Advocacy

ACP believes a healthy Canadian-owned and controlled publishing industry is essential for broad public access to Canadian writing.

Canadian Ownership

As Canada seeks to maintain a competitive position with respect to international trade and economic growth, and as technological advances make it easier to access books and other media from around the world, why does a Canadian-owned and controlled book industry matter?

Canadian ownership of cultural enterprises fosters Canadian culture and identity, while contributing to the economy on a national scale.

The Revised Foreign Investment Policy in Book Publishing and Distribution is the bedrock of our domestic industry and has guaranteed Canadians a steady supply of diverse books in all genres from authors across the country. The policy recognizes that there is value in a Canadian-owned and controlled book industry and, when upheld, encourages a healthy independent publishing sector. A number of exceptions have been made to the policy in recent years, which has eroded the capacity of the Canadian-owned sector to compete in its own market.

The numerous exceptions made to the policy in recent years have provided very little benefit to Canadians, and in the case of the 2012 acquisition of McClelland & Stewart by Random House, an exception has taken enormous long-term investment by Canadian taxpayers and transferred author contracts and ongoing profits to foreign owners.

Considerations of cultural sovereignty must play an important role in determining “net benefit to Canada” when questions of foreign investment are considered. Independence and diversity are hard-won strengths of the Canadian-owned industry, and the result of sound public policy. Further erosion of Canadian ownership in the book business would be to the detriment of Canadian creators, publishers, and consumers.

Therefore, ACP believes that the ownership policy should be enforced, and more meaningful assessments of “net benefit to Canada” be applied when exceptions are sought.

ACP believes copyright is the foundation on which the book industry is built.

Copyright is an essential tool that protects the intellectual property rights of publishers and creators, while allowing Canadians ready access to the reading material they rely on for work, education, and leisure.

Since the adoption of the Copyright Modernization Act in 2012, educators at both the K-12 and post-secondary level have interpreted new fair dealing provisions very broadly, and ceased making payment for the copyright protected materials they rely on to deliver curriculum and courses to Canadian students.

Revenues have dropped dramatically, limiting the industry’s capacity to reinvest in Canadian work.

The education sector’s interpretation of fair dealing has led to costly and disruptive litigation that, at best, will take several years to resolve. A review of the Copyright Act is underway, but we anticipate that the recommendations that result could take significant time to implement.

ACP believes that fair dealing provisions must be clarified immediately, to ensure fair compensation for the use of copyright-protected work, and the continued production of Canadian learning resources for our students.

Public Investment

The establishment and growth of an independent, Canadian-owned book publishing industry has been made possible in part by judicious government investment and far-sighted public policy.

Over the past several decades, a number of complementary federal measures have been established to ensure that Canada’s publishing sector remains both economically competitive and culturally vibrant.

These funding programs, policies, and regulations ensure that all Canadians have access to the fullest possible range of books for entertainment, information, and education

ACP believes in the continued support and expansion of these support programs for the Canadian independent publishing sector.

Canada Book Fund

The Canada Book Fund (CBF), a sales-based program administered by the Book Policy and Programs division of the Department of Canadian Heritage, has been rigorously developed and administered to support Canadian-owned publishers who employ best business practices, commit to innovation, and aggressively promote Canadian authors at home and internationally.

CBF support allows publishers to both invest in the publication of new works by Canadian authors and ensure that these books are priced competitively when compared to the imported titles that dominate the Canadian market.

The standards for success within the program are high; for those publishers who meet them, the CBF is an essential support that ensures their businesses remain competitive, and that a diverse, Canadian-owned publishing sector thrives in all regions of the country.

CBF is one of the most effective tools the government provides to book publishers, and it has proven its value year after year. Though the program was stabilized in 2014, its total budget remains $39.1M per year—the same level as in 2001. Since then, inflation, rapidly changing market conditions, and government policy decisions have combined to limit Canadian publishers’ competitiveness, while high demand has led to some CBF programs being oversubscribed.

Increased investment in the fund would enable publishers in all regions across Canada to invest in the publication of new Canadian works, engage in the digital marketplace, pursue strategic collective initiatives, and bring Canadian books to international markets.

