Guidelines 2017-2018

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For a third year, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will continue to invest $1.5 million per year over five (5) years to implement the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP). This program aims to ensure that Canada’s continuing memory is documented and accessible to current and future generations by adopting a more collaborative approach with local documentary heritage communities. The program will be delivered in the form of contributions, which are based on eligibility criteria.

The contributions will support the development of Canada’s local archival and library communities by increasing their capacity to preserve, provide access to and promote documentary heritage and will provide opportunities for local documentary heritage communities to evolve and remain sustainable and strategic.

In January 2016, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced Anne Lindsay as the Documentary Heritage Communities Program’s Regional Ambassador for the North and indigenous projects.

Anne Lindsay is a research and access archivist with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. Anne has worked with indigenous individuals, organizations and communities throughout her career, which has deepened her commitment to support their participation in archives and archiving in Canada.

As Regional Ambassador of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP), Anne is available to assist and support the local documentary heritage community on behalf of LAC during the application process. For more information on this subject, please contact us.


Public Acknowledgment of Financial Assistance

Recipient organizations must publicly recognize, in both official languages, the Government of Canada's financial support in all advertising, promotional and program materials, public announcements, website and social media content, etc. LAC's requirement for public acknowledgment of financial have been incorporated into all contribution agreements with funded recipients. Failure to comply with the requirements described in the contribution agreement could result in the cancellation of funding. More information can be found by consulting the Guide on the Public Acknowledgment of Financial Assistance from Library and Archives. Please note that all funding information is considered confidential until LAC has made a public announcement.

I. General Information

The purpose of this document is to assist organizations in preparing an application for funding under the DHCP. Applicants are advised to read the guide in its entirety, and are encouraged to contact DHCP officials prior to submission to ensure that applications are complete.

Incomplete applications will not be assessed and will be considered ineligible.
For your application to be complete, the following three forms must be submitted:

Completed applications (with all attachments) must be emailed or mailed and postmarked no later than January 27, 2017, 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.

The following are key elements for consideration when developing projects and completing the application form.

  • There are two financial categories within the program:
    • Small contributions: contributions under $15,000;
    • Large contributions: contributions between $15,000 and $100,000.
  • If an association/organization is party to more than one application submitted, or if previously approved projects have not yet been completed, the applicant must demonstrate the capacity to carry out multiple projects, and must indicate an order of funding priority.
  • Recommendations for funding are based on merit, program priorities, available funding, regional representation, and whether the project contributes to the achievement of broader government objectives.
  • All recipients must complete a Final Assessment and Financial Report by March 31, 2018. Should multi-year recipients not submit this report they will not receive the subsequent years’ funding. Should a recipient not submit this report, they will not be eligible for further funding cycles and may be asked to repay the contribution.
  • In addition, recipients that have been awarded large contributions are required to complete and submit the Interim Assessment and Financial Report by January 15, 2018 for approval to receive the remainder of the 15% holdback.

II. About the Documentary Heritage Communities Program


The objectives of the DHCP are to:

  • increase access to and awareness of Canada’s local documentary heritage institutions and their holdings;
  • increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada’s documentary heritage.

Eligible Recipients

The following incorporated and non-incorporated non-profit associations/organizations can apply. Should a non-incorporated association/organization wish to apply, a letter of reference will be required from a recognized national association, their municipality or province/territory. Non-incorporated associations/organizations are encouraged to partner with incorporated associations/organizations. All incorporated applicants must provide proof of incorporation. 

  • Archives
  • Privately funded libraries
  • Historical societies
  • Genealogical organizations/societies
  • Professional associations
  • Museums with an archival component

Ineligible Recipients

Businesses, governments and government institutions (including municipal governments and Crown Corporations), museums without archives, and universities and colleges are ineligible to apply under the DHCP.

A non-profit organization that is administered by, or that receives more than 50% of its regular annual operational funding from any level of government is ineligible to apply for funding. Please note that an ineligible applicant can participate and/or collaborate in a project submitted by an eligible applicant, by providing them with in-kind or financial assistance. However, an ineligible organization or collaborator cannot benefit financially from the contribution, nor can they be a co-applicant, named partner or third party recipients.

Eligible Projects and Contribution Categories

Objective 1: Increase access to and awareness of Canada’s local documentary heritage institutions and their holdings.

  • Conversion and digitization for access purposes
  • The development (research, design and production) of virtual and physical exhibitions, including travelling exhibits
  • Collection, cataloguing and access based management
  • Commemorative projects

Objective 2: Increase capacity to better preserve and sustain Canada’s documentary heritage.

