Canadian Government Agencies Invested $4.7 Million in McClelland & Stewart in the Past Decade

January 11, 2012 by Thad McIlroy

According to public filings on the Canadian Heritage website, the Government of Canada contributed $4,166,190 to McClelland & Stewart between 2000 and 2011 via several programs designed to aid Canadian-owned publishers. The two largest are the Aid to Publishers program (now called the Canada Book Fund), which provided upwards of half a million dollars per year to the company from 2006-07 to last year (the only dates for which funding data is available online) and the Canada Council Book Publishing Support – Block Grants program which added an average of over $175,000 to McClelland & Stewart operating funds in each of the last three years. During this period the company was 25% owned by foreign-owned Random House of Canada.

M&S also received roughly half a million dollars from the provincial Government of Ontario during the 11-year span. The Block Grants to Book Publishers program of the Ontario Arts Council provides approximately $1 million annually to “Ontario-based Canadian-owned book publishers.” Online reports show that McClelland & Stewart received over $40,000 per year in each of the reporting years, $43,502 in 2011.

As I reported yesterday, on January 10th Random House of Canada became the sole owner of McClelland & Stewart by acquiring the University of Toronto’s 75% stake in the publisher. According to reports “the university is receiving no compensation for this transaction.” Random House of Canada Limited was incorporated in 1944. It is now part of the Random House division of Bertelsmann AG. With 200 imprints in 19 countries, Random House is “the world’s largest general-interest book publisher.”

Quill & Quire separately reports (link broken):

$6 million: The total amount of federal grants received by M&S and its children’s publishing division, Tundra Books, from the Canada Council for the Arts (from 2000–10) and the Department of Canadian Heritage (from 2006–10).

June 8, 2017: 5 years later, Elaine Dewar has authored a comprehensive account, The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada’s Best Publisher and the Best Part of Our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational. See also How Canada Sold out Its Publishing Industry, Walrus, June, 2017.

As the topic is in the news again (though it received little critical coverage back then) I’ll link here (pdf) to the letter I received back in 2012 from James Moore, then Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, offering his reasoning for approving the sale.

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