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Minutes of Meeting Held on
February 20, 2006
Ottawa Ontario


Jacques Côté
Neil Graham
Margaret McGrory
Donna Pletz Passey
André Vincent
Elizabeth Walcot-Gayda
Paul Whitney (Chair)

Gaëtan Lévesque
Jacqueline Hushion

Sean Berrigan, Director General, Strategic Office, Library and Archives Canada
Andy Oates, Project Manager, Electronic Clearinghouse for Alternative Format Production
Caroline Weber, Director General, Office for Disability Issues, Social Development Canada
Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Policy Advisors:

Mary Frances Laughton
Catherine Moore

Vangelis Nikias

Trisha Lucy, Library and Archives Canada
Ralph Manning, Library and Archives Canada (Secretary)


Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada welcomed the Council to its ninth meeting. He wished everyone a Happy Heritage Day and thanked the Council for its advice and its efforts in improving access for all Canadians to their documentary heritage in all forms.

Mr. Wilson asked the group to think about what it wants to be and achieve in the next five years. He also stressed that access is essential and that it is vitally important that we move the agenda forward.

Paul Whitney asked how the Council could most productively get the new Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to hear its advice.

Sean Berrigan replied that the Council is essential because the advice it provides from the print-disabled community is invaluable. He maintained that the Council should continue to provide advice to LAC reinforce and revitalize its mandate within the new institution.

Mr. Wilson agreed that there is a need for a body that represents various players around this issue. He also stated that it is a national concern and we must also continue to engage the Francophone side as well as the archival side. The Council is a useful forum to reconcile and understand different perspectives.

P. Whitney thanked Mr. Wilson for his support and encouragement.

The meeting's Draft Agenda was approved by consensus. The minutes of the eighth meeting (Feb 18-19, 2005) were approved by consensus.


P. Whitney updated the Council on issues related to copyright. He reported that the Canadian Library Association's (CLA) position paper made the following statement in support of copyright exceptions for the print disabled:

"The exceptions for the print disabled must ensure that individuals have the same ability as others to access content. Current restrictions in legislation on specific alternate formats (large print books and adaptation of cinematographic works) are unacceptable. The limitation of alternate formats for the print-disabled to those formats especially designed for these users presents a restrictive and costly barrier for equal access to content for millions of Canadians. CLA urges the Government to remove this restriction on equitable access as it is in direct violation with core Canadian values, as spelled out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Canadian Library Association: Position on Copyright 2006, p.7 Protecting the Public: Information for the Canadian library and information community on Bill C-60.

M.F. Laughton spoke to some of the international issues.

  • Section 30 intellectual policy UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons
  • World Blind - International overrides National
    • International transcend National
    • Should not be subject to National laws on copyright and intellectual freedom

Ralph Manning

  • Fulfilling the Promise talked about Copyright and Council should write the Minister again.
  • Law specifically for the print disabled is a barrier. The print disabled need access to mainstream formats like MP3.

Cathy Moore stated that the Council should make a recommendation in conjunction with publishers to make the MP3 format exempt.

Standards Discussion - not on Agenda

Jacques Côté

  • There are problems in trying to unite braille systems
  • English braille is creating more divisions and communities are dividing
  • There are three ways to emboss figures, but he wants just ONE.
    1. Nemeth Code
    2. Unified English Braille Code
  • The intent is good on all sides but in trying to unify them they will actually divide them.

P. Whitney stated that the Council should not strongly endorse standards and should not favour one over another.

Caroline Weber talked about the Conservative platform

  • Technology standards legislation
  • Platform commitment
  • A national disability act

M.F. Laughton stated that we do not want something that is "technologically neutral"

  • Example of captioning in the U.S. where there is a 21 chip law for captioning and now it is not used as a result of the move to digital TV.

Neil Graham stated that you either enable the print disabled to do it themselves or that the publishers should do it. He also said that the universal Braille standard was not universally accepted and in Canada, Nemeth was still used. Need more standard technology like MP3, not just DAISY etc.

CNIB was disappointed that the Council did not support UEBC.

C. Moore stressed that standards are always guidelines, but MP3s are not good enough for her, she requires the navigation functionality that DAISY provides. She is not talking about legalization. She added that there is a need for standards and the Council needs to endorse them or write a paper on standards issues.

Donna Pletz Passey suggested that we remain flexible as technology changes. The user needs to have the format they prefer whether they want DAISY or MP3, and that we can accomplish this while maintaining the NISO standard.. She also reported that CAER has contracted a literature review to study the proposed change to braille, or UEB. The review is due to be completed in the spring.

