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Services to the Public: Conditions for Access to and Use of Documents

Records of the Government of Canada

Departmental Researchers

Procedures for departmental researchers wishing to consult textual documents subject to the Access to Information Act (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showtdm/cs/A-1) and to the Privacy Act (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/P-21/).

Procedures for consultation

  1. The departmental researcher submits a request for documents, by mail or fax, to the Reference and Genealogy Division, along with the archival references and an authorization letter signed by his/her employer. The departmental researcher must specify a date on which he/she wishes to consult the documents. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) requires a minimum of five working days advance notice.
  2. LAC reviews the request and determines the documents' access conditions. LAC then advises the departmental researcher of the date on which the documents will be available for consultation.
  3. If the information provided in the authorization letter is insufficient, LAC contacts the departmental researcher.
  4. LAC holds the documents for the departmental researcher for a maximum of 30 days, after which they are returned to storage.
  5. To order photocopies, see Photocopies and Reproductions.

Authorization letter

Any person wishing to be granted departmental researcher status must produce a letter written on official departmental letterhead and signed by a manager at the Director level. The letter should include the following information:

  • the name of the departmental researcher;
  • the employment status of the departmental researcher (i.e., indeterminate, term or contract);
  • the departmental researcher's security clearance level (enhanced reliability, secret or top secret);
  • the purpose of the research (or that the documents are required for operational purposes);
  • the files that the departmental researcher is allowed to access (either all the departmental files that fall within the range of the security clearance level of the departmental researcher or specific files listed by Record Group, Volume and File Number);
  • permission to order photocopies (or denial of such permission);
  • the expiry date of the authorization letter (to a maximum of one year or until the end of the departmental researcher's term or contract). If the researcher's access to the same material is being extended, it should be specified in the letter.
  • complete contact information for the departmental researcher;
  • the departmental researcher's user card number (if applicable). See User Card Registration Form.
  • the telephone number and business address of the manager signing the authorization letter.

See Sample authorization letter for departmental researchers.

Note: Departmental researchers may only request access to their own department's documents. If they wish to access another department's files, they must obtain written consent from that department.