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Canadian Budget Announces Major Focus on Accessible Publishing

The 2019 Canadian budget has a strong focus on the “inclusion of Canadians with visual impairments and other print disabilities.” An exciting funding program has been announced:

  • To address this challenge, Budget 2019 proposes to provide the Centre for Equitable Library Access with an investment of $3.0 million in 2019–20 to produce new accessible reading materials that will be available through public libraries across Canada.

  • The Government is also committed to putting in place a strategy that will ensure the sustainable production and distribution of accessible reading material over the longer term. To that end, Budget 2019 proposes to invest $22.8 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to assist Canada’s independent book publishing industry in increasing their production of accessible books for persons with print disabilities.

  • To improve employment opportunities for persons with visual impairments, Budget 2019 proposes to provide $1.0 million, in 2019–20, to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to connect persons with visual impairments to small and medium-sized employers.

  • To support the independence of persons with disabilities, Budget 2019 also proposes to invest $0.5 million in 2019–20 towards finding ways to improve the accessibility of electronic payment terminals to enable persons with disabilities to conduct daily activities, such as paying for their groceries, without relying on others.