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Minister's Message

Photo of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

Year after year, Canadian Heritage portfolio organizations pursue Government of Canada objectives to allow Canadians to discover the richness of their culture and their heritage. As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, I am pleased to present the 2012–13 Report on Plans and Priorities prepared by Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

LAC is pursuing a comprehensive modernization agenda to ensure that it delivers its mandate in a way that takes advantage of the digital revolution. Initiatives, such as a new service delivery model that makes the most of new technologies will increasingly connect all Canadians with this country's documentary heritage.

LAC's continued support for improved recordkeeping across the government will help ensure that all departments and organizations can identify their essential records. This information management can be used to facilitate decision making and to ensure accountability to Canadians.

As indicated in this report, in 2012–13, Library and Archives Canada will continue to take concrete measures to preserve our arts, culture, and heritage. In so doing, LAC will help improve the quality of life of Canadians, while contributing to Canada's social, cultural, and economic vitality.

Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.

Section I: Organizational Overview

Raison d'être

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada under the Library and Archives of Canada Act is to:

  • preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • serve as a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social, and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society;
  • facilitate cooperation among Canadian communities involved in the acquisition, preservation, and diffusion of knowledge; and
  • serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

Modernization at Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

The LAC agenda for 2012–13 and beyond is driven by a modernization process. Modernization does not change LAC's raison d'être. This strategic and policy-driven process is enabling LAC to analyze and respond to the fundamental challenges reshaping documentary heritage, such as:

  • the explosive growth of documentary heritage created with digital technologies;
  • the rapidly-changing access expectations of Canadians; and
  • the need to align how LAC uses its resources with the interests of the broadest range of Canadians.

At the heart of the modernization process is the implementation of a strategic approach aimed at building a collection that is wholly representative of Canadian society. To that end, modernization is based on five key principles:

  • LAC is collaborating with other institutions that share complementary mandates;
  • LAC is redefining the selection process to ensure that its holdings evolve in line with its priorities and its expected long-term resourcing;
  • LAC is improving access to the content of its holdings, particularly through digital technologies;
  • LAC is preserving both digital and analogue documentary heritage; and
  • LAC is building its capacity to manage and carry out its mandate.

For more information on modernization, consult:


The modernization process guides how Library and Archives Canada (LAC) pursues its three responsibilities:

  1. documenting Canadian society
  2. preservation
  3. resource discovery

Documenting Canadian Society

It is the responsibility of LAC to acquire the information resources that most accurately document how Canadian society has developed. By applying a public policy-driven approach to selection criteria, LAC can ensure that the whole of Canadian society is well documented and that its processes are known and transparent.

The collaboration among the libraries, archives and related organizations that share a commitment to documenting all aspects of Canadian society has resulted in developing a pan-Canadian documentary heritage network. Within this network of communities of interest, the responsibility of LAC will continue to be unique in three ways.

First, LAC acquires information resources of enduring value from Government of Canada institutions. Information resources of enduring value are documents that support the fundamental political, legal and administrative decisions made by Canadian federal government institutions.

Second, legal deposit requirements in the Library and Archives of Canada Act require publishers to provide LAC with copies of material published in Canada.

Third, LAC complements these holdings by acquiring documentary heritage on a discretionary basis and in collaboration with its partners, by various means such as donations from Canadians, artists and private corporations after appraisals based on its priorities, resources and opportunities. These acquisitions are intended to supplement LAC collections in order to be as representative as possible of Canadian society. For this type of acquisition, LAC's acquisition mechanisms are purchases and tax receipts in exchange for documentary heritage considered to be of national significance and coming from individuals or private organizations.


It is the responsibility of LAC to safeguard its digital and analogue holdings so that current and future generations can access them. This responsibility is met in two ways: first, by relying on the expertise of its employees who are specialists in preservation and digitization; and second, by utilizing dedicated infrastructures, such as the Preservation Centre and the new Nitrate Film Preservation Facility.

Under modernization, LAC addresses priorities such as the need to preserve Canada's digital documentary heritage and the need to transfer analogue holdings (paper documents, obsolete audiovisual formats, etc.) to digital formats in order to protect the originals from overuse and ensure their long-term accessibility. Modernization of holdings management also demands that appraisal of potential new acquisitions and of existing holdings take into account LAC's capacity to meet long-term preservation needs and provide sustainable access over time.

