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History and Achievements


The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing. It has raised public awareness through initiatives relating to reading, writing, publishing, distribution and freedom of expression.

As a national arts service organization, the BPC is unique in representing and serving the interests of every sector of the publishing industry: creators, publishers, manufacturers, distributors, editors, wholesalers, booksellers and librarians. The guiding philosophy behind the BPC is that what strengthens the industry as a whole strengthens each of its parts. Therefore, it is the Council’s role to find the areas of common interest and to work on behalf of the Canadian publishing industry as a whole. The Council’s programs and activities are all national and devised in concert with our member associations so as to avoid any duplication within the industry.

Main Accomplishments of the BPC

  • Responsible for the studies that led to the formation of CANCOPY, now Access Copyright, the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency.
  • Establishment of the widely attended The Word on the Street national book and magazine festival. This annual event was created to celebrate and highlight the importance of literacy in Canada. It is now the largest literary festival in North America.
  • Establishment of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC), an organization to promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for children and teens.
  • Establishment of the Canadian Telebook Agency, whose aim was to increase the efficiency of the book distribution system in Canada. It has now been replaced by BookNet Canada.
  • Formation of the Canadian Give the Gift of Literacy Foundation to provide grants to non-profit community literacy groups to perform needs assessments, develop literacy projects and produce learning materials for adult learners and instructors.
  • The publication of various works including When the Censor Comes and Dividends: The Value of Public Libraries in Canada.

Principal Events and Services of the BPC

  • Creation and coordination of the annual Freedom to Read Week, Canada’s only volunteer-run celebration of intellectual freedom. This includes the production of an annual Freedom to Read review on current issues of freedom of expression and censorship in Canada, as well as a campaign poster.
  • Development of the Book Summit, a conference of professional -development programming for the writing and publishing industry that takes place annually at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The conference, which draws attendance from across the country, is coordinated by the BPC, in association with the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) at Harbourfront Centre.
  • The BPC Web site – www.TheBPC.ca, is a central resource for our members and the community at large.
  • Establishment of the Idea Exchange, a semi-annual series of cultural and literary discussions/forums on issues of importance to the publishing industry.
  • Development and ongoing operation of the Book Industry Freight and Distribution Plan, an agreement with carriers for reduced rates and improved services for BPC members, and the Corrugation Purchasing Plan, which offers discounted prices on shipping materials.
  • Ongoing professional-development freight seminars for the logistics sector, which includes warehouse, operations and transportation employees in the publishing industry.
  • Implementation of a comprehensive group health benefits plan for member association employees, which the BPC has administered for more than 25 years.
  • Hosting of regular Member Hub meetings that provide the opportunity to network, share information and participate in professional development opportunities.
  • Administration for small and new organization in the book and periodical field. The BPC currently handles administrative functions for the Canadian Copyright Institute.