Canadian Magazine Industry News
3 June 2010,     TORONTO
CPF cheques start arriving next two weeks: Shortliffe
THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED: Publishers expecting cheques from the new Canada Periodical Fund will be notified next week whether they've been accepted into the new $70 million program, with cheques expected to start arriving the following week, the top CPF official said this morning.

Short Shortliffe, head of periodical policy for DCH, and Canada's History publisher Deb Morrison at MagNet
Scott Shortliffe, head of periodical policy for DCH, and Canada's History publisher Deb Morrison at MagNet

Scott Shortliffe, director of periodical policy for the Department of Canadian Heritage, told publishers at the MagNet conference in Toronto today that almost 1,000 publications have been approved for the Aid to Publishers component of the program, which replaces the Publications Assistance Program (postal subsidy) and Support for Editorial Content portion of the Canada Magazine Fund. Both the PAP and the CMF were phased out March 31.

UPDATE: Due to volume, it may take a few weeks for all cheques to arrive, Shortliffe informs Masthead.

Since the beginning of April, publishers that used to receive the postal subsidy have been hit with massive increases in mailing costs, since the subsidy is no longer deducted off postal bills. The CPF funding is meant to compensate—however, publishers aren't restricted to spending their grant on distribution costs. CPF funds can be put towards a range of business activities as stipulated in section E.4.2 of the applicant's guide, including editorial, production, marketing, distribution, web and digital development.

Shortliffe said publishers should expect their CPF grants to be between 90% and 150% of what they used to receive under the old PAP and CMF combined. The exceptions are the handful of Canada's largest magazines that are now capped at $1.5 million (except farm publications), and magazines with less than 5,000 paid or verified request circulation per year, which have been dropped from the new program with some controversy.

(For a complete analysis of winners and losers under the CPF, see the previous Masthead story here).

Whether the Aid to Publishers component funding remains at current levels was a hot topic. The fund was topped up by $15 million for two years when Canada Post announced it was withdrawing its $15 million contribution to the postal subsidy two years ago. The $15 million top-up from the Department of Canadian Heritage officially expires in this current 2010-2011 government fiscal year. Shortliffe said a decision will be made later this year whether the $15 million will be extended.

"It could turn into a rubber-stamp decision but I'm not going to assume it will be a rubber-stamp decision," he said. "It's very helpful to hear from the industry that this is a very important part of the funding that should not let slip."

Magazines Canada CEO Mark Jamison said the association has been fighting for the extension in consultations with government. Shortliffe said he will also support an extension, and noted that book and music programs have recently been given five-year commitments.

The audience at MagNet's public policy session
The audience at MagNet's public policy session
Shortliffe also discussed the status of two other parts of the CPF. The $2-million Collective Initiatives component, aimed at support for industry associations, has recently been launched and is accepting project-based applications.

The new $1.5-million Business Innovation component will be launched in the next few weeks, Shortliffe said. This program is aimed at publishers with circulations between 500 250 and 45,000 to fund business development projects. As well, In a first for a magazine program, the Business Innovation fund will accept applications from online-only publishers meeting new definitions for editorially based online magazines, including e-mail publications.

The Business Innovation program will also target arts and literary publications not eligible for the larger Aid to Publishers fund. Shortliffe suggested publications that are just under the 5,000-circulation-per-year minimum for the larger fund could apply for a project to boost their circulation over the threshold.

For more information on the Canada Periodical Fund, including application guidelines, visit the program's web site here.

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