The NLLA is very disappointed in the Federal Government’s recent announcement to cut funding for the national Community Access Program (CAP). The program, started in 1995, provided funding for access to computer and internet services for many Canadians. These cuts will have a significant impact on public libraries across the country.
Here in our province, the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Library has relied on the CAP program to provide free internet access in its 96 branches, to purchase computers, and to provide training. Public libraries across Canada must now struggle to find funding from their already stretched budgets – resulting in a reduction in services in other areas – or library users may be without internet services.
While Industry Canada believes the program has “outlived its usefulness”, Statistics Canada’s 2010 Internet Use Survey found that only 54% of households earning less than $30,000 have internet access. The decision to cut CAP funding is particularly troubling since the Government of Canada led an initiative to make all of its own information and services available online.
The NLLA is concerned that without CAP funding, people in rural and remote areas of the province, low-income earners, and seniors may not have equitable access to internet services. If you share our concerns, please let the Minister of Industry, Hon. Christian Paradis, know that you are unhappy with this decision. Visit the Save CAP website.