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Minutes of Meeting Held on
December 1-2, 2002
National Library of Canada, Ottawa

Members Present
Jacques Côté
Robert Fenton
Joby Fleming (by telephone, December 1 only)
Elizabeth Gayda
Donna Pletz Passey
Monique Smith
Karen Taylor
André Vincent
Peter Webster
Paul Whitney (Chair)

Gwynneth Evans
Gaëtan Lévesque

Sandy Foote, Consultant (December 1 only)
Sean Foyn, Department of Canadian Heritage (December 2 only)
John Grace, Department of Canadian Heritage
Emilie Lowenberg, National Library of Canada
Bill Murphy, National Library of Canada

Policy Advisors Present
Grant Johnson (December 2 only)
Mary Frances Laughton
Catherine Moore
Vangelis Nikias
Deborah Tunis (December 1, p.m. only)

Leila Fawzi, National Library of Canada
Gloria Joy Jouppien, National Library of Canada
Ralph Manning, National Library of Canada (Secretary)


The Chair welcomed the Council to its fifth meeting and everyone present introduced themselves. The Chair requested a number of modifications to the order of the agenda and several new items were added. The order of items remained flexible throughout the meeting to accommodate the members and guests. The minutes of the fourth meeting (April 13-14, 2002) were approved by consensus.

Toolkit For Training And Advocacy

At the fourth meeting, based on a presentation by G. Evans, the Council supported a proposal for a project on information and training materials for service providers. The original proposal is attached to these minutes at: Because of other commitments, it was impossible to further develop the proposal and to identify funding sources before this meeting. While potential funding sources may be available at HRDC, it was noted that the Council reports to the National Librarian and is therefore a government agency. As such, it is ineligible for federal government grants. The proposal would have to be carried forward, therefore, by another organization or organizations outside government. The Council requested G. Evans to work with the secretariat to finalize the proposal and to identify appropriate partners.

G. Evans, Secretariat

Library Book Rate + Literature For The Blind

As reported at the last meeting, the Library Book Rate which provides reduced postage for print materials to encourage resource sharing has been extended for three years. In addition, the Department of Canadian Heritage has undertaken a study of the Book Rate. This study is now being translated into French and will be made available in the next month for comment. A suggestion has been made that the program be expanded to non-book materials which would permit the reduced rate to be used for audiobooks.

The suggestion to recommend an expansion of eligibility for the Literature for the Blind program of Canada Post to include all Print-Disabled Canadians continues to be investigated. P. Webster has had communications from Canada Post indicating an unwillingness to make changes. A. Vincent notes that the Magnetothèque and the Institut Louis Braille are using the Literature for the Blind provisions for learning disabled clientele as well as visually impaired clientele; there has been no expansion of the eligible formats, however. The Secretariat is asked to follow-up on this recommendation.


CADSPPE Service Standard

P. Webster outlines the work being done by the Council of Atlantic University Libraries to develop a common standard for disabled users. CADSPPE (Canadian Association of Disability Service Providers in Post-Secondary Education) has established a working group (Chair, Janet Mee) to develop a standard for the production, lending and retention of alternate formats. This is still at the discussion stage. P. Webster will keep the Council informed of progress.

Action: P. Webster

Clearinghouse For E-Text Masters

Pursuant to the motion made at the last meeting to the effect that the National Library provide funding to investigate an appropriate location for a Clearinghouse for digital files where Canadian publishers can deposit these files and multiple format providers will be able to access these files; to determine the appropriate level of digital rights management that publishers consider necessary to participate in the Clearinghouse; to assess the costs involved in implementing the project including costs related to file conversion and file storage; and to identify possible locations for a Clearinghouse in the French language market, the Secretariat engaged Footeworks Inc. to undertake this project.

Sandy Foote presents the proposal through a presentation:
[PDF 157 KB]

His proposed model was developed after consultations with several members of the Council, the National Library of Canada, CNIB, Access Copyright and representatives of the publishing community. Publishers would provide their electronic texts to any one of several potential repositories, including the CNIB digital library. Digital rights management for access to the titles in these repositories would be managed by Access Copyright and alternate format producers would have access to information about the titles through the National Library's Amicus database and/or directly through Access Copyright.

The Council's discussion included the issue of end-user access; the publishing community does not yet have the necessary protections in place for direct access, so it is understood that the implementation of the model would have to be phased. Digital rights management is a major concern of the publishers. Cost is another concern of the publishers and the format conversions that would be required must have minimal financial implications for publishers; building on successes and the development of conversion toolkits may be the solution. A proposed joint project between CNIB and the Association of Canadian Publishers to develop industry guidelines for digital rights management may result in a suitable solution, but in the meantime, trust relationships need to be developed with the publishers. It is emphasized that we must not jeopardize Section 32 rights.

The Council was supportive of the proposal and there was consensus that this initiative is a stepping-stone to direct access to information by end-users.

Before the Footeworks presentation is finalized, additional consultations will be held with the learning disabled community and the francophone community.

