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Donna Pletz Passey
Paul Whitney (Chair)
Don Butcher, CLA (afternoon only)
Roch Carrier, National Librarian of Canada (morning only)
Andrée Delagrave, Library and Archives Canada (afternoon only)
John Grace, Department of Canadian Heritage
Emilie Lowenberg, Library and Archives Canada
Susan Murdock, Department of Canadian Heritage
Frank Smith, NEADS (afternoon only)
Policy Advisors Present
Mary Frances Laughton
Suzanne Léger-Miville, Library and Archives Canada
Trisha Lucy, Library and Archives Canada
Ralph Manning, Library and Archives Canada (Secretary)
The Chair welcomed the Council to its seventh meeting and introduced Jacqueline Hushion who was attending her first meeting as a member of the Council.
Roch Carrier, National Librarian of Canada, welcomed the Council to Library and Archives Canada (LAC). He noted that the time is right for the Council to be meeting and invited its members to participate in the development of Library and Archives Canada, a new institution bringing together two cultures with vastly rich collections. He explained that LAC will be an important knowledge institution with considerable weight within government. This weight will provide even stronger support for the work of the Council. As LAC works to improve services to the public and to increase its involvement in education, the time is good for the Council to help push the agenda.
The order of items remained flexible throughout the meeting to accommodate the members and guests. The agenda was approved by consensus. The minutes of the sixth meeting (April 6-7, 2003) were approved by consensus.
P. Whitney updated the Council on issues related to copyright. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage moved to ask the Ministers of Industry and Canadian Heritage to quickly bring forward legislation to implement changes to the Copyright Act to bring it into line with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. In November, WIPO met to discuss copyright issues related to the visually impaired. Presentations were made by the World Blind Union, the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. IPA expressed its resistance to the imposition of an international treaty and recommended bilateral agreements instead.
M.F. Laughton pointed out that while accessibility is on the radar screen in Europe, the WIPO focus is on the visually impaired; learning disability issues are not being discussed.
The Vision and Implementation Plan for a Clearinghouse for Print-Disabled Canadians can be found at: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/accessinfo/005003
-3000-05-2003-e.html. Progress has been made on the establishment of a pilot project to test this vision. K. Taylor, J. Hushion and R. Manning met in the spring to discuss the feasibility of a pilot project and recently, J. Hushion and R. Manning met with AccessCopyright. J. Hushion has also been discussing the project with publishers. We are ready to implement a pilot project. Initially, it was thought that a limited number of publishers would participate in order to keep the pilot focused, but it is now realized that in order to properly test the viability, the concept needs to be validated by the participation of all publishers. The focus needs to be determined by the needs of the users.
It is recommended that a steering committee be established, consisting of representatives from the Council, LAC, CNIB, alternate format producers, AccessCopyright (also representing Copibec) and the publishers' associations. Inclusion of French-speaking Canada will be assured through connections with the Canadian Publishers' Council and the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres. AccessCopyright will act as the gatekeeper. In response to the need for user input, it was recommended that a user be included on the steering committee. In addition, the needs of the learning disabled community must be taken into consideration, particularly since they are not frequent users of libraries. The role of for-profit producers will need to be investigated, since the Copyright Act specifies that exemptions apply only to not-for-profit organizations.
The pilot project may last 18 months, but in any case, it will need to coincide with the beginning of a school year or semester.
J. Hushion will seek funding to support an administrator for the project.
Action: Secretariat, J. Hushion
On behalf of Canadian Heritage, S. Murdock explained that the coming months would be a period of transition as a new government takes shape. She emphasized that the Council should renew its efforts to make itself known to government. She explained that the department was preparing to negotiate a new agreement with Canada Post regarding the library book rate.
V. Nikias announced that the Minister of Human Resources Development had announced that she would reallocate $15 million over three years in support of national disability associations. He noted that the United Nations was preparing an international convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
M.F. Laughton also noted that this was a time of change. Both the Information Highway Applications Branch (IHAB) and CANARIE are scheduled to sunset on March 31, 2004. The Managers' Guide to Multiple Format Production is being formatted to become a guideline of the Communications Policy. She also noted that the Declaration of the World Summit on the Information Society mentions the special needs of persons with disabilities.
K. Taylor noted that the Children's Discovery Portal had been launched and that the Minister of Human Resources Development had announced that the government intended to provide $6 million in support of CNIB's Integrated Digital Library System. She announced that CNIB and Interlink in British Columbia will mutually exchange titles produced and that CNIB will convert the Interlink titles to digital format. She also mentioned that the new CNIB headquarters building in Toronto was on target for completion in June 2004.
D. Passey described the mandate of Canadian Association of Educational Resources Centres for Alternate Format Materials (CAER) to share resources produced for educational purposes which collectively saves participants around $4 million per year. She is undertaking a study to confirm that figure. She noted that the Canadian Braille Authority Guidelines for cataloguing tactile materials will be produced in French.
