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It’s official: litmags to be cut out of CPF funding

There will be no exceptions for small literary and cultural magazines under the new Canada Periodical Fund, the department of Canadian Heritage has confirmed. In a letter to The New Quarterly managing editor Rosalynn Tyo, minister James Moore states that a 5,000 annual circulation minimum, first announced last February, will not be repealed, and nor will small, culturally significant magazines be given any special treatment. From his letter (via Canadian Magazines):

The CPF will support a broad range of periodicals, but it will no longer offer support to titles that sell fewer than 5,000 copies total per year, or specialized support for arts and literary magazines, including those that sell fewer than 5,000 copies a year. A recent evaluation of our existing programs found that specialized funding for arts and literary magazines currently offered by the Department was duplicating the funding offered by the Canada Council ¦ I trust that this information is useful.

If you ever needed an excuse to subscribe to a couple (dozen) litmags, this would be it. As Tyo explains, the loss of Heritage monies will have a devastating impact on TNQ‘s finances.

The Canada Council does indeed support arts and literary publications; however, what the Council provides TNQ is operating support. All of the annual Council grant funding (for which we compete every year ” it’s not a ˜given’) we receive goes directly to paying our contributors and printing our magazine. The funding we had been receiving from the programs the CPF is replacing was directed to subsidizing mailing costs (by the Publications Assistance Program) and to one-time business development projects like promotional direct mail campaigns (by the Canada Magazine Fund).

It’s worth pointing out that under the new funding regime, litmags are still eligible for the $1.5-million Business Innovation fund, which is aimed at  magazines with limited access to capital and has no circ requirement. Still, that fund is a small fraction of the CPF’s total budget ($75.5 million), and it’s unlikely to make up for the shortfall small magazines can expect to face in the new year.

For background on the CPF, and the grassroots movement that has sprung up to oppose it, see Q&Q‘s past coverage.