What is the mandate of the City of Ottawa Archives?
The combined corporate and community mandate of the City of Ottawa Archives is a hallmark of the Canadian archival system, enshrined in a 1980 report (authored bv Ian E. Wilson. former Librarian and Archivist of Canada) that established the present Canadian Council of Archives and the network of provincial and territorial councils.
Under the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001, municipalities have an obligation to retain, preserve in a secure manner, and provide public access to municipal records that provide an accurate record of business functions and transactions to encourage effective governance, transparency, and accountability. The former City of Ottawa created an archives program in 1976, in part to meet this legislated requirement. The current program contributes to the Corporation's administrative efficiency as well as the cultural, social, and economic advancement of the City as a free and democratic society.
The City Archives is responsible for:
Promoting good record keeping by the City to facilitate the identification and preservation of civic government records that have enduring value because they document its business functions and transactions;
Identifying which civic records have archival value and authorizing their transfer to the City Archives for retention and preservation in a secure manner;
Determining which civic records no longer have any value and authorizing their destruction in accordance with the records retention by-law approved by City Council (Record Retention and Disposition By-Law No. 2003-527); and
Providing public access to the records in its care.
When City Council approved the Ottawa 2020 Arts and Heritage Plan in 2003, it made the City of Ottawa Archives accountable for identifying and preserving the City's documentary heritage. The Archives' mandate includes responsibility for the archival records of the 12 former municipalities preceding amalgamation in 2001, Ottawa Transition Board records, Ottawa Public Library, Police Services, and OC Transpo.
The City Archives program plays a key role in preserving community memory by encouraging individuals, organizations, and businesses in the community to create their own archives. The objective of this role is to preserve records that enhance our understanding of the history, evolution, and development of the City's social fabric, natural and built environment, and the people that lived, worked, and made significant contributions to the shaping of the City. The City Archives program acquires community records that would otherwise be lost to the City for lack of a venue to preserve and make them accessible.
In support of its community mandate, the City of Ottawa Archives proactively engages the broader Archives community in its promotion efforts, and engages friends, partners, learning institutions and groups that represent the ethno-cultural-religious heritage of the City.
The City delivers its community mandate through educational programming, exhibitions, and other community outreach activities in order to connect with the various ethnic, religious, and cultural groups in the municipal area.