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Report on the Review of Acquisition Processes for Collections

December 2010

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Findings and Recommendations

2. Multi-year Strategic Directions and Strategic Plans

2.1 Canadian Archives and Special Collections Branch (CASCB)

In April 2007, the CASCB published its Acquisition Orientation 2006–2010. The document reflects the status of collection development areas and provides a detailed description of the types of materials that can potentially be acquired. In some cases, gaps in the collection are identified or limits are established for specific acquisition areas, given that LAC's collection is already comprehensive.

The document does not take into account the key directions and guidelines set out in the collection development management framework and does not contain formal strategies to carry out the CDF, particularly key directions on collection representativeness, acquisition partnerships and digital, Aboriginal and multicultural materials.

Multiyear acquisition strategies have not been developed based on the key directions defined in the CDF, and consequently, they do not contain any strategies, commitments or timelines for implementing the CDF's key directions.

The CASCB produced its branch priorities for 2008–09 and 2009–10 aligned with LAC's Program Activity Architecture. The document identifies the priority collection development activities to be carried out. The collection development priorities for 2009–10 call for updated acquisition program strategies and target specific gaps and overlaps for July 2009. This activity was also part of the 2008–09 priorities established by the CASCB.

Any review of the strategic framework must include the following, given their strategic significance in collection development:

  • strengths and weaknesses in the collection under CASCB responsibility in order to establish strategies, objectives and priorities to fill gaps in the collection, taking into account the key directions set out in the CDF;
  • LAC's limitations in terms of financial and human resources earmarked for acquisitions and storage in order to better establish acquisition priorities;
  • financial and non-financial information about the use of resources allocated to collection acquisitions;
  • accountability in terms of acquisitions and performance measurement linked to achieving expected results based on key directions;
  • management of the risks associated with acquisitions and identification of the corresponding mitigation measures.

2.2 Published Heritage Branch (PHB)

The PHB issued two strategic documents: Acquisition Orientation for the Published Heritage Branch 2008–10 and Strategic Plan for 2008–09 to 2010–11 which serves as an operational plan.

These two strategic documents take into account the CDF's key directions concerning digital records and contain appropriate strategies in this area. However, neither document contains a strategy, objectives or measures to ensure the implementation of key directions on collection representativeness and Aboriginal and multicultural materials.

The Acquisition Orientation sets out the strengths and weaknesses of the collection under its responsibility and specifically addresses PHB's acquisition limitations. A partnership strategy is proposed, but the objectives and measures presented to carry out the strategy do not enable the implementation of the key directions for the national collection and acquisition partnerships.

The Strategic Plan contains items such as acquisition monitoring, accountability and performance measurement. Moreover, this plan is consistent with PHB's Acquisition Orientation and clearly sets out the issues and priority areas for the acquisition of digital records.

2.3 Portrait Gallery of Canada Program (PGCP)

We have not received any strategic direction documents or strategic plans for the acquisition of portraits since the CDF came into effect in 2005. The absence of strategic documents places the implementation of LAC's key directions, as defined in the CDF, at risk.

Except for the PGCP, the branches responsible for collection development have established a collection development framework, but they do not always specify the strategic directions in their annual work plans or develop management tools to ensure the coordination, oversight and representativeness of acquisitions.

Recommendation 2

LAC should develop operating plans that set out objectives, strategies and measures to ensure the implementation of its key directions.

Management response

As part of LAC's integrated planning process, the Acquisitions Sector will prepare detailed operating plans that include a risk management component.

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