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Canada's archival system comprises approximately 800 institutions across the country. Together, they are responsible for maintaining the documents that make up the nation's "collective memory" (CCA, 2010a). Archives are a crucial means of safeguarding Canada's heritage and protecting the rights of Canadians. They are also an invaluable research tool for diverse users, including historians, genealogists, students, teachers, lawyers, governments, cultural industries, authors, filmmakers, and those interested in Canadian studies.
Given the vast quantity of information available, collaboration is a priority for the archival community. To optimize use of resources and continue to meet the needs of its users, archives must share responsibilities and operate as a network with a clear direction for the future. To facilitate this network building process, CCA was established in 1985. Consisting of voting representatives from each Provincial/Territorial Archival Council, as well as a number of other archival organizations, CCA is mandated to guide and coordinate the efforts of the archival community while representing its interests to decision makers (CCA, 2010a).
The federal government has worked closely with CCA in developing a strong archival network. In 1989, the federal government first authorized LAC (then National Archives) to provide transfer payments to the archival community through the Grants and Contributions Program. This program was in place until March 2006 and provided a total of $27 million in contributions funding to the archival community over its lifespan. In 2006, LAC, in collaboration with CCA introduced the National Archival Development Program (NADP) as a successor to the Grants and Contributions Program. The rationale for the NADP involved the changing needs of the archival community, LAC's revised mandate, and new TB requirements (PRA, 2008, p. 2).