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A New Knowledge Institution for Canada

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The New Organizational Structure: Backgrounder

November 2004

Our Mission

"That Canada be served by an institution that is a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society."
Library and Archives of Canada Act, Preamble


This Backgrounder describes the new Library and Archives Canada (LAC) structure and how it will work.


The organizational design drew upon all that was learned from the many transformation processes that had taken place since the announcement of the new institution in October 2002.

Early on, Management Board established some design objectives. The new design would:

  • Enable the objectives of the Library and Archives of Canada Act
  • Ensure enhanced service to Canadians
  • Support an integrated approach to the development, management and making known of the one LAC collection
  • Provide for an increased strategic focus and an enhanced national role
  • Strengthen Information Management (IM) in government
  • Foster corporate co-ordination
  • Strengthen corporate decision-making and institutional alignment
  • Strengthen management and accountability
  • Foster innovation in LAC
  • Develop and nurture expertise
  • Enhance mobility and provide career paths for staff

The objectives emphasize integration, collaboration and working strategically in order to achieve LAC-wide results for Canadians.

We are confident the design will lead to our over-arching goal—greater impact and better results for Canadians.



There are three business lines for Library and Archives Canada. They reflect our legislated mandate and the program activity architecture under which we must report to Parliament.

Diagram of the Operational Sectors

LAC's three corresponding operational sectors are Documentary Heritage Collection, Programs and Services, and Government Information Management.

Diagram of the Operational Sectors

i. Documentary Heritage Collection Sector

Graphic for the Documentary Heritage Collection Sector The Documentary Heritage Collection Sector ensures that Canada's documentary heritage is collected, safeguarded and organized for current and future use.

Its functions are collection development, organization, and care of collections. All collections will be developed, managed and preserved under the auspices of the Documentary Heritage Collection Sector.

Collection development undertakes both acquiring and describing functions, and is organized based on type of material—Publications, Archival Records, and Multimedia and Special Collections.

Publications Branch includes legal deposit and other acquisition mechanisms, Web archiving and resource description. Archival Records Branch includes government records and private records.

Multimedia and Special Collections is an area that can accommodate special thematic or media-based collections that include both archival and published material.

The second key function is organization. The Intellectual Management Office supports innovation and standards in our intellectual management work. This area provides research in intellectual management issues, as well as leadership and expertise in metadata and controlled vocabularies. Its work will help LAC address the "accessibility gap"—the gap between how we currently describe our collections for control purposes and how users actually seek information. Database networks such as the AMICUS Union Catalogue will be part of this office.

The third key function of the Documentary Heritage Collection Sector, Care of Collections, extends across all collections. It will deliver the functions of circulation and maintenance; conservation treatment; digitization, imaging, microfilming and AV preservation.

ii. Programs and Services Sector

Graphic for the Programs and Services Sector The Programs and Services Sector increases awareness of, access to, and use and understanding of, Canada's documentary heritage.

Its two functions are delivery of services in response to client demand of all types and via all channels; and delivery of programs to promote knowledge and understanding of Canada's documentary heritage. The former is responsive to demand; the latter is proactive, anticipating the information needs of Canadians. Combined, they are the important means through which LAC delivers its mandate to make known Canada's documentary heritage.

Services encompass
  • Reference and Genealogy Services, the Canadian Genealogy Centre and services
  • Consultation, inter-library/institutional loans, and the Canadian Book Exchange Centre
  • Rights Management, which includes Access to Information and Privacy, federal personnel records and rights clearance
Programs include Learning Programs; the Centre for Newspapers and News in Canada, Public Programming and Exhibitions, and Web Content and Services.

The Portrait Gallery of Canada is by far the largest program of LAC, and a major cultural institution for Canada.

iii. Government Information Management Office

Graphic for the Government Information Management Office The Government Information Management Office supports federal institutions in the management of information and knowledge. Its primary functions include IM Strategies, IM Solutions, and IM Services.

IM Strategies support the development of a government-wide Information Management program, based on life-cycle approaches, including policies, strategies, standards and the coordination of federal libraries.

IM Solutions develop guidance, tools and training to help departments implement IM policies and programs. It includes the IM Call Centre and the LAC component of the IM Portal.

IM Services include the Federal Records Centres across Canada.


The operational sectors described above deliver what LAC is mandated to do; the corporate branches support how LAC delivers its mandate. They are enablers.

Each has an important role in ensuring that the organization works horizontally and functions as a cohesive whole. They are expected to have strong links with each organizational sector and to each other.

Diagram for Corporate Support  --  The Enablers

i. Strategic Office

The key functions of the Strategic Office are to position the institution strategically and to be an integrator for the whole organization. The office supports the development of a coherent, corporate vision and strategic directions, from which corporate objectives and priorities can be drawn. In turn, this corporate view ensures that all institutional activities are fully aligned with LAC strategic goals and government of Canada objectives.

The Strategic Office includes strategic policy, strategic planning, Aboriginal Heritage initiatives coordination, multicultural initiatives coordination, and rights policy. The Office will provide strategic focus to LAC's national and international roles. It is also the corporate secretariat supporting the Librarian and Archivist of Canada and Management Board.

ii. Communications

Communications will include strategic communications; publishing, marketing, promotion and advertising; events and external relations management; and internal communications.

They work at ensuring LAC communications activities are aligned with and responsive to our corporate priorities to foster the success of our services and programs, and our ability to attract donations and partnerships.

iii. Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services (ITS) provides IT services to LAC sectors and branches. They develop and maintain applications; provide informatics infrastructure management; support networks and desktop services; and offer IT training and client support.

Information technology plays an integrating role in the institution. Our systems and information architecture must enable us to present library and archival resources as a whole, and support integrated work processes to acquire, manage, describe, preserve, and interpret the collection. Systems underpin our corporate approaches to tracking reference queries, fulfilling client requests, delivering programs, communicating with each other, and assessing the use and success of our activities.

iv. Corporate Management

Corporate Management provides advice and assistance in Human Resources Management and Financial Management, as well as common services such as Audit and Evaluation and the Integrity Officer; Accommodation and Security; and Records Management. A new role, the Staff Resource Centre, has been added to its functions.

v. Transformation Office

The Transformation Office will remain in place to oversee the continued transformation of the new institution for at least the next year.


These are the broad lines of the Library and Archives Canada organizational structure. It will continue to evolve and be refined, especially in the coming months.

This new structure is the result of an enormous amount of thinking by a very large portion of our staff. Our hope is that it will allow staff to continue to develop their expertise and find career paths that will lead to lasting and satisfying careers with the new institution. As well, we hope that the new organizational design will bring clarity and accountability; integration and collaboration; strengthened management and strategic focus, so that LAC can be successful as an organization and fulfill its mandate to contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of Canada.