Annual Report 2015-2016

ISSN 2371-3240

The year of achieving remarkably

The appointment of a new Librarian and Archivist of Canada in June 2014 was warmly welcomed by Canada’s documentary community. It was our wish, then, that the year beginning April 2015 would be filled with tangible and visible achievements so as to build on this goodwill and allow it to transfer to the entire institution.

The colleagues of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) delivered on a wide range of promising initiatives. Foremost among these were our initiatives in the field of digitization: 12 million images were digitized either in house or by our major partners, Canadiana and Ancestry. Central to our efforts was the most ambitious digitization project ever undertaken by LAC: the digitization of the service records of 640,000 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who served in the First World War. More than 286,000 records were available for consultation on the Internet at the end of 2015–2016, and our plan is to make all of the records available online by the 100th anniversary of the Armistice—November 11, 2018—which should delight both genealogists and historians alike. The number of hits our website gets each year provides us with 90 million reasons to believe that all of these digital initiatives are well worthwhile.

While expanding our virtual offering, we have also been upgrading visitor services provided at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. In addition to replying to thousands of reference inquiries on topics ranging from the proliferation of beavers in Patagonia to the identity of a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, we have been providing Canadians with quality public programming in the form of exhibitions—including the aptly named Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation —lectures, symposia and book launches. The beautiful, newly restored Pellan Room on the second floor of 395 Wellington has become a gathering place where one can exchange ideas with the librarian emeritus of Harvard University, the director general of the National Archives of Australia or the minister of Status of Women Canada, not to mention the most eminent Canadian authors, journalists and professors.

Listening to our partners from the documentary community is the source of another very tangible achievement: the implementation of the new Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP), which was launched in June 2015 with an annual budget of $1.5 million. After its first two competitive processes—and given that they attracted 136 and 155 funding requests, respectively—there can be no doubt that the program is truly addressing community needs.

The year ending March 31, 2016, was also dedicated to dialogue and to the development of partnerships. As a result, our 2016–2019 Three-Year Plan was developed through consultations with our clients, partners and staff. A succession of focus groups, a survey and a town hall, all conducted between June and December 2015, have helped us ensure that the commitments and initiatives we are proposing for the coming years will meet the expectations of Canadians.

Similarly, with representatives from the main documentary community associations that make up our Stakeholders’ Forum, we developed the National Heritage Digitization Strategy, which was adopted in November 2015 and will be rolled out in 2016–2017. We also reached new partnership agreements with two universities renowned for their leadership in library science: the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University. Finally, we must mention the success of our longstanding partnership with the TD Bank Group, and the support we get from the Toronto Public Library to provide the TD Summer Reading Club. In the summer of 2015, the club achieved unprecedented success with over 650,000 participants.

“Success has many fathers,” according to a proverb that has its origins in a passage from the historian, Tacitus. At LAC, we feel that this maxim is all too true: our clients, our partners, our volunteers—the Friends of LAC and the Lowy Collection Council—our donors and our employees are all parents of the remarkable progress we made in 2015–2016. Here’s hoping that the following pages will convince them that LAC is worthy of their tireless support.

Dr. Guy Berthiaume
Librarian and Archivist of Canada

Our mandate

In 2004, Canada’s Parliament gave LAC a very broad mandate, to acquire, process and preserve Canada’s documentary heritage, and to provide public access to it. LAC also serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

Our commitments

  • LAC is fully dedicated to serving all its clients: government institutions, donors, academics, researchers, archivists, librarians, students, genealogists and the general public.
  • LAC draws on the strength of all its staff to stay on the leading edge of archival and library science and new technologies.
  • LAC is proactively engaged with national and international networks in an open and inclusive way.
  • LAC has a prominent public visibility that highlights the value of its collection and services.

The year in numbers

website views

government records opened

questions answered by the reference section

digital images online

Flickr views

publications collected under legal deposit

podcast listens

blog views

new private acquisitions

private heritage institutions funded

items loaned to museums and galleries

A year of consultations

In drafting its 2016-2019 Three-Year Plan, between June and December of 2015, LAC consulted its clients, key stakeholders and employees. We conducted four focus groups, held a town hall meeting, posted a survey on our website, held five employee consultation sessions, and initiated a formal discussion with 12 Canadian  professional associations that are members of our Stakeholders’ Forum.