  • Conversion and digitization for preservation purposes
  • Conservation and preservation treatment
  • Increased digital preservation capacity (excluding digital infrastructure related to day-to-day activities)
  • Training and workshops that improve competencies and build capacity
  • Development of standards, performance and other measurement activities

Financial assistance will be in the form of contributions for all eligible projects. Requested funding will be validated and may be modified further to the review of projected expenses.

Funding decisions will be based on approved eligible project criteria limited by the funding available, program priorities as well as regional representation.

There are two financial categories within the program:

A. Small contributions under $15,000

  • Both incorporated and non-incorporated non-profit documentary heritage associations/organizations can apply
    • Non-incorporated documentary heritage institutions require a letter of reference from a recognized national association or municipal or provincial/territorial government
  • Ineligible for multi-year funding
  • 100% of funds provided at the beginning of the project
  • The submission of the Final Assessment and Financial Report, by March 31, 2018, is mandatory to be considered eligible for further funding cycles.

B. Large contributions between $15,000 and $100,000

  • Only incorporated non-profit documentary heritage associations/organizations can apply;
  • 15% of funds are retained until receipt and approval of the Interim Assessment and Financial Report due January 15, 2018;
  • Advanced funding may be considered;
  • Maximum level of support is $100,000 per project, per year;
  • Multi-year funding will be considered;*
  • Recipient may redistribute funding to one or more third parties;
  • The submission of the Final Assessment and Financial Report, by March 31, 2018, is mandatory to be considered eligible for further funding cycles.

* As of fiscal year 2016–2017 all successful recipients from previous funding cycles who are incorporated will be able to apply for multi-year funding.

Eligible Expenditure

Financial assistance may be provided to associations/organizations to cover the project costs below. Eligible expenditures for general administration and travel costs combined may not exceed 20% of the contribution provided (does not apply to travelling exhibits or workshop delivery/attendance).

  • salaries and wages associated with a DHCP-funded project;
  • travel costs for staff working on DHCP funded projects (consistent with the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive);
  • costs associated with consultants and/or elders, including fees and travel related to the project (consistent with the National Joint Council’s Travel Directive);
  • costs associated with the purchase or rental of equipment and software for the purpose of conversion, digitization, preservation, cataloguing;
  • costs associated with administration, shipping fees, promotion and communication expenses related to the project (excluding translation), as well as costs associated with the launch of the project and acknowledgement/visibility of the contribution provided by the Government of Canada;
  • administrative costs include, but are not limited to office supplies, long-distance telephone calls, postage, messenger services, photocopies and printing services;
  • staff or consulting costs associated with the evaluation of project outcomes/results;
  • consulting costs associated with the translation of communication material produced as a result of the project, as well as for the development of Official Languages minority communities and promotion of English and French (Section 41 of the Official Languages Act);
  • insurance costs associated with a travelling exhibition;
  • training, competency and capacity development activities;
  • professional costs for conservation/preservation treatments; and
  • hospitality costs associated with project launches and small gifts (under $100) to elders for Aboriginal projects.

Ineligible Expenditures

Project funding may not be used for salaries, wages, travel, material, supplies, capital assets, and other costs related to:

  • ongoing operations (i.e., day-to-day activities) and maintenance costs including office space rent/lease, overall management, heating, and maintenance of systems/equipment;
  • acquisition of documentary heritage and activities related to the acquisition of documentary heritage;
  • hospitality, other than those exceptions listed in the section above;
  • capital expenditures (related to fixed assets);
  • development of project proposals or application under the DHCP or for other federal programs;
  • salaries paid to staff of any level of government;
  • any costs that would have been incurred had the project not been undertaken;
  • Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan and other benefits; and
  • taxes (for those organizations that are exempted or that may be reimbursed).

Stacking Limit

The maximum level (stacking limit) of total government assistance (federal, provincial and municipal assistance for the same eligible projects) for this program will not exceed 100% of eligible expenditures. In the event that actual total government assistance to a recipient exceeds the stacking limit, it will be necessary for LAC to adjust its level of assistance (and seek reimbursement, if necessary) so that the stacking limit is not exceeded.

Method Used to Calculate Contribution Amount

The program will ensure that the contribution amount is provided at the minimum level required to support the achievement of the stated transfer payment program objectives and expected results. The program uses benchmarks by activities, comparisons with similar projects and recommendations from internal financial and subject matter advisors and the External Advisory Committee for the evaluation of the project budget. 