The National Library was asked to have an implementation document prepared to guide future work. A subsequent pilot project could put the necessary agreement in place to test the model.

R. Fenton agreed to prepare a document which articulates the methodology for advancing this initiative. He will prepare a draft for comment by a subcommittee composed of J. Côté, R. Fenton, E. Gayda and A. Vincent by the end of January. A final version will be presented to the full Council for discussion at its next meeting.

J. Côté, R. Fenton, E. Gayda, A. Vincent

Recording For The Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D)

In July, R. Manning and P. Webster visited the Headquarters of RFB&D in Princeton and were joined for the consultation by M.F. Laughton on teleconference. It was constructive to see the facilities of RFB&D and their focus on converting to digital format. However, it was reiterated that any agreement would be limited to analog materials because of their concerns regarding copyright. The management of RFB&D were clear that they have fundamental concerns about establishing a Canadian site licence although in principle they are enthusiastic about expanding their program to other countries. R. Manning's subsequent conversations with RFB&D would indicate that the copyright concerns are overriding and there is now considerable pessimism that a pilot project can be undertaken. RFB&D officials have promised to give a definitive answer within a few weeks. If the pilot project cannot proceed, the Council suggested that a different model be adopted whereby RFB&D material is purchased for use in Canada, subsequent to individual copyright clearance to reproduce the material in Canada.

B.C. Audiobooks Program

P. Whitney reported that Public Library InterLINK, a partnership of British Columbia libraries has agreed with the Province of British Columbia to continue to produce replacement tapes for the existing collection of B.C. Audiobooks. In addition, the province has provided a one-time grant of $200,000 which will be used as seed money to develop a program for the production of new titles, with a focus on Canadian material. An RFP for the production has been issued and there is hope that the reciprocal agreement with CNIB for the exchange of submasters can continue. The titles will be available for purchase by libraries. The Province of British Columbia has asked the National Library to take possession of the archival masters for the purpose of their preservation. This has been agreed, but for technical reasons, the physical transfer will not take place for some months.


P. Whitney reported that the needs of the disabled community was prominent at the WIPO hearings. It was reported that many countries do not have exemptions for the creation of alternate format materials, that there is no agreement for lending alternate formats across borders and that technological barriers to access threaten access to information by the Print-Disabled. The Canadian delegation lead its intervention at the WIPO meeting with a call for a study of copyright and alternate formats for the Print-Disabled. Paul Whitney will write to Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada officials to thank them for their leadership on this issue at this important international meeting. In the UK, a new bill has passed providing exemptions for large print as well as braille and audio but not for e-text. P. Whitney also reported that the Federal Government has released the Section 92 Review document which lays out the timetable for revision. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage must report back to the House by September 2003; they will probably issue a call for submissions. If the Council has the opportunity, it will make a submission, emphasizing the issues relating to digital information. The Council will continue to monitor the issues related to cinematographic materials; M.F. Laughton reports that R. Trimbee from the National Broadcasting Reading Service intends to pursue this and will consult the Council. D. Pletz Passey will convey to her CMEC colleagues that the needs of the Print-Disabled must be addressed at the upcoming Educational Consultation. R. Fenton will prepare a document outlining the concerns of the Council regarding cinematographic works, large print and technological barriers. The government documents can be consulted on the WWW in English at: and in French at:

R. Fenton, D. Pletz Passey, P. Whitney

Federal Disability Agenda

D. Tunis provided the Council with an update on the Federal Disability Agenda. Tuesday, December 3 is the International Day of the Disabled Person. Minister Stewart will issue the government report identifying progress made and outcomes achieved within the Federal Disability Agenda. This report entitled "Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities" can be found in English at: and in French ("Vers l'intégration des personnes handicapées") at: In addition, Statistics Canada will release the first tranche of results from the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey. In addition, she reported that the recent Speech from the Throne mentioned the need to assist low-income families with disabled children. A framework for a comprehensive market strategy will be pursued and her office will aggressively pursue the issue of employability of disabled persons; federal/provincial agreements in this area expire at the end of March 2003.

Federal Disability Portal

M.F. Laughton provided the Council with an update on the Federal Disability Portal, a bilingual site, which can be accessed through the WWW at: She outlined the rich resources included in this portal including Disability WebLinks, a collaborative Federal/Provincial/Territorial project undertaken by Ministers responsible for Social Services and developed in consultation with representatives from the disability community.

