Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP)


In 2015, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) established the Documentary Heritage Communities Program contribution (DHCP), which provides financial assistance to the Canadian documentary heritage community for activities that:

  • increase access to, and awareness of, Canada's local documentary heritage organizations and their holdings; and
  • increase the capacity of local documentary heritage organizations to better sustain and preserve Canada's documentary heritage.

Non-profit organizations with a local or regional focus are eligible for DHCP funding. They can be libraries, archives, professional library and archival associations, organizations with an archival component, genealogical and historical societies, as well as Indigenous (government) organizations. Annex A provides recent DHCP competition statistics.

Administered by Governance, Liaison and Partnerships (GLAP), LAC uses the DHCP to transfer funds to recipients to undertake projects consistent with its mandate and strategic objectives. Through this contribution program, LAC connects with and strengthens the overall capacity of the local documentary heritage community all across Canada.

The DHCP’s terms and conditions (Ts and Cs) allow LAC to have specific themes for calls for proposals in support of its priorities. Examples are the 2018 call for proposals related to the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) or the 2019 Listen, Hear Our Voices (LHOV) call(s) related to the Budget 2017 Indigenous Languages and Cultures initiative.

The DHCP uses GLAP advisors and LAC subject matter advisors to first review and assess applications received for eligibility and feasibility. The DHCP External Advisory Committee (EAC) (see Annex B for membership) then assesses eligible applications for their relative merit and makes related recommendations to the Librarian and Archivist of Canada.

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada:

  • makes the final decision about which projects will receive DHCP funding based on the recommendations of the EAC;
  • usually meets EAC members once a year in person; and
  • announces new recipients of DHCP funding either at an annual high-profile stakeholder event or at a special event.

In 2019, LAC completed an evaluation and a compliance audit of the DHCP. The evaluation confirmed that the DHCP is aligned with the priorities of LAC and the Government of Canada and remains relevant and responsive to client needs. The audit established that “the [DHCP] complied with the conditions set out in the Treasury Board submission and with the Financial Administration Act (FAA).” Because of these positive results and the continuing strong demand for funding, in late 2018, the Librarian and Archivist announced the extension of the DHCP without end date.

Recently, LAC put greater emphasis than before on fostering the development of the community of local documentary heritage organizations. On November 6, 2018, GLAP organized a first DHCP seminar, where 160 representatives from organizations exchanged on best practices and funding opportunities with DHCP recipients, LAC subject matter advisors, and representatives from federal funders of documentary heritage activities. In 2019-2020, LAC is planning one or two regional workshops with local documentary heritage organizations to help increase their capacity to submit high-quality DHCP applications.


The DHCP uses contribution agreements (essentially contracts), which require recipients to file progress reports on their projects and allow LAC to monitor how they spend DHCP funds. These reporting requirements and DHCP payment schedules (including holdbacks) mitigate potential risks for LAC and ensure that only projects with satisfactory progress and eligible expenditures receive funding.

Because it has an applicant community of low-risk (not-for-profit organizations) and because of its limited resources, the DHCP team focuses its program monitoring activities on reviewing interim and final reports and on gathering information about publicly reported activities and accomplishments of recipients.

The DHCP is LAC’s only permanent funding program, which means that proportionately it has a higher overhead than departments with multiple funding programs, which benefit from economies of scale. LAC’s capacity and expertise in managing funding programs is mainly in GLAP’s DHCP team, supplemented by temporary capacity and expertise in the Office of the Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada for the management of the NHDS and the LHOV’s funding calls.

In 2020, with the support of IT, GLAP will implement a new DHCP delivery platform (GCCase) to replace the previous platform, FluidReview. LAC will later use GCCase (based on MS Dynamics) as a Client Relationship Management platform to also manage its relationships with partners and stakeholders.

Annex A: Statistics

DHCP Applications Received and Recipients, 2015–2020

2019-2020 2018-2019 2017-2018 2016-2017 2015-2016
104 128 130 155 136
New Projects
47 30 38 38 64

Recipients by Provinces and Territories, 2015–2020

Regional Breakdown 2019-2020 2018-2019 2017-2018 2016-2017 2015-2016 Total
Alberta 2 - 1 1 5 9
British Columbia 10 6 8 10 8 42
Manitoba 3 3 2 2 4 14
New Brunswick 2 1 2 1 1 7
Newfoundland and Labrador 1 - 1 - 4 6
Northwest Territories - - - - 1 1
Nova Scotia 1 1 2 1 1 6
Nunavut 2 - - - 2 4
Ontario 11 7 5 10 15 48
Prince Edward Island - 1 - 1 - 2
Quebec 12 9 15 10 18 64
Saskatchewan 1 1 2 1 3 8
Yukon 2 1 - 1 2 6
Total 47 30 38 38 64 217

Indigenous Organizations, Organizations in Official Language Minority Communities, 2015–2020

2019-2020 2018-2019 2017-2018 2016-2017 2015-2016 Total
Applications/ Recipients A* R** A* R** A* R** A* R** A* R** A* R**
Indigenous Organizations 14 7 6 2 8 3 10 3 9 3 47 18
Official Language Minority Organizations 22 11 31 7 24 4 31 8 29 13 137 43


Annex B: Outgoing Members of the DHCP External Advisory Committee, 2018-2019 to 2019-2020

Présidente / Chair

  • Jill MacMicken-Wilson (Archiviste provinciale, Bureau des archives et des documents publics, gouvernement de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard / Provincial Archivist, Public Archives and Records Office, Government of Prince Edward Island)


  • Guylaine Beaudry (Bibliothécaire, Université Concordia / University Librarian, Concordia University)
  • Kathryn Bridge (Conservatrice en histoire et en arts, Musée royal de la Colombie-Britannique / Curator, History and Art, Royal BC Museum)
  • Hélène Carrier (Directrice, Bibliothèque Morisset, Université d’Ottawa/ Director, Morisset Library, University of Ottawa)
  • Jay Gilbert (Greffier, Ville de Coquitlam / City Clerk, City of Coquitlam)
  • Manisha Khetarpal (Bibliothécaire responsable du projet sur l’éducation ouverte, Collège culturel Maskwakis / Librarian responsible for the Open Education Project, Maskwacis Cultural College)
  • Leslie Latta (Directrice générale, Archives provinciales de l’Alberta / Executive Director, Provincial Archives of Alberta)
  • Pilar Martinez (Administratrice principale, Bibliothèque publique d’Edmonton / Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library)
  • John D. Reid (Généalogiste / Genealogist, Ottawa)
  • Mario Robert (Chef de la Section des archives, Ville de Montréal / Chief, Archives Section, City of Montréal)


Boris Stipernitz, Director, Governance, Liaison and Partnerships
Tel: 819-934-5858

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