An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

This bill was previously introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Merv Tweed  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of June 13, 2007
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Post Corporation Act to provide for a reduction in the rate of postage for library materials.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Canada Post Corporation ActPrivate Members' Business

December 9th, 2010 / 6:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Canada and Quebec we have the Library Books Service. What, exactly, is that? It is a program that allows all libraries to send library books through the mail to other libraries in Canada, at rates that are lower than regular parcel rates. This is available to recognized public libraries, university libraries and other libraries that are maintained by non-profit organizations or associations and are for public use in Canada.

The primary purpose of the Library Books Service is to enable libraries to exchange books. Over 2,000 libraries—90% of public libraries and over 60% of university libraries—have access to this service, which can benefit a million Quebeckers and Canadians per year. This represents over 3 million packages every year. This is a vital service for all libraries, especially those in remote regions. Small non-profit or academic libraries can easily access all of the books available in Canada.

To ship books at the library book rate, a library must complete the application form found on the website of the Canadian Library Association. Delivery rates are available only through a special electronic shipping system.

Videocassettes, CD-ROMs and DVDs cannot currently be sent through the library books service, and the bill would include these materials in this service.

Also known as the library book rate, or LBR, this service was established in 1939 and originally was directly funded by the Government of Canada. Canada Post gave preferential postal rates for certain types of periodicals under the publications assistance program, PAP, which was created and subsidized by Canadian Heritage.

Because of a 1997 World Trade Organization decision that preferential postal rates given to Canadian publications had to be paid directly to publishers and not via Canada Post, the cost of this rate then had to be absorbed by the crown corporation.

For the good of the public, Canada Post provides funding for the PAP within the framework of a government guideline. While Canada Post provides postal services to all Canadians, it does not have the mandate to promote Canadian culture by subsidizing postal rates for Canadian publications. This is the responsibility of the Department of Canadian Heritage. It should be said that postal subsidies from the PAP will end on March 31, 2010.

Since the library book rate is not considered part of the PAP, this program does not currently fall under the political authority of any federal department. Bill C-509 amends the legislation so that the crown corporation can reach an agreement with Canadian Heritage in order to maintain the library book rate and ensure the continuity of the service.

Consistent with Canada Post's obligation to ensure universal service, the service charter for Canada Post introduced in the fall of 2009 states:

As required by the Canada Post Corporation Act, Canada Post will charge postage rates that are fair and reasonable and, together with other revenues, are sufficient to cover the costs incurred in its operations.

The delivery rate offered in the context of the library book service is not funded by the federal government and Canada Post must therefore absorb the cost. Being a crown corporation that must support itself financially, the reduced rate can always be called into question and there is no regulation or legislation at this time to ensure that the reduced postage rate can be maintained in the long term.

It should be noted that in the past 30 years, the Canada Post Corporation has undertaken a major restructuring of its services in order to boost profits, even if that means going against the principle of universal postal service accessible to all and making continued attacks against the public postal service.

Although it says it continues to make a profit, CPC continues to engage in major restructuring that is having a direct impact on sectors it considers less profitable and public postal service. The library book rate is in itself a heavy burden for a company, and getting rid of the reduced rate might be a natural step for a company that is streamlining.

If the preferential rates given to libraries were eliminated or significantly increased, libraries could no longer continue to offer those services. In that case, postage could increase from $1 to over $14 a kilogram, and public libraries would have to absorb that increase, reduce services or have library patrons pay for postage.

A number of concerns have been raised with regard to maintaining the reduced library book rate. In 2005, Canada Post confirmed the possibility of putting an end to the inter-library loan program, a service that has been renewed year after year.

A brief published as part of the strategic review of Canada Post indicated that there was no official requirement for Canada Post to provide the library book rate, but that public pressure to do so has always been strong. In 2007, the crown corporation estimated that it had lost $6 million in revenue by maintaining this program.

Thanks to pressure from libraries and organizations in the library sector throughout the country, Canada Post agreed to renew the rate on an annual basis. The latest renewal will expire on December 31, 2010. After that, the future of the library book rate is uncertain, which is why Bill C-509 is so important.

Bill C-509, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), sponsored by the Conservative member for Brandon—Souris, in Manitoba, was introduced twice as Bill C-458 in 2007 and another time as Bill C-322 in 2009. It would reduce the rate of postage for library materials under the library books service.

