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Minister's Message

Photo of the Honourable James Moore, P.C, M.P. Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

The Government of Canada recognizes that the cultural sector plays a vital role in building dynamic communities across Canada and contributes immensely to our economy. As a Canadian Heritage Portfolio agency, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) works to engage Canadians in a vibrant cultural and civic life and contributes actively to the administration of Canadian institutions in its role of official record keeper for the Government of Canada.

In particular, LAC is focusing on the modernization of its activities to reflect today's digital age in which Canadians are using new technologies to generate and access more information than ever before. Through its new Documentary Heritage Management Framework, Library and Archives Canada is redefining its key functions as well as its partnerships with other Canadian memory institutions. This approach allows it to increase its collaboration with users and creators to optimize resource discovery.

In 2009–2010, LAC also generated direct benefits for Canadians. For example, core support for a new government-wide record-keeping system improves Canadians' access to information. Co-operation with partners brought the LAC collection to more Canadians through initiatives such as Festival Karsh in Ottawa and Edmonton, as well as online. Portraits in the Street Vancouver 2010 reached 140,000 people in connection with the 2010 Vancouver and Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. These and other initiatives demonstrated the organization's commitment to share our country's documentary heritage with Canadians.

As the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, I am pleased to present the 2009–2010 Departmental Performance Report of Library and Archives Canada. This report illustrates LAC's activities during the last fiscal year.

The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.

Section I: Departmental Overview

Raison d'être

The preamble of the Library and Archives of Canada Act states that the mandate of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is:

  • to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • to serve as a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society;
  • to facilitate in Canada co-operation among the communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge;
  • to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.


Documentary heritage takes many forms. What were once largely printed and recorded items such as books, historical documents, government records, photos, films, maps, music and documentary art are now increasingly digital: the websites, audio, video and social technology that capture today's Canadian documentary productions. Regardless of the format, sources or volume of documentary heritage generated by Canadians, LAC has three core responsibilities:

  • acquisition
  • preservation
  • resource discovery

We are mapping out an integrated approach to all three as part of our modernization of LAC, which is described in more detail later in this section. This approach will take into account the following elements of each core responsibility.

Library and Archives Canada: Collection Figures

  • More than 22 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications
  • More than 167,000 metres of government and private textual records
  • About three million architectural drawings, maps and plans
  • About 25 million photographs
  • About 355,000 hours of film, video and sound recordings
  • Canada's portrait collection, which includes 21,000 works of art and thousands of caricatures
  • More than 560,000 musical items
  • More than 371,000 items from the documentary art collection, including watercolours, sketches, miniatures and oil paintings
  • One million items from the philatelic collection
  • More than one billion megabytes of digital content

Source: Library and Archives Canada



Figure 1: Number of government acquisitions transferred to LAC

Figure showing the number of government acquisitions transferred to LAC from 2007–2008 to 2009–2010


Figure 2: Published items transferred to or acquired by LAC

Figure showing the number of published items transferred to or acquired by LAC from 2007–2008 to 2009–2010


Figure 3: Number of archival acquisitions from private sector acquired by LAC

Figure showing the number of archival acquisitions from the private sector acquired by LAC from 2007–2008 to 2009–2010


Acquisition is the result of an evaluation process that strives to find the most meaningful document from a world where information is overabundant.

Currently, there are three main acquisition processes at LAC. First, Government of Canada departments and agencies transfer to us their documents and records of archival or historic value. Second, legal deposit requirements in the Library and Archives of Canada Act obligate publishers to provide us with copies of materials published in Canada. The third process covers all other acquisitions, such as donations, purchases and our work to gather material online. The rapid growth in available materials demands that LAC take a more strategic approach regarding acquisition. LAC is doing this by focusing on items of historical value that contribute to the understanding of Canada's social, economic and cultural development, as well as by supporting effective recordkeeping in government departments. This more strategic approach is also taking place in ways that assess the likely implications of an acquisition on LAC's preservation and resource discovery responsibilities.


