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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
25 microfilm reels.
462 film reels (ca. 153 h, 13 min).
327 photographs: b&w.
ca. 1800 architectural drawings
ca. 226 technical drawings
77 p. : typescript, ill.
51 audio cassettes (ca. 34 h, 30 min)
3 videocassettes (2 h, 20 min)
1,442 audio reels (ca. 559 h)
8 glass negatives: col.
17 slides: b&w., col.
81 negatives: b&w.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Department of Agriculture and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records are not reflected in this description. Photographs, film, microfilm reels, maps, architectural and technical drawings are now processed and added to the description. Moving images material consists of the following: various films on rabies produced by the National Film Board for the Department of Agriculture; Expo '67 pavilions under construction; recordings of the Management Council and of the Agcellence Awards of 1987; the history of Agriculture Canada; the Central Experimental Farm; research and scientists in agriculture and education; farming; farm technology; marketing and other aspects. This material can be found within the the lower level descriptions of the Experimental Farm Service series; the Research Branch series; the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration series; and the Miscellaneous records - Agriculture Canada series. Sound recordings material consists of the following: informative pieces from the Information Division of the Department of Agriculture; various NFPMC council and executive meetings, interviews, radio commentaries, public hearing, committee meeting, signatories meeting and annual meeting of NFPMC; and the proceedings of the consultative Group on International Agriculture Research held in Ottawa, May 1986. This material can be found within the lower level descriptions of the International Programs Branch series; and the Miscellaneous records - Agriculture Canada series.
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Copyright belongs to the Crown.
Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)
See MISACS database for item level descriptions. (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
The Bureau of Agriculture and Statistics was created by the United Province of the Canadas (present-day Ontario and Quebec) in 1852. The original Bureau of Agriculture was involved in agricultural societies, agricultural education, public awareness and research. Prior to Confederation, the Bureau was at various times responsible for statistics (including decennial censuses), the regulation of patents, immigration, public health and, briefly, the colonization roads program.
With Confederation in 1867, the federal Department of Agriculture was created. Under Section 95 of the British North America Act, the federal and provincial governments were granted concurrent (shared) jurisdiction over agriculture. The post-Confederation Department of Agriculture continued to be assigned numerous responsibilities in addition to those related to agriculture. These included arts and manufactures, archives, immigration, quarantine and public health, the marine and emigrant hospital at Quebec, the census and statistics, patents, copyrights, trademarks and industrial design. The non-agricultural functions of the Department were gradually transferred to other federal institutions in the ensuing years up to 1919. Immigration functions moved initially to the Immigration Branch of the Department of the Interior. Responsibility for census and statistics moved to the Department of Statistics (later Statistics Canada) and marine and emigrant hospitals became the responsibility of the Department of National Health and Welfare, as did quarantine and public health. The Commission responsible for international exhibitions moved from department to department and is now a separate fonds. Responsibility for patents, copyrights and industrial designs also moved from department to department, and is now a separate fonds. The Archives Branch established in the Department of Agriculture eventually became the National Archives of Canada. Thus, the Department's mandate increasingly came to reflect purely agricultural concerns.
After the post-First World War transfer of the last of its non-agricultural administrative responsibilities, the Department divided its activities among a number of branches: Dominion Experimental Farms and Stations, Dairy and Cold Storage, Health of Animals, Live Stock, Seed, Entomology, Fruit, Publications (later, Publicity and Extension) and from 1929, (Agricultural) Economics. This administrative structure remained in place until 1938.
In 1938 a major reorganization restructured the Department into five Services (Science, Experimental Farms, Production, Marketing, Administration) covering its main areas of responsibilities. These responsibilities continue in large measure to the present day.
Numerous Acts relating to agriculture (from the Dairy Products Act in 1893 to the Farm Debt Review Act in 1986) have had a significant impact on the responsibilities of the Department. In order to carry out the requirements of the various Acts, the establishment of Boards, Administrations, Commissions and other similar bodies has been necessary throughout the lifetime of the Department.
A general departmental reorganization began in 1959, which replaced the existing structure. The Research Branch integrated the Experimental Farms and Science Services. The Production and Marketing Services were joined in a Production and Marketing Branch. A separate Administrative Branch included an Economics Division and an Information Division and served the entire Department.
In 1967-1968 a minor reorganization centred the work of the Department into six branches: Research, Economics, Health of Animals, Production and Marketing, Finance and Administration and Personnel Administration. A special task force was established in 1971 to identify and develop expanding world market opportunities for food and fibre. This task force developed into the Food Systems Branch.
In 1978 the Department was reorganized. A new Policy, Planning and Evaluation Branch was established and reported through a new Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy and Planning. The three operational branches of the department - Research, Health of Animals, and Food Production and Marketing - were placed under a new Senior Assistant Deputy Minister-Operations. Financial, general administrative and information services continued to be provided in separate branches. Further reorganizations in 1979 divided the Department into four main operational branches: Research; Policy; Planning and Economics; Food Production and Inspection; and Food and Agriculture Marketing. In 1980 a fifth operational branch (Regional Development and International Affairs) was added.
In 1987 Agriculture Canada underwent a minor reorganization. Under the new structure, the Minister of Agriculture was assisted by three Ministers of State (for Agriculture, Grains and Oilseeds, and Forestry and Mines). They were aided by the Deputy Minister and two Associate Deputy Ministers. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture was assisted by a Senior Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), responsible for Agricultural Programs. Major areas of activity were headed by ADMs: Agriculture Development, Research, Corporate Management, Food Production and Inspection, and Policy. Other areas of activity were headed by Directors General.
The Department's name was changed in 1994 to the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Elizabeth II, 42-43 c. 38). And, as a result of Program Review decisions in the early and mid-1990s, a number of administrative changes were effected, although the Department's primary legislative, regulatory and service responsibilities remain largely unchanged.
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