First, the bill broadens the definition of “library materials” to make audiovisual materials, such as videocassettes, CD-ROMs and DVDs, eligible for Canada Post's library book rate, which currently applies only to books.

The second clause amends subsection 19(1) to enable the corporation to “[provide] for a reduced rate of postage for library materials” by order of the Governor in Council.

Currently, the CPC can make regulations:

(g) providing for the transmission by post, free of postage, of

(i) letters, books, tapes, records and other similar material for the use of the blind, and

(ii) mailable matter relating solely to the business of the Corporation and addressed to or sent by a person engaged in that business;

Lastly, the bill adds subsection 21(1), which enables the crown corporation to maintain the library book rate otherwise than by regulation by agreement with the Minister of Canadian Heritage regardless of regulations made under subsection 19(1) quoted above.

The Bloc Québécois supports the principle underlying Bill C-509.

The Bloc Québécois believes that access to knowledge and information is a pillar of society and the knowledge economy. That is why all Quebeckers and Canadians, whether they live in rural or urban communities, must have free and easy access to a broad selection of books.

The Bloc Québécois also believes that providing a reduced postage rate is part of Canada Post's obligation to ensure universal, accessible service.

This service has proven very useful.

Audiovisual material is becoming more and more important nowadays, and the Bloc Québécois believes that there is good reason to include it in the definition of “library materials” so that these items can also be eligible for a reduced rate.

Therefore, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C-509 in principle.

Canada Post Corporation ActRoutine Proceedings

April 14th, 2010 / 3:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-509, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials).

Mr. Speaker, this bill is a reincarnate of Bill C-458 and Bill C-322. Due to some technical changes we had to make, we needed to reintroduce, but I assure the thousands of Canadians who have signed petitions that the bill remains intact.

The amendment would do two things. It would preserve a reduced rate for postage on books between libraries in Canada and would expand the library book rate program to include magazines, records, CDs, CD-ROMS, audio cassettes, video cassettes, DVDs and other audio-visual materials.

This is something that Canadian libraries and, indeed, all Canadians have been asking for since 1967.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 21st, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table several petitions in regard to the library book rate. I am tabling documents that were originally under Bill C-458 and are now under a new title. Basically, it is An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), protecting and supporting the library book rate and extending it to include audio-visual materials.

Canada Post Corporation ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 24th, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present four petitions from Ontario and one from Quebec supporting Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials).

Bill C-458PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 12th, 2008 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise again today to present more petitions from across Canada. These particular petitions are from Alberta and New Brunswick and are all in support of Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which will protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audio-visual materials.

Canada Post Book RatePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 11th, 2008 / 3:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are certainly paying attention to one of the bills currently in the House, Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which would protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audiovisual materials.

I am pleased to present a petition signed by many of the people of the constituency of Grande Prairie.

Bill C-458PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 7th, 2008 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the momentum continues to grow. I am pleased to present petitions today from Alberta and Nova Scotia in regard to Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials). These petitions will protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audio-visual materials.

Canada Post Corporation ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 6th, 2008 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the petitions continue to come in, in support of Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which will protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audiovisual materials.

Bill C-458PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 4th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I again am pleased to present a petition from the people of Peace River, a great constituency, supporting Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which will protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audio-visual materials.

Bill C-458PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

January 30th, 2008 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from the great constituency of Peace River, Alberta supporting Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which would protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audiovisual materials.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

January 29th, 2008 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from people across Canada. This particular petition comes from people from Alberta and it is calling on Parliament to support Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which will protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audio-visual materials.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

January 28th, 2008 / 3:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from people in New Brunswick and in Winnipeg. I will have many more to present in the following days. The petitioners support Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials). The bill would protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audio-visual materials.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 5th, 2007 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of the people of Brandon—Souris supporting Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), which will protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audiovisual materials.

Canada Post Corporation ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

November 21st, 2007 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a petition, mainly from people from Alberta but I am receiving petitions signed by people from all over Canada in support of Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), in which it would protect and support the library book rate and extend it to include audiovisual materials.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

November 19th, 2007 / 3:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from southern Calgary, Okotoks and surrounding area. I am asking all members to support this petition in support of Bill C-458, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act (library materials), to basically provide protection and support for the library book rate and to extend it to include audio-visual materials.