Policy management is a strategic activity that is intended to support the achievement of Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC’s) mandate while taking into account internal needs, the legislative and regulatory context, the policies and requirements of federal central agencies, and external stakeholders.
The various instruments in LAC’s policy suite set out the rules for the institution’s daily activities, in addition to providing high-level and long-term perspectives concerning complex issues. LAC has strategic policy instruments that structure each sector of activity, providing LAC with guidelines on principles. LAC also has operational policy instruments regarding the implementation of these guidelines.
A Policy Management Framework was adopted in 2013 and reviewed in 2018. It defines the roles and responsibilities in terms of policies, encouraging the adoption of strategic guidelines by senior management and ensuring flexibility of implementation through the adoption of operational instruments at the branch level. It also establishes the approval process that integrates requirements in terms of consultation, in particular through the Policy Renewal Coordination Group.
Under this framework, the Strategic Research and Policy Division has the mandate to provide advice and to coordinate the instruments in order to encourage consistency and compliance. It is also tasked with ensuring the dissemination of policy instruments, and it acts to establish a “policy culture,” meaning a common understanding of the issues related to this strategic work.
LAC has acquired a certain level of maturity in policy development. LAC generally understands the importance of this work and the need for consistent internal management of policies, regarding both strategic and operational instruments.
However, this organizational policy knowledge must be maintained and consolidated. A more systematic approach to the implementation and review of policies would help to improve their success and the achievement of the desired results.
LAC’s strategic policies and guidelines are critical for the integration of the main functions of acquisition, preservation and access. The acquisition and access policy frameworks are up to date, while the preservation (stewardship) framework is under review.
Issues of a transversal nature, such as the digital transformation, require a concerted approach from all of senior management and the institution, as well as a sharing of roles and responsibilities that provide for clear engagement by directors general to achieve results.
Since certain policies have an impact on external stakeholders, consultations were held to obtain their perspectives. In the context of open government, LAC can expect that external stakeholders will want to participate more actively in the development of LAC’s policies.
Marie-Mai Tourangeau, Manager, Strategic Research and Policy