In a surprise move, the federal government has chosen to eliminate $4 million in funding to two, national organizations that provide services to Canadians with print disabilities. A print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print. It includes vision impairment or blindness, dyslexia, literacy challenges, and physical disabilities such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) receives $3 million, and the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) receives $1 million in annual funding from the federal government. That funding will be eliminated by the 2024-25 fiscal year.
The funding cuts could not have come at a worse time. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased isolation for the estimated 3 million Canadians with a print disability. Advocates have been successful in forcing the federal government to restore $1 million in funding for the 2021-22 fiscal year only. But going forward, the elimination of $4 million in annual funding remains.
Tell the Hon. Carla Qualtrough and the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, ministers responsible for the funding cuts, to restore the $4 million in annual funding to the CELA and NNELS.