Thursday, 24 November 2011

Comments on LAC 2010-2011 Departmental Performance Report - II

The LAC 2010-2011 Departmental Performance Report is akin to an organizational Annual Report. It's full of tables, diagrams and dense text. There are just two photographs, one of which is a head shot of the responsible minister.

The Library and Archives of Canada Act came into force in 2004 entrusting LAC with a mandate to:
• preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
• serve as a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social, and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society;
• facilitate in Canada co-operation among the communities involved in the acquisition, preservation, and diffusion of knowledge; and
• serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
To fulfill this mandate LAC was in FY 2010-2011 granted by parliament a spending authority of $129M, and actually spent $112M, or 13% below the authority.

The report sub-divides the spending into four program activities. The extent to which spending in each is more or less than the overall 13% below figure is an indicator of the emphasis LAC management is giving its various activities.

Program Activity 1.1 – Managing the disposition of the Government of Canada records of continuing value. Actual expenditure $10.5M, Total authorities $7.3M, 44% above

Program Activity 1.2 – Managing the documentary heritage of interest to Canada. Actual expenditure $48M, total authorities $68.2M, 30% below.

Program Activity 1.3 – Making the documentary heritage known and accessible for use. Actual expenditure $21M, total authorities $22.8M, 8% below.

Program Activity 1.4 – Internal services. Actual expenditure $30.8M, total authorities $32.4M, 5% below.

The figures are stark evidence of the stress LAC management is placing on "Government of Canada records", largely at the expense of "documentary heritage of interest to Canada." That's true even af alter allowing for $11.8M reprofiled to 2011-12 for a delayed project in Program Activity 1.2.

The concerns of the library community when LAC was formed, that their interests would become subordinate to those of the archival community, appear to be becoming increasingly justified.

Tomorrow we'll start looking at the individual program activities.

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