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...

Continued Support for TPL’s Digital Archive Ontario

The Ontario government is providing the Toronto Public Library (TPL) with nearly $1.5 million to deliver free online resources to library users in Toronto and across the province – including in rural, remote and First Nation communities – through Digital Archive Ontario. “With its extensive collections and rare and unique content, the Toronto Public Library is a valuable resource for all Ontarians,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “This government is proud to support Digital Archive Ontario, which helps TPL extend the reach of its services beyond Toronto and provide all Ontario communities with free, reliable online reference material for research, teaching and lifelong learning.” Digital Archive Ontario’s online resources include digitized historical collections, archived photographs and postcards, video interviews with Canadian authors and thought leaders and blog posts by specialist librarians with expertise in a variety of subjects, including small business development and business preparedness. “We’re so thankful for the Ontario government’s ongoing support of Digital Archive Ontario, which allows us to offer free access to digital material of historical importance to Ontario and Canada,” said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library. “Digital Archive Ontario usage reached record highs during the pandemic, as even more people turned to digital services for their information needs. We look forward to building on this interest and continuing to offer this rich content to people across the province.” Learn more about the Toronto Public Library Learn more about Digital Archive...

January 2022 – Budget Consultations

The first few weeks of the year have been very busy as FOPL and a few our of member libraries attended budget consultations for the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs and The Ministry of Finance consultations. Thank you to everyone who applied for deputations with the Standing Committee and to those who were accepted and spoke. We were able to have full representation in each area across Ontario and heard from libraries such as Leeds and Thousand Islands, Ottawa, Blue Mountains, Dryden and Clarence-Rockland. The Standing Committee consultations are multi-partisan and they prepare a joint report that is tabled with the Legislature outlining their recommendations. Strategically, this is the most effective way in engaging with the opposition parties, particularly to reinforce the platform discussions we’ve already had as they look towards the election. We have submitted our official, joint (with OLA) Pre-Budget submission to the Standing Committee and will be submitting an amended version to the Ministry of Finance as well. The Pre-Budget submission is attached and will be posted on our website. Directly after the deputation, Caroline Goulding was interviewed by the CBC and did a fantastic job representing the library community. Congratulations Caroline! If you haven’t already done so, please give a listen: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-84/clip/15888245 FOPL and OLA were invited to speak to the Minister of Finance last week Friday. These consultations are overseen by the current government so they will very much reflect the campaign platform that the Ford PC’s will be seeking re-election with. The MOF is directly responsible for preparing the budget so we were extremely fortunate to be invited to speak. As...