The preservation function carried out at LAC encompasses activities that store, preserve and protect from damage the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of current and future generations. LAC's actions to ensure the long-term preservation of collection material begin at the point of acquisition and continue through the day-to-day management of the collection including the delivery of material to clients. These actions are carried out by staff with expertise in both analogue and digital collections using a wide range of technologies and systems. LAC's Preservation Centre has much of the infrastructure necessary for preservation and management of the collection. Given the variety and quantity of collection material that requires preservation, LAC takes a risk-based approach. For example, preservation is carried out based on priority factors such as fragility, obsolescence, value, meaningfulness of the document as well as client demand.

Resource Discovery

LAC's resource discovery focuses on client-driven processes that make it as easy as possible for Canadians to explore the collection on their own terms. Many Canadians are using Web-enabled searches of collection material as they pursue interests such as family history. LAC staff members organize exhibitions and learning events increasingly online or at partner sites across Canada.

Figure 4: Access-to-information request trends from 2007—2008 to 2009—2010

Figure showing the access to information request trends received by LAC from 2007–2008 to 2009–2010


Resource discovery is also linked to government accountability, through access to the Government of Canada digital, paper and other records that LAC manages. Access to information responsibilities often involve reviews of archival records, personnel records of former civilian and military government employees and business records. Our eight Regional Service Centres manage more contemporary records in all media in conjunction with more than 90 federal government organizations across the country. These Centres hold backup copies in case of disasters or emergencies.

The processes we use to describe the items in the collection are essential to resource discovery and are also models that other Canadian institutions use. Our development and use of effective, consistent description standards help Canadians understand elements of the collection, find documents of interest to them and add more information to those documents. This also helps clients understand how we have organized the collection and resources and assists them in their searches.

Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture

Library and Archives Canada works toward the single strategic outcome set out in the following chart. It currently organizes its work through the program activity architecture (PAA) also set out in that chart.

Figure showing LAC's Program Activity Architecture


It should be noted that while the work of LAC is generally aligned with the Government of Canada outcome of "Vibrant Canadian Culture and Heritage" in the Social Affairs outcome area, our department's recordkeeping responsibilities are also clearly supportive of the Government Affairs outcome area.

We expect a new PAA to be in place for 2011—2012 that will represent our most current understanding of LAC's core activities and an updated organizational structure designed to meet the responsibilities of our institution.

Summary of Performance

2009—2010 Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
$121,338.9 $140,078.8 $124,467.5

2009—2010 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference
1,132 1,140 8

Strategic Outcome: Current and future generations of Canadians have access to their documentary heritage
Performance Indicators Targets 2009—2010 Performance
Extent to which the LAC collection is accessible to Canadians (refers to going digital) 2009—2010 determine baseline A conservative estimate of approximately 15 million images (0.3% of the collection content) is available online1.
Among other measures of access are the following:

  • more than 80% of published material and 15% of archival material (via microfilm) are accessible to Canadians through an interlibrary loan;
  • 10% of LAC archival material is located and accessible in the regions;
  • 70% of the remaining archival material and 10% of remaining published material is accessible only on site.

The performance indicator and target above is from the Performance Measurement Framework that LAC revised after the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) was completed. They were used throughout 2009—2010 and provide a more meaningful and measurable basis to define LAC's goals and results achieved than those set out in the RPP.

1 This result is comparable to other national institutions, such as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which has a similar mandate to NARA. For more information on this topic, consult pages 38 to 45 of the LAC Fiscal Year 2010—2011, Annual Performance Plan at: []

($ thousands)
Program Activity 2008—2009
2009—2010 Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
Program Activity 1.1 - Managing the disposition of the Government of Canada records of continuing value $13,938.8 $9,863.6 $9,860.7 $11,192.9 $11,248.2 Social Affairs
Vibrant Canadian Culture and Heritage (See Note 1)
Program Activity 1.2 - Managing the documentary heritage of interest to Canada $68,776.8 $57,301.0 $57,287.8 $70,401.6 $54,509.8 Social Affairs
Vibrant Canadian Culture and Heritage
Program Activity 1.3 - Making the documentary heritage known and accessible for use $43,876.9 $24,611.8 $24,612.0 $26,107.1 $24,305.9 Social Affairs
Vibrant Canadian Culture and Heritage
Program Activity 1.4 - Internal services Note 2 $29,606.2 $29,578.4 $32,377.2 $34,403.6  
Total $126,592.5 $121,382.6 $121,338.9 $140,078.8 $124,467.5  

