Libraries support budget initiatives to improve accessibility, provide
new resources for Canadians with print disabilities, and support
Indigenous languages

March 22, 2019—OTTAWA

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des
associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) is applauding the federal government’s
commitment to invest in equitable library access. CFLA-FCAB had called on the
government to make targeted investments that will help libraries provide books in
formats that are fully accessible for all Canadians. Measures announced March 19th will
help Canada’s library community achieve the long-term goal of universal access to

“Canadians with print disabilities currently have access to less than 10% of published
works and Indigenous communities have less than 5%. This has placed the print disabled
community at a disadvantage for far too long,” said Alix-Rae Stefanko, Chair of CFLAFCAB and a youth services librarian at Winnipeg Public Library. “We are very pleased
that the government has committed to supporting the production and delivery of
accessible formats, this is an important step to creating an inclusive publishing environment in Canada.”

The Budget announced $3 million in the current fiscal year would be given to the
Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) to produce new accessible reading
materials to be made available at Canada’s public libraries. It also committed to a
strategy that will support the production and distribution of accessible reading materials
through publishing incentives. Canada’s independent publishing industry will receive
$22.8 million over 5 years to increase production of accessible books for persons with
print disabilities.

“We were also pleased to see government’s support for preserving, promoting, and
revitalizing Indigenous languages.” added Stefanko “The role of libraries and archives is
critical to moving this forward.”

Much of the historical, cultural, linguistic and material knowledge of Indigenous
peoples’ has been held by libraries, archives, museums, and records centres.
Indigenous knowledge should be preserved and protected in a variety of media for use
by current and future generations in a respectful and sensitive manner. Consulting
Indigenous communities with respect for proper protocols to access and care for
culturally sensitive records is paramount to this goal. By providing support for Indigenous
people with scholarships for education and Internship opportunities to train in library
services or archival methods, the Government will help support “opportunities for
Indigenous library, archival and information professionals as well as the inclusion of
Indigenous epistemologies in the Canadian library and archives profession through
culturally appropriate pedagogy, recruitment practices, professional and continuing
education and cross-cultural training in collaboration with local Indigenous stakeholders and partners.”

The CFLA-FCAB looks forward to working with its members and government to ensure
the $333.7 million invested over the next five years to preserve, promote and revitalize
Indigenous languages addresses these needs.

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération Canadienne des
associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) is the national voice of Canada’s library
associations. Our purpose is to advance library excellence in Canada, champion library
values and the value of libraries and influence national and international public policy
impacting libraries and their communities.


For more information:
Katherine McColgan
Executive Director
Alix-Rae Stefanko