting Public Libraries initiative.” (p. 45)
The NDP platform was released on April 25, 2022. The NDP have included the following commitments regarding libraries in their platform:
- “COMMITMENT Increase provincial funding for brick-and-mortar libraries and digital library services, recognizing the vital role local public libraries play in our communities.” (p. 41)
- Full costing for this commitment is expected soon.
Ontario Liberal Party:
The Ontario Liberal Party costed platform was released on May 9, 2022. The Liberal Party has included the following commitments regarding public libraries in their platform:
- “We’ll invest in digitizing Ontario’s public libraries – giving all Ontarians access to free e-learning, online resources and more e-books.” (p. 78)
- Estimated Costing: $2 million in 2022; $9 million/year starting in 2023
- “We’ll also partner to expand and strengthen Ontario’s Indigenous Institutes to increase opportunities for diplomas, certificates and degrees in culturally enriched settings with permanent funding andinvest $2 million in First Nations Public Libraries since only 30% of First Nations reserves have libraries.” (p. 76)
- Estimated Costing: $2 million/year starting in 2023
- “We’ll build or repair crucial community rural infrastructure like libraries, arenas and other community spaces through a new $50 million RuralDevelopment Fund – using it to also encourage the co-location of schools and community services.” (p. 79)
- Estimated Costing: $50 million/year starting in 2023