Resource Discovery

The responsibility for resource discovery encompasses the many ways that LAC provides the means to explore its information resources. LAC understands that its clients expect to have access to Canadian documentary heritage when, where and how they want it. To that end, LAC is reviewing its access framework by developing strategies that support the Government of Canada's commitment to open government, and by establishing sustainable, relevant and responsive services that provide the broadest possible access to its holdings.

This review has led to a new service model approach that supports digital service delivery as the primary access channel for clients. This model has already been implemented with the digitization of content on demand. Clients will be able to virtually access a growing proportion of the material in the LAC holdings, regardless of where they physically are located. This remote access will also be supported by the pan-Canadian documentary heritage network, other partners and the clients.

Description is a core element of resource discovery. Accurate and user-friendly descriptions allow clients to fully explore the holdings in order to discover material of interest to them. LAC is examining how it can better describe documentary heritage in order to enhance accessibility for the greatest number of Canadians. This includes, for instance, using descriptive information supplied from creators and clients, and then automatically generating more of the metadata (the information that describes those holdings).

Orientation and reference services, as well as exhibitions support clients in discovering material in the collection. Services to individual clients and program development require the substantial support of LAC employees. Therefore, LAC will refocus services so that staff expertise can be gradually applied in the most cost-effective ways in accordance with the services that clients value.

Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture (PAA)

Figure showing LAC's Program Activity Architecture.

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Organizational Priorities

The modernization process of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) continues to drive organizational priorities for 2012–2013 and beyond. As described in the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priorities, it is LAC's response to a world in which digital technologies have transformed the nature and volume of information resources and the ways in which the vast majority of Canadians create, research, access and use information. It will make it possible to meet the growing expectation for ready access to documentary heritage that captures the diversity of the whole of Canadian society.

The process began with analytical and conceptual work in 2009. By 2010–2011, LAC identified and began to act on a set of 12 Modernization Innovation Initiatives to translate the underlying concepts into ambitious shifts to its core business for progress with clear results.

LAC re-grouped the modernization innovation initiatives into six organizational priorities (previously called the corporate priorities) which were set out in the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priorities. All six organizational priorities will essentially continue, with modifications to titles that reflect the progress to full-scale implementation.

  1. LAC will begin to implement a new service delivery model to improve access to its holdings
  2. LAC will develop and implement a Whole of Society Model to frame appraisal and acquisition decisions
  3. LAC will adopt a more collaborative approach to fulfilling its mandate
  4. LAC will review how it describes and organizes its information resources to improve content distribution and access
  5. LAC will adapt how it manages its holdings
  6. LAC will adopt a new model for internal operations and will ensure that its workforce has appropriate skills to deliver on its mandate

The changes needed to deliver on these priorities require shifts in how LAC manages and uses resources. Under its Program Reinvestment in Support of Modernization (PRISM) process, LAC set priorities to guide its resource reallocations.1 As a result, LAC is focusing resources toward the implementation of two key deliverables: the service delivery model, and the review of its methods and tools for effective management of government information. The PRISM process was also instrumental in shaping the LAC response to the Government's commitments to identify program and operating efficiencies.

1 PRISM is an organization-wide reinvestment process that will optimally allocate LAC's resources towards modernization priorities. These reallocations will allow LAC to continue its work, as well as undertake some new initiatives that are required to support the development of the documentary heritage under its stewardship, its preservation, as well as its accessibility to ever-growing numbers of Canadians.

Priority 1 Type2 Strategic Outcome(s)
LAC will begin to implement a new service delivery model to improve access to its holdings Previously committed Strategic Outcome 2

Why is this a priority?

The new wording marks an evolution to a more specific and concrete articulation of the 2011–2012 priority, "LAC will improve access to its holdings".

Resource discovery at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) must be more responsive to the information needs and interests of Canadians. In today's online environment, Canadians expect to find information easily, immediately, and autonomously. In order to stay relevant in a society of increasingly interconnected and socially networked citizens, LAC is committed to reorienting the way it connects with Canadians. LAC is increasing the presence, relevance and visibility of its documentary heritage information and updating its access policy framework to ensure Canadians can discover and use its content as much as possible when, where and how they want it. Given resource realities, LAC must find efficiencies while seeking to expand its reach among Canadians. This means shifting its emphasis from the traditional labour-intensive and in-person approaches to approaches that leverage digital technologies and collaboration with users and other communities of interest, enabling much wider connections with citizens.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • LAC is increasing the digital content available to Canadians so that holdings are remotely available.

