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Minutes of Meeting Held on
May 27 and May 28, 2001 Ottawa

In attendance:
Donna Achimov (May 27th)
Jacques Côté
Joby Fleming
Elizabeth Gayda
Mary Glen (May 27)
Louise Guertin (May 27)
Mary Frances Laughton
Vangelis Nikias (May 27)
James Page (May 27)
Donna Pletz Passey
Monique Smith
Karen Taylor
André Vincent
Peter Webster
Paul Whitney, Chair

Gwynneth Evans
Nicole Caissy
Emilie Lowenberg
Leacy O'Callaghan-O'Brien

Anik Beaudry, Canadian Heritage (May 28th)
Allan Clarke, Canadian Heritage (May 28th)
Lawrence Euteneier, Industry Canada (May 28th)

Robert Fenton
Alain Stanké

Sunday, May 27th

Opening Remarks

Paul Whitney, Chair of the Council, welcomed all members to the second meeting of the Council. As there were several new members, there was a round of introductions.

Discussion and Adoption of the Agenda

P. Whitney briefly outlined the work of the two days and asked for additions or corrections to the Agenda. It was adopted as distributed.

Adoption of the Minutes of the Meeting held on February 23 & 24, 2001 and discussion of their status

André Vincent asked that the French version of the Mandate and Terms of Reference be incorporated in the French version of the Minutes, rather than the English version.

Nicole Caissy mentioned that she will revise all the documents of the Council and the revised documents will be sent to the members and, where appropriate, replace those that are now on the Web site.

It was noted that Recommendation 1 had been omitted from the description of the Workplan. It will be added to Group D, in both the Minutes and Workplan.

Minutes of the meetings will be distributed on the Web site of the Council once approved by the members of the Council, through an email process.

The draft agendas will also be placed on the Web site so interested parties can raise issues with the members or the secretariat.

With the above changes, the minutes of the meeting were approved by a motion, by Jacques Côté, and seconded by Vangelis Nikias. Approved

ACTION: Secretariat

Review of Workplan by Group

Status Report on the Actions of Lead Committees on Group A Recommendations

Recommendation 16:
The Task Force recommends that the Treasury Board Secretariat require that all federal print material be made available concurrently in multiple formats on demand.

Roch Carrier, the National Librarian, had written to the Secretary of Treasury Board, Frank Claydon, to emphasize the importance of strong wording related to alternate format publications in the revised Communications Policy.

Gwynneth Evans mentioned that a response from F. Claydon was received.

G. Evans reported on the meeting she and Mary Frances Laughton had with Jean-Pierre Villeneuve and his staff on May 1st on this subject Policy. During the meeting, they talked, among other things, about appropriate equitable access to information and how to use electronic technologies to produce alternate formats. She mentioned that progress was made and that it was a useful meeting. She also mentioned that J.P. Villeneuve will be taking the new communications Policy to the Ministers. At this time, the Council's perspective has been made clear and the Secretariat will monitor its progress.

G. Evans and M.F. Laughton also discussed the development of the Manager's guide for multiple formats that has been contracted out to Galbraith & Associates. This guide is intended to assist authors and communications departments within the federal government in producing timely, affordable multiple formats.

Treasury Board is setting up working groups to provide guidelines for each of the important sections of the communications Policy and M.F. Laughton will sit on the working group related to producing alternate formats. Staff at the National Library will participate in the working group on guidelines for electronic publishing.

ACTION: Secretariat

Recommendation 9
The Task Force recommends that the National Library of Canada keep the CANUC-H/CANWIP databases up to date, comprehensive (inclusive of new media, e.g. tactile), representative and available to all alternate format producers. Access to the database must be free.

Recommendation 20
The Task Force recommends that the National Library of Canada provide leadership and support to Canadian libraries to facilitate interlibrary loans and encourage the sharing of materials in alternate formats.

In early May, there was a meeting of the Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres (CAER) in Halifax. The group discussed Recommendations 9 and 20.

