Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
Whether or not you are Canadian as a genealogist you should be concerned about the budgetary cuts effects on the Library and Archives Canada (LAC). In May, I posted on this forum about the proposed budgetary cutbacks effecting LAC. The cutbacks resulted in 430 staff being laid off--that is 200 positions equaling about 20 percent of the workforce. LAC will be reducing their hours, restricting the public's access to knowledgeable archivists and reference staff, and genealogical inquiries will require appointments. The Inter-Library Loan program will be eliminated as of February 2013.
The cancellation of this program means that researchers must travel to Ottawa to view these records, or hire a researcher in the Ottawa area to access the records for them. Further cuts were made by the elimination of National Archival Development Program (NADP), a $1.7 million contribution program administered by the not-for-profit Canadian Council of Archives (CCA) and distributed to Canada’s 13 archives' councils to support archival activities locally--which will affect the ability of these organizations to continue to make Canada's documentary history accessible. These budgetary cuts will affect the ability of LAC to provide a high level of service to researchers and will affect the public's ability to access records housed at LAC.
Everyone should be concerned, not just Canadians. This is a threat to each of our governments as all governments look to reduce budget expenditures in fiscally "tight" times. Unfortunately, this type of reduced archives access is spreading!
Archives are the way to preserve history of a country. With archives access decimation, it deprives future generations from being able to document what actually occurred and preserve their heritage.
What you can do: Write a letter to your MP, Senator, the Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages, the Prime Minister. Go to Parliament of Canada website: http://www.parl.gc.ca/SenatorsMembers.aspx?Language=E .
There is still time to try to save the Inter-Library Loan program as that is not slated to cease until next February. Creativity is needed to try to reestablish some of the programs that have already been cut.