Supplementary Corporate Information (2019-2020)

Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, the mandate of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is as follows:

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

The Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for Library and Archives Canada.

Mandate and role

LAC’s mandate to manage Canada’s documentary heritage rests on three pillars:

1. Acquiring and processing documentary heritage

LAC is responsible for acquiring documentary heritage of historical value and that shows developments in various areas of activity within Canadian society over the years. The LAC collection contains documents created and published in Canada and abroad that is of interest to Canadians and stored in various formats. To add to its collection, LAC pursues the mandate assigned to it under the Act as well as various mechanisms that include donations and acquisitions.

2. Preserving documentary heritage

LAC is responsible for preserving its collection to ensure that it stands the test of time and remains accessible to future generations. This responsibility rests on the expertise of its employees who specialize in preservation, on its processes of migration and digitization of content, and on the quality of LAC’s infrastructure.

3. Providing access to Canada’s documentary heritage

LAC’s responsibilities regarding access to documentary heritage consist of facilitating searches and consultation of its vast collection. LAC provides access to its documentary resources by:

  • providing the public with digital content and online services;
  • providing on-site services at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa and at its service points in Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver; and
  • contributing to exhibitions that enable the public to discover LAC collections in communities, museums and cultural sites across Canada.
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