Highlights from Budget 2012
Posted by CLA Govt Library and Info Mgmt Professionals Network on 2012/03/30
To All CLA Members:
Yesterday the Federal Minister of Finance, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, presented Budget 2012, entitled Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity. This year’s federal budget outlines a plan to return to a balanced budget in the medium term. The government remains on track to balance the budget by 2015-2016 and possibly sooner.
Budget 2012 highlights some small, targeted initiatives that will be beneficial to the library community in years to come. These are highlighted below.
It is also important to note that the budget did not highlight any points related to the Community Access Program (CAP). CLA will be reaching out to key decision makers to obtain a full status report on CAP, and will report back to CLA members in the short term.
Key highlights of interest to the library community:
1. GST Rebate for Books to be Given Away for Free by Prescribed Literacy Organizations:
To promote literacy, a rebate of the GST (and the federal portion of the HST) is provided for printed books (including audio recordings of printed books and printed versions of religious scriptures) acquired by public libraries, educational institutions, as well as charities and qualifying non-profit organizations prescribed by regulation and whose primary purpose is the promotion of literacy. Currently, the rebate does not apply to tax paid on printed books purchased to be sold or given away.
Budget 2012 proposes to allow charity and qualifying non-profit literacy organizations prescribed by regulation to claim a rebate of the GST (and the federal portion of the HST) they pay to acquire printed books to be given away. This change will allow literacy organizations, if prescribed by regulation, to claim a rebate of tax paid on printed books that are, for example, purchased to be given to children from low income households who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
2. Investment in First Nations education on reserves, including early literacy programming and other supports and services to First Nations schools and students:
To help ensure readiness for the new First Nations education system to be outlined in legislation, this budget will invest $100 million over three years for First Nations education to provide early literacy programming and other supports and services to First Nations schools and students, and to strengthen their relationships with provincial school systems.
3. Budget 2012 proposes $150 million over two years for a new Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund to support repairs and improvements to existing community facilities:
Community-based facilities contribute to the quality of life in small communities and large urban centres across Canada. To support repairs and improvements to existing facilities, such as community centres, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $150 million over two years for the establishment of a Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund. This new Fund will improve the quality of facilities enjoyed by Canadians while supporting job creation in communities across the country.
4. Strengthening Access to Broadband in Rural Areas:
The Government will act to ensure that Canadians living in rural Canada have access to the same high-quality broadband services as other Canadians.
As part of the stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, $225 million was provided to Industry Canada over three years to develop and implement a strategy to extend broadband coverage to as many underserved households as possible. The biggest component of this strategy is the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program, which has helped provide broadband access to over 210,000 additional households.
The Government recognizes that high-quality broadband networks are essential for enhancing local economic opportunities and for providing access to valuable services. In 2013, the Government plans to hold spectrum auctions for the 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz spectrum bands. In the spectrum auction involving the 700 MHz band, the Government will be implementing specific measures to ensure that Canadians living in rural Canada are able to receive the same high-quality services that are available to the rest of Canadians. Companies that have access to more than one block of the 700 MHz band, through the auction or through spectrum sharing, will be required to deploy new advanced services to 90 per cent of the population in their coverage area within five years and to 97 per cent within seven years.
5. Supporting Canada’s Ultra-High Speed Research Network:
CANARIE is a not-for-profit organization that operates Canada’s only ultra-high speed national research and education network, providing vital infrastructure for world-leading research and innovation in Canada. To sustain the evolution of the network and ensure that it continues to encourage worldclass research collaborations across the country, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $40 million over two years to CANARIE to support the operations of Canada’s ultra-high speed research network.
6. Heritage Portfolio:
Organizations within the Canadian Heritage portfolio will streamline corporate support functions, consolidate office space and improve the efficiency of operating processes, improve processes for managing programs and operations, and prioritize grants and contributions. Canadian Heritage will move to a more integrated policy framework that focuses on the socioeconomic benefits that their programs offer to Canadians and their communities. The Department will also focus on funding that leverages contributions from partners.
The Canada Council for the Arts, the National Gallery of Canada and national museums will not see any reductions in resources as a result of the review process.
Included in the table below are the projected cuts for Library and Archives of Canada and other cultural and arts organizations. In aggregate numbers, cuts to Library and Archives of Canada are the smallest; however, CLA will be closely monitoring the overall impact of these spending projections.
Canadian Library Association