Photo of publication cover with photo of the Secret Bench sculpture in front of the building at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa.

Cover of LAC's 2016-2019 Three-Year Plan

Photo of a man standing at a podium addressing a seated audience.

Dr. Berthiaume speaking at the all-staff meeting in 2015.

Digitized records tell the stories

What do Frederick Banting (the co-discoverer of insulin), Raymond Chandler (the creator of the famous fictional detective Philip Marlowe) and Archibald Belaney (the conservationist known as Grey Owl) have in common? They all served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) during the First World War.

LAC has begun an ambitious project to digitize more than 640,000 CEF service files: the records of all the men and women who served Canada in the Great War. As of May 2016, over 286,000 files are already available on the LAC website.

Each month, LAC receives more than 800 requests to consult these files, which include training records, photos, personal letters, medical records and more. The digitized records tell unforgettable tales of courage and fear, resilience and suffering, victory and loss. They bring history to life and  honour to all who fought in Canada’s name.

Once the project is complete, some 32 million images will be available on LAC’s website for online research, offering unprecedented access to our history.

100 Stories: Canadians Who Served in the First World War

On the LAC website, you can also read stories of individual Canadian soldiers, officers, chaplains and nurses who served in the First World War, as part of the 100 Stories project. The project was made public with the online release of 11 stories on November 11, 2015—Remembrance Day. These and other projects are just one part of LAC’s contribution to marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War and honouring the men and women who  served our country.

Citizen archivists at LAC

The Friends of Library and Archives Canada is a volunteer organization that promotes and encourages public interest in and awareness of LAC activities, attracts donations and gifts to LAC’s collection, and contributes financially to certain special acquisitions. In 2015, the Friends helped repatriate part of the Winkworth Collection, which documents more than four centuries of Canadian history.

The Friends are always looking for new ways to support LAC’s work. A pilot project launched in the summer of 2015 allowed volunteers to transcribe information from soldiers’ files, making it easier to search in LAC’s Soldiers of the First World War database. By adding advanced search options such as place of birth, place and date of enlistment, and the name of the unit or battalion, volunteers have enabled researchers, students and genealogists to find the files of specific soldiers whose names are similar to those of other soldiers. It is also possible to identify recruits from specific towns, or find out who enlisted in the same city. More than 700 records have been enhanced thanks to these citizen archivists, and the project is now well under way.

History? Meet BancTec!

BancTec IntelliScan XDS scanners are often used to digitize cheques. Working with the company, LAC technicians adapted the scanners to preserve fragile documents from the First World War.

After many months of careful work and testing, the scanners were redesigned to work with historical records. They can now scan everything from photos to onion-skin letters to medical charts safely and directly to a preservation format. LAC is the first organization in the world to use a BancTec scanner in this way.

Photo of a man operating the digital imaging scanner BancTec.

Imaging technician Bruce Way scanning fragile historical records from the First World War. Photographer: Carla Gluck.

Photo of a computer screen and side profile of man looking at it.

Researcher looking at digitized historical records.

Across the Web

LAC website

LAC’s website is among the top 10 most popular sites in the Government of Canada. In 2015–2016, the site was viewed almost 90 million times by more than 15 million visitors who conducted over 800,000 searches!

Top 5 Topics

  1. Genealogy
  2. First World War
  3. Photographs
  4. Research Tools
  5. Canadian People and Events


In 2015–2016, LAC posted over 1,800 status updates on its Facebook page. These posts were seen by some 5 million people each month! Visitors to our Facebook page commented on, liked and shared our posts more than 106,000 times.

The most popular post was about the delivery of Christmas mail by Canada Post to soldiers serving overseas during the Second World War. The post, which included a newsreel produced by the Canadian Army Film Unit, reached close to 350,000 people and had over 41,000 views!

Road trip, 1950s style!

On July 31, 1954, freelance photographer Rosemary Gilliat and three of her girlfriends packed up their Plymouth station wagon and began a 12,391-kilometre road trip across Canada. LAC’s 2015 Facebook posts about that road trip reached over 340,000 people.

Photo of a still from a video showing men emptying mail bags and sorting letters.

LAC Facebook post from December 18, 2015, showing men in uniform sorting Christmas mail destined for Canadian soldiers serving overseas during the Second World War.