  • LAC is implementing a "digital by default" approach to content delivery so that clients can obtain digital reproductions.

  • LAC is transforming its services and its on-site consulting area at the 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa location to incorporate digital tools.

2 Type is defined as follows: previously committed to—committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the report; ongoing—committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the report; and new—newly committed to in the reporting year of the Report on Plans and Priorities or the Departmental Performance Report.

Priority 2 Type Strategic Outcomes
LAC will develop and implement a Whole of Society Model to frame appraisal and acquisition decisions Previously Committed Both

Why is this a priority?

The new wording marks an evolution to a more concrete emphasis from the 2011–2012 priority, "LAC will redefine how it selects items to be acquired for the use of Canadians".

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is challenged by the expanding world of information and the new ways in which Canadians create, share, and use that information, including within the Government of Canada. LAC has examined some of the fundamental concepts that it uses to determine what best represents the whole of society for current and future generations, so it can make choices strategically, consistently and with the best use of its resources now and in the future. This new policy-based approach to appraisal is influencing acquisition priorities; shaping LAC's collaboration with other documentary heritage institutions and government departments; and guiding LAC's decisions on how best to manage its existing holdings.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • LAC is implementing its new Whole of Society Model by applying new policies and tools and adapting existing mechanisms to guide its choices for the identification of information resources of business and enduring value for potential acquisition.

  • LAC is working with government institutions to implement a new recordkeeping methodology that enables more effective information management and decision making for information resources of business and enduring value.

Priority 3 Type Strategic Outcomes
LAC will adopt a more collaborative approach to fulfilling its mandate Previously Committed Both

Why is this a priority?

This wording is consistent with that used for 2011–2012.

Modernization recognizes that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) cannot have a monopoly in relation to Canada's national heritage due to the massive volume of information available and the many new ways that documentary heritage is generated. LAC shares many of its responsibilities with a wide range of players—other libraries, archives, government institutions, universities, and so on. This decentralized environment requires a new model. Talks have already begun with interested stakeholders to find areas of potential collaboration for the new pan-Canadian documentary heritage network. LAC and other institutions will benefit by collaborating to appraise, acquire, preserve, describe and enable access to the most representative documentary heritage produced by Canadian society. This shift to collaboration should enable LAC to use its resources more efficiently and effectively, while respecting its diverse legislative mandates and jurisdictions.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • LAC is implementing its Canada-wide coordinated approach and strategy to work with stakeholders such as provincial and territorial archives, academic institutions and other communities of interest.

  • LAC is taking early steps toward an acquisition marketplace, which will eventually enable participating institutions to exchange information about possible acquisitions and facilitate decisions as to which institution is best placed to make a specific acquisition. This marketplace will also complement LAC's involvement in the pan-Canadian documentary heritage network and in the development of exhibitions and other collaborations.

Priority 4 Type Strategic Outcomes
LAC will review how it describes and organizes its information resources to improve content distribution and access Previously committed to Strategic Outcome 2

Why is this a priority?

The new wording expands on the 2011–2012 priority, "LAC will modernize how it describes its collection to improve access".

The description and organization of the content of the holdings at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) are based on metadata that may capture the subject of a document, the place and people in a photograph or film, or an e-book's author and publication information. Users can quickly identify the material of most interest to them in the holdings when effective, user-friendly metadata, supported by best practices and tools, is applied. While LAC uses standards consistent with the traditional practices of library and archival sciences, in order for creators, donors and users to easily contribute accurate, consistent metadata LAC needs a policy-driven descriptive framework for all information resources.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • LAC receives a growing amount of metadata from publishers, creators, donors and users that can serve "as is" or may supplement LAC's descriptions, as guided by its policies, standards and tools.
  • As part of the pan-Canadian documentary heritage network, LAC will contribute to a pilot project to develop a national model to link collaborative metadata across Canada's documentary heritage institutions. The eventual goal will be to provide Canadians with seamless and integrated discovery tools to make it easier for them to find and use content in collections across the country.
  • LAC will design and build a new data warehouse, which is a database used to guide management decisions. This data warehouse will integrate all the data related to managing information resources which are currently located in different information systems.

