Further to the same point, the issue of accessibility, Canada's official opposition has been clear throughout this process that we believe copyright laws should be fair to all implicated parties, taking special account of the needs of Canadians with disabilities.
At the core of the grievances expressed by Canadians with perceptual disabilities and their advocates is the relative scarcity of materials available in a format that is usable by their community, both at home and abroad.
Mr. Workman, from the Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians, on February 27, for example, reminded this committee that less than 10% of published works available in Canada are ever adapted to a format suitable for use by his clients.
This limited availability represents a defining reality of the market for alternative format culture products, which has led to the development of elaborate and mutually beneficial cooperative networks for the production of, sharing, and making available cultural materials across international borders for persons afflicted by perceptual disabilities. For example, Canadians with disabilities benefit tremendously from access to American and British repertoires of translations, adaptations, recordings, and reproduction of materials in formats suitable to their distinct needs.
Our proposed amendment is therefore a simple one: that a specific protection be accorded to Canadians with perceptual disabilities and their legitimate advocates for the practice of importing and adaptation of protected work, which they would have legally been permitted to create had it originated in Canada.
This amendment reflects the stated needs of blind Canadians without opening the system to abuse. It has potential to greatly enhance the availability of adapted material for our citizens here at home and open new markets for adapted Canadian content abroad.
We respectfully ask that our colleagues consider supporting this amendment. .