The Twittersphere

In 2015–2016, LAC added a combined average of 11 followers a day to its English and French Twitter accounts. In six months, the total number of followers grew to more than 19,000. Here are the two tweets that got the most clicks:

354 clicks
Were your ancestors involved in the War of 1812? Find out in our new online database!
351 clicks
History is meant to be recorded and passed on. Remembering Louis Riel.


In 2015–2016, more than 900 new images were added to the LAC Flickr page, which was viewed over 4.25 million times!

The most popular image, of a 1950s beach scene, has been viewed over 80,000 times!

Real virtual browsing

November 11, 2015, was the busiest day ever on the LAC website, with nearly 24,000 visitors viewing roughly 206,000 pages. That’s more than 8 pages per visit.

The Discover Blog

In 2015–2016, the Library and Archives Canada Blog featured over 280 new posts. These were accessed by more than 94,000 different visitors for a total of roughly 180,000 views. The most-viewed blog post was about the 1940 National Registration File— confirming just how interested Canadians are in genealogical research!


In 2015–2016, we released seven new episodes in the podcast series Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage— all available for free on iTunes.

The LAC podcast page was viewed roughly 1.25 million times by nearly 800,000 visitors, and our podcasts were listened to over 210,000 times!

Here are three noteworthy episodes:

  1. Episode 15, Out of the Ordinary: Rare Books, highlights some of the extraordinary treasures in LAC’s collection.
  2. Episode 24, Mirrors with Memory, focuses on the collaboration between the National Art Gallery and LAC to host the first daguerreotype exhibition in Canadian history.
  3. Episode 26, Rising from the Ashes, details the 1916 fire that reduced the Centre Block of Parliament Hill to rubble.

Tales from the front lines

Many of LAC’s services to clients take place one-on- one with reference staff. This includes helping clients research and access the collection, and assisting with access-to-information requests for government records. One of the most popular services is helping clients locate relatives and family records through LAC’s genealogy experts.

Each year, LAC responds to thousands of requests, in person, by phone, and in writing. Between January 2015 and January 2016 alone, LAC staff responded to over 16,600 reference requests.

Here are some examples of unusual requests to LAC’s reference services:

  1. One client wanted to know more about the beavers of Patagonia. A LAC expert found out that in 1946, Canada sent 50 beavers to Argentina. The beavers had quite an adventure, travelling by plane, train and boat, and at one point chewing through a door and nearly escaping from the Miami Airport. Since then, beavers have multiplied tremendously in Patagonia, from the original 50 sent by Canada to a massive 200,000. They are, unfortunately, wreaking havoc on the local forests. Some have even chomped their way into neighbouring Chile!

  2. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission requested help in determining the identity of a Royal Canadian Armed Forces airman whose tombstone had gone without a name since his death in 1943 during the Second World War. Through extensive research, a LAC expert was able to work his way down from nearly 1,000 names to just a single person. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission hopes to have this airman’s name added to his grave soon.

  3. Another client arrived looking for help with a wristwatch from the First World War era that had an inscription engraved on the back. LAC reference experts were able to help him find the records and documents he needed to write a detailed profile of the owner of the watch—a former reporter with The London Free Press—and his service in the Great War.

Photo of the back of a watch with inscription: To Jno’ G. Doherty 142nd BATT’N FROM London Free Press Ptg. Co. Dec. 1st 1915.

Wristwatch given to John Gaskin Doherty by his colleagues at The London Free Press in London, Ontario, prior to his departure to serve in the First World War. Source: Blog of Ben Byrnes.

Out from under

Many of us have seen redacted documents—usually on television—with so much black ink on them that you can’t read any of the juicy bits! But what if we could remove all that black ink and reveal the text below? And what if that document was a rare 16th- century religious text? That’s exactly what one of LAC’s book conservators was able to do. Using a combination of special tissue and gelatin, plus a healthy dose of patience, the conservator carefully stabilized the censor marks from Akedat Yitshak (The Binding of Isaac), one of the books in LAC’s famous Jacob M. Lowy Collection.

