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Government of Canada Defaults to E-Printing

July 09, 2013
By

The Government of Canada announced last week that it has made electronic publishing the standard production method for all documents going forward in an effort to reduce costs.

"Our Government is committed to delivering information to Canadians in the most efficient and cost effective way," said Minister Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board. "From now on electronic publishing will be the default for all government organizations, significantly reducing the amount of large volume printing and the costs associated with it."

According to the Minister, between 2011 and 2012, the Government of Canada spent about $19 million in “printing, distribution, and warehousing of communication products.” In the United States, the Government Printing Office (GPO) purchases upwards of US$400 million from private sector suppliers, most of whom it claims are small operations with 20 employees or fewer. The GPO itself has a budget of US$126 million.

The revised Procedures for Publishing, came into effect June 1, replacing the previous policy which was came into effect in May 2005. The objective of the procedure is to “ensure that Government of Canada communications products are readily available to Canadians and are published in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Section 6.1.2 of the revised Procedures for Publishing states: 

[Departmental senior managers are responsible for] ensuring that on-demand printing is carried out by default, rather than volume printing, using the most economical printing option and in black and white unless colour printing is deemed necessary.

“Volume” printing is only to be done in the following situations, as dictated by section 6.3.3:

  • - a printed version is specifically required under legislation, regulations or parliamentary procedures
  • - the product informs the public about key information related to health, safety or security issues;
  • - a printed version is required to meet the specific needs of the target audience;
  • - the size or format of the product does not allow for printing using commonly available printers;
  • - an existing contract for printing, warehousing or distribution services, put in place prior to these Procedures taking effect, cannot be cancelled, or the cost of cancelling the contract exceeds the benefits; or
  • - the Minister or the person designated in Schedule VI (Part III, Column II) of the Financial Administration Act requests the printing;
 The full Procedure can be viewed here.

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