Recordkeeping in Government of Canada Institutions

Background

  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is mandated as the corporate memory of the Government of Canada (GC) and a key player in the recordkeeping (RK) landscape.
  • Under LAC’s Act, section 7 (discretionary), LAC is “to facilitate the management of information by government institutions.” This is achieved through the provision of guidance and tools, and contributions to the development of GC RK policy instruments, strategies and solutions.
  • Sections 12 and 13 of LAC’s Act (nondiscretionary) consist of provisions specific to government and ministerial records, including disposal or destruction, records transfer to the care and control of the Librarian and Archivist, records at risk of damage or destruction, and records of former government institutions, among others.
  • Leadership for RK in the GC is provided by Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and LAC, in concert with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).
  • TBS sets the GC IM/RK policy direction, which is applicable to GC institutions defined in Section 2 of the Financial Administration Act.
  • Recent TBS policy renewal activities have merged the policies on IM, information technology management, cybersecurity and services. The new Policy on Service and Digital is scheduled to come into effect on April 1, 2020.
  • Not all GC institutions are subject to TBS policy instruments (approximately 100 are subject to these instruments). Additionally, not all GC institutions and/or ministers are subject to the LAC Act (about 176 are subject to the Act). This means that various rules, methods and tools are in place across the GC, which challenges LAC’s ability to effectively monitor and support IM/RK practices, as well as to acquire GC archival records.
  • LAC contributes to GC-wide strategies and solutions pertaining to government records, including the GC’s enterprise content management software (GCdocs), Open Government, and the GC Data Strategy.
  • LAC develops national and international networks, and participates in creating RK standards at the national and international levels. This work increases LAC’s credibility as RK experts within the GC, while also supporting the development of library and archival communities outside the GC.

Considerations

  • RK and archival activities in the GC are separate functions governed by different pieces of legislation and different leaders.
  • RK maturity varies across the GC. Various rules, methods and tools are in place across the GC. This challenges LAC’s ability to effectively monitor and support RK practices, as well as to acquire GC archival records.
  • Risks inherent to poor RK practices in the GC include impeded operations, inability to deliver mandated programs, inability to ensure accountability for decisions and actions in GC institutions, and potential loss of archival records.
  • Digital government transformation calls for a renewed focus on RK practices across the GC.
  • TBS will have a new CIO in place in the upcoming months. A change in leadership may lead to new policy directions for IM in the GC.
  • To fulfill its IM facilitation mandate, LAC needs to be more visible and proactive on GC-wide decision-making bodies. The GC IM community is eager to follow LAC’s leadership.
  • To fulfill its government records acquisition mandate, especially as it concerns digital records, LAC must update its systems’ infrastructure, revamp related processes and procedures, and nurture its employees’ digital skills.

Key public messages

  • Foundational RK is a key element for the success of digital government.
  • Good RK practices enable efficient operations in the GC.
  • Open Government is not possible without effective RK.
  • Government Records Initiatives Division (GRID) upstream work on GC-wide strategies and solutions helps LAC to acquire a more succinct archival record.
  • LAC is proud to represent Canada in international RK standards development.

SME:

Marie-Claude (MC) Côté, Manager, Recordkeeping Strategies, Government Records Initiatives Division
Email: mc.cote@canada.ca
Tel: 613-979-0705

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