P. Whitney stated that universal standards are a good thing - its just agreeing on which one.

CNIB Update

C. Moore explained that their audio to digital conversion is on target for strictly digital distribution by March 2007. However, they are struggling to raise the money to maintain their infrastructure, as it is a $30 million project.

CNIB is a committed partner and supporter of National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) initiatives. Their concern is that NNELS will rely heavily on the CNIB's small collection. They envision a larger collection produced in the most cost effective way with timely access for the end user.

André Vincent reported that BAnQ has converted its analog collection to digital. He also stated that the collection is currently not accessible to people outside Quebec, but that they do want to expand to Francophone outside of Quebec and that a study and cost analysis will be done. He also noted that BAnQ's collection is only available to people with visual impairments.

National Network for Equitable Library Service for Canadians with Print Disabilities

R. Manning reported that the Canadian Library Association's Working Group to design a National Network for Equitable Library Service for Canadians with Print Disabilities (NNELS) developed its report Opening the Book: A Strategy for a National Network
for Equitable Library Service for Canadians with Print Disabilities


The Council endorsed the report from the Working Group.

The report was submitted to LAC for action. The report incorporated AEBC and MFI comments. There is a need for further consultation with publishers. It is primarily a public library system but all libraries have a role in providing access.

Proposal for LAC Office for Equitable Library Access (OELA)

R. Manning talked about some planning for an OELA.

P. Whitney presented the CLA proposal from Jane Beaumont and Beth Barlow to start up a CLA Working Group specifically to assist LAC and the Council with OELA.

M.F. Laughton said the CLA needs to be more active with the print disabled not the Council - It should be integrated with IFLA.

Margaret McGrory stated that the main conduit is public libraries and it would be appropriate to have a mechanism to tap into that CLA network and ASTED.

N. Graham said that CLA should be encouraged to outreach with the community. He stressed the need to consult with end-users to find out what they need before things are implemented. He also suggested that NNELS use a top-down approach instead of bootom-up. What can we do to get rid of barriers and to make %100 accessible not just a %10 target.

M. McGrory is a member of IFLA Libraries for the Blind section and stated that other countries have established models that might work in Canada. Implementers are different from interaction.

P. Whitney stated that he would report back to CLA concerning the Council's positive feelings about the Working Group.

Electronic Clearinghouse for Alternative Format Production

Andy Oates, Project Manager, briefed the Council on the results of the successful pilot project and presented the final report. The Council unanimously voted to recommend that LAC continue and enhance the Clearinghouse with modifications recommended in the final report and to encourage more publishers to join by signing the legal agreement. Suggestions for encouraging more publishers to join included presentations at publisher events like the Book Expo and working with the publisher association as well as tying in the International rights.

Council Mandate and Membership

R. Manning pointed out that the focus of the Council has been on implementing "Fulfilling the Promise", but it has completed all the work it can on those recommendations. He suggested that the Council could now serve LAC as a conduit to stakeholders who would continue to provide advice and support activities that improve access to information for Canadians with print disabilities. Members unanimously voted that the Council should continue and update its mandate and that membership should be increased.

Discussions indicated that membership could include representation for: an adult person with a learning disability; an archivist, a university librarian, a public librarian, a publisher, a francophone user.

Members' Updates

P. Whitney stated his concern that major digitization projects underway like Google, Yahoo and CARL are producing digital formats that are not accessible from text to speech. He suggested that accessibility should be required criteria in order to receive government funding for digitization projects.

M.F. Laughton

  • Web-4-All has been transferred to the University of Toronto who is open sourcing.
  • Accessible Procurement Toolkit links to Managers Guide to Multiple Formats and has an updated Access to Information section.
  • Calgary e-inclusion conference in April.

D. Pletz Passey

  • UEBC paper being written by CAER group
  • CAER representatives, including MS. Passey, are on the CBA working group to look at the potential of implementing UEBC

A. Vincent updated the Council on events taking place at BAnQ.

  • Advisory committee of 9, 5 of which are from the disabled community
  • Improving physical accessibility of BAnQ
  • Encyclopedia Online.
  • Increased training activities for people with disabilities and tools available in alternative formats; database and catalog.

M. McGrory

  • Office for Learning Technologies project on DAISY use
  • AV - will work with BAnQ

J. Côté

  • Reported that Braille Jymico now has a bigger Territory and four locations in US (LA, Chicago, Tampa Florida, New Jersey)
  • Negotiating agreements in four different fields in Paris
    • European magazines
    • School materials for Jewish business
    • Graphics
    • Made a presentation on Alphabet/vocabulary to AVH - the most important blind organization in Europe
    • Large print project