CNIB applauds Government of Canada's push to ratify Marrakesh Treaty

TORONTO, March 24, 2016 /CNW/ - CNIB congratulates the federal government on the development and introduction of Bill C-11 entitled "An Act to amend the Copyright Act (access to copyrighted works or other subject-matter for persons with perceptual disabilities)", as it works to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, announced today in the House of Commons.

The World Intellectual Property Organization's Marrakesh Treaty is designed to remove barriers to the access of alternate-format print materials through changes to domestic copyright laws on an international basis, while also facilitating the sharing of literary materials between nations.

"This is a momentous day for Canadians with print disabilities," said Diane Bergeron, CNIB's Executive Director, Strategic Relations and Engagement. "The ratification of this treaty will allow the three million Canadians with print disabilities to have access to a wider range of literature and increased literacy. With equal access to a broad spectrum of accessible literature, Canadians with print disabilities can be contributing members of our society and economy."

Currently, only an alarming seven per cent of published works are available in a format that can be read by people with print disabilities, including braille, audio and large-print. This leaves those with a print disability, including people with vision loss and a variety of learning and physical disabilities, unable to read a majority of the literature published worldwide. CNIB is currently the primary producer of accessible literature in Canada.

"We are happy to support the efforts of the Canadian government to provide Canadians with print disabilities access to a wider assortment of accessible literature," said John Rafferty, President and CEO, CNIB. "The introduction of Bill C-11 announced today is a significant step forward for the people we serve."

CNIB would like to acknowledge the support from parliamentary champions Minster of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains; Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough; MP Rob Oliphant and MP Pierre Poillievre for their unwavering work to bring Bill C-11 forward so quickly.

The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco, and has been ratified by 16 other nations including Australia, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico.

About CNIB
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.


For further information: Matisse Hamel-Nelis, Communications Specialist, 416-486-2500 ext. 8355,


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