Note 1: While the Program Activity Architecture currently allocates all LAC program activities to the Social Affairs outcome, effective recordkeeping establishes an essential administrative and business foundation within government for services to Canadians. It is an essential element in supporting ministerial and managerial accountability within Canada's democratic process. Therefore, LAC notes that Program Activity 1.1 aligns better to the Government Affairs outcome.
Note 2: Commencing in the 2009—2010 Estimates cycle, the resources for Program Activity 1.4: Internal services is displayed separately from other program activities; they are no longer distributed among the remaining program activities, as was the case in previous Main Estimates. This has affected the comparison of spending and FTE information by Program Activity between fiscal years.

2 Financial variances are detailed in the Financial Performance Summary for 2009—2010 at: []

Modernization at LAC: Building for the Future

We live in an unprecedented digital information environment that is reshaping the documentary heritage of Canada. User-generated digital videos, audio, electronic publications, web pages, emails, social networking posts and much more have expanded a base that once consisted of various kinds of printed and recorded materials and included documentary art such as portraits. Digital technologies have also fundamentally altered how people gain access to information. Canadians now expect to be able to use digital technology to find anything, anywhere, anytime.

These factors are completely reshaping the work of LAC and other memory institutions in Canada as they ask what documentary heritage should be acquired, preserved and made available—not just for present-day users but for those of future generations, in 50 or 100 years, who want to understand the Canada of 2010. Such memory institutions are questioning how to get the best results possible from the multitude of choices given the likelihood that resources will remain roughly at current levels. They are asking each other how their traditional roles and relationships can evolve into more effective and efficient partnerships.

The digital reshaping of the information environment was already becoming clear by the late 1990s. The Government of Canada made a critical step forward when it created the Library and Archives of Canada in 2004 and assigned it the broad responsibilities noted in the "Raison d'tre" above, as well as the flexibility to act strategically. Since then, LAC has taken a series of strategic actions to align its activities with the opportunities of a rapidly evolving environment.

LAC's Strategic Choices

LAC will adjust all aspects of its activities to adapt to the needs and benefit from the opportunities of the digital information environment.

LAC will increase the relevance of and accessibility to its collection and expertise for Canadians outside the National Capital Region.

LAC will focus its role in Government of Canada information management on the development of effective recordkeeping.

LAC will make systematic use of collaborative arrangements and will increasingly deliver on its mandate through or with others.

LAC will ensure that client research and evaluation results are built into management decision making.

In 2009—2010, LAC was concluding its focus on five Strategic Choices that had served as our departmental priorities since 2006. They are listed in the table immediately to the right of this section. The Strategic Choices articulated the direction of our institution. They guided us as we began to consolidate and concentrate our efforts on the results most relevant to our mandate and to the interests of Canadians. For example, they helped to shape a new Recordkeeping Directive for Government of Canada departments and agencies that is much more strategic, results-focused and cost-effective. The Strategic Choices guided initial strategies for the acquisition and preservation of Canada's digital documentary heritage. They influenced decisions as we tested new ways to make the collection accessible to Canadians, regardless of where they live, and often through partnerships with other institutions. They also inspired challenging decisions as we shifted resources from established uses to funding more compelling new opportunities. We tested many approaches in detail through "Pathfinder projects." They allowed us to better understand the practical issues involved in moving forward and the challenges we would have to manage.3

3 This process and related decisions regarding modernization are described in detail in the document Shaping Our Continuing Memory Collectively: A Representative Documentary Heritage posted at: []

The Outcomes, Guiding Principles and Roles

There was substantial internal analysis and discussion of the experience with the Strategic Choices, including the Pathfinders. It included an evaluation of our progress and the lessons learned from the Strategic Choices process since 2006. In November 2009, we released the following set of documents about the modernization of LAC:

  • Library and Archives Canada's Story Continues;
  • the Documentary Heritage Management Framework;
  • the Acquisition Orientation Instrument.

