TORONTO, June 15, 2020–In March 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $22.8 million over five years for the development of an initiative to support the sustainable production and distribution of accessible digital books by Canadian independent publishers. This funding will flow through the Canada Book Fund (Department of Canadian Heritage), with the goal of enhancing capacity so that books are “born accessible” as part of the digital production process. The initiative is market focused and is intended to shift the supply of accessible books from a system that largely relies on an exception to the Copyright Act, to one where accessible books are commercially available to individual and institutional customers at the time of publication.
At the invitation of the Canada Book Fund, the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) and eBOUND Canada and l’Association national des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) developed complementary proposals to conduct research intended to lay the groundwork for future phases of the national initiative. ANEL assumed responsibility for examining the Quebec and Canadian French-language market, with ACP and eBOUND conducting a parallel study in the English-language market.
With the funding support of the Canada Book Fund, ACP and eBOUND’s research took place between October 2019 and March 2020 and included the following components:
i. An analysis of the current landscape for the production and distribution of accessible digital books in Canada, and potential market development for these books in the Canadian English-language market.
ii. Recommendations for the implementation of a national standards and certification program, including defining the characteristics of an accessible digital book.
iii. Development of a national strategy for awareness and training around accessible books for the publishing industry and related sectors
ACP is the national voice of English-language Canadian-owned book publishers. ACP contributes to the development and maintenance of vibrant, competitive book publishing companies, professionally managed, and owned and controlled in Canada, in order to support and strengthen the contribution that Canadian books make to Canada’s cultural, economic and educational landscape. More information about ACP and its 115 members can be found at www.publishers.ca.
eBOUND Canada was incorporated in 2011 as a not-for-profit corporation. eBOUND Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ACP. It evolved from Canadian Publishers Digital Services, established by the ACP in March 2009, with the vision of making Canada a world leader in using digital technology to make every Canadian book—past, present and future—available and accessible to readers in Canada and around the
world. eBOUND’s mandate is to enable independent Canadian publishers to engage in the digital marketplace no matter their size or level of expertise. More information about eBOUND can be found at www.eboundcanada.org.
CASTLEDALE INC | DIANE DAVY, PRESIDENT
Castledale Inc. specializes in the business of the arts, culture and entertainment sector, providing services, ranging from business planning to strategic policy research and development, to both the private and public sectors. Diane Davy, Castledale’s President, is hands-on with all projects. With over 25 years of experience, she brings senior-level expertise and well-honed judgment to her clients’ needs. She has a depth and breadth of contacts in the sectors she serves. Her areas of expertise include strategic business planning, organizational structure and management, marketing strategies, revenue generation (including grant applications and sponsorships), board governance, project management, and other related topics. She frequently works with government departments providing research and recommendations on policy and programming that affect the publishing sector.
BARBARA HOWSON, HOWSON CONSULTING
Howson Consulting is a unique service for the creative industries, designed to help clients deliver on their goals of growth in sales, licensing, research and marketing in Canada and internationally. Barbara’s approach is built from a deep understanding of publishing fundamentals combined with strategic thinking, and informed by thirty years of experience in the creative industries. Barbara specializes in finding opportunities for growth, not only within the publishing industry, but also in the wider scope of arts and media. This holistic model enables decision-making that drives growth and diversification within the publishing industry and beyond.
AMANDA LEE, BIBLIOGRAPHIC METADATA CONSULTANT
Amanda Lee is a publishing technology specialist with a focus on digital distribution platforms and metadata enhancement. Amanda is skilled at using her broad industry knowledge and experience to research and understand the ways people find, access and consume Canadian content.
KRYS ROSS CONSULTING
Krys Ross has worked in Canadian publishing for over forty years holding executive positions with Key Porter Books, McClelland & Stewart, Tundra Books and Oxford University Press. Krys was Publisher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and also ran the hospital’s design, print shop, translation and web development departments. She has served on the boards of the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Ontario Book Publishers Organization and Access Copyright. Her last role before retirement was CEO of eBOUND Canada.
CENTRE FOR EQUITABLE LIBRARY ACCESS
The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is an accessible library service, providing books, magazines and newspapers to people with print disabilities in Canada in the formats of their choice. CELA’s mission is to support public libraries in Canada in the provision of accessible collections for people with print disabilities in equal measure to that which is enjoyed by other members of their communities, and to champion the fundamental right of people with print disabilities to access media and reading materials in the format of their choice.
Rina Hadziev is the Executive Director of CELA. She was a member of the CELA board from 2016–2019 and has played a key role advocating for improved access to ebooks and digital audiobooks for libraries and their patrons through her participation with the Canadian Urban Libraries Council Digital Content Working Group. Rina has over 15 years of experience in public library leadership, with roles in public services, collections and technical services.
The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is a digital public library of books for people with print disabilities in Canada, and an advocate for an accessible and equitable reading ecosystem for all people in Canada. The goals of NNELS are to build capacity and employment opportunities for people with print disabilities, to advance the agenda of “born accessible” publishing, and to develop and maintain a digital repository of accessible books for people with print disabilities in Canada, delivered through the network of public libraries in Canada.
LEAH BROCHU is the Accessible Publishing Coordinator for NNELS, a librarian, and a Senior Managing Editor for the International Journal for Information, Diversity, & Inclusion.
LAURIE DAVIDSON is a Project Manager for NNELS and the Emerging Initiatives Coordinator for the BC Libraries Cooperative. She has over twenty years of experience working with libraries, technology, digital content licensing and accessibility. She is passionate about building an equitable reading landscape for everyone.
DANIELLA LEVY-PINTO is the Accessibility Testing and Consulting Coordinator for NNELS and works to inform a paradigm shift toward born accessible content and inclusive design. She is totally blind and has been a user of assistive technology for 25 years in her different roles in academic and professional settings.
DAVID KOPMAN has years of experience that include time working in technology, communications and photography. In more recent years, since developing low vision, he has worked as an Access Technology Instructor and currently as an Accessibility Tester for NNELS.
RIANE LAPAIRE is the Braille Production Coordinator for NNELS and has over a decade of experience working in libraries, alternate formats and braille production.
CHRISTINA RAY is the principal of Christina Ray Consulting: Community Engagement, Leadership and Organizational Development. She has led many successful engagement and planning projects in the public sector and cooperative sector, and with not-for-profit organizations.
Chief Executive Officer