Much of the content on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) website reflects the time at which it was written. We understand that much of this outdated historical content no longer reflects today’s context and may be offensive to many. The senior management and staff of LAC have been aware for some time about issues related to outdated historical content on the LAC website, and they are firm in their commitment to address these issues. Last fall, we began an initiative to review and remove or revise content in consultation with subject-matter experts and advisors, including a team of Indigenous staff members.
As this is an enormous undertaking with over 7,000 web pages and more than 100 applications involved, LAC would like to thank its users and indeed all Canadians for their patience as our relatively small staff works to create an online home for our national documentary heritage that both this institution and the country can be proud of.
This multi-year, multi-phase project is being carried out by LAC’s in-house professionals, in consultation with a diverse range of external stakeholders including First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation community members. LAC has also dedicated funds for additional work on culturally sensitive language on its website.
With respect to the Canadian Confederation and Prime Minister biography pages, this content was immediately placed in an archived section of the LAC website as soon as issues were raised in October 2020. Each page was clearly marked with a disclaimer at the top indicating that it did not correspond to Government of Canada standards and that it included information and content that had not been updated.
The archived pages were slated for removal in late June 2021. However, in light of recent media coverage that led to additional concerns being expressed by Canadians, the removal date was moved up, and the work has now been completed.
LAC is sincerely sorry that some users were offended by content on its website. LAC acknowledges that some of its online presence may be offensive and continues to work on correcting these issues.
We recognize there will always be more work to do in this area. You have our commitment that this responsibility is taken seriously and is an on-going institutional priority.
Librarian and Archivist of Canada