Library and Archives Canada holds records relating to former federal government public servants. Those records contain information about the individual's employment history, as well as personal information. Files are retained for 80 years dating from the individual's birth date. After 80 years, all these records are destroyed.
How to send an inquiry concerning your own or another individual's records
- Your request must be signed.
- To identify a file, we require surname, full given name(s), date of birth and social insurance number (S.I.N.).
- If you do not know the date of birth or
S.I.N., secondary information (e.g. the names of next of kin, dates and department where employed) can assist in identifying the correct individual.
- Consult the section below on access restrictions.
- Please specify what document(s) you require.
- We do not accept email inquiries for these records.
- Inquiries should be sent by mail or fax to:
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec J8T 0A7
For a PDF form to fill in, print and mail, or to submit your request online, see
Informal request for personnel records of former federal public service employees.
If you are inquiring about your own records and you left the public service less than 2 years ago, please contact the Human Resources office in the department where you were employed.
- Access to personal information relating to an individual who is still living requires that person's signed consent.
- If the individual has been deceased for less than 20 years, limited information may be released to immediate family. Proof of death and relationship must be provided.
- There are no restrictions on access to information relating to an individual who has been deceased for more than 20 years. Proof of death is required.
Proof of death: A copy of a death certificate, newspaper obituary, funeral notice or photograph of the gravestone. Note that proof of death is not required if the individual died while still employed with the public service.
Proof of relationship: A document that clearly demonstrates the relationship between the individual concerned and the person requesting the record. Both names must appear on the document. A newspaper obituary, baptismal certificate or full-form birth certificate are acceptable. A wallet-sized birth certificate that does not indicate parents' names is not accepted. Please do not send original documents; photocopies are acceptable.
Immediate family: A parent, spouse, child, sibling or grandchild of the individual.
Should you wish to submit a formal request under Access To Information and Privacy legislation, see
Access to and Use of Documents.
A few personnel files were retained for historical purposes in the Public Service Commission fonds (Record Group 32). Use
Collection Search and enter keywords such as the surname and RG32 as the archival reference number.
Consult the inventory description for the
Public Service Commission for information about other types of records in that fonds, such as lists of civil servants (public servants).
The annual reports of federal government departments sometimes include lists of employees. The annual reports of the Auditor General also include such lists for various departments. All annual reports are published in the
Sessional Papers of the Dominion of Canada, available at Library and Archives Canada and many other libraries.
Department of Finance (RG 19)
Some records have survived relating to employees of various federal government departments, including establishment books (1843-1920) and superannuation registers (1870-1891). Use
Collection Search to search for these files. Enter keywords such as "superannuation," "establishment" and RG19.
The following records consist of applications and lists of appointments. They are not indexed by name and are not available on microfilm.
Content of volumes for Quebec, Lower Canada, Upper Canada and Canada:
Civil Service Records, 1764-1874 (RG 4 B33)
|1||Applications for employment||1857|
|2||Applications for employment||1858|
|3||Applications for employment||1859|
|4||Applications for employment||1860-1861|
|5||Register of applications for offices||1842-1857|
|5A||Register of applications for offices||1857-1867|
|6||Applications for employment||1862|
|7||Applications for employment||1863-1864|
|8||Applications for employment||1865-1868, 1871, 1874|
|9||Minutes of the Board of Examiners||1857-1858|
|9||Civil Service examinations||1858-1861|
|10||Civil Service examinations||1862-1863|
|11||Civil Service examinations||1864-1865|
|12||Civil Service examinations||1866-1868, 1871, 1874|
|13||Civil Service examination results & reports||1857-1861|
|14||Civil Service examination results & reports||1862-1868, 1871, 1874|
|15||Minutes of the proceedings of the Civil Service Commission||1862|
|16A||List of miscellaneous appointments||1842-1852|
|18||Appointments of Surveyors||1764, 1784-1805|
|19||Appointments of Surveyors||1808-1821|
|20||Appointment of Surveyors||1822-1840|
|20A||Returns of the Civil Establishment||1817|
|21||Returns of the Civil Establishment||1822, 1834-1835|
|22||Returns of the Civil Establishment||1840|
|23||List of the Civil Establishment (photostat), annotated to indicate appointments from 1777 onward||1809|
Content of Volumes for Upper Canada and Canada West:
Applications for Appointments to Public Office, 1803-1876 (RG 5 B7)
|1||List of Candidates for Office, naming the person recommended; arranged alphabetically||1836-1837|
|2||Applications for appointment, arranged alphabetically by name and office||1831|
|3||Civil Officers of Districts, listed alphabetically within the districts||1803-1817|
|4||Letters of application and of recommendation||1839-1841|
|4A||Letters regarding the appointment of Clerks of the Peace||1844|
|5||Register of applicants for district offices, arranged by district||1842-1845|
|6||Letters of application and recommendation for employment and for relief||1840-1846|
|7||Letters of application and recommendation||1841|
|8||Letters of application and recommendation||1854-1876|
|9||Register of applicants for appointments, arranged by district||1838-1841|
|10||Register of applicants for appointments, with a list of incumbents, arranged by district; with an index||1840-1847|
|11||Register of magistrates and coroners, arranged by district, with an index||1840|
|12||Register of candidates recommended for appointments, arranged by district||1812-1816|
|13||Register of appointments (except magistrates and coroners), arranged by district||1842-1867|
|14||Letters of application and certificates||1841-1843|
|22||Register of appointments to offices, by office||circa 1841|
Post Offices and Postmasters database contains the names and dates of service of former postmasters and postmistresses. Note that many of these individuals were paid by commission and were not Post Office employees.
Mail couriers and those who operated rural mail service routes were hired by contract and were not Post Office employees. References to contracts can be found in the
Mail service contract registers (RG3.) Use
Collection Search to search for these files in finding aid 3-43. Enter the keywords RG3 and 3-43 and the name of a place or province or the word Territories. Files that include a microfilm number, such as T-2049, are digitized on
Civil Service List of Canada (1883-1918)
These annual publications include the names, dates of birth, dates of appointment and salaries of federal civil servants, including some Post Office employees. Paper and microform copies are available in many libraries; use
Library Search for locations.
For information about records relating to employees of provincial and territorial governments, we recommend that you start your search by contacting the relevant
Provincial or Territorial Archives.