Created in 2016, the Steering Committee on Canada’s Archives (SCCA) aims to undertake by 2026 initiatives outlined in the strategy entitled Canada’s Archives: A New Blueprint (“the Strategy”) (see Annex A).
The goal is for the SCCA to ensure members of the Canadian archival community can better respond to today’s opportunities and challenges in four strategic areas:
- People: engaging all with an interest in records and archives;
- Records: building the archives of Canadians for Canadians, and for the world;
- Capacity: making archives sustainable today and tomorrow; and,
- Profile: making archives visible.
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is one of the five founding SCCA members. In 2014, LAC provided leadership in supporting a Canadian archival community in great need of a collaborative venue to discuss strategic issues, develop a common strategy and establish a working group, all designed to address complex issues and find practical solutions going forward.
Originally starting as a working group, the SCCA took its current governance formation in 2016 (see Annex B). LAC offered to become the Secretariat for the SCCA (specifically Stakeholder Relations and International Affairs Directorate), temporarily, to help get the SCCA “off-the-ground.” As the SCCA Secretariat from 2016 to 2019, LAC covered costs to facilitate in-person meetings with members of the Canadian archival community (e.g. drafting of the Strategy), as well as in person committee meeting expenses (e.g. travel, accommodation, hospitality).
At the October 2018 meeting, members discussed similarities between the mandate of the SCCA and the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA). The CCA agreed to present SCCA Proposed New Model at the January 2019 meeting. Members approved the model and LAC transferred the role of secretariat for the SCCA to the CCA in April 2019. LAC has offered to continue providing translation services for meeting documents. See Annex C for more information on SCCA’s membership, chairperson, and meetings.
As a key component of the SCCA, three taskforces have been created to advance priorities identified by the SCCA in the Strategy:
- Archival Workforce;
- Awareness Strategy; and
- Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
As the mandates of the Archival Workforce and the Awareness Strategy taskforces expire in 2019, it has yet to be decided if the SCCA will work on creating new taskforces to advance other priorities identified in the Strategy or from within the Canadian archival community. The Response to the Report of the TRC Taskforce will continue its activities until 2021.
The Librarian and Archivist of Canada and Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada represent LAC at the SCCA. LAC’s representatives to SCCA taskforces include: Marnie Burnham, Manager for Regional Services (member of the Response to the Report of the TRC Taskforce); and Shannon Perry, Photo Archivist (member of the Archival Workforce Taskforce).
Next in-person meeting: October/November 2019 in Ottawa (to coincide with LAC Stakeholders’ Forum), TBC.
SCCA Accomplishments: A formal analysis of SCCA’s accomplishments against the Strategy has yet to be completed. However, the creation of the SCCA with its taskforces has provided a useful mechanism to address many of the strategic and complex issues facing Canada’s archival community. Regular in-person and teleconference meetings created a strong level of trust and communication among its members and colleagues from the Canadian archival community as well. SCCA is also maintaining a bilingual website that provides insights and critical information to the Canadian archival community, www.archives2026.com.
Challenges Faced by SCCA and Taskforce Members: As taskforce leads and SCCA members are volunteers, it has been an ongoing challenge to find volunteers to carry out some of the work identified in the Strategy. As a result, there have been some delays in advancing some priorities. The TRC taskforce was the only successful taskforce in soliciting external funding ($182,540 over three years/ 2018-2021 via a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) which will help complete its work.
Future of SCCA and Future Priorities: Since two of the three taskforces are completing their work in 2019, SCCA members should be preparing the next round of priorities and action plans. With resource constraints as described above, it remains unclear if SCCA will be able to recruit and retain active taskforce leads and members to carry out the work. The June 4, 2019 SCCA meeting was the first SCCA meeting under the CCA-provided secretariat.
LAC Participation and SCCA Chair: As SCCA secretariat is now under the purview of the CCA, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, and the Deputy Librarian and Archivist should continue attending meetings as SCCA members only to remain at arms-length. SCCA members will elect a new SCCA chair in early 2020. See Annex B for details regarding process.
Patrick Latulippe, Analyst, Stakeholder Relations and International Affairs (SRIA)
Francesco Manganiello, Director, SRIA
Annex A: Canada’s Archives: A New Blueprint (“the Strategy”)
Annex B: Steering Committee Mandate 2016-2018
Annex C: SCCA Membership, Chairperson and Taskforces
Founding and current members include Association des archivistes du Québec (AAQ), Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA), Canadian Council of Archives (CCA), Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists (CPTA) and LAC. Members-at-large (ARMA Canada is the only member-at-large) and taskforce leads also participate at meetings without voting privileges.
One Chair is elected for a term of one year. Since 2018, two Co-Chairs were elected for a two-year term: Luciana Duranti (ACA) and Cédric Champagne (AAQ) are current Co-Chairs (2018-2020). Previous Chairs include: Fred Farrell (CPTA) in 2017 and Lara Wilson (CCA) in 2016.
The SCCA meets four times a year (two in-person meetings aligned with those organized for LAC’s Stakeholders’ Forum and two teleconferences) to discuss collaboration, challenges, research and innovation.