Proactive Opening of Government Records Under Block Review

In 2010, we initiated a new process called “block review” to proactively open more archived federal government records under the auspices of Canada’s Access to Information Act and Privacy Act.

This initiative has been very successful and we are proud to announce that as of July 2016 we have opened more than 23 million pages of Canadian government records, which are now available to the public. And this number will continue to grow.

Block review explained

A block review is the systematic review of blocks or series of archived government records currently held in our permanent collection. It incorporates a risk-based approach that looks at both the age of the record and the subject.

Block review is completed by using various sampling strategies to determine whether the records can be opened for public access under both the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. The process involves identifying and examining representative parts of the archival record and opening the records based on the findings.

Targeted records for the block review process

We hold countless Canadian federal government records documenting all aspects of Canadian public life. Our objective is to target records that will not likely contain any exemptions  under Canada’s Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. The block review process has opened material on many subjects such as the following:

  • records documenting Canada’s military history;
  • records providing evidence of the relationship between the federal government and Canada’s Aboriginal population;
  • archival material detailing our significant diplomatic and trade relationships with foreign governments and international organizations;
  • regional documents created across Canada as the federal government administered its numerous functions and activities; and
  • archival material documenting how we celebrated our centenary in 1967—of timely interest as Canadians prepare for this country’s 150th anniversary.

Search our newly opened records now!

See our index of records opened through LAC’s block review initiative.

This is also searchable through the Government of Canada Open Data Portal.

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