A. Vincent explained that the transfer of services from the Magnetothèque and the Institut Nazareth et Louis-Braille to the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec has not evolved since the last Council meeting. The negotiations were interrupted by the provincial elections. Government cuts are having an effect on the number of titles available in alternate formats. The Regroupement des aveugles et amblyopes du Québec (RAAQ) is carefully monitoring the situation. He also pointed out a study measuring the accessibility of French-language websites. More information can be found at: Accessibilité Web: www.accessibiliteweb.org
C. Moore noted that there needs to be a more effective lobby on behalf of alternate format requirements. CNIB has developed a library advocacy toolkit which includes a 2-page brief on the issues and possible solutions; a summary of existing legislation; a summary of international models; and a sample letter to members of Parliament. The library community needs to publicly speak with one voice. CNIB is working with the public library community, the Canadian Library Association and the Movement for Canadian Literacy as well as LDAC.
P. Webster noted that the disabled student population is increasing. CAER is providing support to CADSPEE for the development of a resource sharing strategy. He discussed the Liberated Learning Project whereby Saint Mary's University, IBM Research, and an international group of universities are collaborating to research and develop new applications of speech recognition technology. The development of e-text from professors' lectures benefits the entire print disabled community.
Frank Smith, National Coordinator, National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), joined the meeting to discuss this project which was developed through a partnership with NEADS, LDAC and the Council. In past Council minutes it has been referred to as the "Toolkit for Training and Advocacy." This project is being funded with $150,000 over two years from the Social Development Partnerships Program of HRDC. The Council members suggest that a letter of thanks be written to the new minister of HRDC. F. Smith explained that the Steering Committee will meet in March to review the draft questions to be used in the survey. These will also be circulated to the Council. It is expected that the survey will be in the field in September 2004. The NEADS National Conference scheduled for November 2004 will include a full day of workshops. E. Walcot-Gayda is the Council's representative on the Steering Committee.
Don Butcher, Executive Director, Canadian Library Association (CLA), joined the meeting for this item. Noting that one of CLA's core values is equitable access to information, he explained that he was seeking the Council's backing for a proposal intended to move forward in a tangible way towards equitable access for the print disabled. At its last Annual General Meeting, the CLA membership passed a resolution calling for the creation of a network for equitable access. There has been support for this idea from CNIB, other library associations, and organizations concerned about literacy. The idea is to provide a cooperative network of library services providing alternate format publications with a level of service equivalent to what is available to the general population. He asked the Council for support for the creation of a working group.
M.F. Laughton noted that this initiative speaks directly to the concerns expressed during the Task Force consultations and responds to the spirit of the Task Force Report. Other members noted that there is a need to include the user in this process, both visually disabled and learning disabled. V. Nikias noted that this initiative has the support of the Director General for the Office for Disability Issues and also underlined the importance of involving the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. D. Passey wished to go on record as strongly supporting the proposal. C. Moore noted that the working group needed library experts in the first instance but that it was important not to neglect the political issues. It was also noted that the Book and Periodical Council could provide support. J. Hushion moved, seconded by D. Passey that the Council support the proposal and this was agreed unanimously.
It was agreed that CLA would take the lead to find resources including the development of a grant proposal to the Social Development Partnerships Program of HRDC; the next deadline is January 31, 2004. R. Manning was asked to provide the link between the CLA initiative and the Council.
Andrée Delagrave, Assistant Deputy Minister, Transformation, joined the meeting for this item. She provided an overview of the transformation process which would create a new organization from the former National Library of Canada and National Archives of Canada. More information can be found on the Library and Archives website at: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/legislation/index-e.html. She asked for input from the Council as part of this process.
On behalf of the Council, the Chair expressed his appreciation for the support of the National Librarian and his creation of the Council. The Council expressed its pleasure that Library and Archives Canada would continue to give consideration to the issues of access to print disabled Canadians. It was noted that as LAC develops its new character, the disability community must continue to be considered partners and that the future work force of the institution should be representative of the community.
A. Delagrave responded that the new institution will be evaluated on how it contributes to Canadian society and that accessibility was part of that contribution. LAC will need to establish strong relationships with the community and with partners. She assured the Council that it would be a key partner and that the Council provided LAC with valuable advice in ensuring access to all Canadians. She noted that LAC needed strategic objectives in deciding what to fund. LAC could also contribute strategic intelligence to the communities regarding government programs and priorities, permitting the community to better target its funding requests.
R. Manning noted that the original members of the Council were appointed with an understanding that their membership would be reviewed after three years. That time will come in February 2004. R. Manning would consult individually with each member to determine their willingness to serve a second term. The question of Council membership was discussed in a general way. While understood that Council members were individual appointments, it was emphasized that there were certain constituencies that needed to be represented, including learning disabled consumers and possibly the elderly.