To determine the eligible amount of funding, the following criteria will be considered to evaluate each proposal:

  • relevance and community engagement;
  • project planning and management;
  • budget analysis;
  • evaluation/expected outcomes;
  • organization’s capacity to deliver;
  • risks associated with the proposed initiative.

In addition, the program will ensure that the amount awarded is appropriate, given the other sources of funding provided to the recipient and the restrictions imposed by the current terms and conditions.

Maximum Amount

The projects will receive the minimum level of funding required to enable the project to be undertaken; the maximum level of federal assistance to the recipient will be 100%.

The maximum level of support to be provided directly to a non-incorporated documentary heritage association/organization is $14,999 per project per fiscal year.

The maximum level of support to be provided directly to an incorporated documentary heritage association/organization is $100,000 per project per fiscal year.

Description of Payments

Organizations receiving small contributions will receive 100% of funds at the beginning of the project, and organizations receiving large contributions will be subject to a 15% holdback. To receive the balance of the contribution, recipients must submit an Interim Assessment and Financial Report. In the case of multi-year projects, recipients must submit a Final Assessment and Financial Report at the end of each fiscal year to receive the subsequent year’s funding.

The Program may provide advanced funding based on a demonstrated need, such as the recipient’s identification of cash flow requirements. Advance payments may be non-conditional (issued without receipt of a report), or conditional upon the receipt of a financial report and/or other report deemed relevant to the program, such as a report on activities or any other report needed, dependent on the circumstances.

Recipients may redistribute funding to one or more eligible third parties, but must indicate the name, contact information and nature of work to be undertaken by third parties.

Other Relevant Programs

Applicants may consider the following list of federal programs for activities that are not funded through the DHCP:

III. Reaching Out to Official Language Minority Communities and Promoting English and French

The DHCP must ensure that all necessary measures are put into place to support the development of official language minority communities in Canada and to promote the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.

Where the recipient’s activities address an audience comprised of either official language groups, or where the recipient’s activities could have an impact on the bilingual character of Canada, the DHCP must ensure that the funding agreement concluded with the recipient stipulates appropriate measures to be taken and includes the funding required to carry them out.

IV. Completing the Application

Required Documents

To be considered complete, all applications for DHCP funding must include the following documentation:

Note: Where an applicant submits more than one project, an order of priority must be indicated.

Applicants seeking support for the second or third phases of projects must include previously submitted copies of the Final Assessment and Financial Report when completing a new application.

Incomplete applications will not be assessed and will be considered ineligible.

Project Budget

Each section of the Project Budget Form must be completed and include detailed information. Applications with incomplete budgets will be considered as ineligible.

When preparing the budget sheets, please note that:

  • total project revenues must equal total project expenses;
  • for multi-year projects, indicate budget items in the columns associated with the fiscal year during which these expenses will be incurred;
  • all contributions from the applicant, partners and any other public and private sources must be clearly identified as revenues;
  • although DHCP does not reimburse in-kind contributions, these must be declared in the total cost of the project to help determine the maximum financial contribution LAC may provide;
  • an applicant’s contribution to the project of permanent or contracted staff, for which salaries, wages and benefits are paid, has to be recorded as a cash contribution.

Please note that, at the end of the project, revenues from all government sources must not exceed 100% of total project expenses.

Project Evaluation Strategy

The project evaluation strategy is one of the criteria by which the project is assessed. The development of an evaluation strategy includes the identification of qualitative and/or quantitative performance measures, based on clearly articulated outcomes in line with project objectives. In addition, the selected sources of data, the collection methodologies and tools must be identified in this section of the application.

V. Application Assessment Process

Applicants are encouraged to work closely with LAC staff prior to submitting an application for the DHCP deadline. To be considered for funding, organizations must meet applicant and project eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package, including the Application Form, the Budget Form, the Application Checklist, and all supporting documentation. Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Applications are preliminarily reviewed and assessed by program staff and LAC financial and subject matter advisors. The DHCP External Advisory Committee then assesses the eligible applications and provides recommendations to the Librarian and Archivist of Canada who makes the final decisions. Funding decisions are made based on the merit of the projects, program priorities and the availability of funds. Where an applicant is seeking funding for more than one project, the program will consider the applicant’s capacity to undertake and manage multiple projects.

Project Assessment Criteria

Relevance and Community Engagement

  • The project falls within institution’s mandate/mission.
  • The project responds to a demonstrated internal or external need.
  • The organization is relevant and plays a significant role in the documentary heritage community, as well as in the broader community.
  • The organization has clearly identified the relevance and benefits of the collection, learning events and/or proposed activities to the target audience.

