On Monday, June 13, 2016 Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB) had great reason to celebrate on Parliament Hill with the Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities & The Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development on the passing through Commons the act to amend the Canadian Copyright Act therefore displaying Canada’s commitment to the breaking down of barriers for people with print disabilities.
Thank you to all of our CCB members who sent letters and talked with their local Members of Parliament to move this forward!
This event celebrated an achievement that was some time in the making: after a few years of progress, Canada is set to sign on its support for the Marrakesh Treaty, joining the approximately 17 other countries that have already done so.
The Marrakesh Treaty will allow greater access to reading material for Canadians with print disabilities, and Bill C-11 will help to improve international access to copyrighted material for persons with print disabilities.
CCB has worked with the World Blind Union (WBU) and CNIB since the inception of the Right to Read campaign. As noted on the WBU website:
“The current international system does not allow for cross-border sharing, leading to the needless duplication of books, which uses up already limited resources. However, once the Marrakesh Treaty comes into force, cross-border sharing will be legal, which will help to avoid the duplication of reproduction efforts in different countries. The Treaty will also enable countries with large collections of accessible books to share them with blind and print disabled people in countries with fewer resources. Cross-border sharing is essential for combating the book famine as blind and partially sighted people are among the poorest of the poor, and organizations for the blind often do not have the resources needed to produce enough materials in accessible formats.
Blind and print disabled people want to be able to go to a bookstore or library and pick up and read the new bestseller like everyone else. Blind and partially sighted children want to be able to go to school and to become literate just as much as their sighted peers do. It has been well documented that education is the key to unlocking the future potential of children, enabling them to become gainfully employed as adults and participate effectively as students, parents, coworkers, and citizens in their communities and their families.”