The Documentary Heritage Management Framework defined five outcomes for our efforts:

  • Canadians will identify with Canada's documentary heritage and see it as relevant.
  • LAC will demonstrate a more disciplined, holistic and transparent approach to acquisition decisions with more effective use of resources.
  • LAC will have a more responsive and agile organizational approach to business by structuring its activities along the business lines of acquisition, preservation and resource discovery.
  • LAC will be the steward of a documentary heritage collection that can be sustained.
  • Memory institutions across Canada will collaborate to meet the needs of Canadians for a more cohesive approach to their documentary heritage.

A major step in the direction of the above outcomes was the development of a more rigorous strategic approach based on the following guiding principles within the Documentary Heritage Management Framework.

  • Significance focuses our attention on the documentary heritage that best represents the development of Canadian society and its identities, cultures, values and experiences.
  • Sufficiency points us toward collecting Canada's documentary heritage in the quality and quantity adequate to meet our objectives.
  • Sustainability emphasizes acquiring items that do not present preservation and access challenges.
  • Society emphasizes the LAC commitment to document Canada's diverse society, and the importance of serving and benefiting Canadians through the use of the collection.

These four guiding principles extend to collaborating more strategically with other memory institutions and partners. This may lead to more defined responsibilities or priorities for LAC in relation to those of other memory institutions and partners as we all coordinate our respective documentary heritage management efforts to be more effective and efficient.

The next step was to begin developing three orientation instruments that would translate these principles and roles into practical guidance for our core responsibilities.4 We released the Acquisition Orientation Instrument with the initial set of documents in November 2009. The Preservation Orientation Instrument followed later. Work began on the Resource Discovery Orientation Instrument, for release later in 2010. Overall, our progress on modernization was achieved more rapidly than originally anticipated, which in turn accelerated the related change management of modernization.

4 The entire set of documents relating to the modernization of LAC is accessible at: []

Consultations and Further Elaboration

An extensive consultation process followed the release of the modernization documents in November 2009. The Librarian and Archivist of Canada and other senior LAC officials consulted with Canada's library and archives communities, including their counterparts in provincial and territorial libraries and archives. Meanwhile, we aligned our new and previously committed actions with the direction of modernization. We placed greater emphasis on LAC-wide approaches to issues, rather than ones specific to a particular branch or group. We used the lens of modernization as a way to consider our options in such areas as the many information technology investments we could make.

Using the same lens, we placed a moratorium on purchasing new acquisitions between May 2009 and January 2010. Individual acquisitions after that were assessed on the basis of the four guiding principles of modernization, and included consideration of probable long-term preservation costs.

The modernization process will continue and evolve with experience. To support it, we established new operational and management priorities for the 2010—2011 fiscal year, taking into account the progress we have already made, and including the priorities reflected in the decisions and actions listed in the table below and others described in Part II of this report.

Contribution of Priorities to the Strategic Outcome

Between 2006 and 2010, the five Strategic Choices listed below were theLAC management and operational priorities. They served as broad guides in setting priorities for change and experimentation, not for specific and quantitatively defined time-based goals with precise targets. Each one emphasized a particular aspect of change in how LAC would seek to achieve its strategic outcome that Current and future generations of Canadians have access to their documentary heritage in a rapidly changing environment.

Given the end of that multi-year process and an evaluation of results to date, we can summarize the progress of each Strategic Choice between 2006 and 2009.

