Canadian Library Association Position
Statement on Access to Information and Communication Technology
Executive Council – 18 June 1994; amended – 29 May 2012 and
affirmed at CLA AGM – 1 June 2012
CLA views the
Internet and other publicly available ICT networks as public goods
essential to participation in a democratic and information-driven
society. Therefore, CLA recognizes that access to ICT is an essential
part of the universal access to information that Canadian libraries
provide and support.
CLA and its
members will co-operate with governments, agencies, industry and other
organizations to ensure that these fundamental rights are represented in
all policies and laws governing access to and dissemination of
information via ICT.
have the right to:
1. Universal, Equitable, and Affordable Access to Robust ICT
1.1. Access to
high-speed ICT networks should be available and affordable to all
regardless of factors such as age, religion, ability, gender, sexual
orientation, social and political views, national origin, economic
status, location and level of information literacy.
1.2. Special efforts should be made to ensure equity of
access in rural and remote areas and access to inclusive technologies
for people with disabilities.
1.3. A public policy framework should support the
development of ICT infrastructure that meets high standards of speed,
reliability and universality.
2. Access to Information Literacy
2.1. Everyone should have the opportunity to acquire
the necessary skills to find and use information using ICT.
3. Open Access to Information
3.1. Open access to
information should be encouraged at all levels of government and in all
publicly-funded institutions. This information should be available free
of charge with as little restriction on re-use and modification as
3.2. Government and public institutions should take
responsibility for archiving information in order to preserve collective
4. Freedom of Expression
4.1. Individuals have
the right to create, share, exchange, access and receive the widest
range of ideas, information and images.
4. 2. Public policy should encourage neutrality of
traffic flow on ICT networks, neither privileging nor restricting
information based on content or type. Libraries and other knowledge
organizations should encourage the development and use of neutral search
and retrieval mechanisms.
5.1. Privacy of personal information on ICT networks
should be carefully protected by legislation.
5.2. In all situations, there should be a written
statement outlining the purpose for which personal data is collected.
The collection of personal information should be limited to that which
is necessary for the purposes identified by the organization. Consent
should be required for the collection of personal information and the
subsequent use or disclosure of this information.
5.3. This data should not be traded or sold without the
express written permission of the individual affected. Information about
privacy policies and mechanisms should be easily accessible and all
changes to these should be made on an "opt-in" basis.
5.4. Individuals should have the right to examine their
own personal information collected by government, public bodies and
corporations and to have mistakes corrected, both without charge.