PAP changes highlight strength of industry

By allocating an extra $4 million to small community newspapers through changes to the Publications Assistance Program (PAP), Heritage Canada is highlighting the strength of our industry.

That was the message from Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA) Executive Director John Hinds after Heritage Canada released its changes to PAP and the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF).

“By allocating more funds to the smallest community newspapers through PAP, Heritage Canada is helping to ensure that rural Canadians receive relevant news by the publications they trust,” said Hinds. “Heritage Canada obviously recognizes the strength of our industry and its connection to individual Canadians.

“The changes to PAP highlight this strength and also highlight the work done by CCNAÔÇÖs Distribution Committee in bringing about positive change for the Canadian community newspaper industry,” he said.

Earlier this month, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps announced an estimated $4 million in increased support for community newspapers under PAP. The Minister announced that the program would be refocused to provide increased support for community newspapers, as well as ethno-cultural, minority language and First Nations publications.

Approximately $4 million will be reallocated to support these changes of which about $3 million will be for Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA) members. The changes in the program will see PAP extended to about 250 new publications, about half of which will be CCNA members.

“By directing our support to where the need is greatest, we are laying the groundwork for the growth of hundreds of smaller publications that all contribute to creating bonds between cultural communities and the rest of Canada,” said Heritage Minister Sheila Copps in a release.

In addition to the changes to PAP, Heritage Canada is also changing the CMF. The CMF stands to lose about $15 million over three years under the new changes. The fund, which sits at $32.6 million in 2002-3, will be reduced to $18 million by 2003-4 and to $16 million by 2005-6.

“These new directions will enable us to address current realities and needs,” said Copps. “These steps flow from our commitment to offer Canadian readers a wide variety of voices and perspectives, while at the same time ensuring an efficient and effective use of public funds.”

Heritage Canada currently spends about $78 million between PAP and the Canada Magazine Fund. By 2005-6, that number will settle at about $61 million, with the majority of the reduction coming from the Canada Magazine Fund.