Project Planning and Management

  • The organization is capable of carrying out the project to its successful conclusion (evidence that human and financial resources are adequate).
  • Demonstrates sound project management methods (provides timeline, milestones, deliverables and implementation plan).

Project Budget

  • All contributions are clearly identified and appear accurate (applicants, partners, in-kind contributions and other sources).
  • Forecast and timeline of expenditures and revenue of project are provided.
  • Costs in all tables of the Project Budget Form are reasonable and eligible including those from applicants, partners, in-kind contributions and other sources.
  • Administration costs are appropriate and do not exceed 20% of total project budget, unless some travel is required for travelling exhibits or workshop delivery/attendance.

Impact and Evaluation Strategy

  • The evaluation strategy is adequate to assess the success of the project.
  • Outcomes (short- and long-term) are identified, clear, and realistic.

Organization’s Capacity

  • The operating budget of the organization reflects fiscal responsibility (i.e., expenses and revenues are appropriate).
  • Sound and effective governance structure is demonstrated.
  • The applicant achieves its mandate and mission.

VI. Funding Conditions and Reporting Requirements

For a complete description of funding conditions, please consult the Conditions of the contribution. Please note that:

  • The decision of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada is final and not subject to review or appeal.
  • Funding for a small contribution may not exceed $15,000 (per project per year) and funding for a large contribution may not exceed $100,000 (per project per year).
  • A contribution agreement must be signed by both parties before LAC can provide project funding.
  • Multi-year funding will be considered for large contributions for eligible and incorporated organizations that were successful recipients from previous funding cycles.
  • Small contributions will receive 100% of funds at the beginning of the project, and large contributions will be subject to a 15% holdback until receipt and approval of the Interim Assessment and Financial Report.
  • All recipients are required to complete the Final Assessment and Financial Report and submit it to LAC by March 31, 2018. Should a recipient not submit the Interim Assessment and Financial Report they will not receive the remainder of the 15% holdback, nor will they be eligible for multi-year funding in future cycles.
  • In accepting public funding from LAC, all recipients are required to publicly acknowledge the financial assistance they receive as per the Guide on the Public Acknowledgement of Financial Assistance from Library and Archives Canada. All funding information is considered confidential until LAC has made a public announcement of the funded projects.
  • At the end of the project, if total government assistance (federal, provincial/territorial and municipal) exceeds 100% of the total project expenditures, the recipient shall repay any excess to the Receiver General of Canada.
  • The Librarian and Archivist of Canada reserves the right at any time during the term of the agreement, and for up to five years after the end of the agreement, to undertake an evaluation to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement.

VII. Glossary


An organization responsible for maintaining records (of individuals, families, or other organizations or communities) of enduring value and housing archival collections.


Review of something (e.g. a process, an organization, etc.) in terms of compliance, accuracy and effectiveness, to determine whether it is working well and achieving its intended purpose.

Business plan:

Working tool for turning a strategic plan into reality. It provides a road map for board, staff and organizational partners, and may be used to attract particular private sector funders (foundations, corporations and individual donors). Typical business plans project organizational growth for the next three to five years. They usually include financial projections and targets, the size of markets (actual and potential) as well as information on market trends. A business plan describes how the organization is accountable to the community and its methods for monitoring and evaluating progress. A business plan may be incorporated in the organization’s strategic plan or may be presented as a separate document.


An organization that participates in a project by providing in-kind or financial assistance to an eligible organizations’ project. If the collaborator/contributor is an ineligible organization, they cannot be a co-applicant, a named partner to an eligible organizations’ project, a third party, nor can they benefit financially from a contribution.


Individuals or groups of individuals with specialized knowledge and/or skills. They are not part of an organization’s staff, management or board, but rather are contracted for a fee to provide specific services to an organization.

Contractual relationship:

Legal relationship between two or more parties evidenced by a contract or appearing in other official business documents, such as an association/organization’s financial statements. 


A transfer payment subject to performance conditions specified in a funding agreement. A contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit. The recipient will be required to report on results achieved.

Contribution agreement:

Legal document between a donor department and a contribution recipient which describes the obligations of each party.

Documentary heritage:

Publications and records of interest to Canada.


Documents related to the project and made available to the public, such as documentary heritage, catalogues, synopsis, brochures, pamphlets, etc.

Genealogical association:

Associations that study ancestry.

Historical society:

An organization that seeks to preserve and promote interest in the history of a region, a period, or a subject, typically focusing on a province or a community. They often have collections of artifacts, books, and records.