Strategic Choice Type Status
LAC will adjust all aspects of its activities to adapt to the needs and benefit from the opportunities of the digital information environment. Previously
Somewhat met
Between 2006 and 2009, we made some progress regarding certain aspects of our activities.
  • Substantial digitization of analogue items in the collection took place to improve accessibility and address threats to the collection caused by the fragile state of many items.
  • Increased acquisition of digital documentary heritage occurred through Web harvests and we are preparing to implement a Trusted Digital Repository including initial transfers of government records.
We are not as far as we had hoped to be at this time.
  • Working in a new field means facing problems that no other institution has resolved.
  • Introducing new technologies and services that depend on technology has proven to be more complicated than anticipated.
LAC will increase the relevance of and accessibility to its collection and expertise for Canadians outside the National Capital Region (NCR). Previously
Mostly met
Between 2006 and 2009, LAC made significant progress.
  • We used the walls and screens of other institutions to deliver our Portrait Gallery Program so that Canadians outside of the NCR could see/experience LAC's portrait collection.
  • In terms of Web services, LAC has one of the most popular government websites, receiving an average of one million visits per month.
  • The LAC genealogy program has had great success within the genealogical community with substantial Web traffic of people doing family research.
  • LAC has developed a new model, moving from one-to-one service to one-to-many service, in which we can reach more people with the same investment of resources at the same time.
There is still much work to do in this area to maintain the momentum.
  • Millions of items in our collection have yet to be made accessible through our website.
  • We need to collaborate more with organizations to improve our delivery of services and programs.
LAC will focus its role in Government of Canada information management on the development of effective recordkeeping. Previously
Met all
This priority is on track. We have reached the results that we projected when we established this Strategic Choice.
  • The new Directive on Recordkeeping developed in collaboration with the TBS was launched in June 2009.
  • The documentation and tools to support the implementation of the Directive on Recordkeeping were developed as planned.
  • Aligned with the modernization exercise, we transformed our new storage model into a new service model that covers all services we offer to other departments in Regional Service Centres, in addition to storage.
  • We have eliminated kilometres of government records without archival value, allowing for a better use of space and ensuring improved access to records of archival value.
  • LAC is now building on this success by using a similar approach to define the future of federal library services.
LAC will make systematic use of collaborative arrangements and will increasingly deliver on its mandate through or with others. Previously
Somewhat met
  • In the past, LAC developed partnerships on an ad hoc basis and took advantage of opportunities as they came about. Based on the lessons from these partnering experiences, we finalized a partnership policy in 2009 but remain at a preliminary stage of implementing the systematic use of collaborative arrangements.
  • LAC has reached out to library, archival and historian community organizations regarding the LAC vision and its new directions.
  • LAC needs to improve its relationships with external communities based on a more strategically guided approach to collaboration between government institutions and non-governmental organizations/communities; this is being implemented now through a new governance approach.
LAC will ensure that client research and evaluation results are built into management decision making. Previously
Somewhat met
  • In the past, our record of client feedback was very irregular. We now gather information on client needs and satisfaction more systematically through regular surveys (online, at a distance and on site).
  • We have a more systematic approach to performance measurement. To make better use of evaluation results for decision making, Results-based Management and Accountability Frameworks (RMAF) were approved for each of our program activities in 2009—2010 and data collection has begun.5
  • An evaluation of the Strategic Choices was conducted and the lessons learned will be used to inform the process of modernization.
  • Although significant progress has been made since 2006, there are still many challenges to developing a performance measurement culture within LAC and using the results in management decision making.

5 For more information on LAC's RMAFs, consult the following link: []

Risk Analysis

As an organization with a specific mandate and set of responsibilities, the LAC operating context during 2009—2010 was largely in line with projections at the time the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) was developed. As a result, the existing corporate risk profile used to shape plans and priorities for the year was an effective management guide. Those risks, of which the most significant are indicated below, were recognized as ongoing to LAC and our ability to achieve our strategic outcome, rather than short-term ones. The Strategic Choices were designed to help us better understand and explore approaches that would allow us to mitigate risks over the medium to long term. The modernization commitment, set out earlier in this section, was designed for us to learn from our experience in managing many of the key risks set out in the RPP and listed below.

