No formal decision yet on PAP program

The Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA) continues its efforts to ensure the integrity of the Publication Assistance Program (PAP).

PAP, which is a program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, provides financial assistance to eligible community newspaper and magazines to defray the cost of delivery through Canada Post. The program has a roughly $65-million annual budget of which roughly ten per cent applies to community newspapers. Almost one half of CCNA members use PAP to deliver all or part of their newspapers.

Traditionally, Canada Post has contributed $15-million toward the program. Recently, they announced that as of April 1, 2007, they will no longer make this contribution. If this were to happen, and the federal government not to make up the difference, this would be a serious blow to CCNA member newspapers.

The CCNA has met with a number of people in Ottawa, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Members of Parliament, Minister of Canadian Heritage Oda’s office, and various officials. In all cases the CCNA made the case that the program should remain intact. CCNA belives this is an internal accounting matter for the federal government, since any reduction in Canada Post subsidy would increase the corporation’s dividend to the federal government by the same amount, which should be re-allocated to the PAP program.

in her appearance before the standing committee of Canadian Heritage last week, Minister Oda indicated that she has not received official notice of withdrawal from Canada Post, nor had she made any decisions about the future of the program.

The CCNA will continue to lobby officials, monitor the situation, and keep members apprised of any changes. Should members have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact the CCNA office.