Earlier this month, FOPL and OLA sent a joint letter in response to Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy. Simply put, the government aims to reduce housing costs by reducing fees and charges. This includes development charges, community benefit charges and parkland dedication fees. The goal of the letter was to highlight the importance of development charges to public library capital needs as the bill proposes to make changes to the Development Charges Act, among others.
Myself and OLA met with Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Assistant Deputy Minister Katherine Kelly Gatten. ADM Kelly Gatten was joined by Lorraine Dooley, Director, Culture Policy and Deborah Cope, Manager, Culture Policy Unit. We were able to have an engaged conversation with all three ministry representatives. All three showed a keen interest in both the Ontario Digital Public Library initiative and providing immediate aid for the Public Libraries on Reserve. ADM Kelly Gatten said that there is a real interest in public libraries right now and the ministry is making these items a priority. We will be following up with Lorraine Dooley and Deborah Cope in December and with ADM Kelly Gatten in the new year to discuss a plan of action. Good news all around!