Libraries have always promoted the right of individuals to acquire information according to their interests. The library exists as a central public avenue for the acquisition of information and remains a place where the free exchange of ideas can take place.
In the digital age libraries provide universal public access to diverse digital content and are increasingly public Internet service providers and consumers.
Access to broadband Internet services for all Canadians
Access to broadband Internet presents Canadians with the widest range of opportunities to conduct business, learn, innovate and communicate in the international digital marketplace. The Internet allows governments, educational institutions and private companies to provide direct services to the population no matter where they are in Canada, thus eliminating geographical barriers.
CARL believes that access to reliable and affordable high speed Internet is in the interest of all Canadians. We strongly encourage government initiatives that further broadband Internet access to all Canadians, regardless of their geographic location and financial means.
Broadband Internet services in every community are a goal of the Government of Canada since 2000, a commitment reaffirmed by successive governments. However, this objective has not yet been reached.
High Internet service prices are a burden for all Canadians, regardless of income. They are notably a financial drain for small businesses and students, engines of today’s and tomorrow’s economy.
According to the OECD, Canadians pay more for broadband services than consumers in most other developed countries.
CARL members strongly encourage governments to support libraries’ role in providing affordable Internet access to all Canadians.
- Read CARL's brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (April 9th 2013).
CARL has an ongoing interest in legislation relating to ‘lawful access’ to Internet communication by law enforcement officials in Canada. It is the policy of Canadian research libraries not to divulge information on the reading undertaken by their users.
CARL feels strongly that any lawful access legislation brought forward should, as much as possible; take steps to observe the principals of academic freedom and personal privacy that Canadians have come to expect from their public institutions.
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries believes that, in as much as possible, and wherever appropriate, Canadian Internet service providers and the government should seek to remove barriers to Internet access. All regulation of Internet services should aspire to treat any content, sites, and platforms equally; while maximizing the Internets development as a useful public information network. Libraries have long recognized the Internet as a digital commons, and CARL supports the increase of variety and access to Internet technologies.