The censor marks had been made using something called iron gall ink, which was popular in the 16th century because it was easy to make at home. Over time, this ink corrodes and can eat holes right through the paper. Removing the censor marks from 38 pages of Akedat Yitshak took nearly 200 hours. The tissue the conservator used, known as Berlin tissue, is very thin; the gelatin had to be just the right thickness—think of it as getting your grandmother’s recipe for pie crust exactly right. Throughout the treatment, the book had to be held open with special weights in the perfect position.

Photo of a page with Hebrew script redacted with iron gall ink.

A view of the damage done, with iron gall ink, to a copy of Akedat Yitshak.

Photo of five men and one woman standing in front of a display case.

Group viewing of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection in Ottawa. Left to right: Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada; the Honourable Rafael Barak, Ambassador of Israel to Canada; Leah Cohen, Curator; Rabbi Michael Kent, Curator; Norman Barwin, Chair of the Council of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection; Howard Fremeth, Director of Communications at the Israeli Embassy.

Jacob M. Lowy Collection

Photo of a man sitting with his left arm over the back of a chair. Behind him is a bookcase.

Portrait of Jacob M. Lowy by Yousuf Karsh.

It was the collection of a lifetime: literally. For over 40 years, Jacob M. Lowy collected old and rare books printed between the 15th and 20th centuries. The books are in Hebrew, Latin, Yiddish and other languages. In 1977, he donated all 3,000 items to Library and Archives Canada. Highlights of the collection include first and early editions of the Talmud, 34 Hebrew, Latin and Italian incunabula (books or broadsides printed before 1501), and over 120 Bibles in many languages, including Inuktitut.

Close encounters: exhibitions and loans

One of the many ways LAC helps Canadians discover their shared heritage is through its exhibitions and loans program. Whether a national treasure or a hidden gem, LAC is proud to contribute items for public display at museums, archives, libraries and other memory institutions, large and small. Here are a few exhibitions that LAC helped put on display in the past year.

Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982
The document that formalized the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of Canada’s constitution has been on loan to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights since the museum’s grand opening in Winnipeg. Other milestone documents from our collection marking the progress of human rights in Canada are also on display there.
Earliest-known oil portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald
This portrait by an unknown artist, painted around 1842 or 1843, was one of a number of original artworks, documents and ephemera displayed at Macdonald’s former residence, historic Bellevue House, in Kingston, Ontario.  
The Red River Expedition at Kakabeka Falls, Ontario
During 2015, Frances Anne Hopkins’s 1877 painting The Red River Expedition at Kakabeka Falls travelled to the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arizona, and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil.
For Better or For Worse
Over 30 original drawings from the beloved comic strip by Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse, went on tour in 2015. The exhibition’s first stop was the Art Gallery of Sudbury in Ontario, and it will finish up at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in the summer of 2016.
The Great Seal of Canada
This 1869 medal depicting Queen Victoria was one of over 50 items loaned to the Canadian Museum of History for the major exhibition 1867: Rebellion and Confederation.  

In 2015–2016 LAC also contributed to exhibitions at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, the Library of Parliament, Canada’s Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, Alberta, among many others!

LAC exhibitions

LAC’s flagship building at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa was renovated in 2015. It now features the Pellan Room, named for its two colourful murals by the Quebec artist Alfred Pellan, and an exhibition space in the sunken front lobby.

The lobby at 395 Wellington was home to two major exhibitions in 2015–2016: Hockey Marching as to War (October 29, 2015 to January 22, 2016); and Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Collection of Library and Archives Canada (February 11, 2016 to April 22, 2016).


Through legal deposit, LAC collects books, sheet music, sound recordings, documentaries, films, audiovisual recordings, journals and other Canadian publications.

In 2015–2016, LAC received over 29,000 new titles and over 84,000 serial issues under legal deposit. A total of more than 27,000 theses and 4,500 gifts were also acquired. A selection of notable new titles is posted in the About the Collection section of the LAC website every quarter.

Here are a few noteworthy new acquisitions:

À la découverte du Nunavik by Gilles Boutin. Québec: Les Éditions GID, 2014. (AMICUS 43284423)

Discover the most northerly region of Quebec! Almost 500 images showcase the environment and describe the daily life of Nunavik residents.

Alvvays [audio recording] by Alvvays. Toronto: Royal Mountain Records, 2014. (AMICUS 42939696)

Alvvays is an indie group from Toronto whose first album’s sound was described as having “sun-soaked synths and glassy guitars.” It was nominated for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize.

Oscar Lives Next Door: A Story Inspired by Oscar Peterson's Childhood, by Bonnier Farmer and Marie Lafrance. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2015. (AMICUS 43228850)

This book is based on the childhood of jazz musician Oscar Peterson, who grew up in Little Burgundy, Montreal. Mildred, the fictional narrator, describes her friendship with Oscar, his health challenges, and his lifelong passion for music.

Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants, by Elinor Barr. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. (AMICUS 43302668)

Elinor Barr explores the contribution of the Swedes to Canadian culture and society—chiefly, the design of the CN Tower, the promotion of cross-country skiing, and the ParticipACTION program!  

Public programs and major events

March 11, 2015
As part of the Wallot-Sylvestre Seminars series, David Fricker, the director general of the National Archives of Australia, gave a public talk called “e-Government: Policy Responses from the National Archives of Australia.”
March 29, 2015
Professor Pierre Anctil of the University of Ottawa’s Department of History spoke about the modernist Yiddish poetry of Montreal’s Jacob-Isaac Segal. The talk was sponsored by the Lowy Council.
October 7, 2015
As part of the Wallot-Sylvestre Seminars series, Robert Darnton, the former librarian at Harvard University Library, gave a talk on the Digital Public Library of America and where he sees the future of books, libraries and information heading.
November 5, 2015
Sherry Simon of the French Department at Concordia University brought literary Montreal in the 1940s to life with her talk “Yiddish Language Modernism in Montreal: A Tale of Three Cities,” which was sponsored by the Lowy Council.
Photo of a women standing on a street with buildings in the background

Sherry Simon, a translator and professor at Concordia University, was a guest speaker at LAC as part of its public programming. © THE GAZETTE/John Kenney

December 1, 2015
As part of the LAC Presents series, a public seminar was presented by LAC’s Élizabeth Mongrain, manager of Governance and Political Affairs, revealing what goes on behind the scenes at LAC during an election.
December 6, 2015
An evening of song, festivity and fun was held to celebrate Chanukah with Musica Ebraica. The event was sponsored by the Lowy Council.
January 21, 2016
Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume invited journalist Sarah Jennings to be part of the Signatures Series. Jennings discussed her book Art and Politics: The History of the National Arts Centre, and her donation to LAC of the recorded conversations, research and interviews that formed the basis for the book.
January 28, 2016
A panel discussion on the anniversary of granting Canadian women the right to vote was hosted by LAC in conjunction with the University of Ottawa. Speakers included the Honourable Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women.
March 10, 2016
Guy Berthiaume interviewed the French-Canadian cultural icon Jacques Godbout as part of the Signatures Series. The celebrated filmmaker, poet and novelist discussed the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and the inspirations for his work.
March 16, 2016
David Gordon, director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University, launched his new book, Town and Crown: An Illustrated History of Canada’s Capital. The event was co-presented by LAC and the University of Ottawa.
Photo of a woman seated pointing with the index finger of her right hand that is also holding eyeglasses

Journalist Sarah Jennings discusses her book Art and Politics: The History of the National Arts Centre as part of LAC's Signature Series

Photo of 3 men standing next to a poster of Le Mouton Noir a film by Jacques Godbout.

Left to Right: Filmmaker, poet and novelist Jacques Godbout with Guy Berthiaume and archivist Stéphane Lang.

What’s happening at the Preservation Centre?

Photo of exterior view of a glass and steel building.

The futuristic building housing the Preservation Centre is made of glass, stainless steel and concrete, and was designed to last for at least 500 years.

Visitors from as far away as China, Sweden, Japan, Rwanda, Switzerland, Benin, the Ivory Coast and the United Arab Emirates toured the LAC Preservation Centre in 2015–2016. Located in Gatineau, Quebec, this building was once dubbed “a modern temple of memory.” It houses the largest collection of Canadian heritage items in the world. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, got a hands-on demonstration of the work that goes on in the Centre’s state-of-the-art conservation and preservation labs.

During her visit to LAC, author Nancy Huston, whose own archives are in the LAC collection, was received by Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume. Together they viewed the portraits of four First Nations chiefs who travelled to London in 1710 as delegates of the Iroquoian Confederacy. The paintings are believed to be some of the earliest surviving oil portraits of Canada’s Indigenous peoples taken from life.

Photo of a man and woman smiling at the camera with two large portraits behind them.

Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume with author Nancy Huston in the portrait storage gallery. Behind them are two of the Four Indian Kings portraits.

Photo of two men and a woman looking at posters on a table in front of them.

Art archivist Geneviève Morin and David Fricker, director general of the National Archives of Australia, look at First World War conscription posters as Robert McIntosh, director general of the Task Force on Government Records, looks on.

Here are just a few of the people, representing organizations from around the world, who passed through the Preservation Centre’s doors in 2015 to 2016:

Photo of a woman looking at a map on a table with a man beside her looking at her.

The Honourable Mélanie Joly and Guy Berthiaume view a map of Montreal at the LAC Preservation Centre.

  • Robert Darnton, University Librarian Emeritus, Harvard University
  • His Excellency Mihailo Papazoglu, Serbian Ambassador to Canada
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
  • Lotte Edsbrand and Hanna Nydahl, Director of the Swedish Postal Museum and conservator (respectively)
  • A group from Bishop’s University’s Department of History
  • David Carey, One of the directors of the Toronto International Film Festival
  • History students from Brookfield High School
  • Citizenship judges from Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Representatives of the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates
  • Donna Livingston, President and CEO of the Glenbow Museum
  • A delegation from Benin
  • A group from Carleton University’s School of Architecture and Urbanism
  • Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor of Gatineau
  • Laureen Harper, wife of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • His Excellency Beat Nobs, Swiss Ambassador to Canada
  • Philippe Marcoux, Announcer with Radio-Canada
  • Patricia Kell, Director of the Canadian Conservation Institute
  • Marc Mayer, Director of the National Gallery ofCanada
  • Nancy Huston, author

Daguerreotypes: vampires of the photography world

Thanks to the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839, the public could admire clear photographic images for the first time. LAC took up the challenge to exhibit part of its daguerreotype collection at the National Gallery of Canada. Daguerreotypes are rarely exhibited because of their extreme sensitivity to light.

AV migration project

LAC has some 530,000 hours of audio and video recordings preserved in over 30 formats that are generally out of date,  which puts the content at risk. In 2009, LAC began a project to save this material. So far, our experts have converted 122,000 hours of content into digital formats. In 2016–2017, another 24,000 hours of content will be updated.

LAC in the community

LAC launched the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP) in June 2015. The program provides financial help directly to private organizations across Canada to help them preserve, promote and provide access to their collections. Archives centres, library associations, historical societies and other heritage groups are eligible. The program’s budget is $1.5 million a year.

In its first year, the program funded 65 projects. Recipients included the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, the Dr. James Naismith Basketball Foundation, Les Amis des Jardins de Métis, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the Prairie Tractor and Engine Museum Society, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, and the Fédération des associations de familles du Québec.

Theses Canada Portal

Since 1965, LAC has worked with Canadian universities to collect academic theses and dissertations. Last year we consulted over 75 universities to design a new approach. As a result, universities can now manage licences for this intellectual property directly with their students. The Theses Canada Portal continues to grow in popularity, with over 27,000  new titles submitted in 2015–2016 and over 600,000 downloads.

TD Summer Reading Club

The TD Summer Reading Club is a national program that gets children reading. In 2015, participants read some 1.2 million books! The program is offered by LAC in partnership with the Toronto Public Library and libraries across the country, thanks to the generous contribution of the TD Bank Group. During the summer of 2015, 2000 libraries hosted the program, and over 650,000 children discovered the fun of reading!

Quebec digital publications

LAC and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) signed a unique partnership last year. Thanks to this agreement, and with the permission of publishers, BAnQ provides digital publications directly to LAC. This means that up to 10,000 digital publications from Quebec publishing houses can be added to LAC’s collection over the next two years.

New acquisitions

  • In 2015–2016 LAC acquired four watercolours by Robert Hood. Hood was a British officer who was part of an Arctic overland expedition from 1819 to 1821. His mission? To map the Coppermine River as part of the search for the great Northwest Passage.
  • The arts journalist and author Sarah Jennings donated over 100 interviews to LAC in 2015. They represent more than 200 hours of conversations with leading figures associated with the intriguing birth and development of the National Arts Centre, including Hamilton Southam, Celia Franca and Robert Lepage.
  • On the 100th anniversary of the birth of the acclaimed Canadian photographer Malak Karsh, LAC announced the acquisition of 200 thousand photographic transparencies and negatives, as well as prints and textual records.
  • Ten documentary art items were added to the Peter Winkworth Collection of Canadiana. The items are all from the armoires, cabinets, mantles and walls of the Kensington mansion where Winkworth and his late wife, Franca, lived for 50 years.
  • LAC also acquired the fonds of Alexander Gardner “Sandy” Watson, an eminent Canadian ophthalmologist with a keen interest in hockey. The collection includes over 200 photographs, telegrams, scrapbooks, programs, medals and other records documenting the Royal Canadian Air Force Flyers hockey team, winners of Olympic gold in 1948.

The way forward: open government

More than 68 countries, including Canada, have joined the Open Government Partnership. LAC plays a key role in Canada’s commitment to allow free public access to government information.

Block by block

LAC examines one block of records at a time to see if it is possible to remove any restrictions limiting public access. Thanks to this method, we have made available almost 18 million pages of records since 2010. In 2015–2016 alone, we opened over 5.8 million pages to the public, on topics such as military history, trade relations, residential schools, and even how we celebrate Canada’s birthday.

The Open Data Portal

LAC prepares historical datasets and puts them on Canada’s Open Data Portal. So far, LAC has contributed 65 datasets to the portal, covering a wide range of content, including:

  • the Upper Canada Land Petitions, including maps, plans and charts of Canada;
  • the Canadian Expeditionary Force from the First World War;
  • federal studies on subjects such as science, the environment, health and immigration;
  • the Government of Canada Core Subject Thesaurus; and
  • early images of Canada: 550 searchable images from LAC’s Rare Book Collection.

LAC in the world

LAC represents the interests of Canada’s archival and library communities globally.

An international voice for the library

Since August 2015, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume has chaired the Standing Committee on National Libraries at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). This organization gives a voice to the library and information community around the world.

Global web archives

Organizations from over 45 countries make up the International Internet Preservation Consortium, which is dedicated to collecting and preserving the knowledge found on the global web and then making it accessible. LAC’s Chief Information Officer, Paul Wagner, assumed the role of chair of the consortium’s steering committee for 2015.

Happy birthday, ISSN!

LAC has been assigning International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSNs) to Canadian serial publications for four decades. The network celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. The central database of the ISSN Network in Paris has more than 1.8 million titles from around the world, which helps publishers, vendors and libraries to quickly identify and find them. Canada is one of the top three contributors, along with the United States and France.

2015–2016 Library and Archives Canada expenditures

Expenditures by service area


  • 8% ($7.43  million) Information Management and Recordkeeping of the Federal Administration
  • 15% ($13.53 million) Acquisition and Processing of Documentary Heritage
  • 15% ($13.91 million) Preservation of Documentary Heritage
  • 28% ($25.69 million) Access to Documentary Heritage
  • 9% ($8.06 million) Information and Technology Management
  • 6% ($5.15 million) Communications
  • 19% ($17.68 million) Internal Services
  • Total expenditures $91.45 million

LAC advisory groups

LAC Acquisitions Advisory Committee

Normand Charbonneau Library and Archives Canada
Ex-officio members
Pierre Gamache Library and Archives Canada
Chantal Marin-Comeau Library and Archives Canada
Robert McIntosh Library and Archives Canada
Catherine Arseneau Beaton Institute
Gwen Bird Simon Fraser University
Tim Cook Canadian War Museum
Michèle Dagenais Université de Montréal
Victoria Dickenson Volunteer
Anne Dondertman University of Toronto
Robin Jarvis Brownlie University of Manitoba
Michel Lalonde University of Ottawa
Michel Lessard Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ian Milligan University of Waterloo
Marianne Scott Friends of LAC

Services Consultation Committee

Johanna Smith Library and Archives Canada
Ex-officio members
Normand Charbonneau Library and Archives Canada
Susan Brown The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory
Greg Donaghy Global Affairs Canada
Ruth Dunley National Capital History Day
Chantal Gagnon Historica Canada
Brett Lougheed University of Winnipeg Archives
Laura Madokoro McGill University
Heather MacNeil University of Toronto
Ry Moran National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba
David Obee Genealogy expert
Anita Price Association of Nova Scotia Museums
Claire Séguin Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Ryan Shackleton Know History
Elizabeth Thornley Ottawa Public Library
Pam Wright National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, US

Public Programming Advisory Committee

Guy Berthiaume Library and Archives Canada
Ex-officio members
Sara Grenier Library and Archives Canada
Renee Harden Library and Archives Canada
Johanna Smith Library and Archives Canada
Peggy Thériault Library and Archives Canada
Daniel Lessard Journalist and author
Danielle McDonald Ottawa Public Library
Stephen Quick Canadian War Museum
Catherine Voyer-Léger Alliance culturelle de l’Ontario
Leslie Weir University of Ottawa

Documentary Heritage Communities Program

Chad Gaffield Department of History, University of Ottawa
Kathryn Bridge Knowledge, Academic Relations & Atlas, Royal BC Museum
Diana Davidson Public Library Services Branch, Government of Alberta
Carl F. Eisan Centre for Acadian Studies, University of Moncton
André Gareau Department of History, Université du Québec à Montréal
Jill MacMicken-Wilson Public Archives and Records Office, Government of Prince Edward Island
Ry Moran National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba

Information Technology Advisory Board

Guy Berthiaume Library and Archives Canada
Ex-officio members
Hervé Déry Library and Archives Canada
Paul Wagner Library and Archives Canada
Dave Adamson Shared Services Canada
Annette Butikofer Canada Revenue Agency
Ricardo Costa Weston Foods
Jennifer Dawson Treasury Board Secretariat
Steve Pilkey Toyota Canada
John Rath-Wilson Gartner

National, Provincial and Territorial Archivists Conference

Guy Berthiaume Library and Archives Canada
Ian Burnett Government of Yukon
Edward Atkinson Government of Nunavut
Fred Farrell Government of New Brunswick
Scott Goodine Government of Manitoba
Leslie Latta Government of Alberta
Hélène Laverdure Government of Quebec
Jill MacMicken-Wilson Government of Prince Edward Island
Linda McIntyre Government of Saskatchewan
Ian Moir Government of Northwest Territories
John Roberts Government of Ontario
Greg Walsh Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Angela Williams Government of British Columbia
Lois York Government of Nova Scotia

Stakeholders Forum

Carol Saulnier Association des archivistes du Québec
Charles Cormier Association des archivistes du Québec
Kathryn Harvey Association of Canadian Archivists
Duncan Grant Association of Canadian Archivists
Michel Claveau Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation
Élise Boucher Association pour l’avancement des sciences et des techniques de la documentation
Martha Whitehead Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Susan Haigh Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Joan Sangster Canadian Historical Association
Michel Duquet Canadian Historical Association
Sandra Singh Canadian Library Association
Valoree McKay Canadian Library Association
Maureen Sawa Canadian Urban Libraries Council
Jefferson Gilbert Canadian Urban Libraries Council
Todd Kyle Ontario Library Association
Shelagh Paterson Ontario Library Association
Lara Wilson Canadian Council of Archives
Christina Nichols Canadian Council of Archives
Manon Blanchette Canadian Museums Association
John G. McAvity Canadian Museums Association
Ian Burnett Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Brett Waytuk Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists

LAC Management Board

Guy Berthiaume Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Duncan Cameron General Counsel
Normand Charbonneau Chief Operating Officer
Hervé Déry Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, and Chief Financial Officer
Sébastien Goupil Chief of Staff for the Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Renee Harden Director General of Communications
Fabien Lengellé Corporate Secretary
Paul Wagner Senior Director General and Chief Information Officer

Friends of Library and Archives Canada

Board of Directors
Marianne Scott President
Kathleen Shaw Vice President
Michael Gnarowski Treasurer
Georgia Ellis Secretary
Ron Cohen Past President
Peggy Atherton  
Hélène Caver  
Monique Dupré  
Derek Ellis  
Barbara Hicks  
Grace Hyam  
Carrol Lunau  
Donald Meakin  
Wanda Noel  
Special Representative
Norman Barwin Chair, Lowy Council
Guy Berthiaume Librarian and Archivist of Canada
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