Priority 5 Type Strategic Outcomes
LAC will adapt how it manages its holdings Previously committed Strategic Outcome 2

Why is this a priority?

The new wording expands on the 2011–2012 priority, "LAC will ensure digital preservation".

Holdings management encompasses the responsibility of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to safeguard the documentary heritage in its digital and analogue holdings. LAC already met this commitment through its skilled workforce and its specialized preservation facilities. LAC is complementing this responsibility using the modernization process to establish consistent approaches and tools to acquire and preserve its digital and analogue holdings. LAC's priority is to digitize its analogue holdings to make them more accessible to anyone interested in Canada's documentary heritage.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • LAC continues to make progress on its 10-year audiovisual migration strategy to transfer analogue audiovisual recordings to digital file formats to ensure their integrity and continued accessibility.

  • LAC will initiate a reappraisal of its holdings to determine which items should be made more accessible and which items may no longer meet collection priorities.

  • LAC continues to respond to the common needs related to digital preservation among documentary heritage institutions. This includes: working toward a networked pan-Canadian trusted digital repository; ensuring that at least one analogue copy is preserved by a Canadian documentary heritage institution even after it is digitized; and creating appropriate metadata for digital items.

Priority 6 Type Strategic Outcomes
LAC will adopt a new model for internal operations and will ensure that its workforce has appropriate skills to deliver on its mandate Previously Committed Both

Why is this a priority?

The new wording marks an evolution to a more concrete emphasis from the 2011–2012 priority, "LAC will build its capacity to manage and fully discharge accountabilities".

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) must ensure that skilled resources are focused on the challenges of the digital world in order to reach more Canadians and connect them to their documentary heritage and also to support government departments in managing their digital information resources. To this end, LAC has changed its operational structure to deploy its skilled professionals more effectively and efficiently. This priority continues to require strategic thinking about the best approaches to organizing and applying information technology in order for LAC to deliver on significant commitments to digital content and delivery.

Plans for meeting the priority

  • LAC is introducing a Chief Operating Officer (COO) function, as part of the modernization-driven change to its governance, to regroup the activities that are at the heart of its mandate into a more coherent and integrated operational structure. The COO will oversee two major functions: appraisal and discovery, and stewardship of holdings.
  • LAC is making progress toward a human resources strategy that will enable it to identify and develop the new competencies required to be successful in the digital world.
  • LAC will develop, test and implement new or enhanced information technology (IT) tools and applications to support the many IT aspects of the planned key activities described under other program activities.

Risk Analysis

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) identifies, through its corporate risk profile, the major risks to ongoing operations and to the general achievement of its mandate. Modernization is LAC's strategic response to the risks identified; four major risks are identified below:

The risk that essential documentary heritage is not acquired

It has never been possible for LAC or any institution to collect Canada's entire documentary heritage given the volume of items being created daily. The Whole of Society Model addresses this risk with new appraisal and acquisition policies that guide LAC toward what it should and should not acquire, while meeting its legislated responsibilities. The Model includes a commitment to collaboration through a pan-Canadian documentary heritage network. The network will encourage the communities of interest to build their collections to complement rather than duplicate what may be acquired under another institution's mandate.

The risk that documentary heritage is not preserved for future generations

As noted earlier, LAC has much of the essential infrastructure in place, such as the new Nitrate Film Preservation Facility for photographic and film heritage, and the skilled professionals needed to preserve its digital and analogue holdings. LAC must make strategic decisions to use its resources effectively in order to meet the substantial preservation needs of its holdings. LAC will focus preservation efforts on digitizing the analogue items most at risk, on acquiring new digital items and on working with partners such as the Canadian Conservation Institute.

The risk that documentary heritage is not accessible to Canadians

While the documentary heritage of which LAC is steward is vast, it is not entirely accessible. LAC has made substantial progress in addressing this risk through efforts such as digitizing portions of its analogue holdings, putting digital images online and delivering programs with partner organizations. The new service delivery model, supported by the Access Policy Framework and the descriptive framework, will provide LAC clients with greater access to their documentary heritage. The descriptive framework includes new approaches to the description of holdings (or "metadata") to make the discovery process simpler and more consistent; and it will accelerate the processing of the acquisitions to make them accessible sooner. The Access Policy Framework sets the policy direction to ensure that LAC will meet its responsibility to make documentary heritage in its holdings known to Canadians.