In addition to discussing the above, the group spoke of the need to catalogue and report tactile material to the National Library's union catalogue and to use Emilie Lowenberg's expertise in this task.

The Chair stated several times that it would be an opportunity for R. Carrier to discuss the importance of AMICUS and resource sharing, when he is meeting library associations at their annual meetings. G. Evans will be informing R. Carrier of that opportunity.

The meeting of CAER in Halifax provided E. Lowenberg and Peter Webster with the opportunity to discuss Recommendations 9 and 20. P. Webster produced a background document, which will be used as the subject for discussion of the Lead Committees. (See Appendix 1: Peter Webster's Draft Report 2, Special Needs Material Sharing)

Recommendation 13
The Task Force recommends that the National Librarian negotiate a Canadian site license with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic.

In consultation with M.F. Laughton, G. Evans wrote a letter for R. Carrier to Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic in March 2001 regarding Recommendation 13.

Up to this point, there has been no formal reply. It was agreed that the Secretariat would take measures to continue the discussion. It was suggested that a representative of the CNIB accompany R. Carrier on a formal visit to Princeton, N.J. G. Evans will arrange that meeting.

ACTION: Secretariat

Recommendation 12
The Task Force recommends that the National Librarian expand the availability of braille materials by negotiating access for Canadians with national and international providers of braille materials.

Regarding Recommendation 12, it was agreed that R. Carrier will discuss the possibility of access to braille material produced outside Canada when he has meetings with the international library community over the next months.

ACTION: Secretariat

Introduction to Canada site and existing programs to disseminate government information and receive requests

Donna Achimov made a presentation on the Canada site and on programs related to public access. It was well received and she answered questions.

Report on the Federal Disability Agenda and In Unison

Mary Glen made a presentation on the above mentioned topic. The presentation was well received and a discussion on a number of issues followed.

Towards Implementing In Unison

Vangelis Nikias introduced the study "Towards Implementing 'In Unison'".

In Unison is a framework launched by the Social Services Ministers in 1999 to present a vision of shared responsibility among federal, provincial and territorial levels of government.

The main issues for persons with disabilities in becoming full citizens of Canada are: disability supports, income and employment.

In his presentation, explained the main findings of the research, sponsored by the Partnership Program of HRDC. He talked about a variety of topics related to the visually handicapped Canadians and their need of:

  • Better access to information and technologies
  • Uniform level of services throughout the country (four provinces financially support the purchase of assistive devices, but none of the programs are similar or comprehensive)
  • Financial help through tax-based support (possibility of pilot projects)
  • Training on how to use the range of assistive devices
  • Employment opportunities

Some members commented on the fact that tax-based supports (credits) could be difficult because of the definition of disability and the application of the credit by auditors. Discussion continued and the Council noted that the recommendations related to disability supports and training were very important; movement in this area is crucial to the success of the Council's work. It was agreed that the Council would work towards a pilot project dealing with disability supports.

ACTION: V. Nikias
and the Lead Committee

Working Group/Committee Meetings

Two working groups had meetings. The topics of discussion were the recommendations related to increase the support for Canadian content in multiple formats and relations with publishers (Recommendations 7, 8 and 10) and resource sharing (Recommendations 9 and 20). The results of the discussions were shared in plenary.


Recommendations related to Publishers (Recommendations 7, 8 and 10)

Recommendation 7
The Task Force recommends that the Government of Canada establish and fund a clearinghouse for e-text to which Canadian publishers must make their works available.

Recommendation 8
The Task Force recommends that federal, provincial and territorial subsidies be available only to publishers which provide e-texts to the clearinghouse simultaneous with print publication.

Recommendation 10
The Task Force recommends that the Government of Canada, through Canadian Heritage, annually appropriate at least $7.5M, beginning FY 2001/2002, to support the production in Canada of multiple formats (audio/Braille/large print) of materials which have authorship outside governments.

One of the main topics of this plenary was the discussion regarding Recommendation 8. It was decided that no further action be taken related to Recommendation 8. A motion was passed and the Secretariat was asked to update the public Workplan on the Web site to acknowledge this discussion of the Council.