In-kind contribution:
Donation to a project by an individual, business or organization of materials, goods, services or time that would otherwise have been paid for by the recipient. Such a contribution is provided without any expectation of compensation or remuneration. It involves non-cash asset transactions (e.g. securities, land, buildings, equipment, and use of facilities, labour, and goods). To be eligible as an in-kind contribution, the donation:
  • must be essential to the project’s success;
  • must represent an expense that would not otherwise be incurred and paid for by the recipient as part of the project;
  • must be mentioned in the recipient’s contribution agreement, documented and recorded in the recipient’s accounting books;
  • can reasonably be estimated at fair value on the date it is made, using either market value or an appraisal;
  • must contribute to the total cost of the project, but is not reimbursable as no monies change hands.
Key archival functions:

Standard established practices in the main areas of collections-related activities within an archive or historical society, such as appraising, acquiring, conserving, preserving and providing access to documentary heritage via exhibits, and the conversion and digitization of collections.

Key library functions:

Standard established practices in the main areas of published materials (including books, serials, sound and video recordings, and other formats) within a library, such as acquisition, conservation, research, collections information management, exhibitions and education.

Letter of intent:

Written statement presented from a venue to the applicant institution or a partner organization/association, acknowledging serious intent, willingness and ability to enter into a formal agreement. The letter should include a brief description of the project and the nature of the collaboration between the two institutions, including financial considerations and the timeline for implementing the project. The document does not constitute a definitive contract; it is subject to due diligence and fulfillment of certain conditions.

Letter of reference:

Written statement presented from a recognized national association or municipal or provincial/territorial government, to Library and Archives Canada, acknowledging the capacity and ability of the applicant to undertake a proposed project. The letter should include a brief description of the applicant and the nature of their work in the community.


An organized collection of published materials, including books, serials, sound and video recordings, and other formats.

Museum with an archive:

A museum with a significant archival component or a museum and archive that are a single institution.

Operational expenses:

Cash expenses paid by an organization in return for goods or services that are not incremental to the project. These expenses are ineligible for funding.


Results of an effort to attain a goal. They are the external effects or consequences of the project that are considered significant in relation to its initial commitments. Outcomes must be measurable and may occur within organizations, communities, and individuals. They may relate to behaviour, skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, conditions, or other attributes. While there is less degree of control over outcomes, there should be a direct relationship between outputs and outcomes.


Most immediate results of a project. Outputs are the direct products or services produced and delivered to a target group or population, such as an exhibition, the preservation, digitization/conversion and access to a collection , a workshop or seminar, etc.


A partner must be a documentary heritage organization that meets the program eligibility criteria, and that agrees to pool efforts and resources with others in order to achieve a common objective, while keeping its independence. Organizations are not recognized as partners unless they contribute directly in cash or in-kind to the accomplishment of the project.

Performance measures:

Indicators that provide qualitative and/or quantitative information needed to measure the extent to which a project is achieving its intended outcomes. Qualitative data can be expressed in terms of change or comparison between two states, while quantitative indicators can be in the form of a ratio, percentage, comparison, or figure.

Privately funded libraries and archives

A non-profit library or archive, funded privately, receiving less than 50% funding from any level of government.

Professional associations:

Incorporated bodies that represent the interests of archivists, librarians, historians, authors or information managers and/or that are dedicated to their professional development.


Set of activities or functions that a recipient proposes to undertake with the financial assistance provided by a department. A project has a clear start and end date, occurs within a reasonable period of time and demonstrates measurable outputs and outcomes.

Stacking limit:

The maximum level of total Canadian government funding authorized by the terms and conditions for a transfer payment program for any one activity, initiative or project of a recipient.

Strategic plan:

Clearly written document that describes an organization's mandate, its short, mid and long-term goals or objectives, and priority actions to take. A strategic plan includes a timeframe for its execution, and identifies who, within the organization, or what outside agent will take responsibility for the completeness of the actions necessary to realize goals and objectives.

Third Party:

An eligible organization that receives funding from a recipient for undertaking a specific role or service in a project.

Travelling exhibition:

Type of exhibition that is available for circulation to one or more venues in addition to the premises of the organizing archive/library.

For More Information:

The Documentary Heritage Communities Program
Telephone: 819-997-0893 or 1-844-757-8035 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)
TTY: 613-992-6969 or 1-866-299-1699 (toll-free in Canada)
Fax: 819-934-5835
Library and Archives Canada
The Documentary Heritage Communities Program
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0N4


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