Yesterday, the Federal Government announced another round of major cuts to the federal public service.  Numerous departments are affected, including Library and Archives Canada which will lose over 300 positions.  In addition to staff cutbacks at LAC/BAC, the government has cancelled the National Archival Development Program (NADP) – a major source of funding for archival organizations across the country – and closed the office of the Canada Council of Archives (CCA).  The CCA was founded in 1985 as a result of federal-provincial efforts to encourage and facilitate the evolution of an archival system in Canada.  Major successes have been realized since then, in large part due to the funding programs and standards overseen by the CCA.

We are stunned.  This is not only devastating to the archival community but will impede access to Canada’s documentary heritage by Canadians for the foreseeable future.  The immediate impact on the Dalhousie Archives and Special Collections will be drastic.   We have spent significant time preparing two applications for this year’s NADP program and were recently informed that the projects had received provisional approval.  We were expecting to hire three temporary archives assistants this year – jobs that would be excellent opportunities for students or recent graduates – but are no longer in a position to move forward with the projects.   Since 2001, the Archives and Special Collections has received over $90,000 through the NADP program and other funding programs administered by the CCA.  These funds have contributed to the budgets for major projects, including:

Without the funds from CCA administered grant programs, these projects would not have been possible.  All members of the Council of Nova Scotia Archives will be affected, and the fate of provincial/territorial associations across the country is in doubt.  The Archives Association of Ontario has already announced that all of its programs and services are on hold.  More importantly, the cuts will have an immediate impact on information-seeking Canadians, especially if provincial and territorial councils are forced to curtail their activities and services.  Portions of our documentary heritage will continue to remain inaccessible to the public while project-ready jobs will go unfilled.

What can you do?  Lots!

  • Write to your MP and express your dissatisfaction with the government’s decisions to cut NAPD funding and close the CCA office
  • Follow and engage with the Canadian Association of University TeachersSave Library and Archives Canada campaign
  • Come visit us to learn more about our holdings, services, and activities
  • Visit other archival organizations in your area and express your support
  • Spread the news about threats to Canada’s documentary heritage on your social media networks
  • Send letters to the editors of your local newspapers

Please join us in rejecting this hostile agenda against our public memory and documentary heritage.  A future without stable and consistent funding for archival organizations is bleak indeed.