Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

The Public

Records of the Government of Canada

Departmental Researchers

The following procedures do not apply to archival records under the control of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) that are available to the general public (no access to information and privacy restrictions apply).

To view restricted archival records held in the National Capital Region (NCR) that are under LAC's control:

To view restricted archival records held in the National Capital Region (NCR) that are under LAC's control, departmental researchers should follow the procedures for consultation.

To view restricted archival records in the Regional Service Centres that are under LAC's control:

To view restricted archival records that are under LAC's control at the Regional Service Centres, departmental researchers should submit their letters of authorization to the Manager of the Regional Service Centre by following the Procedures for Requesting Records in the Guidelines for transfer of records to the Regional Service Centres.

Procedures for consultation

  1. The departmental researcher submits a request for restricted archival documents, by mail or fax, to the Access to Information, Privacy and Personnel Records Division (ATIP&PRD) at LAC, 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N4; fax number: 613-992-9350, along with the accurate archival references (the fonds or record group number, the accession number or the container number (volume or box) or the microfilm number and the file or item number); and an authorization letter signed by his/her employer. The departmental researcher must specify a date on which he/she wishes to consult the restricted archival documents at LAC in Ottawa. Library and Archives Canada (LAC) requires a minimum of five working days advance notice.
  2. The ATIP&PRD reviews the request and determines the restricted archival documents' access conditions. The ATIP&PRD then advises the departmental researcher of the date on which the restricted archival documents will be available for consultation at LAC in Ottawa.
  3. If the information provided in the authorization letter is insufficient, the ATIP&PRD contacts the departmental researcher.
  4. LAC holds the restricted archival documents in Ottawa for the departmental researcher for a maximum of 30 days, after which they are returned to storage.
  5. To order photocopies, see Photocopies and Reproductions.

Authorization letter

Any person wishing to be granted departmental researcher status must produce to the Access to Information, Privacy and Personnel Records Division a letter written on official departmental letterhead and signed by a manager at the Director level or above. The letter should include the following information:

  • the name of the departmental researcher;
  • the employment status of the departmental researcher (indeterminate, term or contract);
  • the departmental researcher's security clearance level (enhanced reliability, secret or top secret);
  • the restricted archival files that the departmental researcher is allowed to access (either all the departmental files that fall within the range of the security clearance level of the departmental researcher or specific files listed by the fonds or record group number, the accession number or the container number (volume or box) or the microfilm number and the file or item number);
  • permission to order photocopies (or denial of such permission);
  • the expiry date of the authorization letter (to a maximum of one year or until the end of the departmental researcher's term or contract). If the researcher's access to the same material is being extended, it should be specified in the letter.
  • complete contact information for the departmental researcher;
  • the departmental researcher's Library and Archives Canada user card number (if known). See User Card Registration Form.
  • the telephone number and business address of the manager at the Director level or above signing the authorization letter.

See Sample authorization letter for departmental researchers viewing restricted archival documents held in the National Capital Region that are under LACís control [RTF 10 KB].

Note: Departmental researchers may only request access to their own department's restricted archival documents. If they wish to access another federal department's restricted archival files that are under LAC's control, they must obtain written consent from that department (e.g. If an employee of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada needs to see some Parks Canada restricted archival files that are under LAC's control, written permission must be obtained from the Director level or above at Parks Canada).