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Letter to the Auditor General of Canada regarding the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA) Project

January 11, 2013
Michael Ferguson
Letter to the Auditor General of Canada regarding the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA) Project

Dear Michael Ferguson,


This letter is being sent on behalf of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC).The AEBC is an advocacy group, made up of blind, deaf-blind, and partially-sighted Canadians.  We work toward the full inclusion in all aspects of life in Canada, for those who experience partial or total vision loss. 


Several years ago, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) established the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA) project.  This project was meant to improve access to library services for print disabled Canadians.  The project was unexpectedly and prematurely abandoned, with no explanations to any of the "print disability" organizations that participated in it. Canada, is the only G8 country that relies on a "charity" to provide basic library services to those unable to read “print”.  Such services should of course be funded and administered in the same manner that library services are provided for the general population.


 We, of the AEBC, would like you to hold Library and Archives Canada accountable for the funds spent, by conducting a full forensic audit on LAC and the IELA project. our repeated requests for information to LAC have netted no tangible answers. LAC has shown us no respect, no accountability, and no transparency in regards to the millions that have disappeared  and the lack of any public reports on this project. 


The Initiative for Equitable Library Access was to be completed in 2010. What was to result was a blueprint for making public library services more accessible to Canadians with print disabilities. However, this did not occur. To date, no final report has been released, and no explanation given for the abrupt cancelation of the project.  As a result, the CNIB has been left to pick up the pieces of this work and start from scratch, developing a business plan for a national library service hub for people with print disabilities. 

When the IELA was launched, there was a budget of $3,000,000.00 allocated to complete the project. Since CNIB is now basically having to repeat the work, using charitable funds intended for other services, we are requesting that you conduct a detailed forensic audit on how the taxpayers moneys were used. Much time and effort from the various community organizations went into this IELA project. as such, we feel very strongly that Library and Archives Canada must be held accountable for the millions spent, and the lack of any reports produced.


We hope this project will be given a high priority, and that you will inform the AEBC and others of your findings.  We await your reply.  


Yours sincerely,

Donna J. Jodhan

National President Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians 


Daniel J. Caron , Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada

André Bachand, Senior Advisor Prime Minister's Office

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister

Thomas Mulcair, Member of Parliament and Leader of the New Democratic Party

Bob Rae, Member of Parliament and Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada










  • This letter, #2600 was sent January 11, 2013 to Michael Ferguson : Letter to the Auditor General of Canada regarding the Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA) Project

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