Following the announcement from Canadian Heritage regarding proposed changes to the Publications Assistance Program, Canadian Community Newspapers Association CEO John Hinds has outlined key issues to be addressed during the upcoming consultation period with publishers.
Two years ago, Canada Post indicated to the federal government that it would no longer contribute to PAP, and would withdraw its $15-million annual support of the program. At the time the government requested that Canada Post continue its contributions, but sought to find alternatives to the loss of this funding. The proposed plan is to merge the Canada Magazine Fund with PAP.
There are three points that the CCNA will be readdressing with government, which previously have been raised during sessions with politicians and officials in Ottawa.
The first point is that the CCNA is seeking a guarantee of long-term, stable funding with specific numbers for community newspapers, which currently receive about $6 million in funding. Community newspapers are currently a relatively small and stable group in PAP, while magazines add up to 300 titles per year. The CCNA does not want the program to be dependent on magazine numbers going forward.
Second, the CCNA wants to address funding for alternative delivery methods. The current program is restricted to delivery via Canada Post; however, many of the CCNA’s members do not use that method of delivery.
Third, the association would like the government to examine the issue of providing PAP funding to total market coverage products in small communities. Many CCNA members have stopped providing subscription-based products and have therefore lost PAP funding due to current requirements.
Canadian Heritage will be inviting a number of publishers from across the country to provide feedback on the program. Click here to find more details on the proposed changes.