April 9, 2024

Letter: Canadian writers and publishers urge government to increase the Canada Book Fund and Public Lending Right in Budget 2024

A coalition of Canadian writing and publishing organizations have sent the following public letter to Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, in advance of Budget 2024. 


We write to you today on behalf of Canada’s book publishing industry and our professional writers, including co-signed associations from across the country, representing approximately 396 publishing companies and 4900 writers. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to implement your long-outstanding commitments to increase funding to the Canada Book Fund and the Public Lending Right budgets by at least 50%.

As you know, in Summer 2021, the Liberal Party of Canada committed to increasing both the CBF and PLR budgets by 50%, starting in 2022-23. The Prime Minister affirmed this mandate letter commitment in December 2021 when he directed the Minister of Canadian Heritage to increase key writing and publishing programs, including CBF and PLR.

Inexplicably, your Government has not followed through on these clear and specific commitments. We urge that you take action now, through Budget 2024, to finally fulfill your promises.

The budget of the CBF’s permanent programs has not increased in over two decades, resulting in the erosion of its real value by more than 55% during a time that has been characterized by disruption and change. Average PLR payments are half the real dollar value they were when the program was launched in 1986. The need for an increase to these key supports was widely acknowledged by government and industry before COVID-19; the pandemic shifted this longstanding need from overdue to critical.

Your offices, as well as the offices of Members of Parliament across the country, have recently heard from our supporters through our letter writing campaign. As you can see, this issue matters deeply to Canadians:

  • 1142 letters were sent to Ministers and Members of Parliament, of which 877 were in English, and 265 were in French.
  • Including all those cc’ed, nearly 9000 emails were sent to the offices of Parliamentarians
  • Letters have been sent from approximately 72% of ridings, demonstrating a truly cross-Canada impact.

With the recent announcements of funding to Telefilm and to the Canada Music Fund, our mandate letter promises remain a small number yet unfulfilled. Our sector appears to have been forgotten by this government: we implore you to support the Public Lending Right and Canada Book Fund this Budget cycle to invest in Canada’s book industry for now, and into the future.

Thank you,

Brian Lam | President
Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP)

Geneviève Pigeon | President
Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL)

Laura Rock Gaughan | Executive Director
Literary Press Group of Canada (LPG)

Stéphane Cormier | President
Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens (REFC)

Pierre-Yves Villeneuve | President
Union des écrivaines et des écrivains québécois (UNEQ)

John Degen | Chief Executive Officer
The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC)

Rebecca West | Executive Director
Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec (AELAQ)

Matt Joudrey | President
Association of Manitoba Book Publishers (AMBP)

Paul McAllister | President
Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (APMA)

Leslie Bootle | Executive Director
Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (Books BC)

Matt Bowes | President
Book Publishers Association of Alberta (BPAA)

Holly Kent | Executive Director
Ontario Book Publishers Organization (OBPO)

Jillian Bell | Executive Director