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November 17, 2005
For immediate release

Education Minister Advocates for Fair Access to the Internet by Students and Teachers


Education Minister Mildred Dover is urging Islanders to contact members of parliament and senators requesting their support in Ottawa for an amendment to a new Bill that could force schools to pay to use the Internet.

The federal government has introduced new copyright legislation, Bill C-60, which would require schools to pay for Internet information that is free at home, at work and elsewhere. “This is a very serious issue that could restrict access to the Internet by students and teachers,” said Minister Dover. “The Internet is a valuable learning resource and an integral part of a student’s learning experience. Imposing a licensing fee for Internet use in the classroom is not good public policy. Education should not be taxed for something that is free to view and use outside the classroom.”

The Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) has been discussing the issue with the federal government for five years. The ministers have proposed an education amendment to the legislation that would allow schools to access publicly available Internet materials while respecting the rights of creators who post materials online for commercial purposes. “Unfortunately, to date, our amendment has been rejected by Ottawa officials,” said Minister Dover. “Given the controversy generated by their licensing proposal, the federal government has avoided addressing the educational use of the Internet in Bill C-60. Instead, they have announced more consultations around the issue.”

She said that reluctance by the federal government to make a public policy decision in support of education has frustrated the education community. “I ask all Islanders to voice your support for an immediate amendment to Bill C-60 so that schools, colleges and universities can use material made publicly available on the Internet without breaking the law,” she said.

Media Contact: Jean Doherty
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