The Government of B.C. and the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) have reached a joint agreement for funding of government archival records. The agreement allows the government to transfer 33,000 boxes of government records to BC Archives.
Government and RBCM reached a deal that will provide funding to process the backlog and provide archival access to government records; as well as provide funding for current and future storage as more archival records are transferred to the RBCM’s collections.
This agreement provides stable funding for the RBCM and BC Archives’ government records collections. There are arrangements to cover the costs of storing records and to process, catalogue, preserve and make publically accessible new and future records as well as the records already awaiting inclusion into the archive.
Government policy lays out rules on how to identify important records and documents for permanent storage. Government will continue to determine which records will be retained and transferred to the BC Archives in perpetuity to document important government decisions for future generations.
The agreement includes:
- Commitment to fund storage of government records being transferred to RBCM now and in the future (up-front payment for first 20 years).
- Government will provide up to $400,000/yr. funding to the RBCM for the costs of arranging, cataloguing and preserving newly transferred and future records (to be reviewed after five years).
- The RBCM will cover storage, arrangement, cataloguing and preservation costs relating to previously transferred archival records from its existing budget.
This is part of government’s strategy to modernize information management and improve citizens’ access to information.
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk -
“Archives teach future generations about who we are, and researchers of today can learn about why things came to be the way they are now. This agreement means BC Archives can roll up its sleeves and finish the job of getting these records preserved, catalogued and available to all British Columbians.”
CEO, Royal BC Museum Prof. Jack Lohman -
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with government to process the backlog of records. With stable funding established for this task, we will be able to continue providing public access to government records, a responsibility that reflects our role as stewards of B.C.’s history.”
- Examples of records waiting to be archived: court records, dissolved company files, improvement district case files, executive correspondence, records of commissions of inquiry.
- The Royal BC Museum and the BC Archives were merged in 2003 along with other heritage properties on the Royal BC Museum’s site on Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
- BC Archives is the oldest archival institution in Canada west of the Great Lakes established in 1894.
- There are over 63,000 maps of various geographical areas of British Columbia in the Cartographic Records section.
- Over half of publicly released B.C. birth, death and marriage registrations are available on the online genealogy database: http://search-collections.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Genealogy/basicSearch
BC Archives: http://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/bcarchives/
Information Access Operations: http://www.gov.bc.ca/citz/iao/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Technology, Innovation
and Citizens’ Services
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
the Royal BC Museum
the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
the BC Government Archives
- The Parties recognize the importance of ensuring archival records are transferred from Government to the Royal BC Museum and maintained for the citizens of British Columbia.
- The Parties have met and agreed to the following principles and commitments.
This Memorandum of Understanding represents a commitment by the Parties to work in partnership to address issues related to the transfer and maintenance of Government archival records. This partnership is taken in the interest of developing an agreement to address the needs and concerns of the Parties and the citizens of British Columbia.
In fulfilling the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Parties will be governed by the following principles and commitments:
- Fiscally responsible: the Parties agree to take a fiscally responsible approach to providing and allocating resources for transferring archival records, in addition to maintaining archival records and providing services in relation to these records.
- Collaborative: the Parties agree to take a collaborative approach to establish service priorities and address issues related to the maintenance and transfer of archival records while recognizing each other’s legislative mandates.
- Citizen-centered: the Parties agree to take a citizen-centered approach in prioritizing the work to be undertaken in making records available and by making access to records in the Royal BC Museum and to related records in the planned digital archives as seamless as possible.
- Modern: the Parties will work to ensure that modern approaches to archives management are considered (for example, digitization for preservation of records).
- Accountable: the Parties recognize the importance of being responsible for ensuring effective allocation and use of resources for preserving and providing access to archival records.
- The Parties recognize the importance of establishing an Annual Service Agreement and initiating the transfer of eligible archival records to the Royal BC Museum as soon as possible.
- The Parties will enter into an Annual Service Agreement to jointly establish service priorities and activities for archival records that will include the following:
- Government, through the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, commits to provide funding for storage costs for records transferred under this agreement (initially by means of a 20-year pre-payment mechanism of $140 per standard box).
- Government, through the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, commits to provide funding for non-storage archival services relating to records transferred under this agreement (initially up to $400,000 annually, for costs incurred).
- The Royal BC Museum will continue to allocate resources to store, preserve and provide access to records transferred prior to this agreement.
- The Royal BC Museum and the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services will collaborate in the creation of a single, integrated archives experience, including a seamless digital archives infrastructure and portal, with each of the parties contributing financial and/or other resources according to their respective mandate.
- The Parties will review the Annual Service Agreement process every 5 years to ensure its effectiveness in reaching the Parties’ goals and adjust the process as needed.
- The Royal BC Museum will report annually to Government on the services performed on Government archival records in its custody.
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services