In December 2016, the federal Standing Committee on Finance recommended that the Canada Book Fund be increased.

Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts administers a number of programs that support the writing and publishing of Canadian literary works.

For Canadian-owned book publishers, the Block Grant program complements the sales-oriented Canada Book Fund, and like all Canada Council programs, grants are awarded through a stringent peer assessment process.

Funding is awarded to those firms that demonstrate cultural value and excellence across a range of criteria, and this support builds their capacity to invest in the publication and promotion of culturally important works. In turn these books help foster Canadian culture, identity, and heritage, to the benefit of all Canadians.

Freedom to Publish

Freedom of expression, freedom to publish, and freedom to read are cornerstones of a democratic society. These are core values of ACP and the association supports the defense of these rights in Canada and around the world.

ACP is a member of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and is proud to endorse its Freedom to Publish Manifesto.

IPA Freedom to Publish Manifesto

Publishing is a powerful mechanism by which humanity has for centuries circulated works of the mind, information, ideas, beliefs and opinions. Many international treaties and declarations* enshrine freedom of expression as an inalienable human right and affirm media freedom as fundamental to liberty.

Human rights are safeguards of human dignity, and unhindered access to multiple information sources is a prerequisite for diversity, creativity, prosperity, tolerance and progress. Freedom of expression is the basis for the creation of works of the mind; for publishers, it forms both the creative and economic foundation of their profession.

The IPA believes that the unique contribution of publishers to enabling freedom of expression, debate and dialogue by disseminating the works of others deserves distinct recognition and protection.

The IPA is committed to defending and promoting the freedom to publish, which is under siege worldwide today. The IPA Statutes declare that the first Object of the Association is:

“To uphold and defend the right of publishers to publish and distribute works of the mind in complete freedom, provided that in so doing they respect all legal rights attached to these works within their own countries and internationally. It is the duty of the Association to oppose steadfastly any attempt or threat to restrict that freedom”.

It is the task of the IPA’s permanent Freedom to Publish Committee to manage the association’s work in this field by implementing programs and activities in partnership with member associations, international organizations, and other non-governmental organizations.

ACP believes in the continued support and expansion of these support programs for the Canadian independent publishing sector.

*They can be found in numerous international conventions including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 11 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, Article 13 of American Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 32 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

The IPA’s Mission

Helping our members to fight for freedom to publish

We support our members through legal advice and direct lobbying when laws that threaten freedom to publish are proposed. We do this in concert with an extensive network of international non-governmental organizations.

Challenging violations of freedom to publish

We raise the alarm when publishers and writers are in danger and we support them when they face wrongful prosecution. We liaise with global fora, such as relevant United Nations agencies, to ensure the collective voice of publishers resonates in the freedom of expression arena.

Driving dialogue on freedom to publish

We lead or support international engagements and conferences to raise the visibility of freedom to publish and foster continuous international conversation about this underrepresented area of freedom of expression advocacy. We coordinate our lobbying efforts with an extensive network of nongovernmental organizations.

Celebrating freedom to publish champions

We award the annual IPA Prix Voltaire, which honours the courage of publishers who defy their would-be silencers and enable writers to exercise their freedom of expression.

Resources

Freedom to Read Week: freedomtoread.ca

International Publishers Association Freedom to Publish Committee: internationalpublishers.org/freedom-to-publish/ipa-freedom-to-publish

PEN Canada: pencanada.ca

Canadian Books in Schools

ACP believes Canadian students at all levels are entitled to an education that reflects Canadian perspectives and values, presented through the works of Canadian authors.

Along with its provincial affiliates, ACP encourages Departments of Education and school boards to ensure that Canadian students have access to Canadian-authored works in the classroom and in school libraries, and to include Canadian-authored books in local curriculum.

Government Briefs and Submissions

ACP regularly submits government briefs and submissions, on topics including Pre-Budget Submissions, Foreign Investment, Copyright, and more.

Want to learn more about ACP?

ACP contributes to the development and maintenance of vibrant, competitive book publishing companies in order to support and strengthen the contribution that Canadian books make to Canada’s cultural, economic, and educational landscape.