Monique Smith and M.F. Laughton agreed to speak with publishers and to encourage one or two pilot projects, so that Canadian publishers, educational publishers, alternate format producers and the National Library can learn from the experience.

There was also a discussion on the creation of a clearinghouse (Recommendation 7) for master files to pass securely between publishers and alternate format producers and the fact that it could be at the National Library of Canada. This clearinghouse would be an intermediary step since, within the next few years, a two-step program would not be necessary with e-books because of the standards and protocols related to rights management will be in place.

There was a discussion about the support of each or in some cases from the community for the clearinghouse. Those present all expressed their support and their expectation that more support could be garnered.

There was a brief discussion of digital rights management in the context of the clearinghouse.

The group agreed to discuss the possibility of approaching the program entitled "Canadian Digital Cultural Content Initiative" with Allan Clarke on Monday morning.

ACTION: Secretariat
M. Smith
M.F. Laughton

Resource Sharing of Alternate Format Materials

P. Webster provided a text that laid out some of the issues and the developments needed to address Recommendations 9 and 20. In speaking of the issues, it was acknowledged that there are many stakeholders and players in issues related to the union catalogue (CANUC:H and CANWIP) resident within AMICUS and also with the sharing of materials among service providers. In addition to recognized producers of alternate format materials in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, many colleges and universities have special services which provide materials if they are not able to borrow or acquire the materials from the regular sources. Much of this material does not find its way into union catalogues.

Moreover, the standards and best practices for interlibrary loan and document delivery have traditionally been set up between libraries; yet many service providers are housed outside the library. The staff may not be familiar with the practices that have developed over decades of library cooperation, both nationally and internationally.

Training is another issue that affects the efficiency and effectiveness of getting materials to the user. The more digital the environment becomes, the more training is necessary for assistive technologies and new formats.

Another issue is the coordination of the resource sharing programs and their promotion, in order to ensure that persons with print disabilities get as much material into their hands in a timely and affordable manner.

The Council sees a role for the National Library in this coordination of maintaining the data base, in making it free and accessible and in promoting its own services and those of other major providers.

Training materials are needed for staff to ensure a coordinated, effective lending program and workshops would be useful.

Tied to and complementing Recommendations 9 and 20 are also the recommendations on site licenses and granting programs for new technologies and digital content development.

The Lead Committee recommended that a meeting of the major stakeholders be held in the fall to discuss the issues and form a partnership to enhance reporting to AMICUS, coordination of lending, training for staff and approaches to improve the delivery system and service.

Invitations would go to the Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Canadian Association of College and University Libraries, the Provincial and Territorial Library Directors' Council, the Council of Administrators of Large Urban Public Libraries, the Canadian Association of Public Libraries, the Canadian Association of Service Providers for Disabled Students Post Secondary Education. Council members who are members of the Learning Disability Association of Canada, the National Education Association of Disabled Students, CNIB and NFB:AE will be invited.

It would also be useful to involve library schools, library technicians' programs and faculties of education in raising awareness of the needs of print disabled users.

P.S. (On June 14, 2001 at the Canadian Library Association, R. Carrier announced that access to AMICUS would be free)

ACTION: Lead Committee
and Secretariat

Monday, May 28th

P. Whitney gave a summary of the Sunday meeting. The Council discussed a number of complex and interrelated subjects. Access to information is broad, and includes accessible government information and a large range of Canadian content and intellectual content from other countries.

To ensure the availability of this diverse range of content, digitization of Canadian content is possible; e-text is an opportunity, if secure means can be developed for passing it from publishers to alternate format producers. The National Library may act as a broker.

The infrastructure and policies have to be in place for materials "born digital" as well as those converted to digital for making information available.

It was pointed out that scanned images are not accessible to some print disabled Canadians without descriptive text. The Council thus agreed to write the Minister of Canadian Heritage, to ensure that projects funded by PCH are accessible.

