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Report on the Review of Acquisition Processes for Collections

December 2010

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About the Review


The purpose of the review was to determine whether the governance structure, risk management and controls in place for various LAC collection acquisition processes were effective and consistent with the organization's strategic directions.


All of the processes linked to discretionary acquisitions, including private donations and purchases, were considered in this review. The review covered acquisitions made by the Canadian Archives and Special Collections Branch (CASCB), Published Heritage Branch (PHB) and Portrait Gallery of Canada Program (PGCP). Acquisitions made through legal deposits and from the Government Records Branch have been excluded from this mandate.

On-site work was conducted from August to November 2009 covering the period from 2006–07 to 2008–09.


For the purpose of this study, we reviewed the strategic documents for LAC overall and those prepared by the CASCB, PHB, and PGCP. We analyzed these documents using the criteria selected for this review (see Annex C). Nine purchases were selected, from acquisitions made between 2003 and 2008, for the following types of documents under CASCB responsibility: rare books (3), music (3) and cartography (3). Three purchases were selected for the PHB and three purchases for the PGCP. Given that these total 15 purchases are not a representative sample; the results of the review of these purchases cannot be extrapolated to all acquisitions made for the CASCB, the PHB and the PGCP. However these results do identify the controls in place and the inherent risks.

The review of management practices is designed primarily to inform and improve management. The review findings can be used to identify particular strengths and areas in need of improvement, but they cannot be reliably extrapolated with the high level of certainty provided by an audit. Consequently, the review did not cover the effectiveness of internal control systems.

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