Breakfast Meeting of Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Culture and Heritage

NEWS RELEASE – Library book rate, tax incentives for historic places head list of issues at meeting of provincial and territorial ministers of culture and heritage

Banff ...Six issues dominated a meeting among provincial and territorial ministers responsible for culture as they met in Banff this morning. The issues were raised collectively at the following Federal-Provincial/Territorial meeting with federal Minister Liza Frulla, who welcomed the recommendations and agreed to look into them further.

The six issues are:

  • The long-term future of the Library Book Rate;
  • Federal tax incentives to preserve historic places, and proceed with the planned Aboriginal component of the Historic Places Initiative;
  • Support to maintain, improve and develop new and existing cultural infrastructure;
  • Federal funding support for provincial Music Industry Associations;
  • The impact of new technologies on cultural policies; and
  • Status of the Artist.

Ministers agreed the federal government must extend the Library Book Rate from the current one year to 10 years, and expect it to include non-book library materials like magazines, DVDs and other media. The book rate subsidizes postage, for an average cost of 95 cents including return. The Library Book Rate is an essential service to all Canadians. Mailed library materials support education, opportunity, and the pursuit of personal interest. More t han 90 per cent of public libraries and 60 per cent of academic libraries use the book rate to mail three million items a year.

Ministers will ask the federal government to provide a tax incentive that encourages private industry to preserve historic places. The current Historic Places Initiative uses a contribution plan, with a top limit of $1 million per project, that expires in March 2006. Tax incentives are seen as essential for private industry to help rehabilitate historic buildings. The provinces and territories called upon the federal government to ensure the programs and tools are in place so Aboriginal people are able to preserve their history and historic places.

Ministers agreed to urge the federal government to support provincial and territorial music industry associations. Eight provinces and territories have music industry associations that have been working together to create a national network. All provinces and territories reaffirmed their fiscal commitment to their music associations, and asked the federal government to become a partner in supporting these associations.

To maintain, improve and develop cultural infrastructure, the provinces and territories will ask the federal government for dedicated capital funding for cultural infrastructure. Provinces and territories will work together over the next 90 days to develop an inventory of needs and identify a possible framework and criteria for a new cultural infrastructure program.

All provinces and territories recognize new technology is having an impact on the development, presentation and communication of culture. Quebec agreed to take the lead in working with other provinces and the federal government in researching the impact of new technology on the development and presentation of culture. Ministers agreed that a retreat will be organized in 2006 at which ministers will learn about and discuss the potential impact of new technologies on cultural policies.

Ontario agreed to lead a provincial and territorial working group to review issues around the socio-economic status of artists. The working group’s findings and recommendations are proposed for the agenda of the next Federal-Provincial/Territorial meeting in 2006.

Alberta ’s Gary Mar, Minister of Community Development, chaired the meeting of provincial and territorial ministers, and co-chaired the meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers.

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For further information contact:


Jeffrey Anderson
Director, Arts Branch
Alberta Community Development
(780) 415-0283


Carol Chawrun
Director, Communications
Alberta Community Development
(780) 427-6530