Report: Public Lending Right (PLR) program 2006-2007

Statistics – 2007 author payments
Number of authors receiving payments:           15,417
Number of eligible titles in PLR database:       70,090
Total amount issued in payments to authors: $9,062,475
Maximum payment per title:                          $281.05
Maximum author payment:                            $2810.50
Average author payment:                               $588
Median author payment                                 $281.06

Calculating the payments
Each year, the catalogues of a selection of public libraries are surveyed electronically and compared to the list of eligible titles registered with the PLR Commission. If a title is found in a library, it is recorded as a “hit” in our system. A title can receive only one hit per sampled catalogue, even if the library contains multiple copies.

We surveyed six libraries in each language group and doubled results for libraries in the largest urban centres (Toronto and Montréal), as we have done in previous years. The PLR Commission has again made an adjustment of one additional hit for poetry titles found in libraries in Toronto and Montréal.

This year the value of a hit is $40.15. In situations where there is more than one eligible contributor to a book, the value of the hit is pro-rated among the contributors according to the percentage of the book that was their contribution. Since there is a maximum of seven possible times a book can be found, the top payment a title can receive is $281.05 (7 x $40.15). A minimum and maximum total author payment is established each year.

Library sampling
As in previous years, the sample includes public libraries from across Canada. We also continued to include some provincial union catalogues (databases that group together the holdings of various public libraries) in the sample. These vast databases allow the PLR sample to take into account much larger collections than those of single library systems.

We have also developed “virtual” catalogues in certain circumstances. It is not always possible to find a single library catalogue in a region sufficiently large for the PLR sample. By sampling two related catalogues (such as adjacent regions or cities) and combining the results, we are able to create a large “virtual catalogue.”

You may appeal a decision on eligibility or correct inaccurate information on your books by writing to the PLR Commission before May 1, 2007. In the case of an appeal, you must enclose a copy of your book along with your letter of appeal. Please consult the program eligibility criteria and explain why you believe your book is eligible. 

Minor changes to eligibility criteria
The PLR Commission has approved minor changes to PLR eligibility criteria. Either the copyright page or the title page may be sent with the title registration. This page must confirm the author’s contribution to the title. As well, the definition of an eligible editor’s contribution has been refined. Please read the eligibility criteria, which can be found on the reverse of the File Update form, for details.

Sliding scale plan
Information sent to authors in previous years have described
a “sliding scale plan” approved by the PLR Commission, contingent upon the federal government allocating a significant increase to the PLR program budget. As the Commission has not yet obtained the required budget increase, this plan remains on the shelf for the time being. For information about the sliding scale plan, please see the PLR website ( or contact PLR staff if you do not have internet access.

Budget situation
As mentioned in the letter from the Chair on the reverse,
the Commission is concerned about the declining PLR payment rates. In 1986, the maximum per title was $400 but now it is $281.05. The Commission is continuing its efforts to convince the government of the need to increase the PLR program budget. 

In 2006-2007, the budget for author payments continued to benefit from the Tomorrow Starts Today funding, which provides increased federal support for the arts and culture.

Income tax and the PLR payment: FAQ

Q. Do I need to declare my PLR payment on my federal
income tax?
A. All PLR payments must be reported as income whether you received a T4A tax slip or not. When completing your income tax return, the PLR payment should be attributed to “PLR/ Canada Council” since the PLR Commission operates under the administrative aegis of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Q. Why have I not received a T4A tax slip?
A. We no longer send T4A tax slips to authors who received less than $500 in the previous year. The amount of your previous PLR payment can be found on your Title Earning Summary.

Q. Why does the amount of my cheque not match the amount
on the T4A tax slip?
A. The T4A tax slip reports your PLR earnings for the previous year. Next year’s T4A tax slip will report information for the February 2007 payment.