Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

Post-Election Advocacy and AMCTO Conference

Premier Ford and the new Executive Council will be sworn in this Friday at 10am. For those interested to watch, the entire thing will be live streamed from the Premier’s official YouTube channel. After the new cabinet is revealed, FOPL will move ahead with sending congratulatory letters to the new (or returning) Ministers of Infrastructure, Heritage Sport Tourism and Culture Industries, and Education. We will work to engage the new Ministers and meet with them in the coming months. Advocacy at the local level should also continue. Send a letter of congratulations to your new or re-elected MPP, a template is attached. Now is the time to connect again to offer your best wishes as they begin their mandate, and to invite them to visit their local libraries to learn more about your important impact on the community and the critical role of the provincial government in supporting local libraries. If your library is in a riding with multiple library systems, connect with your neighbours to send a joint letter. You can refer to our priorities in our Pre-Budget Submission. Last week, FOPL attended the AMCTO Conference in Niagara Falls. We had the opportunity to speak with 155 municipal representatives about the importance of keeping our public libraries independent and the value impact we have on our communities. FOPL contracted a tradeshow booth and received staffing support from Niagara Falls Public Library to help make this event a...

Post-Election Engagement and Advocacy

Thank you to everyone who engaged with candidates during this year’s provincial election – whether in person, virtually, by email, on social media or with candidates at your door. Since last fall, FOPL and OLA staff and members have been diligently engaging with every political party and with local candidates and MPPs seeking re-election to share and amplify our joint library asks. As we welcome new and re-elected MPPs and cabinet members, the work of advocating for libraries continues. FOPL and OLA’s next steps will be to build relationships with the incoming Ministers. We expect that the government’s new cabinet will be sworn in over the coming weeks. We will be connecting directly with the new Minister of Education, Minister of Heritage Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and Minister of Infrastructure – among others – to coordinate a meeting with their office to continue the important dialogue about the impact of public and school libraries and the ways that our provincial government can best support them and the people and communities they serve. There are next steps for you as well! Send a letter of congratulations in the next 60 days to your new or re-elected MPP. You may have met your MPP in the past or engaged with them as a candidate during the campaign. Now is the time to connect again to offer your best wishes as they begin their mandate, and to invite them to visit their local libraries to learn more about your important impact on the community and the critical role of the provincial government in supporting local libraries. If your library is in a riding with multiple library...

Party Platform Commitments to Public Libraries

Party Platform Analysis and Library Commitments OLA and FOPL have spent the last 6 months engaging with all political parties to discuss the importance of strong provincial support for public libraries. Locally, OLA and FOPL members are communicating with candidates and incumbents using the Joint Libraries Elections Brief for 2022.  With the NDP and Green Party platforms released this week, almost all parties have now included support for libraries in their platforms. Operational Funding for Public Libraries Funding for First Nation Public Libraries Funding for Digital Public Libraries Other Commitment PC Party of Ontario Supporting broadband upgrades at approximately 50 libraries with a provincial investment through the Connecting Public Libraries initiative (2021) $4.85 M Ontario NDP Increase provincial funding for brick-and-mortar libraries: $14M in 2022-23; $21M in 2023-24 and 2024-25 Support First Nations libraries $2M in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 Increase provincial funding for digital library services $6M in 2022-23; $9M in 2023-24 and 2024-25 Ontario Liberal Party Invest $2 million in First Nations Public Libraries since only 30% of First Nations reserves have libraries. $2M/year Invest in digitizing Ontario’s public libraries – giving all Ontarians access to free e-learning, online resources and more e-books. $2M in 2022; $9M in 2023 Menstrual products in libraries. Rural Development Fund to build or repair crucial community rural infrastructure like libraries. $50M starting in 2023 Green Party of Ontario Increase funding for local libraries and ramp up publicity around the important community programming that they offer. $15M/year (2022-23 to 2025-26) Platform Details 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...

May 2022

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) Ontario NDP: 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...

March 2022 Update

We have had encouraging conversations with the Minister of Finance’s office this month. After our initial budget submission in February, we met with the MOF’s policy advisor, Eric Gallo-Miscevich, who requested a follow up meeting with FOPL and OLA to further discuss our priorities and budget asks. Mr. Gallo-Miscevich was engaged, interested, and asked a lot of great questions about the Ontario Digital Public Library and First Nations Public Library funding. We are hopeful that we will see some inclusion of our asks in the official budget at the end of April. We were also able to meet with the new Deputy Minister Sarah Harrison to introduce ourselves and further FOPL’s relationship with the MHSTCI. DM Harrison was receptive and open to our conversations regarding public library funding and challenges; we hope to meet again soon. The Ontario Provincial Election is a critical opportunity for the library sector to capture the attention of political parties and candidates & secure their support to address the critical gaps that continue to confront Ontario’s libraries and the many individuals and families across the province that depend on them. You can help advocate for libraries! There are lots of ways that your library can engage in the upcoming election to make sure that libraries are recognized for their important contributions to municipalities, First Nations and schools: Meet with Candidates or Campaign Staff (Starting now!)  Write or email a letter / questionnaire to local Candidates. Engage through social media. Ask key questions at town hall meetings and all-candidates debates. Don’t forget to keep OLA & FOPL up to date on your meetings by filling out...

Ontario is Going to the Polls this June. Help Advocate for libraries!

The Ontario Provincial Election is a critical opportunity for the library sector to capture the attention of political parties and candidates & secure their support to address the critical gaps that continue to confront Ontario’s libraries and the many individuals and families across the province that depend on them. You can help advocate for libraries! There are lots of ways that your library can engage in the upcoming election to make sure that libraries are recognized for their important contributions to municipalities, First Nations and schools: Meet with Candidates or Campaign Staff (Starting now!)  Write or email a letter / questionnaire to local Candidates. Engage through social media. Ask key questions at town hall meetings and all-candidates debates. Check out OLA and FOPL’s Elections Toolkit for tips, templates and more! Don’t forget to keep OLA & FOPL up to date on your meetings by filling out the candidate meeting...