Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was established in 2004 by the Library and Archives of Canada Act and combines the functions of the former National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada. Its mandate includes the preservation of the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, as well as serving as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

LAC received 877 requests in 2013–2014, a decrease of 2.6% compared to 2012–2013 (874 requests). Overall, its performance slightly decreased from the previous year, while performing above government-wide results on a number of indicators.

LAC was able to complete proportionally more requests in 2013–2014, completing 88.9% of all requests in its inventory (1,041) compared to 84.3% in 2012–2013.

A vast majority of the requests received by LAC each year come from members of the public. In 2013–2014, this category represented 71% of requests received. An additional 21% came from academia. According to LAC, requests for archival government records accounted for 61% of requests received in 2013–2014, while 35% of requests were for personnel records of former Canadian Forces members.

In addition to the formal requests received, LAC reported the completion of 6,922 informal requests that are not captured in the statistical report, which resulted in the release of more than 3 million pages. This represents an increase in the number of informal requests completed compared to 2012–2013 (5,361 requests).

Table 1. Workload

Measures Reporting Period 2012–2013 Reporting Period 2013–2014 Difference
Number of requests received 900 877 -2.56%
Number of consultations received (from other government institutions) 41 28 -31.71%
Average number of pages processed per request completed 652 449 -203
% of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed 17.96% 11.78% -6.18%
Note: The average number of pages processed per request completed and the percentage of requests for which more than 1,000 pages were processed are calculated from the total of requests completed for which the information was disclosed (in part or totally), exempted/excluded and for requests abandoned. It excludes requests completed for the following dispositions: no records exist, requests transferred and requests treated informally.

The volume of pages processed is significant compared to the government-wide proportions. For instance, a request completed by LAC required the processing of 449 pages on average, compared to 241 pages government-wide. Of the 27 institutions analyzed, LAC had one of the highest proportions of requests that required the processing of more than 1,000 pages.

Timeliness

In 2013–2014, LAC responded to 624 requests within 30 days or less, which represents about 67.5% of the requests completed in 2013–2014. This represents a 7% decrease compared to 2012–2013.

The proportion of requests completed that were closed past the statutory or extended deadline increased in 2013–2014 compared to 2012–2013, from 2.8% to 4.4%. This represents an “A”Footnote 1 grade.

External consultation was invoked as the principal reason for not meeting statutory or extended deadlines (in 23 cases out of 41).

Extensions

A total of 356 extensions were taken in 2013–2014, an average of 0.38 extension per request completed. In comparison, this proportion was 0.30 during the last reporting period. This means that LAC took proportionally more extensions to complete its requests in 2013–2014 than in 2012–2013.

These extensions were relatively lengthy, as more than half of the extensions taken in 2013–2014 (57.3%) were for more than 120 days. In comparison, this proportion was 19% government-wide.

Figure 1. Length of extensions (2011–2012 to 2013–2014)

Figure 1. Length of extensions (2011–2012 to 2013–2014)

Text version

Figure 1 is a bar chart with vertical bars, representing the length of extensions taken by LAC during each reporting period between 2011–2012 and 2013–2014. The results are as follows:

Reporting period 30 days or less 31-60 days 61-120 days 121-180 days 181-365 days More than 365 days
2011–2012 8.07% 24.66% 28.55% 26.01% 12.56% 0.45%
2012–2013 9.06% 15.47% 15.85% 16.98% 37.36% 5.28%
2013–2014 8.43% 16.85% 17.42% 19.66% 28.93% 8.71%
 

Extensions for consultations under paragraph 9(1)(b) represented about 70% of all extensions taken in 2013–2014 (increase of 6% compared to 2012–2013). Although LAC only extended a few requests under paragraph 9(1)(c), these extensions were for more than 60 days in 80% of the time.

Disclosure

Of the 925 requests completed, about 33.4% of them were disclosed entirely. While this disclosure rate is similar to the one achieved during 2012–2013, it is still above the government-wide results (26.9%).

A large proportion of pages disclosed were disclosed entirely (48.8%) in 2013–2014, compared to the government-wide results (20.01%).

Exemptions/Exclusions

In 2013–2014, a total of 591 exemptions and 38 exclusions were applied to withhold information, 0.68 exemption/exclusion per request completed. This rate was lower in 2012–2013 (0.61).

The top three exemptions in 2013–2014 were: personal information (398 times), information obtained in confidence (92 times) and third party information (24 times).

Table 2. Performance

Measures Reporting Period
2012–2013
Reporting Period
2013–2014
Difference
Completion of Requests
Completion rate 84.28% 88.86% 4.58%
Completion Time
% of requests completed within 30 days 74.37% 67.46% -6.91%
Average number of days to complete a request N/A N/A N/A
% of requests closed past statutory or extended deadline 2.75% 4.43% 1.68%
% of consultations from government institution completed within 30 days 100.00% 96.43% -3.57%
% of extensions of 30 days or less 9.06% 8.43% -0.57%
Level of Disclosure
% of pages processed that were disclosed 92.52% 97.18% 4.66%
% of requests completed for which the information was disclosed entirely 33.98% 33.41% -0.57%
% of pages disclosed entirely 30.03% 48.82% 18.79%
Exemptions/Exclusions
Number of exemptions/exclusions per request completed 0.61 0.68 0.07

Other activities

LAC’s ATIP office continued to review restricted government records, using the “block review process”,Footnote 2 in order to determine whether they could be opened for public access. This process resulted in the public access of approximately 2.7 million pages of archival records in 2013–2014.

LAC also continued to work with other institutions in order to reduce the number of consultations normally required for restricted archival records that originated from these institutions. For instance, a consultant was hired during 2013–2014 to review DFATD’s restricted archival materials.

Complaints

The number of complaints received by the OIC against LACFootnote 3 remained the same in 2013–2014 as in 2012–2013 (13 complaints). Of those received in 2013-14, 4 were related to administrative matters and 9 were refusal complaints.

While 5 complaints were still pending as of April 2015, most of the completed complaints (5) were well founded. The remaining three complaints were not well-founded (1), settled (1) and discontinued (1).

Footnotes

Footnote 1

The 2007–2008 OIC report card system was used to estimate a grade: A=0 to 5%, B=5 to 10%, C=10 to 15%, D=15 to 20%, F= more than 20%.

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Footnote 2

This method consists in reviewing a sample of a series, or block, of records, instead of proceeding to a page-by-page review.

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Footnote 3

The numbers reported in this section are based on the OIC’s statistics. The information may not reflect the statistics reported by institutions due to the discrepancies in the methodology used.

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