  • Preservation of digital and analogue documentary heritage — Modernization features an approach to acquisition and preservation that reflects our commitment to a collection that will continue to have analogue and digital items in old and new media. It sets priorities to guide the most appropriate choices and use of resources.
  • Long-term accommodation and technological infrastructure — Modernization sets priorities that will provide an ongoing basis for assessing accommodation and infrastructure requirements and draws on the lessons learned with technology and infrastructure initiatives to date. It has already influenced the decision to build new, specialized infrastructure to house some of the LAC collection.
  • Financial sustainability — Modernization is linked directly to ensuring that LAC can use its resources and leverage those of other partners to achieve the most strategically appropriate results. The one new development in 2009—2010 was the requirement to accommodate the Government's Strategic Review commitment to reduce ongoing expenditures, in our case by $800,000 in 2009—2010 and $4.6 million in 2010—2011. In response to this reduction, LAC has revisited its activity base and will continue to do so throughout 2010—2011 toward delivering its mandate in a more efficient manner.
  • Human resources — We are pursuing human resource strategies based on the expectation that LAC staff, both current and future, will bring new skills to our organization, will increasingly reflect Canada's diversity, and will work in a more collaborative culture in line with the direction set out in the Documentary Heritage Management Framework. In addition, LAC needs to provide opportunities for experienced staff to transfer their knowledge and skills to new employees.
  • Government-wide initiatives — The strategic nature of modernization will reinforce LAC's capacity to make appropriate contributions to government-wide commitments.

An internal audit on risk-management practices during the year focused on key aspects of risk, controls and governance processes in LAC. It yielded important insights for assurance reporting across the organization and provided recommendations to help improve LAC risk management.

Expenditure Profile

The chart below depicts LAC's spending trend over a six-year period (three years of actual spending and three years of planned spending). The higher level of spending over five years beginning in 2007—2008 stems from temporary funding for specific projects as described below.

  • Over three years, beginning in 2007—2008, $21.7 million has been invested in replacing obsolete systems and providing the capacity for managing electronic publications and digital records of the Government of Canada;
  • In 2008—2009, LAC received approval for the construction of a preservation facility that will safeguard Canada's cellulose nitrate-based documentary heritage (photographs and films). We spent $7.4 million in 2009—2010 and an additional $6.5 million will be spent in 2010—2011;
  • We anticipate spending $12.8 million in 2010—2011 and $19 million in 2011—2012 to increase LAC's collection storage capacity6;

These projects advance LAC's mandate to safeguard Canada's documentary heritage. LAC continues to ensure the availability of preservation capacity to meet the needs of Canada's collection.

6 Note that these funding levels are subject to change. Further details will be provided in the next RPP and DPR.

Canada's Economic Action Plan

Over two years, beginning in 2009—2010, we received $3 million ($1.4 million in 2009—2010 and $1.6 million in 2010—2011) in funding under Canada's Economic Action Plan for the modernization of our federal laboratories7. The laboratories will be enhanced through the following construction work:

  • Updating preservation and digitization laboratories in our Preservation Centre, which will increase their efficiency and flexibility and allow us to adapt those spaces to new technology;
  • Renovating several archival processing laboratories in our Place de la Cit facility to provide environmentally appropriate and secure facilities in line with current technology needs.

Phase 1 of both projects was completed on schedule by March 31, 2010 and both projects are on track for completion in 2010—2011. Construction costs were below project estimates.

Upon conclusion of all these projects, spending will decrease by $18 million, LAC's approximate permanent funding level.

7 This figure excludes contribution to the Employee Benefit Plans as spending relates only to other operating and capital.

Figure 5: Financial spending trends

Figure showing LAC's financial spending trends, with the dollars in millions, from 2007–2008 to 2012–2013


Voted and Statutory Items
($ thousands)
Vote # or Statutory Item (S) Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording 2007—2008
50 Program expenditures $111,035.2 $114,184.6 $110,215.8 $103,912.3
52 Capital expenditures - - - $7,556.2
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans $11,331.7 $12,339.1 $11,166.8 $12,895.4
  Spending of proceeds from the disposal of surplus Crown Assets $89.1 $68.8 - $103.6
Total $122,456.0 $126,592.5 $121,382.6 $124,467.5

8Financial variances are detailed in the Financial Performance Summary for 2009—2010 at: []