Funding Proposal For Production Of Alternate Formats

P. Whitney read the proposal that had been earlier distributed to the Council members. The proposal consists of a request to the Department of Canadian Heritage for a $2.5 million grant for the production of alternate formats. Discussion revolved around the maximum amounts suggested for each braille or audio title and the requirements for post-production distribution. Concerns were expressed about the variations in cost between straight forward trade publications and educational or scientific materials with graphics, illustrations, etc. The use of a blanket amount regardless of publication size was also expressed as an issue. Consensus was reached on two key issues-viz, that the proposal should be based on a matching cost model, and that the focus should be on Canadian-authored works. It was also emphasized that the proposal should be clear that the Council, representing all aspects of the community, supports the proposal. It was agreed by consensus that the proposal should be submitted in a less detailed format to the National Librarian who would be asked to take it to PCH. A revised version of the proposal will be circulated to Council members within the week for comment. There is some urgency to get the proposal, if possible, into the coming budget discussions for the next fiscal year. The revised proposal is at:

Members Updates

D. Pletz Passey reported that Janet Mee is the new chair of CAER; Ms. Mee is also involved in CADSPPE. Manitoba has joined the CNIB Visunet Program and all public libraries in the province may participate. Passey feels that resource sharing needs to have a stronger focus in Council discussions.

V. Nikias reported that the strategic planning process in the Office for Disability Issues has been completed. It will be made public on December 3.

M.F. Laughton noted that the "common look and feel" for federal government websites must be implemented by the end of December 2002. This is also the deadline for a similar initiative in Ontario. The on-line Tutorial for the Manager's Guide to Alternate Format Production and the Accessible Procurement Toolkit are now available on the Web and

A. Vincent reported on the Quebec government's policy to centralize services to the Print-Disabled at the new Bibliothèque nationale du Québec. This is causing some apprehension among disabled users. There are serious questions about future service delivery including whether the centralized services will be offered equally to all Print-Disabled users, including the learning disabled and whether francophones outside Quebec will have access to the resources in the BNQ. A meeting with the Minister of Culture is planned for the near future to air these concerns. P. Whitney offered the Council's assistance and A. Vincent will keep the Council informed.

J. Côté outlined the services offered by his organization which is an important private producer for educational materials. Innovative techniques have permitted improvements in the computer production of tactile graphics. The company does considerable work for U.S. users and is looking to the European Community for new opportunities.

R. Fenton outlined new provisions for accessibility in Alberta including an amendment to the Alberta Schools Act making it mandatory to provide Braille instruction, and a review of the Alberta Blind Persons Rights Act which may add a requirement to ensure access to government information.

K. Taylor reported that Daisy Books are now an option in Ontario for students requiring alternate formats. She announced that Barney Danson's new autobiography was released simultaneously in many alternate formats, an excellent model for future publishing. K. Taylor made a presentation on the CNIB Integrated Digital Library System. The presentation is appended to these minutes:
HTML version

C. Moore, recently appointed CNIB National Director for Consumer and Government Relations noted that CNIB is working on an internal strategic plan which will be submitted to the National Board in the spring of 2003. It is increasingly apparent that partnerships are essential and CNIB therefore encourages other organizations to provide input on CNIB's strategic direction , within the parameters of its existing mandate.

J. Grace noted that the PCH Canadian Culture Online Program is actively working on standards development and is very interested in print-disability issues.

E. Lowenberg explained that the National Library continues to expand reporting to the National Union Catalogue of alternate format materials, as resources permit. She is in contact with the former B.C. Audiobooks Program to ensure that there is a smooth transition in the reporting of new products.

E. Gayda noted that the LDAC definition of "print disability" has been accepted by all provinces. This definition emphasizes that these disabilities are life-long.

M. Smith announced her departure as Executive Director of ACP. As a consequence, she will also be resigning from the Council. She noted that members of the Writers' Union are concerned about violation of moral rights when they are not informed that their works have been converted to alternate formats.

CNIB Vision

CNIB has requested the Council's input into their internal strategic planning process. After discussion, the Council agreed to remind CNIB of the need to serve all Print-Disabled Canadians, as outlined in Recommendation 2 of the Task Force Report. The Council's submission will also commend CNIB's commitment to rehabilitation activities and request that these not be diminished in the future.

IFLA Guidelines On Libraries For The Blind

The IFLA Section on Libraries for the Blind is preparing Guidelines. A draft has been sent to Council members for comment. The Canadian experience in having the National Library of Canada establish an advisory Council on issues related to the access to information for the Print-Disabled presents an interesting model for other countries and could be included in these Guidelines.

National Library And Archives Of Canada

The National Librarian, Roch Carrier, was unable to attend the meeting due to a recent injury from which he is recuperating. The Council expressed that his presence was missed, and sent its best wishes for his speedy recovery.

In his absence, R. Manning explained that on October 2, 2002, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced the creation of the Library and Archives of Canada, confirming the intention of the Government as expressed in the recent Speech from the Throne. The new agency will have an enhanced role as a national cultural agency. The process of transition to the new agency has begun but it is too early to say how the Council will be affected. R. Manning expressed the ongoing commitment of the Library and Archives of Canada to the enhancement of access to information for the Print-Disabled community.

Next Meeting

There was a brief discussion on the best days of the week to hold Council's meetings but consensus was not reached. The Chair suggests that a date early in the next fiscal year would enable us to progress some of the Council's more urgent action items. Tentatively, it is suggested that a meeting be held in the first half of April 2003.