Canada's New Government Supports Library and Archives Canada's Initiative for Equitable Library Access

OTTAWA, October 2, 2007 - The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, today announced funding for Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to support access by Canadians with print disabilities to library collections.

Funding of $3 million will support the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA) to assist Canadians who are unable to read standard printed material.

"Through this initiative, Canada's New Government will encourage the full participation of all Canadians in today's highly competitive knowledge economy," said Minister Verner. "Less than five percent of published materials are currently available in multiple formats. This project will help raise this percentage."

IELA will coordinate activities, develop a national strategy and assess the costs involved, and provide equitable library services. The initiative will be carried out in partnership with Canadian libraries, people with print disabilities, publishers, producers of multiple formats, and other stakeholders, including the CNIB and the education sector. With the cooperation it is receiving nationwide, the Government of Canada will be able to offer equitable library services to meet the information needs of people with visual, perceptual, and physical disabilities.

"Canada's library community has asked us to take the lead as a national, coordinating body to ensure that all Canadians have consistent library access to information wherever they live and whatever their means" said Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "I am delighted to respond with an initiative that will allow many more Canadians to take advantage of information resources by providing it in a format they can use."

Library and Archives Canada is an innovative knowledge institution responsible for acquiring and preserving Canada's documentary heritage in all its forms and for providing Canadians with easy, one-stop access to the texts, photographs, and other documents that reflect the country's cultural, social, and political development

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Richard Walker
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage,
Status of Women and Official Languages
819 997-5978

Donald Boulanger
A/Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819 994-9101

Council on Access to Information for Print Disabled Canadians: