Annual Report 2019–2020

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Cover, clockwise from top left: new preservation facility in Gatineau (design); 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa; Library and Archives Canada–Ottawa Public Library joint facility (design); Preservation Centre in Gatineau; former Dominion Archives building, Ottawa. Source: Library and Archives Canada

Cover, clockwise from top left: new preservation facility in Gatineau (design); 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa; Library and Archives Canada–Ottawa Public Library joint facility (design); Preservation Centre in Gatineau; former Dominion Archives building, Ottawa. Source: Library and Archives Canada


About Us

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) preserves and makes accessible the documentary heritage of Canada. This heritage includes publications, archival records, sound and audiovisual materials, photographs, artworks, and electronic documents. As outlined in the Preamble to the Library and Archives of Canada Act, LAC’s mandate is as follows:

  • to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • to be 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 communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge;
  • to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.


Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a guardian of the past, a leader in the present and a partner for the future. We celebrated our 15th anniversary as LAC in 2019–2020. Our role has evolved significantly over the past decade and a half, and we continue to advance efforts to meet the ever-changing needs of Canadians.

I stepped into the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada in late August of 2019, taking over the helm of this great institution partway through this fiscal year. I am truly proud to be following in the footsteps of incredible leaders such as my predecessor, Dr. Guy Berthiaume, who accomplished extraordinary work, providing service to Canadians in acquiring, preserving and providing access to Canada’s documentary heritage. It was my pleasure to honour him as Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus in the fall of 2019, shortly after my arrival. His work over five years set us on a course for success in meeting tomorrow’s challenges.

When I first arrived at LAC, I was struck by the extent to which the relentless pace of technological change in today’s digital age is impacting Canadian society and raising expectations about institutions such as ours. This magnitude of change presents challenges, but it also opens the door to a wide spectrum of possibilities, giving us new scope for action.

We live in an era of immediate communication, where response time is expected to be instantaneous, and where attention spans decrease year after year. In this kind of world, it is easy for some to lose sight of the past and to ignore the future. There may be a tendency to focus only on the present—and even the present seems to be in constant flux. How do we use our expertise to help Canadians maintain a continuum of past, present and future? Moving forward, we must determine how we can evolve our practices to take full advantage of the myriad changes brought about by the digital age—building on what we have already achieved.

This was a year in which we accomplished a great deal and set LAC further down the path of meeting the future head on. We began construction on a second preservation centre in Gatineau, Quebec, the first net-zero carbon building dedicated to documentary preservation in the Americas. We also unveiled the design for our joint facility with Ottawa Public Library, scheduled to open in late 2024; we expect to expand the reach of our on-site services so that an anticipated 1.7 million visitors each year can experience their national library and national archives.

We continued to diversify our public programming and outreach with our Prime Ministers and the Arts: Creators, Collectors and Muses exhibition, Signatures Series events with Beverley McLachlin and Don Newman, expert panel discussions and presentations including a Wallot-Sylvestre Seminar with Jim Neal from Columbia University, book launches with authors such as Margaret Atwood, Desmond Cole and Charlotte Gray, and an event to celebrate bilingualism and linguistic duality, to name just a few. We participated in Doors Open Ottawa, showcasing the work being done at the historic building at 395 Wellington Street, and we held over 100 tours for both the public and VIPs in our Preservation Centre in Gatineau.

Even as we all work together to prepare ourselves to take advantage of all that the future holds, we recognize that human connections will remain critical. We welcomed the many opportunities we had to engage with our many partners and stakeholders. These included our Youth Advisory Council, our Indigenous Advisory Circle, our Public Programming, Services and Acquisitions advisory committees, our Stakeholders’ Forum, our National, Provincial and Territorial Archives Conference, and others. On countless occasions, our expert staff participated in conferences, contributed to committees and engaged with colleagues around the globe.

This year, we also welcomed the creation of the LAC Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to support us through fundraising, capacity building and enhancing our reach. I very much look forward to continued collaboration with this group of illustrious, passionate Canadians. In April 2019, we launched the LAC Scholar Awards together, honouring the first recipients and welcoming Air Canada as the founding sponsor for this initiative.

Our relationship with Indigenous communities and support for their initiatives is a high priority for LAC, and 2019–2020 saw the launch of our first-ever Indigenous Heritage Action Plan, developed in collaboration with the Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

The fiscal year ended quite unexpectedly with the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to acknowledge the incredible way that the entire LAC team stepped up, not only to archive the documenting of the pandemic on the web and social media, but also to embrace the radical changes that the coronavirus brought to their working and personal lives as remote work, physical distancing and self-isolation changed our world. I am very grateful for the dedication and professionalism with which LAC has met these unprecedented challenges.

What I have mentioned is just a small sample of what we have been up to this year. I hope that you enjoy reading this report. I am proud to share it with you, and I trust that you will find topics that interest you.

I would like to thank the members of the LAC Management Team and LAC staff for their warm welcome and incredible support during my first six months in the role of Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Together, we have accomplished a lot, and we are committed to continued progress on digital optimization and transforming our services, to opening up access and expanding opportunities for the public to participate in shaping our country’s heritage. These are exciting times for us!

As legendary journalist Linton Weeks once wrote, “In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us to swim.’’

Not just librarians; I would add archivists, historians, academics, researchers—anyone who navigates the crowded digital sea of information and knowledge.

In our own way, we are all casting floaties into this rising sea and hoping to keep our heads above water. So why not swim together?

Leslie Weir
Librarian and Archivist of Canada


Building the Next Chapter
Laying the groundwork for future success

LAC’s 15th anniversary

This past year, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) celebrated its 15th anniversary! On May 21, 2004, a new path was forged when the legislation merging the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada (Library and Archives of Canada Act) came into force, creating LAC. This move by the Government of Canada was not only innovative but also, in a way, revolutionary. Since LAC’s creation, its model has attracted interest and even envy around the world. Other organizations inquire regularly about the legal framework and the process that led to full integration. The institution is based on four pillars: a unified organizational structure, a common conceptual foundation, work on organizational cultures and continuous networking. The first 15 years have provided many challenges and even more opportunities to innovate. Together, LAC, its partners, its clients and Canadians have laid the groundwork for continued success.

Canada is a dialogue between the past, present and future, and what we’ve done is to establish a new, national cultural institution, built on two great traditions, but hopefully going into areas that neither institution could reach in the past.

Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, 2004-2009

Extract from the Canada Gazette (Vol. 138, No. 11) announcing the coming into force of the Library and Archives of Canada Act on May 21, 2004.
Source: Library and Archives Canada


The new Librarian and Archivist of Canada

On May 27, 2019, the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, announced the appointment of Leslie Weir as Librarian and Archivist of Canada for a four-year term. Ms. Weir, University Librarian at the University of Ottawa from 2003 to 2018, officially took over the reins from Dr. Guy Berthiaume on August 30, 2019, becoming the first woman to serve as Librarian and Archivist of Canada since LAC was created in 2004.

Throughout her career, Ms. Weir has had exceptional success in making information more accessible to the public. I am confident that as the first woman to be Librarian and Archivist of Canada, she will continue her efforts in education and accessibility, to give Canadians an awareness of their heritage, and the rich self-knowledge that it provides.

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism, 2018-2019

Leslie Weir and Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus, taken on May 30, 2019, before Ms. Weir took over as Librarian and Archivist of Canada from Dr. Berthiaume. They are standing behind the Secret Bench of Knowledge sculpture at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

LAC’s new preservation facility

On June 18, 2019, LAC and the Plenary Properties Gatineau Consortium unveiled the design for a second purpose-built preservation centre, to be located in Gatineau, Quebec. It will be the first net-zero carbon facility dedicated to documentary preservation in the Americas, and the first federal building constructed to meet the requirements of Canada’s Greening Government Strategy. The net-zero designation means there will be minimal carbon emissions from energy consumption, with energy needs met through carbon-free fuel sources.

Designed by B+H Architects, Canada’s forthcoming new national preservation facility won silver in this past year’s National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships. Once completed, this flagship building will provide 21,240 cubic metres of collection storage capacity. It will be one of the world’s largest preservation facilities equipped with an automated archive storage and retrieval system for documents.

On August 12, 2019, LAC began construction on the building, which will be linked to the existing—and still state-of-the-art—Preservation Centre. LAC will be able to consolidate its ever-growing collection and guarantee the long-term preservation of analog textual holdings and audiovisual materials that require special preservation conditions.

The new centre is scheduled to open in 2022.

Architectural rendering of the new preservation facility, located behind LAC’s existing Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec. Source: Plenary Properties Gatineau Consortium

Dr. Guy Berthiaume, then Librarian and Archivist of Canada, at a press conference for LAC’s new preservation facility, June 18, 2019. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

Design unveil for LAC-OPL joint facility

On January 23, 2020, in an event organized for dignitaries and the media, LAC and Ottawa Public Library (OPL) unveiled the architectural design of the joint facility that they will share. The design is the result of an unprecedented public co-design process that asked residents, users, employees, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and Canadians from across the country to provide feedback at every stage of design, from layout and building materials to public art and landscaping.

Public engagement on the design—known as the “Inspire555 Series,” in a nod to the building’s address on Albert Street—was held from February to December 2019 and included design workshops, online engagement, pop-up events and public meetings. Meetings were also held with Algonquin Anishinabe communities, to ensure that Indigenous contributions from the host nation were integrated into the design. The site for the future building is located on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years.

Over 1.7 million people, including residents and tourists, Canadians and others, are expected to visit the new facility each year once it is completed. The LAC-OPL joint facility is scheduled to open in the heart of Ottawa in late 2024.

The east entrance of the building, view from Albert Street. © 2020 City of Ottawa/Ottawa Public Library/Library and Archives Canada. All rights reserved.

From left to right: Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Danielle McDonald, OPL Chief Executive Officer, at the LAC-OPL design reveal, January 23, 2020. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

Ensuring discoverability and exploring innovative ways to engage with the public and enhance user experience


  • Prime Ministers and the Arts: Creators, Collectors and Muses
    From February to December 2019, the public was invited to view LAC’s free exhibition entitled Prime Ministers and the Arts: Creators, Collectors and Muses at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. This exhibition featured published and archival items from across the LAC collection. It explored our prime ministers’ legacies through the lens of their public and personal relationships with literature, music, the visual arts and more. Taken together, the material revealed the intriguing, informal and often unexpected side of Canada’s prime ministers.

    William Lyon Mackenzie King with his dog Pat, by Arthur Lismer, ca. 1940s. Courtesy of the Estate of Arthur Lismer. Source: Harry Orr and Dorothy Jenkins McCurry fonds/e011201014

    Architectural photograph attributed to Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1958. © Estate of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e011180867

  • Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation
    Developed by LAC in collaboration with the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Métis National Council, with the support of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Archival Records of LAC exhibition explores the portrayal of Métis Citizens—some of whom are often “hiding in plain sight”—in art and photographic collections and the accompanying descriptions. It aims to foster a better understanding of the history and the culture of the Métis Nation. This exhibition has been travelling across Canada after originally appearing at 395 Wellington Street from February 11 to April 22, 2016. This past year, it was on display at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg from June 21 to October 27, 2019, and at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives in Jasper, Alberta, from January 10 to May 3, 2020.

    Manitoba settler’s house and Red River cart, by William Hind, ca. 1862. Source: Library and Archives Canada/c013965k

    The McPherson family on George McPherson Junior’s wedding day, North West Angle, Lake of the Woods, Ontario. From left to right: Elizabeth (sister), George Sr. (father), George Jr., Margaret (mother), Sophia (wife). Photographed by a member of the Royal Engineers, 1872, reproduction from an albumen print. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e011156525


Book launches and discussions with authors

A missing fortune, a mysterious murder and an exotic setting: ingredients ready-made for a gripping crime novel. Except that the tale of Sir Harry Oakes, the gold mining tycoon who was murdered in an island paradise in 1943, is a true story. Popular historian and award-winning writer Charlotte Gray revealed her take on Oakes’s life in her new book, Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise, launched on September 24, 2019, in the Alfred Pellan Room at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. The launch, one of many presented by LAC this year, was co-hosted by LAC, Ottawa Public Library and the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

LAC hosted numerous literary events in 2019–2020, which included book launches and discussions of the following literary works:

  • The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
  • Ce que je voudrais dire à mes enfants, by Michel Bastarache and Antoine Trépanier
  • To Speak for the Trees, by Diana Beresford-Kroeger
  • tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine, by Shane M. Chartrand and Jennifer Cockrall-King
  • The Skin We’re In, by Desmond Cole
  • The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline
  • Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other, by Ken Dryden
  • Resilience Is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde, by Julie S. Lalonde
  • Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up, by Dave Meslin
  • A Matter of Facts: The Value of Evidence in an Information Age, by Laura A. Millar
  • From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way, by Jesse Thistle

Charlotte Gray at the book launch for Murdered Midas. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Annie Gauthier, LAC

Desmond Cole discusses his book The Skin We’re In. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Annie Gauthier, LAC

Margaret Atwood and Leslie Weir at LAC’s literary event for The Testaments. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Stéphanie Berndt, LAC

From left to right: Leslie Weir, Aidan Wilson, Cherie Dimaline, Madeleine Stratford, Harvey Slack and Sean Wilson at the launch of Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Stéphanie Berndt, LAC


Signatures Series with Don Newman and Beverley McLachlin

The Signatures Series is an ongoing program of public events featuring interviews with individuals who have donated their archives to LAC. On May 30, 2019, Don Newman, an award-winning broadcaster and one of Canada’s most respected journalists, was LAC’s guest in the Signatures Series. He was interviewed by the outgoing Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Dr. Guy Berthiaume, during a conversation at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. On March 10, 2020, LAC welcomed members of the public to enjoy a Signatures Series discussion between Leslie Weir, Canada’s first female Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Canada’s first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Dr. Guy Berthiaume and Don Newman, May 30, 2019. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

Beverley McLachlin and Leslie Weir, March 10, 2020. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

Wallot-Sylvestre Seminar with Jim Neal

On April 17, 2019, LAC had the pleasure of hosting Jim Neal, University Librarian Emeritus at Columbia University, as part of the Wallot-Sylvestre Seminar series. Neal shared his views on library leadership in a time of transformation and turmoil, including the challenges and opportunities for information professionals. Wallot-Sylvestre seminars consist of lectures in the fields of information, library and archival science. They allow lecturers from the academic, public and private sectors, including scholars and practitioners, to present their thoughts on these areas.


From left to right: Larry Alford (Chief Librarian, University of Toronto), Dr. Guy Berthiaume and Jim Neal, April 17, 2019. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC


Special events

  • From Oral Tradition to Published Heritage
    The Talmud is, after the Hebrew scriptures, one of the most important documents in Jewish religious life. In 1519, printer and Christian Hebraist Daniel Bomberg began the monumental task of printing the 44 treatises of the Talmud, becoming the first to do so. It remains the model for all subsequent editions printed to this day. The Bomberg Talmud is a significant event in the history of printing, on a par with the printing of the Gutenberg or Luther bibles. On April 3, 2019, LAC, in collaboration with the Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies, celebrated the 500th anniversary of the printing of the Bomberg Talmud, at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa in an event open to the public. This event was funded by private donations raised by Senator Marc Gold. Donors included the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal, the Gewurz Family Foundation, the Maxwell Cummings Family Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.

  • Croisée des mots
    Ottawa Public Library and the Association des auteures et auteurs de l’Ontario français, in partnership with LAC and La Nouvelle Scène, launched Croisée des mots [Where Words Meet] in October 2019. This series of free readings by Francophone Canadian authors took place at La Nouvelle Scène’s Bistro Marcil Lavallée. In 2019–2020, audiences enjoyed readings by authors Margaret Michèle Cook, Jean Mohsen Fahmy, Daniel Soha and Daniel Groleau Landry.

  • Two’s Company: Bilingualism and Linguistic Duality
    As part of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, LAC Out Loud, a group of professionals at LAC, hosted a public reading of extracts from archival records and published documents on December 4, 2019, at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Inspired by the “Archives à voix haute des deux rives de l’Outaouais” model, LAC Out Loud aims to encourage discovery of unusual or especially interesting aspects of LAC’s documentary heritage related to official languages. In May 2020, the Department of Canadian Heritage highlighted LAC Out Loud in its Best Practices Digest as an example of an initiative that provides opportunities for Francophones and Anglophones to meet and interact, thereby fostering understanding and appreciation of each other, and increasing social cohesion.

Tours, visits and open-doors events

In 2019–2020, over 100 tours were given at the LAC Preservation Centre in Gatineau to almost 1,000 visitors. These included international delegations, VIPs, school groups and Indigenous organizations

On June 1 and 2, 2019, LAC welcomed over 1,000 visitors to 395 Wellington Street during the annual Doors Open Ottawa weekend. Visitors were invited to take a guided tour and discover behind-the-scenes features of the historic building and LAC’s fascinating collection housed there. They could also learn about the 15th anniversary of the creation of LAC, chat with our subject-matter experts, discover some of our exciting initiatives, and visit our Prime Ministers and the Arts: Creators, Collectors and Muses exhibition.


Dr. Guy Berthiaume (centre), then Librarian and Archivist of Canada, with LAC volunteers at Doors Open Ottawa 2019. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Suzanne Pagé-Dazé, LAC


Co-Lab challenges

Co-Lab is a crowdsourcing tool for transcribing, translating, tagging and describing LAC’s digital records. The purpose of the initiative is to increase the digital content of LAC’s collections, giving Canadians the opportunity to engage with the vast collection while making it more easily accessible and discoverable for others. Anyone can become a Co-Lab user and then select from digitized objects that are part of curated “challenges” created by LAC, or choose any digital object in Collection Search and enable it for contributions. In 2019–2020, LAC created a challenge featuring important collection materials to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike. Other challenges launched in 2019–2020 include “Women lightkeepers, heroes by the sea,” “George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities” and “Diary of François-Hyacinthe Séguin.”


From the “George Mully: moments in Indigenous communities” Co-Lab challenge: vehicles outside Bishop Horden Hall Residential School, Moose Fort, Moose Factory Island, Ontario, ca. 1978–1988. Credit: George Mully. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e011218224


Podcasts and blogs

LAC released several episodes in its series of Discover podcasts. Three popular episodes were “UFOs at LAC: The Falcon Lake Incident,” “Bill Miner: Last of the Old Time Bandits,” and “Tom Longboat is Cogwagee is Everything.” Other highlights included launching podcasts on Spotify and YouTube; however, the organization’s main platform for podcasts is iTunes, where LAC remains consistently popular.

LAC published over 100 articles on its Discover blog, which attracted close to 250,000 views. There was a significant increase in Indigenous content, highlighting the work related to Indigenous initiatives currently being undertaken by LAC. Overall, two of the most popular blogs this past year were “The Gloves Come Off!” (about librarians NOT using protective gloves when handling rare books) and “Women’s hockey: She shoots, she scores!”


From the “Women’s hockey: She shoots, she scores!” blog: group hockey team portrait, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, by G.E. Marrison, 1917. Source: Library and Archives Canada/a127274


Social media

LAC’s social media channels made a splash on various occasions throughout the year, thanks to the depth and breadth of the collection. The rich material was used in leveraging trends and drawing attention to LAC’s collection in a unique way. The “OK Boomer” meme reaped widespread exposure on the Internet forum Reddit, while the “Smudge the Cat” meme on how to handle rare books not only generated expert discussion but also appeared on the popular blog Narcity. Recipes from cookbooks in LAC’s collection were brought back to life in the “12 Days of Vintage Cooking” series, which featured a style popular on the Internet for food-preparation videos. 2019–2020 was also a year of outreach. LAC consolidated its place as a social media leader among memory institutions with initiatives such as “hashtag parties” (#HashtagPartEh). Invitees included the National Archives in the United States, Archives of Ontario, Nova Scotia Archives, Provincial Archives of Alberta, National Gallery of Canada, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and Archives Radio-Canada, among others.


LAC’s “OK Boomer” meme. Source: Library and Archives Canada


LAC’s promotional campaign for “12 Days of Vintage Cooking.” Source: Library and Archives Canada


Youth Advisory Council

In 2019–2020, LAC made its Youth Advisory Council (YAC) a permanent body that will guide the organization in understanding how youth view, access and relate to Canada’s documentary heritage. Comprised of young adults aged 19 to 25 years old based in the National Capital Region, the YAC provides its members with an opportunity to connect with fellow change makers and have a say in how LAC does its work. This year, the YAC looked at public programming and examined topics such as the visibility and accessibility of LAC’s collections as well as its social media presence. YAC members helped LAC to imagine its new future orientation space in the new joint facility with Ottawa Public Library. They also thought creatively about LAC’s vision of the future and created proposals for an upcoming series of youth-focused public events.

2019–2020 Youth Advisory Council members. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Charles-Olivier Desforges-Rioux, LAC

Employee engagement in Beyond 2020: Innovation Incubators

Staff at LAC are stepping up collectively to prepare for opportunities in the institution of the future. As part of Beyond 2020, the Government of Canada’s initiative to renew the public service, LAC established Innovation Incubators, an ongoing series of collective brainstorming sessions for employees from across LAC to discuss work-related challenges. In July 2019 and January 2020, LAC employees participated in these sessions, sharing their ideas on project management and user experience, to enable progress and change in how we work. Beyond 2020 offers a refreshed framework with a focus on mindsets and behaviours to ensure that Canada’s workforce becomes more agile, inclusive and better equipped. By achieving this goal, LAC staff will better navigate a modern work environment that is increasingly characterized by digital ways of working and delivering services, new workplace design, and multiple generations working together.

Partnerships and Community
Forging meaningful connections with compatible individuals, communities and institutions

Taking It to the People: 2019 Summit on the Value of GLAMs

The Ottawa Declaration Working Group, LAC, the Canadian Museums Association and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) welcomed members of the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) communities to a third summit, entitled “Taking It to the People,” on May 13, 2019. Building on the success of the first two summits on the value of GLAMs held in 2016 and 2018, this 2019 Summit, hosted at a BAnQ site in Montréal, brought together practitioners and experts to engage in a day of discussions on the future of GLAMs and the ways that technology can be used to build user interest.

Over the course of the three summits, participants have explored the current state of research on the social and economic value of memory institutions, and they have shared their experiences of working together, to strengthen collaboration within the GLAM sector. As the culture shift toward collaboration continues, GLAMs are increasingly embracing the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Source: Library and Archives Canada


Documentary Heritage Communities Program

Preserving our country’s history and continuing memory, bringing the past to life, and making heritage organizations relevant and accessible to their local publics are some of the main principles of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP), created by LAC in 2015. In 2019–2020, the DHCP provided $1.5 million to support 52 projects by local library and archival organizations in all regions of Canada. This year, the allocation of funds is more diversified than ever. For instance, the DHCP recognizes the importance of official languages in minority situations by funding various organizations working in this area, including the Société historique de Saint-Boniface. The DHCP has also renewed its financial support for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (now The ArQuives), to ensure the enhancement of the archives of the LGBTQ2+ community in Canada. Finally, many of the projects funded by the DHCP focus on the heritage of multicultural communities, including those submitted by the Ogniwo Polish Museum Society Inc. and the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta.

University partnerships

In 2019, LAC signed new collaborative agreements with the Université de Sherbrooke and Memorial University of Newfoundland. LAC also launched experiential learning projects at two partner universities, the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, where it also hosted student visits and workshops.

LAC professionals also worked with university partners on a number of projects. These included a survey by the School of Library and Information Sciences at the Université de Montréal on the renewal of its master’s program, and a study by a group of researchers in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto on the emotional impact of the work of archivists. In addition, through an agreement renewed until March 2022, LAC is continuing its successful collaboration with the Université Laval library on the use of the Répertoire de vedettes-matières, its subject headings catalogue. Finally, LAC continues to organize events with various partners, such as the heraldry symposium held in October 2019 at the University of Ottawa.

Susan E. Cleyle, University Librarian, Memorial University, and Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Pascale Robichaud, LAC


LAC Foundation

At a ceremony held on April 2, 2019, LAC welcomed the launch of the LAC Foundation. Later that year, on December 18, 2019, the LAC Foundation announced that Air Canada would be the Founding Partner of the recently created LAC Scholar Awards. The LAC Foundation was established by a group of passionate individuals to support LAC in making its vast collection more accessible to Canadians, and in sharing it with those around the world wishing to gain a greater appreciation of our country’s heritage. The LAC Foundation, chaired by Jacques J.M. Shore, a partner at Gowling WLG in Ottawa, will also focus on raising funds to support initiatives and partnerships to grow and preserve the LAC collection.

LAC Scholar Awards

The LAC Scholar Awards, co-presented by the LAC Foundation and LAC, were created to recognize the outstanding contribution of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the creation and promotion of the country’s literary and historical heritage. The 2020 recipients who will be honoured at an event in 2021 are Margaret Atwood, poet, novelist, literary critic and essayist; Roch Carrier, novelist and author; Charlotte Gray, historian, author and biographer; Serge Joyal, retired senator, art collector and philanthropist; and Terry O’Reilly, broadcast producer and radio personality.

We are thrilled to welcome Air Canada as a partner with the LAC Foundation in support of the LAC Scholars program. We look forward to working with them to build on the success of the program and, in turn, make LAC’s collection of historical resources more available to the public.

Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada

We applaud our 2020 LAC Scholar Awards recipients, and we are proud to engage in this exciting initiative with LAC. LAC is the home of Canada’s historical and cultural treasures, and this vast national collection is a magnificent tribute to our past, and a foundation of knowledge on which to build our future. In addition to supporting LAC’s mission, the Foundation’s goal is to enhance the visibility of LAC and to position it as a creative force in our cultural environment.

Jacques J.M. Shore, Chair of the LAC Foundation

Air Canada is very proud to be a Founding Sponsor of the LAC Scholars Awards that recognizes the outstanding individuals who have contributed so much to Canada’s literary and cultural heritage. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work of Library and Archives Canada, its vast collection, and these individuals who champion Canada’s historical and artistic treasures, and we congratulate the recipients of the inaugural LAC Scholars Awards.

Ferio Pugliese, Senior Vice President, Air Canada Express and Government Relations at Air Canada

Air Canada lands at the LAC Preservation Centre in Gatineau, November 4, 2019. Standing: Jacques Shore, Sylvain Bélanger, Ferio Pugliese, VP Air Canada. Seated: Calin Rovinescu, CEO Air Canada, Leslie Weir. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Carla Kluck, LAC


TD Summer Reading Club

In 2019, the TD Summer Reading Club chose the theme of the “Natural World” for children to explore. The club’s activities kicked off with Get Your Summer Read On days at three Canadian libraries in Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan, in Warwick, Quebec, and in Lethbridge, Alberta. Clayton Hanmer’s illustrations adorned the club’s notebooks, stickers and website, fuelling the imaginations of young readers. Author Jo Rioux also created an online comic book for them to enjoy. Other new elements in 2019 included the launch of an Instagram site and the addition of several activities related to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM content) in the notebook for school-age children. In all, nearly 330,000 children registered with the club in over 2,000 libraries across Canada.

Friends of LAC

The Friends of LAC continued to support LAC with events and by raising funds to support acquisitions through sales in their bookstore (“The Cubby”), where 10 dedicated volunteers helped to raise over $3,000 throughout the year. The Friends funded the acquisition of a rare edition of The Adventures of a Field Mouse; Or, The History of Little Downy by Catharine Parr Traill. This 1850 variant edition is presently the only known copy in a North American library. The Friends also supported the acquisition of a collection of 12 items related to the Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock, which features a copy of the first American edition of Leacock’s best-known book, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, still protected by its dust jacket, an extremely rare phenomenon. The Friends passed a significant milestone in their Bibliographic Project, which began in 2016 to increase access to and improve the search function of LAC’s Canadian Expeditionary Force database. They located key information from First World War service files for 101,336 of the 622,290 digitized files.


Copy of the first American edition of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, by Stephen Leacock. Source: Library and Archives Canada/OCLC 8991692. Photo: Tom Thompson, LAC


A rare edition of The Adventures of a Field Mouse; Or, The History of Little Downy, by Catharine Parr Traill. Source: Library and Archives Canada/OCLC 63076639. Photo: David Ewens


“It’s a hit” donation

This past year, LAC received a donation of over 1,000 volumes of Billboard magazines. The donation, covering the years from 1970 to 1995, filled a large gap in LAC’s collection of music-industry magazines. LAC now holds most issues from 1958 to 2013, including many special issues, supplements and associated publications, such as Billboard International Buyer’s Guide, Billboard International Tape Directory, Billboard Music Week and Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits.

The Collection
Acquisition, preservation, digitization

DigiLab: Now in Vancouver and Winnipeg

In response to public enthusiasm after the 2017 rollout of the DigiLab in Ottawa, LAC decided to offer the same service in its regional centres in Vancouver and Winnipeg. The DigiLab provides high-performance scanners, computers and tools on site to allow clients to digitize and contextualize LAC collection items that they choose for themselves. After the involvement of clients with these items, LAC creates web copies of the material for public access. It should be noted that LAC’s holdings in Vancouver and Winnipeg are valuable resources for local researchers. For example, clients in Vancouver can access the records of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC), and Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) for British Columbia and Yukon, including records related to natural resources, Indigenous lands and economic development. LAC’s Winnipeg office also holds CIRNAC and ISC records for Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, as well as other collections of interest, including records relating to railway land development, agriculture, national parks, wildlife habitats and Arctic weather stations.


Map showing trap lines in the Stikine Region of British Columbia, north of Level Mountain. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e999923535-u (page 4)


Conservation, preservation and restoration

  • Preparing for the move to the new preservation facility
    This past year, LAC has been busy starting to prepare the collection for its upcoming move from four different storage facilities to the new preservation facility in Gatineau, scheduled to open in 2022. To make the most efficient use of the future facility, LAC established a five-year preservation and collection management project, which aims to physically relocate over 1.3 million containers of collection material to the new building. This will be done in a secure fashion, ensuring that items are tracked throughout the move and retrievable at all times. LAC is still two years away from the opening of the new facility, but 40 percent of the collection has already been prepared for the big move!
  • Microfilm survey
    In 2019–2020, LAC completed phase 1 of its first-ever comprehensive survey to improve LAC’s knowledge of how the microfilm collection is currently stored, preserved and made accessible. This includes a survey of the Archival Microfilm collection at the LAC Preservation Centre in Gatineau, and a survey of the Published Microfilm collection. Microfilm storage conditions were identified at each location, and the basic condition of materials was assessed, to determine whether master reels are being stored in the most appropriate physical environment.
  • The Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project

    The Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project involved both conservation and digitization efforts. It included an extensive and important collection of rolled maps and map overlays (many of them damaged) related to past Inuit occupancy, hunting, trapping and fishing territories in the Northwest Territories and northeastern Yukon.

    To best preserve the information on the damaged maps and overlays, conservators at LAC needed to treat the items before they could be digitized. The maps were quite large, and many had been created by overlapping and taping together several smaller maps of an area to form larger maps. The tapes had shrunk with age, causing many maps to become badly bunched together, torn and creased, therefore obscuring information. As many of the handwritten notations on the maps and overlays had been made across the tape, those notations had to be preserved in place on the maps. The rest of the tape had to be removed to allow conservators to properly flatten cockled paper, repair the tears and reattach the separated sections. This ensured that the maps could be safely handled and that all of the information was visible for digitization.

    Collection materials from the Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project before digitization. Photos: LAC conservation labs
  • Collaboration, conservation and a classic composite

    Summerhayes and Walford’s wonderful large composite of the Montreal Lacrosse Club from 1886 was conserved this year with the collaboration of three conservation labs. The composite required a major intervention from staff in the Paintings, Photographic Materials, and Prints and Drawings conservation labs to examine, treat and stabilize it. The artifact had suffered years of neglect. It arrived in the conservation labs in a deteriorated and unstable state, with prominent deformations, multiple large tears, punctures, large areas of lifting and a loss of part of the images. The Paintings lab undertook treatment of the oil paint, the removal of the linen lining, and framing; the Photographic Materials lab focused on the albumen photographs; and the Prints and Drawings lab concentrated on the paper support and the water-based parts of the document. Although each lab had its focus, treatment of this composite entailed ongoing discussions and adjustments regarding options and effects of treatment. It was a true collaborative effort from LAC experts.


    Summerhayes and Walford’s composite of the Montreal Lacrosse Club, 1886. Left: before treatment; right: after treatment. Source: Montreal Amateur Athletic Association fonds/e008299991


Digitization highlights

In 2019–2020, LAC notably provided digitization support for the following:

  • Litigation cases such as the LGBTQ Purge
  • The Canadian Research and Mapping Association, for War Diaries of the Second World War
  • LAC’s Indigenous initiative We Are Here: Sharing Stories
  • LAC’s reference collections, such as indexes, finding aids and microfilm collections, providing better access to these records and search aids in digital format in preparation for the move to the new LAC-OPL joint facility in late 2024

Collection Search launched

LAC released the new Collection Search on its website in July 2019; this tool enables users to search various items more easily and efficiently from a single search location. LAC is also continually adding datasets to Collection Search, as well as more functionalities, including the ability to filter results. In the future, Collection Search will allow for seamless access to existing search results from more than 100 stand-alone databases currently on LAC’s website

Databases recently added include the following:

  • 1921 Census
  • Aurora, the new catalogue to access LAC’s published holdings
  • Black Loyalist Refugees, 1782–1807—Port Roseway Associates
  • North West Mounted Police (NWMP)—Personnel Records, 1873–1904
  • Personnel Records of the First World War
  • Service Files of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1910–1941—Ledger Sheets
  • Service Files of the Second World War—War Dead, 1939–1947

Acquisitions of note

  • Robert W. Jackson fonds

    The fonds consists of 10 metres of archival records documenting Dr. Robert Jackson’s activities as one of the founders and early promoters of wheelchair sports and sports for the disabled in Canada and internationally. The fonds also documents his use and development of arthroscopy, which he introduced to the Western world in 1965 and for which he became internationally renowned.

  • Ned Sparks and Family collection
    This collection of approximately 200 textual records and photographs documents the career and family history of pioneer Canadian stage and screen actor Ned Sparks. Records pertaining to Canadian screen actors during the golden age of cinema (1900–1940) are under-represented and a rarity at LAC. Sparks was part of Canada’s elite group of actors who made it big in the Hollywood glory days. The material acquired provides a wealth of information about his career.

    Promotional photograph of Ned Sparks for the film The Star Maker, 1939. Source: Library and Archives Canada/Ned Sparks and Family collection/MIKAN 5182564

  • Gabor Szilasi fonds

    Internationally renowned Canadian documentary photographer Gabor Szilasi’s sustained contribution of more than 60 years of documentary photography is a reflection of his extraordinary importance and influence in Canada. The acquisition consists of more than 80,000 photographic negatives of various formats taken by Szilasi between 1954 and 2016, covering his entire career. The acquisition also includes a selection of photographic prints by Szilasi, covering some of his earliest Hungarian work, as well as a variety of projects he pursued over the years. These included portraits of family and friends in the artistic community in Montréal, portraits in rural Quebec, and self-portraits.


    Drive-in movie theatre, Alma, Quebec, 1976. Source: Library and Archives Canada/Gabor Szilasi fonds/e011308963

  • Legal deposit

    Canadian publishers and producers are responsible for depositing their materials through the legal deposit program under the Library and Archives of Canada Act. By participating in this program, they help to build the national collection

    Here are a few examples of publications received through legal deposit:

    • Law’s Indigenous Ethics. John Borrows. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019. (OCLC 1065975471). This work examines how Indigenous law can shed light on Canadian legal approaches to treaties, Aboriginal title, judicial education and the continuing legacy of residential schools
    • Feminist Praxis Revisited: Critical Reflections on University-Community Engagement. Amber Dean, Jennifer L. Johnson, Susanne Luhmann. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019 (OCLC 1055274552). Focusing on feminist activism and social change in post-secondary institutions, this title explores the balance between teaching social change as a core value of the curriculum in the classroom and adapting to the increasing pressure to integrate community engagement practices and respond to labour market demands for greater student employability.
    • No Surrender: The Land Remains Indigenous. Sheldon Krasowski. Regina, Saskatchewan: University of Regina Press, 2019 (OCLC 1045470220). This title discusses how the government of Canada approached the negotiations between 1869 and 1877 that resulted in Treaties One through Seven with the Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. It argues that a deliberate strategy of deception was used to mislead Indigenous peoples about issues such as governance and resource sharing.
    • Nous sommes Télé-Québécois. Danielle Stanton. Montréal: les Éditions La Presse, 2018 (OCLC 1062949173). Offering a history of public television in Quebec, this work unfolds in a series of stories and memories by personalities and fans as it celebrates a cultural and educational institution, Télé-Québec.

Indigenous Initiatives
Committed to understanding, preserving and making Indigenous heritage accessible

Indigenous Heritage Action Plan

In April 2019, LAC, guided by the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, launched the Indigenous Heritage Action Plan, which comprises 28 actions by LAC to recognize Indigenous rights and increase access to its collection. This action plan was developed in consultation with the members of the Indigenous Advisory Circle, who provide LAC with advice and guidance.

Actions include contributing funding to Indigenous-led organizations for potential archival and library projects related to Indigenous heritage and histories; developing programs for Indigenous youth interested in pursuing careers in archives, libraries, museums, history, archaeology, information management or the public service; and facilitating distinction-based awareness and learning activities for LAC employees on the subjects of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation histories, intercultural relations, reconciliation, and Indigenous rights. For example, LAC created an Indigenous Awareness and Learning Program for staff and raised awareness by organizing eight KAIROS blanket exercises: experiential workshops developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators that aim to foster understanding about shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. LAC also formed the Indigenous Matters Forum, where employees share information and knowledge about First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation histories, intercultural relations, reconciliation, and Indigenous rights.

Other actions include adapting the terminology we use to describe LAC collections related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, to enhance access and ensure a culturally appropriate and respectful approach. LAC also works with Indigenous-led institutions across Canada to enable greater access to the documentary heritage that matters to them. This includes new partnerships and collaborations with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities, archives, libraries, and museums, as well as agreements with universities and other educational institutions. For instance, LAC developed and shared Procedures for Writing Culturally Sensitive Titles for Descriptions of Indigenous Materials to deal with offensive terms found in descriptions in LAC’s collection. LAC also focused on increasing Indigenous input in the TD Summer Reading Club (TDSRC). In 2019, the TDSRC officially launched its program at Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. LAC also attended the First Nations Spring Gathering of Indigenous Libraries hosted by the Ontario Library Service – North in 2019.

Funding announced through Listen, Hear Our Voices

As part of the Government of Canada’s reconciliation efforts, LAC is supporting Indigenous communities as they seek to preserve and make accessible their existing audio and video heritage for future generations. On January 6, 2020, LAC announced that it would be providing $2.3 million in funding through its Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative to support 31 projects by First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation organizations to preserve Indigenous culture and language recordings. Through the Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative, LAC’s contribution funding will help Indigenous organizations to digitize their existing culture and language recordings, and to build the skills, knowledge and resources they need to carry out this work in their communities.

Organizations receiving funding through the Listen, Hear Our Voices initiative include the following:

  • Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta
  • Council of Yukon First Nations, Yukon Native Language Centre
  • First Nations University of Canada
  • Inuit Broadcasting Corporation
  • Louis Riel Institute

As we continue our work with Indigenous partners on the path toward reconciliation, initiatives such as this illustrate our government’s ongoing commitment to support Indigenous communities in preserving First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures and languages for future generations.

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

We Are Here: Sharing Stories

Photo digitized through the We Are Here: Sharing Stories initiative: Charlie Fortescue, son of Joseph Fortescue and Sarah Jane Mason, born in York Factory in 1876. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e011313020

LAC holdings contain content related to First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation, acquired through the transfer of government records, private archival records and published works. Once LAC digitizes and describes the materials, this initiative will make materials accessible to the public through LAC’s website through Collection Search, social media (including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs and podcasts) and other online tools such as research and thematic guides. As of March 31, 2020, the We Are Here: Sharing Stories initiative has digitized over 573,855 images, documents and maps in the LAC collection, including the following:

  • Métis scrip and related documents from the Department of the Interior
  • Photos from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in the 1990s
  • Land patents
  • Canadian Eskimo Arts Council documentation and graphic collection
  • Maps such as the “Indian Land Sales Maps” showing reserve lands across Canada, and settlement plans indicating Métis River Lots from central Canada
  • Numerous Indigenous language publications including Ojibway, Dakota, Cree, Dene, Algonquin, Mi’kmaq, Abenaki, Blackfoot and Inuktitut

Photo digitized through the We Are Here: Sharing Stories initiative: Innu on the move at Emish (Voisey’s Bay), Labrador, ca. 1925–1940. Credit: Judy-Pauline Hunter White. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e0111305800

Photo digitized through the We Are Here: Sharing Stories initiative: Inuk girl with yellow sunglasses, unknown location, ca. 1978–1988. Credit: George Mully. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e011218259


Indigenous heritage collections

LAC published 18 blogs, including 11 by Indigenous staff at LAC, on resources related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation heritage. LAC also released four Flickr albums in 2019 with Indigenous content (Judith-Pauline White, pipes, George Mully, Tom Longboat). A podcast on Tom Longboat was also launched, and two Co-Lab crowdsourcing challenges using resources related to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation heritage were released.

Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War

In 2019–2020, LAC curated a Co-Lab challenge using records highlighting First Nations veterans from the First World War, in honour of National Indigenous Veterans Day. These records are unlike other military records held at LAC because they contain detailed personal documents on the returning soldiers and their families, as well as administrative information such as regimental numbers. These files also include photographs of a few soldiers and information about First Nations women’s groups that supported the war effort. Created in 1918 and 1919, these unique documents illustrate the experiences of some First Nations during the war and how communities coped during the absence of the soldiers.

Adding Indigenous knowledge and perspectives to records through Co-Lab enables future researchers to easily find and understand this historical material.


From the “Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War” Co-Lab challenge: Indigenous soldiers from Ontario identified as, from left to right, Private David Lands (Eagle Lake), Private Phillip Pelly (Grassy Narrows) and Private William Semia (Cat Lake). Source: Library and Archives Canada/e011395910-0008_s1


Project Naming selected to represent Canada at global summit

As lead co-chair of the worldwide Open Government Partnership, the Government of Canada hosted the organization’s 6th Global Summit in Ottawa from May 29 to 31, 2019. Canada’s priorities for the summit were participation and inclusion. LAC was proud that its own Project Naming was selected to represent Canada at the event, to demonstrate the government’s commitment to the summit’s priorities. Over 2,000 Open Government champions from dozens of countries attended the event, with the goal of sharing knowledge and creating solutions that foster open and transparent government around the globe.

Project Naming enables Indigenous peoples to engage in the identification of Indigenous photographs from LAC. Since 2002, approximately 10,000 images have been digitized, and several thousand Inuit, First Nations and Métis Nation individuals, activities and places have been identified.

From Project Naming: Silas Kangegana, Kidluit Bay, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, by Rosemary Gilliat Eaton, July 1956. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e010975322

From Project Naming: Group of students and school personnel at Coppermine School (Tent Hostel), Kugluktuk, Nunavut, 1958. Source: Library and Archives Canada/e004923640


Indigenous Writers’ Gathering

On June 12, 2019, during National Indigenous History Month, LAC welcomed the Indigenous Writers’ Gathering. Hosted by Jaime Morse, founder of Indigenous Walks, the event began with a prayer by Algonquin traditional teacher Elder Albert Dumont. The gathering featured vibrant discussions with prominent Indigenous authors Colleen Cardinal, Suzanne Methot and Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm. Since 2017, LAC has co-hosted five Indigenous Writers’ Gatherings along with the Government of Canada, the Ottawa International Writers Festival and Ottawa Public Library, as part of the ongoing #IndigenousReads campaign. The campaign encourages reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through the sharing and exploration of Indigenous literature.

Farewell to Dr. Guy Berthiaume

This past year, as LAC celebrated its 15th anniversary, we said a fond farewell to Dr. Guy Berthiaume, who served as Librarian and Archivist of Canada from June 23, 2014, to August 29, 2019.

Over the course of his five-year tenure, Dr. Berthiaume led a number of impressive accomplishments: successes that will continue to resonate over the coming years. Notable innovative endeavours such as LAC’s joint facility with Ottawa Public Library, as well as LAC’s new preservation centre in Gatineau, were recently launched and are well under way. Others, such as the National Heritage Digitization Strategy, the Documentary Heritage Communities Program, and the three summits on the value of galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs), are deeply rooted in LAC’s history and identity. Under Dr. Berthiaume’s guidance, LAC embraced the digital revolution and the culture of citizen participation by reaching out to its users, employees, stakeholders and partners across the country to develop the crowdsourcing tool Co-Lab, as well as public digitization services such as DigiLab in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver. LAC also greatly expanded its social media presence and completed the single largest digitization project it has ever undertaken—all of the records for the 622,290 soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force are now searchable online. A state-of-the-art library management system was also introduced to house both Voilà, the new national union catalogue, and Aurora, the new catalogue of LAC’s library collection. Under Dr. Berthiaume’s stewardship, LAC made historic investments in reconciliation and, working with an advisory circle of Elders and Indigenous leaders, introduced major initiatives to support Indigenous communities in preserving, revitalizing and enhancing their languages and cultures.

During the course of Dr. Berthiaume’s tenure, LAC developed a vision for the future that reflects the collective insights of members of the documentary heritage community, shaped by the needs of users, the realities of the institution, and the benefit of experience. And, as we honour LAC’s collective achievements with Dr. Berthiaume, now Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus, we are committed to fulfilling our role as the continuing memory of Canada’s documentary heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.


Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus. Source: Library and Archives Canada. Photo: David Knox, LAC


The Year in Numbers 2019–2020

  • Website: 4,322,323 visits
  • Pages of government records opened through block review: 5 million
  • Questions answered by reference services: 22,740
  • Questions answered by reference services at regional service points: 2,169
  • Number of images digitized: 3,411,697
  • Publications collected under legal deposit: 87,766
  • Private acquisitions: 164
  • Items loaned to museums and galleries: 71
  • Tours of the LAC Preservation Centre: 103
  • Instagram: 7,505 followers
  • Facebook: 69,164 followers
  • Twitter: 69,616 followers
  • YouTube: 7,579 followers
  • LAC blog: 109 articles published; 244,955 views
  • Flickr: 29 sets launched; 1,980,297 views
  • Podcasts: 9 episodes released; 84,583 listens
  • Number of new and multi-year projects funded by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program: 52

Expenditures 2019–2020

Text version

Expenditures 2019-2020

  • Access (23%)
  • Management of the special-purpose buildings (16%)
  • Internal Services (16%)
  • Acquisition and processing of published heritage (9%)
  • Preservation (9%)
  • Information and Technology Management (9%)
  • Acquisition and processing of government records (7%)
  • Acquisition and processing of private archives (7%)
  • Communications (4%)

LAC Management Team
(current as of March 31, 2020)

LAC's Management Team (left to right): Anick Ouellette, Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer; Jill Scott, Chief of Staff; Renee Harden, Director General of Communications; Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada; Linda Savoie, Corporate Secretary; Normand Charbonneau, Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada. (Absent: Karolyn Savard, Chief Counsel) Photo: LAC

Extended Management Team

Leslie WeirLibrarian and Archivist of Canada
Sylvain BélangerDirector General, Digital Operations and Preservation
Dominique BouvierActing Director General and Chief Information Officer, Innovation and Chief Information Officer
Peter BruceSpecial Advisor, Innovation and Chief Information Officer
Alison BullockDirector, Acquisition
Normand CharbonneauAssistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Monica FuijkschotDirector General, Published Heritage
Scott HamiltonDirector General, Real Property
Renee HardenDirector General, Communications
Cécile LemaireDirector, Digital and Corporate Communications
Robert McIntoshDirector General, Archives
Anick OuelletteAssistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer
Karine ParéDirector General, Financial Services and Procurement
Dara PriceDirector, Archival Information System Renewal
Sandy RamosDirector, Government Archives
Pascale RobichaudDirector, Strategic Research and Policy
Linda SavoieCorporate Secretary
Jill ScottChief of Staff, Office of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Johanna SmithDirector General, Public Services
Boris StipernitzDirector, Governance, Liaison and Partnerships
Julie St-LaurentDirector, Corporate Planning and Accountability
Nancy TaillonDirector General and Chief Security Officer, Human Resources and Security
Lisa Tremblay-GoodyerDirector, Reference Services
Cara DowneySenior Analyst, Governance, Liaison and Partnerships

Committees, Advisory Groups and Partners

LAC carries out its work with the advice and support of a network of communities and advisory groups from across the documentary heritage community. By offering their time, ideas and expertise, the members of these committees make an invaluable contribution to LAC.

Lists current as of March 31, 2020

External Advisory Committee of the Documentary Heritage Communities Program

Mario RobertChief, Archives Section, City of Montréal
Guylaine BeaudryVice-Provost, Digital Strategy and University Librarian, Concordia University
Hélène CarrierDirector, Morisset Library, University of Ottawa
Jay GilbertCity Clerk, City of Coquitlam
Leslie LattaExecutive Director and Provincial Archivist, Provincial Archives of Alberta
Pilar MartinezChief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library
Linda McIntyreProvincial Archivist, Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
John PatemanChief Librarian, CEO, Thunder Bay Public Library
Suzanne PayetteDirector, Brossard Public Library
John D. ReidGenealogist, Ottawa
Michaela StangResearch Assistant, University of Alberta
Erin SuliakTerritorial Archivist, Northwest Territories Archives
Boris StipernitzLAC

LAC Acquisitions Advisory Committee

This committee advises LAC on its acquisition policies, plans and strategies, as well as appraisal tools for government records and select acquisitions of private archives and special collections.

Catherine ArseneauBeaton Institute, Sydney, Nova Scotia
Jarvis BrownlieUniversity of Manitoba
Victoria DickensonIndependent Scholar and Consultant
Éveline FavrettiAssociation nationale des éditeurs de livres
Raymond FrognerNational Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Michel LessardAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Brenda MacdougallUniversity of Ottawa
Donald W. McLeodUniversity of Toronto
Ian MilliganUniversity of Waterloo
Geneviève PichéUniversity of Ottawa
Marianne ScottFriends of Library and Archives Canada
Karine VachonAssociation nationale des éditeurs de livres
Lara WilsonUniversity of Victoria

Library and Archives Canada Members

Normand CharbonneauDeputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Monica FuijkschotDirector General, Published Heritage
Robert McIntoshDirector General, Archives

Steering Committee on Canada's Archives

This committee moves forward on priorities identified by the Canadian archival community and identifies new initiatives for collaborative action.

Joanna Aiton KerrCanadian Council of Archives
Normand CharbonneauLAC
Fred FarrellCouncil of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Louis GermainAssociation des archivistes du Québec
Frédéric GiulianoAssociation des archivistes du Québec
Loryl MacDonaldAssociation of Canadian Archivists
Jo-Anne McCutcheonAssociation of Canadian Archivists
Christina NicholsCanadian Council of Archives
John RobertsCouncil of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Leslie WeirLAC
Members at Large
Martine CardinUniversité Laval
Uta FoxAssociation of Records Managers and Administrators – Canada Region
Kim LawsonUniversity of British Columbia
Christy WaltersAssociation of Records Managers and Administrators – Canada Region
Sean BerriganCanadian Council of Archives
Louise CharleboisCanadian Council of Archives

LAC Foundation

Jacques J.M. Shore-
Michael G. AdamsTreasurer
Shelley AmbroseDirector and Chair, LAC Scholar Awards Committee
Rory CapernDirector
Ronald CohenDirector
Robert GhizDirector
Blake GoldringDirector
Kevin HansonDirector
Roseann O’Reilly RunteVice Chair

LAC Stakeholders' Forum

LAC’s Stakeholders’ Forum allows for timely discussions of LAC’s strategic, policy and operational directions, and means that information, best practices and collaboration opportunities can be easily shared among members.

Leslie WeirLibrary and Archives Canada
Joanna Aiton KerrCanadian Council of Archives
Jonathan BengtsonCanadian Association of Research Libraries
Penny BrydenCanadian Historical Association
Andrea CecchettoOntario Library Association
Fred FarrellCouncil of Provincial and Territorial Archivists
Frédéric GiulianoAssociation des archivistes du Québec
Loryl MacDonaldAssociation of Canadian Archivists
Mari MartinProvincial and Territorial Public Library Council
Maureen SawaCanadian Urban Libraries Council
Alix-Rae StefankoCanadian Federation of Library Associations
Carole UrbainFédération des milieux documentaires
Vanda VitaliCanadian Museums Association

LAC Scholar Awards Committee

Shelley Ambrose-
Guy Berthiaume-
Ronald Cohen-
Renee Harden-
Sarah Jennings-
Pradeep Merchant-
Roseann O’Reilly Runte-
Jacques J.M. Shore-
Charlotte Teeple-
Leslie Weir-

National, Provincial and Territorial Archives Conference

This consultative body, composed of the heads of the 13 provincial and territorial archives and the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, meets to discuss shared interests and collaborative projects.

Fred FarrellNew Brunswick
Leslie WeirLAC
Joanna Aiton KerrCanadian Council of Archives
Edward AtkinsonNunavut
Patti BannisterNova Scotia
Scott GoodineManitoba
Leslie LattaAlberta
Hélène LaverdureQuebec
Jill MacMicken-WilsonPrince Edward Island
Linda McIntyreSaskatchewan
John RobertsOntario
David SchlosserYukon
Erin SuliakNorthwest Territories
Greg WalshNewfoundland and Labrador
Emma WrightBritish Columbia
Émilie ChiripLAC
Patrick LatulippeLAC

Friends of LAC

Board of Directors

Marianne Scott-
Peggy Atherton-
Hélène Cayer-
Ronald CohenPast President
Derek Ellis-
Barbara Hicks-
Grace HyamSecretary
Susan JacksonTreasurer
Lise Lambert-
Carrol Lunau-
Donald Meakin-
Wanda Noel-
Kathleen ShawVice-President

Public Programming Advisory Committee

The mandate of this committee is to give LAC professional perspectives, advice and ideas on the direction and priorities of its public programming activities, including special events, seminars and exhibitions.

Leslie WeirLAC
Monique BruléOttawa Public Library
Michel FilionUniversité du Québec en Outaouais
Christopher KitzanCanada Aviation and Space Museum
Julien MorissetteIndependent Radio Producer, Host and Commentator
Catherine Voyer-LégerAuthor
Chris WaddellCarleton University
Sean WilsonOttawa International Writers Festival
Library and Archives Canada Members
Renee HardenLAC
Johanna SmithLAC
Amy TectorLAC
Peggy ThériaultLAC

Services Consultation Committee

This committee provides advice, guidance and feedback on the direction and priorities of LAC’s public-facing services, from both a user and a professional perspective.

Johanna SmithLAC
Alison BlackburnOttawa Public Library
Constance CromptonDepartment of Communication, University of Ottawa
Frédéric GiulianoLibrary Services, Université de Québec à Montréal
Laura MadokoroDepartment of History, Carleton University
Ry MoranNational Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Jean-Pierre MorinIndigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Carleton University
Colleen MurphyUniversity of Regina Library
David ObeeGenealogy Expert
Anita PriceAssociation of Nova Scotia Museums
Ryan ShackletonKnow History
Madeleine SoubryStudent, University of Ottawa
Pam WrightNational Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., United States
Ex-Officio Members
Normand CharbonneauLAC
Renee HardenLAC

Indigenous Advisory Circle

The Circle provides advice, guidance and feedback to LAC on the direction and priorities of its Indigenous-related documentary heritage activities.

Melissa AdamsLibrarian Archivist, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, British Columbia
Stephen AugustineAssociate Vice President/Principal, Unama’ki College, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia
Maureen CournoyeaRecords Manager, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Radford Brewer (Sonny Day Rider)Research Assistant/Student, University of Lethbridge, Alberta
Tocassie BurkeManager of Language Program, Department of Culture and Heritage, Nunavut
Paula DaigleLibrarian, First Nations University of Canada, Saskatchewan
Victoria DelearyDirector Research/Archivist, Chippewas on the Thames First Nation, Ontario
Rhoda KokiapikDirector, Avataq Cultural Institute, Inukjuak, Quebec
Anita KoraLibrarian/Archivist, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Ontario
Lena KotokakRegional Language Coordinator, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Northwest Territories
Terry V. MorinDirector, Enoch Cree Nation Archives, Alberta
Sharon ParenteauGeneral Manager, Louis Riel Institute, Manitoba
Kevin PerkinsLanguage Programs Assistant, First Peoples' Cultural Council, British Columbia
Karon ShmonDirector of Publishing, Gabriel Dumont Institute, Saskatchewan
Tyson ThomasIndependent Archivist and Researcher
Library and Archives Canada Members
Normand CharbonneauDeputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and Lead for Indigenous Engagement
Joanne Rycaj GuillemetteCommunications Advisor
Del JackoAdvisor, External Indigenous Engagement
Kathryn LagrandeurDirector, Private Archives on Social Life and Culture
Johanna SmithDirector General, Public Services

LAC Youth Advisory Council

This advisory council provides guidance and advice to LAC to help integrate the youth perspective into the visibility, access and relevance of Canada’s documentary heritage.

Émilie ChiripLAC
Heather Husby-WallLAC
Laura Blackmore-
Adam Khimji-
Sali Lafrenie-
Cameron Lamb-
Gabrielle Lauzon Lalonde-
Alexandre Malboeuf-
Alexandra McGill-
Erica Morissette-
Tyler Owens-
Ariane Paquet-Labelle-
Bailee Pegden-
Camille Pélet-
Ryan Prentice-
Kristina Reed-
Charmaine Strong-
Alexi Thibault-Jutras-
Heather Townsend-
Hannah Whale-
Alisha Wilkinson-
Anne ChartrandLAC
Marie-Ève DoucetLAC

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