ACTION: Secretariat

Allan Clarke, Director General of Publishing Policy and Programs at Canadian Heritage, mentioned that he and his group are very interested in the works of the Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians. Noting the horizontal and interconnected nature of the Task Force Report, he mentioned that some recommendations of the Task Force have already been looked at or will be looked at and he recommended that similar investigation and preparation be made in identifying possible fits with other programs in federal departments.

Regarding money for digitization, A. Clarke mentioned that he would be pleased to organize a meeting and introduce the Council to René Bouchard, responsible for the Canadian Digital Cultural Content Initiative. Web site:

M.F. Laughton noted that new legislation in the United States (Instructional Materials Accessibility Act 2001) might assist the Council in building its case in relation to new content.

ACTION: Secretariat in consultation with A. Clarke

Promotion and Consultation for the Council and Secretariat

The main focus of this was the various ways in which the Council can communicate effectively with its various stakeholders.

It was suggested that we could have a newsletter or a bulletin to communicate the work of the Council. Everybody agreed on the usefulness of this means of communication and the Secretariat of the Council will be responsible for its creation and update. Members will use their constituencies and the specialized vehicles of those communities to get the message of the bulletin out. It was noted that plain language and multiple formats are needed for the Bulletin.

The Council already has an email address ( to answer questions. Responses to factual questions are answered in a timely way: letters are drafted for the Chair, when it is appropriate. The Web site and listservs also exist and can be linked from the sites of other stakeholders.

A draft text will be sent to members for their approval and, when finalized in both languages, for their distribution.

ACTION: Secretariat

Demonstration of Major Technologies

Karen Taylor of the CNIB gave a presentation of VICTOR, a machine that reads a book out loud and allows for much flexible browsing, bookmarking, etc. It was developed by VisuAide

Lawrence Euteneier from Industry Canada presented the Council with WEB4ALL. For more information, please access the Web site at:

Goals, Workplan and Expectations for the Next Meeting

P. Whitney summarized a number of decisions to be reached by Council (in addition to those already cited) before the next meeting.

It was agreed that the Minutes and Workplan of the first meeting will be corrected and made public. The Minutes of the second meeting of the Council will be disseminated as soon as possible, as draft minutes to the members and that they will need to be approved by each member before dissemination on the Web site.

ACTION: Secretariat

The approval of the Communications Policy will be monitored and progress on the Managers' Guide will be made public.

ACTION: Secretariat
and M.F. Laughton

G. Evans will arrange a meeting at Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic in Princeton, New Jersey, for R. Carrier and a member of the CNIB Library. G. Evans will also brief R. Carrier on the issue of Braille materials before his international meetings.

ACTION: Secretariat

In following up Towards Implementing In Unison, , with assistance with the Secretariat, will meet his group to decide on the next steps, including some possible pilot projects.

ACTION: Secretariat

A meeting will be arranged with R. Bouchard from Canadian Heritage. A letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage related to the need for digitization proposals to address the issue of accessibility will be drafted for R. Carrier's signature.

ACTION: Secretariat

M. Smith and M.F. Laughton will report back on the meetings with publishers.

ACTION: M.F. Laughton
and M. Smith

The revised Workplan on the Web site should incorporate Recommendation 1 and make a note about the decision not to implement Recommendation 8.

ACTION: Secretariat

P. Whitney suggested that R. Carrier use the library conference season to talk about the work of the Council and the need for local and provincial library service providers and funders to become involved.

ACTION: Secretariat to write note to R. Carrier

It was agreed that draft letters, minutes and the bulletin be sent to Members for their approval and that correspondence be shared with the appropriate committee members, so that those involved, could speak from similar knowledge and understanding of the issue.

ACTION: Secretariat

The Resource Sharing Committee will set up a fall meeting with stakeholders.

ACTION: Lead Committee
and Secretariat

A draft bulletin will be written and circulated for comments.

ACTION: Secretariat

Conclusion and date of next meeting

The second meeting of the Council was concluded at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, May 28th, 2001. It is expected that a third meeting will be held in the fall of 2001, possibly in late October. A note will be circulated to members in the next few weeks, so the dates can be confirmed.

ACTION: Secretariat