The risk that Government of Canada information resources are not managed appropriately

LAC's responsibilities to support government information management are instrumental to ensure accountability to Canadians and the best use of information as a business asset for effective decision making. Government institutions are now required to manage information in line with the Directive on Recordkeeping. The role of LAC is to provide guidance and support. LAC is addressing this risk by ensuring the effective and efficient long-term management of government information resources.

Planning Summary

Financial Resources ($ thousands)

2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
117,743.5 101,315.7 95,715.6
Note: Please refer to the Expenditure Profile for explanations on spending trends.

Human Resources (FTEs)

2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
1,117 1,117 1,117

Strategic Outcome 1.0: Current government information is managed to support government accountability
Performance Indicators Targets
Percentage of Government of Canada institutions3 that receive or maintain ratings of "acceptable" or "strong" in the Information Management report card 75% by March 2013
Strategic Outcome 2.0: Canada's continuing memory is documented and made accessible to current and future generations
Performance Indicators Targets
Percentage of the collection used by clients Measured every 2 or 3 years. Baseline figure to be set in 2012–2013.

3 This indicator covers all institutions assessed by indicator 12 — Effectiveness of Information Management — of the Management Accountability Framework (MAF). The list of concerned institutions can be consulted on the Treasury Board Secretariat website:

Planning Summary Table
($ thousands)
Program Activity Forecast
Planned Spending Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
Development of Regulatory Instruments and Recordkeeping Tools 2,655.4 2,632.6 2,632.6 2,632.6 Government Affairs: A transparent, accountable and responsive federal government
Collaboration in the management of government records 8,007.3 4,911.7 4,911.7 4,911.7
Documentation of the Canadian Experience 11,923.0 15,914.1 15,914.1 15,914.1 Social Affairs: A Vibrant Canadian Culture and Heritage
Preservation of Continuing Memory 16,451.1 31,886.3 15,458.5 9,858.4
Exploration of Documentary Resources 36,511.0 34,346.2 34,346.2 34,346.2
Total Planned Spending 89,690.9 73,263.1 67,663.0

Planning Summary Table
($ thousands)
Program Activity Forecast
Planned Spending
2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
Internal Services 36,932.9 28,052.6 28,052.6 28,052.6
Total Planned Spending 28,052.6 28,052.6 28,052.6

Expenditure Profile

The permanent funding of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has decreased to approximately $95 million over the past three years. The decrease is mainly attributable to the transfer of $3.8 million to Shared Services Canada and approximately $1 million is related to Cost Containment Measures (Budget 2010).

Library and Archives Canada's spending trend beyond its $95 million permanent funding is related to specific projects for which it has received temporary funding. The spending fluctuation is mainly explained by the following temporary projects:

  1. Between 2008–09 and 2011–12, LAC received approximately $9.4 million from the Department of Canadian Heritage in support of collaborative activities to advance the creation of cultural content online and other digitization projects;

  2. Over three years beginning in 2007–08, LAC received $21.7 million to replace obsolete systems and provide the capacity for managing electronic publications and the digital records of the Government of Canada;

  3. In 2008–09, LAC received approval for the construction of a preservation facility that will safeguard Canada's cellulose nitrate-based documentary heritage (photograph negatives and films). LAC spent $7.7 million in 2009–10 and $3.8 million in 2010–11; and

  4. In 2009–10, LAC received approval to initiate fit-up work for a Collection Storage Facility with a high-density shelving system. LAC spent $1 million in 2009–10 and $1.4 million in 2010–11, and anticipates spending $1.8 in 2011–12, $22.4 million in 2012–13 and $7.3 million in 2013–14.

The latter two projects reflect the element of the LAC mandate to safeguard and preserve Canada's documentary heritage.

Library and Archives Canada is committed to prudent spending and ensuring measurable results are attained for Canadians. LAC works in close collaboration with other government departments and external partners to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of its activities and to provide increased access to the collection.

Departmental Spending Trend

Figure showing the departmental spending trend.

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Estimates by Vote

For information on our organizational appropriations, please see the 2012-13 Main Estimates publication.